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This Veterans Day, Congressman Bryan Steil (WI-01) had the honor of naming Wisconsin’s First Congressional District 2021 Veteran of the Year. This year’s recipient is Mr. Robert (Bob) G.E. Boulden, United States Marine Corps Sergeant (Ret.).

“I am honored to announce Bob as this year’s Veteran of the Year. Bob’s commitment to service, excellence, and dedication was clear in our nomination process,” said Rep. Steil. “His distinguished career in the military and commitment to service in our veterans community is a shining example of leadership for all Americans. We cannot thank each of our veterans in Wisconsin enough for their service and sacrifice to our country. I remain committed to shining a light on heroes in our community working day in and day out to support our veterans. Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination to our annual award.” All photos courtesy of the office of Rep Bryan Steil

Bob joined the United States Marine Corps (USMC) in 1948. He was 18 years old. Traveling with a small box camera, he documented his experience in Hell’s Fire Valley and the journey out of North Korea. He was wounded in action during the Korean War, in The Battle of Chosin Reservoir.

The 2016 documentary, “American Experience: The Battle of Chosin” highlights his time there. “I wanted to let people know what really happened. In 18 days, we lost 900 Marines and 2000 Army brothers,” Boulden, who had just turned 21 during the battle, says. “It was so cold that your eyelids would freeze shut if you didn’t keep blinking.” Temperatures had plunged to estimates as low as -36˚ F.

Mr. Boulden has spent more than 50 years volunteering his time within multiple veterans’ organizations including the Marine Corps League, VFW, and Korean War Veterans Association.

He is a lifetime member of the American Legion Post 79 in Burlington, Chosen Few, Rifle Squad for Military Funerals, Lifetime Member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Marine Corps League, and Veterans of Foreign Wars, Anderson Murphy Post 2823.

“I was overwhelmed to receive this award,” said Boulden. “I just like to do what I can for our veterans. It was great to have my family there. Thank you Congressman Steil for this award.”

Additional Awards Presented

Two additional veterans received Congressional Recognitions of Service awards from Rep. Steil today along with Mr. Boulden.

James Fialkowski, United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant (Ret.) of Greendale, WI
Fialkowski served his country for 20 years in the USMC. Currently, he is the Service Officer of The American Legion in Milwaukee, WI, and has been for 15 years. In 2005 he retired from the Marines and began helping veterans who needed assistance with health and retirement benefits.

John Margowski, United States Air Force Navigator (Ret.) of Muskego, WI
Margowski served in the Vietnam War. He was the Assistant Waukesha County Veteran Service Officer (CVSO) in 1977 before becoming the CVSO of Waukesha County in 1986. He held that position for 32 years. A long-time member of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Margowski has served as State- and Region Director where he was responsible for coordinating and overseeing activities in five different states. He is currently serving on the National Board, as has been for more than 15 years, both as Chairman and member of the Veterans Benefits Committee. Countless veterans and their dependents have received his assistance over the years.

About the Awards

The First Congressional District’s Veterans Advisory Board reviewed the 16 nominations sent in by residents of Southeast Wisconsin. The following criteria were used to evaluate each nominee:

  • Commitment to Service: Demonstrate a commitment to service in their community. This could be through advocacy, community projects, an act of heroism, or other actions.
  • Spirit of Excellence: Provide an example of how this veteran exudes a spirit of excellence.
  • Dedication to Community and Fellow Veterans: Have a dedication to supporting their fellow veterans and building bridges between veterans and our greater Southeast Wisconsin community.