Daughter's journey sheds new light on veteran's heroism

"We found out that he was an amazing soldier," Sanderson said. "He had I don't know, maybe 13, 14 medals."

With the help of a student from Northwestern Michigan College, a WWII veteran's daughter could finally be getting answers to her life long questions about her father.

Donna Gerhard approached the NMC history department with hopes that they could help her find more information about her father, Sgt. Donald Fox, a soldier that fought in WWII.

Nikoline Sanderson, a student assigned to the project by an NMC history teacher, has done countless hours of research to help Gerhard find the information she needs about her father's life during the military, and after.

Fox left his wife and three children when Gerhard was only 3-years-old, after suffering from serious post traumatic stress disorder.

"He used to have horrible, violent, nightmares at night and he would beat her up and finally I think he just left because he didn't want to beat us kids up," said Gerhard. "He never touched us, he never hurt us kids."

Gerhard rarely heard from her father who later remarried in Florida before his death in 1974.

Sanderson helped discover that Sgt. Fox was a member of the 82nd Airborne and that he also participated in Operation Market Garden. The journey has also led them to finding men that are still living and were in the same battalion as Fox.

"We found out that he was an amazing soldier," Sanderson said. "He had I don't know, maybe 13, 14 medals."

The discoveries have presented Gerhard with the opportunity to attend the 82nd airborne reunion in Indianapolis this August, and will hopefully allow her to meet some of the men who served with her father, and will help her uncover more of the story.

Scott Herzberg, Assistant Director for NMC's Outreach Services and POC Military and Veterans Services has raised $1,000 for Gerhard and himself to make the trip. They need about $1,500 more. Gerhard is wheelchair bound and is living with multiple sclerosis.

"I volunteered to go on the trip myself to accompany Donna to make sure everything goes smoothly and to be a part of this great experience," said Herzberg.

To make a donation, you can contact Herzberg at (231) 995-2526