Boots on the Ground is a non-profit organization helping to support veterans.

How do we work?

Partnering with Local Communities

To make a lasting impact, we know that we must actively engage and include the communities we are seeking to help. We will continually learn and grow as we work.

Volunteer Supported

Our organization is solely volunteer supported. We do not pay board members or committee members.

Our Board


Soon after Ron Ploederl graduated from Mishicot High School in 1990, he enlisted in the United States Air Force in June of 1990. After 20 years of active-duty service as a Security Forces member, he retired in 2010 and moved his family back to his hometown of Manitowoc. He then performed security duties as a security officer and fire brigade member within the Kewaunee Nuclear Power Station for 3 ½ years. Then, he became a law enforcement officer for the Manitowoc City Police Department where he served 7 ½ years as a second shift patrol officer until his retirement in the summer of 2021. He currently fills both instructor and tactical assistant roles at the Lakeshore Technical College Law Enforcement academy for the past 3 years. He has been married to his wife Helen for 29 years and counting. They cherish their time with their two children and two grandchildren. His hobbies include fishing, the outdoors and working out in the gym.

Vice President

Dawn Klister grew up in Cleveland and graduated from Sheboygan North High School in June 1988. Shortly after graduation she enlisted in the United States Army where she became part of the Military Police Corp. While serving four years on active duty, she deployed to Iraq in 1990. After active duty, she then joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard for another four years with the 32nd Military Police Co. Dawn continued her career and became a law enforcement officer for 12 years. Currently, she is passionate in her work at a local non-profit. She helped found the Boots on the Ground Wisconsin organization and is committed to helping veterans. Her hobbies include golf, kayaking, snowmobiling, and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.


Catherine (Cathy, Cat) M Kaye was born in Sturgeon Bay November 25, 1990 and attended Sevastopol High School until graduation in June 2009. After high school, Cathy attended Lawrence University in Appleton, WI where she graduated with her Bachelor's in June 2013. Cathy enlisted with the United States Army in February 2018. After completion of Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) she was assigned to A Company of the 337th Military Intelligence Battalion and began her Masters of Public Administration at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, which she would complete in May 2021. Cathy served two years as a reservist before volunteering to deploy to the Middle East in May 2021 to serve in Operation Inherent Resolve. Cathy returned to the States in April 2022. Cathy currently works for a crisis non-profit in Sheboygan. During her free time, Cathy enjoys time with family and friends, her dog, Sarge, coaching, and working out.


Nathan Huenink was asked to be treasurer for “Boots On The Ground.” He was born, raised, and attended school in Sheboygan Falls, WI. He joined the army national guard in 1999 and attended basic at Fort Knox and AIT at Aberdeen Proving Ground. He worked at M-Day from 1999-2009 and held a variety of positions. In 2009, he went active duty and worked out of the 1-121 in Plymouth and became a 13M and then a year later a 92Y. He was moved to B Co 257th in Kenosha and stayed as a 92Y till the 257th was closed. Currently, SFC Huenink is attached to the West Bend Aviation with the 638th and the 112th on active duty. He has been deployed three times. His first was in 2006-07 in Kuwait doing convoy security in Iraq. He served as a mechanic and would ride along on the convoys. His second was to Iraq in 2009-10 and was tasked with prison security. His last was to Afghanistan in 2012-2013. He was part of TF-310 and was the first National Guard unit to be deployed as a HIMARS unit. In his free time, he enjoys working on his cars, truck, and motorcycle. He likes to drag race his 2015 Subaru STI and races in 24 Hours of Lemons with a Mazda 3. He also has a Samoyed named Enzo Furr-ari who he takes to conformation shows and runs him in agility.


Dennis H Melger was born in Marytown November 7, 1947 and was drafted to the United States Army on October 11, 1967. Upon completion of Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training he was assigned to the C Battery 5th of the 42nd Artillery and sent to Viet Nam. Three months after arriving in theater he received a letter from his mother that his wife had delivered his first daughter. Shortly after he sustained injuries to his back and upper legs when mortars hit in their unit but continued to fight on as others were air lifted out. While still in the field he received his Purple Heart. Upon returning to the United States, he completed a Machine Builder and Maintenance Mechanic Apprenticeship with help from the Veterans Association. He worked at Maintenance Mechanic for 30 years and retired in 2011. In 2013 his doctor discovered he had multiple myeloma due to his exposure to Agent Orange. After a bone morrow transplant and 5 years of treatment, he was notified he was in remission. He currently lives in Rhine Center with his wonderful wife.

Commitee Members

Front: Dawn Klister

Back Row (left to right): Vici Hoffmann, Ronda Kasten, Shelly Nigro, Nicole Greene, Shawna Huremovic

“The journey of thousand miles begins with a single step”

– Lao Tzu