Two Waupaca County Sheriff’s Deputies were awarded commendations from Sheriff Brad Hardel in front of the county’s Board of Supervisors Tuesday. 19-year veteran Pat Gorchals was honored for his leadership in serving as Incident Commander in early September in the search for 92 year old Kitty Wenkus, who wandered away on foot from her King-area home. During the 19 hour ordeal, Gorchals coordinated multiple emergency response agencies and hundreds of volunteers, who found Wenkus in a wooded area about a half mile from her home. She spent a couple days in the hospital before being released. Along with his duties as deputy, Gorchals has served as captain for the Weyauwega Fire Department and as an EMT for that community.
The other commendation was presented to Deputy Brian Strobusch, a 5-year veteran of the department. Strobusch two years ago became a member of the Central Wisconsin Drug Task Force, and in that role, he identified problems with the county’s outdated Drug Endangered Children program. So over the course of the last two years, Strobusch met with experts in the field, partnering with the county’s Health and Human Services Department, and those at the state level, to rewrite the county’s program to include new protocols and training for every law enforcement agency in the county. In August he was recognized for his efforts by the Wisconsin Alliance for Drug Endangered Children. Sheriff Hardel says the programs leaders have already responded to several calls for service, providing resources and services that the old program would have failed to provide. So congratulations go out to Deputies Strobusch and Gorchals for their work in serving the needs of residents in Waupaca County.