Mecosta, Osceola counties host Veterans Day events

HONOR: Veterans of the past and present will be honored during this year's Veteran's Day. Events will take place throughout Mecosta and Osceola counties showing appreciation for their service. (Pioneer file photo)

HONOR: Veterans of the past and present will be honored during this year’s Veteran’s Day. Events will take place throughout Mecosta and Osceola counties showing appreciation for their service. (Pioneer file photo)

MECOSTA COUNTY — Each November, residents, schools and municipal officials take time to honor and say “thank you” to area veterans.

This year will be no different, with a number of public local events taking place around Mecosta and Osceola counties before and on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

In Big Rapids, members of the Elks Lodge No. 974 will offer the chance for the public to enjoy its annual luminary dinner, which will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10. Local veterans are welcome to join the lodge’s 21 veterans that evening. The event is free for veterans, active military members and their families.

“We are dedicated to honoring and helping the veterans in any way we can,” said Elks Past Exalted Ruler Sue Johnson. “For us, it’s a day to acknowledge all veterans within the area and within our lodge.”

During the event, the Elks will present the Military Table of Honor and speakers Tricia Donegan from Mid-Michigan Honor Flight and William Ewald, the exalted ruler of the Cadillac Elks Lodge No. 680.

Also on Tuesday, residents of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans will visit the Mecosta County Senior Center for the center’s annual veterans recognition luncheon and ceremony, featuring a special program.

There, Members of the Edmore AMVETS Post No. 588 will perform military ceremonies, the Canadian Lakes Men’s Chorus and Dave Marasus will provide entertainment and veterans will enjoy lunch. The event honors all veterans. Any local veterans who wish to attend may do so. The Senior Center asks veterans call (231) 972-2884 in advance to make a reservation.

Members of the Big Rapids AMVETS Post No. 1941 are helping host and assist many events throughout Veterans Day, according to Jean Bennett and Linda Bula.

“It’s important to honor our living veterans and it’s way of showing our appreciation to those who have served,” said Bennett, AMVETS Post No. 1941 adjutant and Army National Guard veteran.

From 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Nov. 11, a public breakfast will take place at the post, 320 S. 4th Ave., followed by a flag raising and honor guard gun salute at 10:30 a.m.

The group also is assisting with a ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety building, 435 N. Michigan Ave., which will include a short program featuring a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, Prisoner of War/Missing in Action table ceremony, three-round volley and taps.

AMVETS members also will make sure to remember those individuals and veterans who are in assisted living situations, visiting Metron and Altercare of Big Rapids, which provide nursing home services, at 2 p.m. for a short service. Michigan Works! and AMVETS will team up to assemble and hand out goody bags to resident veterans.

Finally, the honor guard will meet at 6 p.m. at Highland View Cemetery, located at 607 W. Bellevue St., for the annual luminary ceremony.

Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City hospitals also will join in honoring veterans on Wednesday, Nov. 11. Big Rapids will host a ceremony at 11 a.m., while Reed City will host a ceremony at 1 p.m. at the flag poles outside of the hospitals. In addition to singing the National Anthem, a flag raising ceremony and speakers, veterans who work at Spectrum Health will address the audience at each event and speak about their experiences serving in the armed forces.

“A lot of our members here have expressed how much they appreciate the recognition,” added Bula, auxiliary president. “It’s more than appropriate that we, as a collective group, recognize them.”

Morley Stanwood Elementary School students will host a public Veterans Day assembly at 9:45 a.m. and give food items to the Morley American Legion’s food pantry.

Students at Barryton Elementary School will listen to veterans speak about the Battle of the Bulge at 1 p.m.

In Osceola County, Evart will host its annual Veterans Day ceremony, with members of the VFW Post No. 7979 hosting a gathering at 11 a.m. on Veterans Day at Guyton Park in the city’s downtown. During the event, veterans will raise the American flag, perform a gun salute and welcome the public to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

Following the ceremony, the veterans will offer coffee and doughnuts at the post building, located just south of the city, then head to Evart High School at 1 p.m. to perform a flag folding demonstration and speak to the students about their time serving in the military.

“Hopefully we can reach out to the kids and help them understand the price that was paid for them to have the freedoms they have,” said Post Commander Dave Brickey.

In LeRoy, students and staff of Pine River Area Elementary School will host an assembly honoring veterans at 1:30 p.m. on Veterans Day in the school’s gymnasium. Students will perform patriotic songs and more. Local veterans and community members are welcome to attend.

That same day, GT Norman Elementary School in Reed City also will honor veterans with a ceremony at 9 a.m. in the gym. Veterans and their family members are invited to take part. Following the event, light refreshments will be provided and a photo of attending veterans will be taken.

The village of Marion also will pay tribute to veterans with a free breakfast for veterans and their families at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 11 at the VFW Hall, located at 530 E. Marion St. There, attendees are encouraged to bring items for homeless veterans including tarps, gloves, scarves, long Johns and flannel shirts.

Following the breakfast, there will be an 11 a.m. ceremony at the Veterans Monument on Main Street in Marion.

SHOWING RESPECT: Veterans Day will be celebrated throughout Osceola County this year, with a ceremony in downtown Evart at Guyton Park and assemblies at elementary schools in Reed City and LeRoy. (Pioneer file photo)

SHOWING RESPECT: Veterans Day will be celebrated throughout Osceola County this year, with a ceremony in downtown Evart at Guyton Park and assemblies at elementary schools in Reed City and LeRoy. (Pioneer file photo)

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Posted by Karin Armbruster

Karin is the reporter for Osceola County’s Herald Review. She is the coordinator of the Health page, which runs in the weekend edition of the Pioneer. She can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8382 or by e-mail at karmbruster@pioneergroup.com.

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