Honored and Remembered: SpartanNash, Family Fare honor Army SPC Hugh Merrill

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MANISTEE — A local hero was honored Friday afternoon, nearly 52 years after paying the ultimate price while serving his country in Vietnam.

Army SPC Hugh Merrill is still in the hearts of family and friends while being owed a debt of gratitude from us all.

SpartanNash, which owns the Family Fare grocery chain, presented Merrill’s brother Richard, of Bear Lake, with an Honor and Remember flag at the local store, located at 1057 U.S. 31 South in Manistee.

In 1966, SPC Merrill was the first service member from Manistee County to be killed in the Vietnam War.

Richard Merrill receives a plaque honoring his brother Hugh, who ultimate price while serving his country in Vietnam. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

Richard Merrill receives a plaque honoring his brother Hugh, who ultimate price while serving his country in Vietnam. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

“He wasn’t satisfied with the way things were going, so he volunteered believe it or not,” Richard said of his brother after Friday’s ceremony. “He and I were very close. We lived on a farm all our life, and he was just a fun, regular guy. I’m very proud of him. Very proud.”

On Friday, SpartanNash vice president of corporate affairs and communications Meredith Gremel was on hand to present Richard Merrill with a personalized Honor and Remember flag. Manistee Family Fare store director A.J. Swander, the VFW Honor Guard as well as store guests and associates participated in the ceremony.

Honor and Remember flags specifically acknowledge American servicemen and women who paid the ultimate price while serving their country. The nonprofit organization, Honor and Remember, is also devoted to placing personalized Honor and Remember flags in the hands of immediate families who have lost a loved one in military service to America.

Personalized flags include the fallen soldier’s name, so the flag can be displayed in honor of them.

Through its national partnership with Honor and Remember, SpartanNash helps facilitate these special ceremonies for local heroes and their families.

SpartanNash retail stores fly the Honor and Remember flag at its corporate-owned stores, and the company displays the flag artwork on its fleet of tractor trailers, which travel 55 million miles a year.

SpartanNash is a leading distributor of grocery products to military commissaries in the United States. The company is also the nation’s fifth-largest food distributor, with more than 140 retail grocery stores in eight states and independent retail locations throughout the country.

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