Emotions were high at Recreation Park over the weekend as two gentlemen were honored during the Monroe County Fair.
The Monroe County Agricultural Society Board of Directors made the easy decision to dedicate the County Barn where the draft horses are stalled during the county fair to the late Dr. Steven J. “Doc” Doll, who died unexpectedly in early June in an automobile accident.
Doc and his wife Francie moved to Tomah in 1975 after he graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. He was an area veterinarian until his retirement in January of 2016 and served as the Superintendent for the Draft Horse Show during the fair.
He also sat on the Ag. Society Board for well over 30 years until the time of his death.
“I’m proud to say I served on the board with him for 20 years. He was a personal friend,” current Board President Chris Schreier said. “He was the vet for the fair for all of those years and for many families, the animals and livestock for local farms and throughout the community.”
Schreier joked that tending to the draft horses during the fair wasn’t Doc’s favorite job.
“I think deep down he loved the horses but he didn’t always agree with them. But he did love the draft horse people,” he said. “They were always in his heart and in his thoughts and it’s one of the reasons he came to the fair and did what he did. He took great privilege in being a part of that and being a part of our fair.”
Robert “Pa” Habelman, a retired Warrens agriculturalist, also received a special nod of recognition this past weekend as the Progress Pull Barn was named in his honor after he made a substantial donation to the foundation, which was used to expand the livestock building to support the growing need for youth livestock exhibits.
Habelman’s donation helped expand the building as well as pay for additional stalls and changes to the show arena. The improvements were a necessity due to the increasing number of exhibitors.
During the fair, the barn is used to house sheep, swine, llamas, poultry and rabbits.
Habelman, who turned 100 earlier this year, was able to be present during the dedication and was surrounded by the very youth who will benefit from his generous contribution. A lot of the youngsters stepped forward to shake Pa’s hand and thank him for the expansion.