By Molly Moser
“Inside, the small room looked like a hospital. The walls were white, and the floor was made of concrete, and the fluorescent lights overhead made me squint. There was a long metal counter with metallic tools that I couldn’t name and everything smelled of antiseptic… This room made no effort to alter the stark reality of what we were there for: To identify a deceased human being.”
Just days before the anniversary of her older brother’s death, Guttenberg native Kathleen (Shannon) Wopat went public with a story about the experience of seeing her brother, Stephen, for the first time when his body was returned from Iraq. Wopat’s writing, titled, "May the Force be With You," was published by Story Club Magazine.
“Growing up, my parents never denied me two things: Traveling and reading,” Wopat explained. “English was always my favorite subject in high school, and although I wanted to pursue English, I decided to study something more "practical" and applied for nursing school at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis.” She could not deny her passion, though, and after two years in nursing school she changed her major to English Writing.
Wopat is now an Employment Specialist at Riverfront in La Crosse, managing a program assisting low income individuals with obtaining and maintaining employment. She also works with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and receives referrals from them to place individuals in community employment. “I use my writing every day, whether it be report writing, creating resumes, writing cover letters, communicating with clients, composing letters, or practicing motivational interviewing,” Wopat told The Press.