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'Vet Bugs' make their way to Pierce County

The Pierce County Veterans Service Office is selling Vet Bugs, which were created by Maurice Nolden, a Prairie du Sac native, and a former vet himself. From left to right are: Nolden, VSO Secretary Tami MacGregor and VSO Officer David Till. (Submitted photo)

The Pierce County Veterans Service Office has had a bug issue recently.

No, the solution is not to call an exterminator. These bugs are “Vet Bugs,” created and designed by a Prairie du Sac couple, who have criss-crossed the state selling the collectible lawn ornaments as a way to raise money for wounded veterans.

Since 2011, Maurice and Jackie Nolden have used recycled cattle drinking cups farmers no longer need, along with other barn equipment. Jackie estimated they have made their way into nearly 60 of the VSOs throughout the state.

“We can’t keep the money,” Jackie said. “We get so much pleasure from making them.”

The idea for the bugs started as the couple were reading a story about a veteran, diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, who was receiving treatment at a VA Hospital in Madison in 2011. Wanting to help, Maurice, a former veteran himself who served in Korea in the late 1960’s, came up with the idea for the bugs.

The bugs sold quickly around Sauk County and the Prairie du Sac area. They were about to present the man and his family a $500 check. It caught the attention of the Wisconsin State Journal, which profiled the Noldens in a December 2011 article.

The story spearheaded the Noldens to think about selling the Bugs statewide and they have usually gotten the same overwhelming positive response.

Except for one time, Jackie remembers, when it took a County VSO a good 15 minutes to believe they had no hidden agendas.

“He thought for sure it was a scam,” she said.

For more please read the June 25 print version of the Herald. 

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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