" . . . the only debt we can never pay is the debt we owe the Union soldier . . . "
Who We Are
The West Side Soldiers Aid Society (WSSAS) is not just a common-interest group, but a 501(c)(3) non-profit incorporated with the State of Wisconsin for educational and veteran-related charitable purposes.
To date those purposes have included over $8,000 in support of:
*the patient libraries of the Milwaukee VA Medical Center,
*Reclaiming Our Heritage,
* troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, *Stars and Stripes Honor Flights,
* Wreaths Across America,
* continued support of additional home items for the Green House Community Living Centers on the grounds of the Milwaukee VA, a revolutionary small-house model of long-term care with a particular emphasis on elder vitality, respect, autonomy and dignity,
* building of a Fisher House in Milwaukee,
* financial support of the VA Medical Center’s Creative Arts Therapy Program,
* financial support for the Hoptel at the VA Medical grounds,
* support of the VA Spinal Cord Injury Adaptive Sports Group,
*financial support of Brain Scans for Warriors,
* purchase of picnic tables for Camp American Legion,
*and many more veteran related projects.
Our activities include:
* educational programs by our West Side Dance Ensemble performing 19th century dance,
* support of the Milwaukee Veterans Day parade,
*participation in the Memorial Day Program at Wood National Cemetery,
* participation in Wreaths Across America at Wood National Cemetery,
* financial and program support of the Kenosha Civil War Museum.
In 2014, we financed and dedicated a Wisconsin State Historical Marker (shown below) at the site of the Wisconsin Soldiers Home opened in 1864 by the West Side Soldiers Aid Society at what was then 207 West Water Street (now Plankinton Avenue just south of Wisconsin Avenue).
The original West Side Soldiers Aid Society was founded in 1862, disbanded in 1867 upon the transfer of Union soldiers to the Northwestern Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. We reorganized in 2003, and incorporated with the State of Wisconsin in 2006. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in our mission to today's troops and veterans and/or Civil War era dancing.
The Ladies Association of Milwaukee for the Aid of Military Hospitals formed as an independent relief agency to support sick and wounded Union soldiers. In time, the group affiliated with the United States Sanitary Commission and became known as the Wisconsin Soldiers' Aid Society. Read more...
To raise funds for their endeavor, the ladies ran a Soldiers Aid Fair in June and July of 1865. The fair opened on 28 June and was scheduled to run for 10 days. It proved so popular that it actually ran until the end of July, 1865, and raised $110,000 for the Wisconsin Soldiers' Home.
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Leading by Example
West Side Victorian Dancers had the honor of being the Good Will Ambassadors during the 150th Anniversary Celebration Ceremony remembering the hard work and dedication of the ladies of the original Soldiers Aid Society, and the VA Medical Center.
Did you know the Milwaukee Soldiers Home District includes 90 acres of various buildings, homes, garages, sheds, fountains, statues and more? When it was originally founded in 1867, it was even larger, roughly 375 acres.
For more information about the Milwaukee Soldiers Homes which is known today as the VA Zablocki Medical Center . . .
Experience the elegance and grace of the Victorian era as seen through the prism of the ballroom.
A place where manners and etiquette intertwined with the excitement of social dancing.