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Posted on: February 20, 2023

County issues proclamation for local World War II veteran's 99th birthday

Photo of Thomas Van Dahm and others

County Executive Samantha Kerkman declared Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, as Thomas Van Dahm Day in Kenosha County, in honor of a local World War II veteran who is celebrating his 99th birthday. 

Van Dahm was the guest of honor a few days earlier, at the American Heroes Café's weekly gathering at Festival Foods in Kenosha, where he received Kerkman’s proclamation along with honors from Gov. Tony Evers and Carthage College President John Swallow. 

Born Feb. 20, 1924, in Chicago, Van Dahm served in the Army Signal Corps during World War II from 1943 to 1946. 

On March 17, 1951, he married his wife of 71 years and counting, Lois. The couple moved to Kenosha in 1964, when Van Dahm became a Professor of Economics at Carthage College — a post he would hold until his retirement in 1991. 

“Ninety-nine years — what you have seen and lived through, it is truly an honor to be here with you,” Kerkman said during Friday’s proclamation presentation. 

Kerkman also read a proclamation that was sent by the governor, while Swallow paid tribute to Van Dahm on behalf of Carthage College. 

“Tom has served his country and has served generations of students,” Swallow said. “I am inspired by Tom, inspired by his career, inspired by his long marriage, inspired by his service to our country. Thank you, Tom.” 

Van Dahm, looking spry at 99 and still with his sense of humor, thanked the crowd at the Heroes Café. 

“This is totally unexpected, and I really appreciate all of this,” Van Dahm said. “And I know I’m not worthy of it, but I’ll take it anyway.” 

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