Spectrum Health hospitals celebrate Veterans Day

Marsha Manley (left) and Carl Thompson, both Army veterans, performed the raising of the flag during the Veterans Day ceremony at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital on Monday. (Pioneer photos/Taylor Fussman)

BIG RAPIDS — As people around the country observed Veterans Day on Monday, Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City hospitals hosted ceremonies honoring military veterans.

Danielle Wells, communications specialist for Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City hospitals, said the organization celebrates Veterans Day each year as a way to thank community members and veterans within the hospital.

“It’s important we recognize our veterans,” she said.

Caroline Ring, chief nursing officer for the hospitals, acted as master of ceremonies at both locations, thanking those in attendance for taking time out of their day to be there and introducing the guest speakers, who were hospital employees and veterans.

Craig Witbeck, physical therapist and a Marine Corps veteran, spoke during the ceremony in Big Rapids about the importance of honoring the men and women who have served in the military.

“I’ve never had an employer take time out of the day to thank veterans. I really appreciate it,” he said.

Deb Kleeves, medical technologist at Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital and a Navy veteran, said she thinks it is good the hospital hosts the Veterans Day ceremony, and pointed out the organization does much more than that to help local veterans.

“I just like that they have the veterans resources and help people connect with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” Kleeves said.

Hospital staff, patients and members of the community attended the Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital Veterans Day ceremony Monday afternoon. Those in attendance listened to a performance by Crossroads Harmony Chorus and watched a flag raising ceremony.

In addition to Witbeck and Kleeves acting as speakers at the ceremonies in Big Rapids and Reed City, attendees also watched the raising of the flag.

Becky Brinks, rehabilitation manager for Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City hospitals, said because she has several family members serving in the military, she appreciates these ceremonies each year.

“Veterans Day holds a special meaning in my family,” she said. “It’s important to take time to recognize it.”

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