Shawano fitness trail honors late four-star general
SHAWANO, Wis. (WBAY) - A first-of-its-kind fitness trail in Northeast Wisconsin was dedicated Friday in Shawano in memory of a four-star general.
It's a testament of how General Robert Cone's distinguished military career inspired so many people.
Reflecting back, those who knew Bob Cone the best aren't surprised how far he climbed the ranks in the U.S. Army.
"He was a strategic thinker; he could see things far, far out into the future. And the other thing about him was he had a personality that was calm and he was not a toxic leader, so he was beloved, everyone who worked for him wanted to work for him again," says Jill Cone, General Cone's widow.
"Beyond successful. From a kid from a mill town in New Hampshire to be a four-star general, I can't tell you how the people back home are proud of him, and I know the people from Shawano are proud of him as well," adds Brad Cone, General Cone's younger brother.
In 2011, General Cone became the 201st four-star general in U.S. Army history.
"Four months after he got his fourth star and he was told they were grooming him to be in charge of the entire army, he got his diagnosis, and when they showed him his X-rays his bones were full of cancer, they said, 'You can never run again,' and that's another reason I guess this trail means so much because that was taken from him but now I can give that back to the community," says Jill Cone.
In 2014, the Cones retired in Shawano to be closer to his wife's family.
Last September, General Cone passed away at the age of 59 after a five-year battle with cancer.
After his burial at Arlington National Cemetery, donations in his honor started pouring in -- and kept coming.
"When you're in the Army, the soldiers, most of them are under 25, he worked with kids his whole life, and so I wanted to make a difference for the youth in the community," says Jill Cone.
The result is a one-mile paved fitness trail, similar to those found on army bases, thanks to $200,000 raised in General Cone's honor.
"I'm feeling more emotional than I thought I would, thinking of all the people from our past that contributed to make this possible," says Jill Cone.
The General Cone Memorial Fitness Trail is located next to Hope Community Church in Shawano. It's open to everyone, and trail users can park in the church parking lot.