By Jillian Jamison
ESCANABA - A remarkable group of individuals exists in Delta County - one that deserves both recognition and the gratitude of the general public. This group, the Delta County Veterans Association (DCVA), is comprised of men and women who have honorably served the United States of America during wartime.
Jillian Jamison | Daily Press
Members of several Delta County service organizations gather for a photo during a recent lunch at Drifter’s Family Restaurant in Escanaba. The veterans arrange the regular lunches in order to discuss current events of each group and to keep the bonds of camaraderie strong. In front row, from left: Richard Robitaille, American Legion Post 82; Cmdr. Rene Lippens, Delta County Veterans Council; Richard Morrison, Marine Corp League (MCL); Larry St. Martin, MCL; Betty Simons, American Legion Post 82; Harvey Hewett, MCL; Francis Lesica, Purple Heart; and Bob Bowman, Legion Post 82. Middle row, from left: Carl Johnson, MCL; Bill LaMarch, Legion Post 82; Richard Thompson, MCL; Fred Charles, MCL; Sarah Salchert, Delta Area Veterans (DAV); Earl Sovey, VFW Post 2998; Fred Coates, Legion Post 71; and Cmdr. Morris Cole, DAV. Back row, from left: Art Menard, MCL; Dave Wilson, VFW Post 2998; John Anderson, AmVets; Tom Carmody, ex POW; Joe Stier, Vietnam Veterans Association; and Andy Nelson, Legion Post 34. Editor’s note: Wells resident Tom Carmody, third from right in back row, is the only surviving former POW in Delta County.
Established in 1970, the group welcomes veterans from all branches of military service. Together, they define bravery, strive for community wellness and epitomize patriotism. As separate organizations, they work continually to better the lives of others, each working toward its own chosen charitable goals.
Maintaining the combined branches of veterans is the Delta County Veterans Council (DCVC).
The DCVC represents the close connection between the different branches of the area veterans groups as they work together toward preservation of all they have fought and sacrificed for, and of all they continue to do on behalf of the community.
Thanks to the combined efforts of the Delta County Trades & Labor Union, Mead Paper, the City of Escanaba and all area veterans organizations, the Veterans Memorial project in Escanaba's Ludington Park was established.
As a group, the functions of the DCVC are specific and of the utmost importance to all area veterans.
The DCVC bears the responsibility of providing Veterans Honor Guard at the funerals of all area veterans, upon request.
The DCVC also provides official ceremonies in commemoration of Memorial Day, POW-MIA services, Veterans Remembrance Day, Elks Flag Day and area parades. Further, the Council provides assistance to veterans with questions or concerns about service-time and veterans benefits issues, and also assists with veterans at the Iron Mountain Veterans Association Hospital.
The organization's major project at present is the planning, funding and realization of a Veterans Temple in Escanaba.
The DCVC is made up of the following veterans groups and officers: American Legion Cloverland Post 82 - Cmdr. William A. LaMarch and Aux. Pres. Jewell McCracken; American Legion Gladstone Post 71 - Cmdr. Gary Quick and Aux. Pres. Carol Kurth; American Legion Rapid River Post 301 - Cmdr. Andrew Nelson and Aux. Pres. Lillian Page; AmVets Post 123 - Cmdr. John Anderson and Aux. Pres. Marsha Broted; Marine Corps League Detachment 444 - Cmdr. Art Menard and Aux. Pres. Karen Krizam; Disabled American Veterans - Cmdr. Morris Cole; Military Order of the Purple Heart - Cmdr. Bob Jensen; Veterans of Foreign Wars - Cmdr. Richard Robitaille and Aux. Pres. Gail Stoykovich; and Vietnam Veterans of America Post 345 - Cmdr. Ray Phillips. Bugler is Brian Wood; Asst. Bugler is Derek Gagne. Chaplain is Gerald Hausmann; Asst. Chaplain is Larry St. Martin. Sgt. at Arms is Tom Moreau; Asst. Sgt. at Arms is Fred Charles.
The group gives special recognition to the following deceased members of DCVC, each of whom made an indelible imprint on the Council: Sleepy Johnson, Norman Nelsen and Wally Baum.
Any area veterans who are not already members of their respective branch's organization are encouraged to attend a meeting and learn just how beneficial membership is for every veteran, both emotionally and socially. The efforts of each are ongoing and open to assistance as members are able to provide it. There are no stresses or burdens put upon members. However, there are countless opportunities for camaraderie, friendship and the self-satisfaction that comes with the chance to help make a difference in the lives of others.
To inquire about membership in any of the area veterans organizations, simply contact Rene Lippens, 789-1059, or Morris Cole, 786-6341.
Editor's note: Omission of any names is unintended