Hudson's Dick Peulen has been writing as a hobby for some time and is starting to garner recognition for his work.

The Army Air Corps veteran of the South Pacific has submitted essays on his reflections and thoughts about World War II, and the role of the veteran in our national history for use in the Star-Observer.

He entered one of his earlier works, "The Beauty of Wisconsin," in the 2009 veteran's writing competition in Minneapolis and won a blue ribbon. The essay was then submitted for national competition and won a certificate of gold medal at the 2009 National Creative Arts Festival in San Antonio, Texas, late last summer. The essay was printed in the Creative Arts Festival book.

His efforts didn't escape the notice of a Wisconsin politician. In November he received accolades from U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl in a letter from Washington, D.C.

"I shared your sentiments about the beauty of our great state. Wisconsin is a rich state with forests, lakes, bountiful farmland, charming towns and vibrant cities," the senator said.

Peulen's award winning essay follows:

"The Beauty of Wisconsin"

By Richard "Dick" Peulen

Traveling east along Highway 94 through the Midwest state of Wisconsin, the choices for a scenic drive are numerous. Whether to branch off to Superior, head up to Ashland, turn off to Rhinelander, veer down to Prairie du Chien, cruise into Madison or amble on over to Green Bay.

Along any of these routes, in a thousand beautiful settings, you will find earnest Wisconsin people, toiling and living life to the fullest; and in every one of these communities there is a small quaint restaurant with down home food and down to earth people finding solutions to all of the world's problems.

Wisconsin people are energetic and progressive but guided by long held values. They love and support their churches, respect the commandments and follow the golden rule passed down to them from those valiant, adventurous people who first rode their horses and wagons into Wisconsin in search of a more fulfilling life in a beautiful peaceful setting.

As I look deeply at a photograph of the Spring Valley, Wis., area where my friend Doug recently chose a home site, I drift back to another time, to an earlier generation, and I can imagine a long ago Doug racing back to a wagon to tell his beloved Kathi, "We have found our place! There are hills to the west and north to protect us from storms and a backdrop for our home and animals, and fresh water, running along a lower line of trees!"

I caught that same feeling of excitement as I rode with Doug through Spring Valley and the many small picturesque surrounding towns such as Woodville, Menomonie and Baldwin. Our journey led to one breath-taking view after another with picture book farm scenes, apple orchards, valleys, gentle hills, sparkling streams and dense forests that were, in places, almost impenetrable. Only once before, when I viewed a sunrise over the East China sea as a young solider during WWII, has this writer felt so moved by the power and beauty of Creation.

During those early combat years, 'home' meant hearing Bing Crosby sing "I'll be home for Christmas" but the real pining came in thinking about sitting in the sun and drinking from a fresh, cool stream trickling from the hillside in the peaceful St. Croix Valley. Today, our emotions turn to the beautiful young people going off to another war and as they are scattered around the world, the memory of the beauty of Wisconsin will go with them.

It is gratifying to see how this historic area has been protected with each new generation contributing love and energy to preserve and improve it. Spring Valley where Doug and Kathi have chosen to live or Hudson, where I am spending my senior years, or any of the Wisconsin winding trails that lead to possible home sites in this beautiful state may bring you to that magical setting of promise and beauty that makes you proud to say "We have found our place!"