Sons of Union Veterans
Stephen Michaels of Franklin, Wisconsin, was elected Commander-in-Chief of the National Organization of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War on August 14, 2004, at the 123rd National Encampment in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Brother Michaels ascension represented the first Wisconsinite in the then 123 year history of the SUVCW to serve in the Order's highest office.
In addition to serving as Commander-in Chief, Br. Michaels has served the Order in several national capacities, including Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief, Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief, Fraternal Relations Committee chairman, National History Committee member, and National Headquarters Staffing Committee member. Within his native state of Wisconsin, he has served as Department Commander for three years, doubling his department's membership. Three new Camps were organized during his tenure. He served as Sr. Vice Commander for two years, starting the publication of a Department newsletter, and on the Dept. Council for three years. In 1995, he reorganized his local Camp, C.K. Pier Badger Camp 1, tripling its membership. He served as Camp Commander for four years and as Camp Secretary/Treasurer since 1999. He has been a member of the Order since 1993. He was a Member-at-Large in the Ohio Department from 1993 to 1994.
Br. Michaels has been active in Civil War Memorial preservation, focusing attention and helping raise funds for "the Union," Racine, Wisconsin's smoothbore cannon monument and "The Victorious Charge," Milwaukee's Civil War monument. He has also actively supported the preservation of Milwaukee's Soldiers Home historical district on the grounds of the Zablocki VA Medical Center.
He organized the 1997 Central Region Conference, which enjoyed a record attendance. His instruction at subsequent Region Conferences prepared many for future roles. His topics included: Recruiting & Retention, Effective Planning, the Committed Volunteer and Marketing the Allied Orders.
Br. Michaels worked to build the Order by publishing several booklets for use at the Camp level:
"Introduction to the SUVCW"
"The Camp Companion"
"The Junior Handbook (Vol. 1)"
"The Recruiting Handbook"
"How to Organize an SUVCW Camp"
"Press Forward the Good Work, The History of the Wisconsin Department, 1882-1923"
Br. Michaels traces his SUVCW eligibility back to ten Ohio Civil War soldiers, including one great great great grandfather (Pvt. William Howard Wilson, Company G, 48th Ohio Volunteer Infantry), eight great great uncles and one cousin. The Ohio regiments represented by his ancestors include the 12th, 34th, 48th, 59th, 79th, 89th and 153rd.
Within the SUVCW's Sons of Veterans Reserve, Br. Michaels has served as the 4th Military District's Chief of Staff and Commander of the 4th MD Headquarters Company since 1997 and as District Public Information Officer from 1997 to 2002. He currently holds the rank of captain. He received a Commander's Commendation in 2000 for redesigning the SVR's forms and the Meritorious Service Award in 2001 for his work in recruiting. In addition to editing his District's semi-annual newsletter, "The Thin Blue Line," he devised recuiting literature and a recruiting display, responsible for attracting new members into his district. He organized the 4th MD Artillery Safety School in 2002 and 2004.
Br. Michaels belongs to several historical, patriotic and civic organizations, including the Sons of the American Revolution, the Descendants of Mexican War Veterans, the Milwaukee County Historical Society and the Soldier Home Foundation. He's also a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
Br. Michaels has served for over 30 years in the United States Air Force Auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and receiving the Exceptional Service Award for his work with its Cadet Program. He also held positions in Logistics, Search & Rescue, Professional Development, Inspection, and as Wisconsin Wing's Chief of Staff, supervising a volunteer staff responsible for 1400 members across the state. He now occasionally serves as an Assistant Inspector and guest lecturer.
He has over 35 years experience in editing and publishing house organs and recruiting literature.
Br. Michaels was born in Milwaukee, the eldest of three children and the only son of Virginia Cordes Michaels and the late John Michaels. He is a 1973 graduate of Milwaukee's Casimir Pulaski High School. He graduated from University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee in 1977 with a bachelor of arts degree in Mass Communication. He worked for 22 years in retail sales for Target Stores. He's also worked as an announcer at radio stations WKLH, WZTR, and WMIL. Br. Michaels is now an anchor and commercial copy coordinator for Metro Networks, an international news and traffic service, and is heard daily on WTMJ. He is married to the former Danielle M. Schreiber of Muskego. She served as National President of the Auxiliary to the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War in 2003-2004. They have four children: Andrea is a student at UW-Green Bay; Allison has completed a year at UW-Stevens Point; Andrew and Anne are students at Whitnall High School. Allison and Anne are members of the ASUVCW.
Br. Michaels enjoys collecting Milwaukee Soldiers Home memorabilia, Wisconsin GAR and Sons badges and historical artifacts. He also has a pre-war Lionel train and a large collection of accessories.
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