Lonnie's Legacy

Lonnie L. Grau enlisted in the United States Army immediately after graduation from high school in 1965. After basic training, he joined a MUST unit (Medical Unit Self-contained Transportable) and became a gas turbine engine specialist. He was with the first unit of doctors and nurses to set up a MUST hospital in Vietnam. As these more of these units were established across Vietnam, Lonnie flew from location to location as a trouble-shooter for the engines that inflated the hospitals. After 22 months in Vietnam he was honorably discharged in 1968.

Due to his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam, Lonnie was diagnosed with diabetes later in life. His diabetes restricted blood circulation to his extremities and he began to lose the use of his legs. In 2006, during vascular surgery to help increase blood flow to his legs, Lonnie suffered complications resulting in a spinal cord injury that confined him to a wheelchair for the next 14 years of his life. Purchasing this van in 2018 and having the accommodations made to it were a God-send to this Veteran. It gave Lonnie a much-needed level of independence that he had been missing in his life for too long.

Unfortunately, in the two years after purchasing the van, Lonnie’s body continued to suffer and deteriorate, including kidney failure and sepsis. On March 17, 2020, it all became too much for Lonnie’s heart and he passed away to the big formation in the sky.

His wife of 51 years, Marilyn, has donated Lonnie’s 2018 Chrysler Pacifica, with only 1,268 miles on it, to the Wisconsin VFW Foundation. Her wish is for another severely disabled Veteran to be able to experience the freedom and independence that Lonnie felt when he had the van and she knows Lonnie would want the same as he was all about giving back! She asked that we pass on this simple, yet poignant message:

"To whomever receives this van, God Bless and Thank You for your service!”

The VFW-Department of Wisconsin is honored to remember Lonnie’s legacy of service and assist in locating its next home amongst one of our members in Wisconsin! If you are a Veteran who is in need of this van, please view the application and details here:

Click here to download application for Lonnie's van, open in Adobe Acrobat.

Deadline for submission of application has been extended to May 31, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. (Memorial Day)
The recipient will be presented the keys at the annual convention.

Please complete the application form and essay, and email to:
OR mail form to:

VFW - Department of Wisconsin

4622 Dutch Mill Rd.

Madison, WI 53716


If you are a Veteran in need of this van, but are not yet a VFW member, what are you waiting for? Go here to sign up for VFW membership now and then please complete the application!

Click this link to join

Or call Department Headquarters and ask for Thomas Heath, State Quartermaster 1-608-221-5276