1908 Rileys, Wisc.
My Grandfather, John E. Deneen, worked building water towers for the C&NW around the turn of the century. The photo, part of a display on the Military Ridge Bike Trail, is a family photo taken in 1908, with John Deneen wearing the derby and vest. At this time, I believe he was the Agent at Rileys. He retired from the C&NW.
My Father, Marc, was the youngest of 12. He hired out in August of '43, then subsequently enlisted in the Army serving in the 5th Armored Division. In Germany, he was severely wounded in action April 11, 1945, and spent the next year in hospitals being treated for his wounds. Following his honorable discharge from the Army, he returned to work on the C&NW as telegrapher/clerk/dispatcher until his retirement in 1986.
I hired out as a Fireman at Madison, Wisc., in 1969. I served four years active duty in the US Navy and was discharged in 1973 as a Radioman 2nd Class (SS), and returned to the C&NW, working Fireman/Engineer. In August 2006, I started a full-time position as the Wisconsin State Legislative Director for the United Transportation Union, and served in that capacity until the end of March 2012.
History is always a part of railroading. As a young employee I learned from the older employees that had started their careers with steam power. Railroad stories were a part of social and family life. I am grateful to have had an opportunity to work in an industry that has provided both a long-term career, and a compensation/benefit package that is family-supporting. It has been putting food on the table in this family for more than 100 years.