2016 Oktoberfest Torchlight Parade Marshal – Louie Ferris
Our 2016 Torchlight Parade Marshal is a first generation American – born of parents who emigrated from Lebanon at the turn of the 20th century. He is a lifetime and loyal “northsider” who still lives in the home where he was born.
Growing up during the Great Depression he lost his father at age 11 and worked to help support his mother and eight siblings. After graduating from Logan High School in 1949 he enlisted in the Wisconsin Nation Guard and later served a tour with the United States Air Force during the Korean War.
After the war he graduated from UW-La Crosse and for a time taught Spanish and Art. In all he speaks six languages, has taught as far away as Brazil, and has served as an interpreter at both local hospitals.
Our new Torchlight Marshals’ passion is recognizing and supporting those who have served their country in many ways. He has held a variety of leadership positions with the local Veterans of Foreign Wars, participates in military funerals and visits veterans in area nursing homes. He is currently president of the local chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association and was instrumental in creating of the Korean Veterans War Memorial that was dedicated at Veteran’s Freedom Park this past July.
He is also a strong advocate for the local Hmong population and that culture’s service, involvement and sacrifice during the Vietnam War. His goal is to promote a better understanding of Hmong and Laotian Veterans and their efforts supporting this country during Vietnam.
Our new Torchlight Marshal’s passion was inflamed again while consideration was given to changing the name of Veteran’s Memorial Stadium at UW-La Crosse. He led the fight to retain the name and its purpose, but was also willing to compromise when an agreement was forged that would create the new Hall of Honor. Today is part of the committee that oversees the hall.
Beyond his commitment to the greater community, our new Torchlight Marshal has owned and operated several businesses in La Crosse. However, his greatest legacy is the love and commitment he has shown to the large, extended family he has created. His greatest enjoyment today is the weekly Sunday dinner at home with his two remaining sisters.
Our 2016 Torchlight Parade Marshal … Louie Ferris.