Pictured in front of the newly donated baggage cart, left to right, are: Ron Peterson, Officer at Large of the Depot Renovation Inc.; Jim Adamson, President of the Depot Renovation Inc.; Annette and Don Blake, Friends of the Depot; and Wayne Nafe, Vice President of the Depot Renovation Inc. Photo by Mike Leckband
Don and Annette Blake of Cherokee recently donated a baggage cart to the Cherokee Depot. This is the third baggage cart to be displayed at the depot. What makes this cart unique is the fact that this baggage cart is one of the original carts used when the depot was still in operation.
The cart was donated to the Depot Renovation Inc. in memory of Raymond E. Hasenwinkel. Hasenwinkel was the brother-in-law of Don Blake, and he once worked for the Illinois Central Depot.
Hasenwinkel returned home a hero from World War II. He was awarded a Bronze Star for bravery, earning the medal while his unit was under fire by the Germans. Hasenwinkel ordered his squad to take cover, then crawled to a German machine gun nest, and dropped a grenade into the nest, saving his squad.
Remembering a Hero -
The Cherokee Depot received a four-wheeled baggage cart from the relatives of Raymond E. Hasenwinkel recently. Hasenwinkel is pictured above receiving the Bronze Star for bravery on July 21, 1945. There is a memorial plaque for Hasenwinkel on the baggage cart at the depot. Photo contributed
When Hasenwinkel returned from the war, he started working for ICRR, and worked the late 1940's and 1950's. He then farmed around the Aurelia area for years, but always maintained a great love for the ICRR.
The Blakes purchased the cart around 20 years ago from Art Lemley, long time Cherokee veterinarian. After Raymond died, considering the love he had for the ICRR, the Blakes felt it would be a perfect gift for the depot.
Jim Adamson, who is president of the Depot Renovation Inc. was delighted with the gift of a baggage cart which was actually used in baggage operation at the depot in Cherokee.