ESCANABA - An Escanaba man has been selected as the 2012 U.P. Veteran of the Year, and will be honored with this recognition during the U.P. State Fair on Aug. 16.
Richard M. Morrison, of Escanaba, who was sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps League Detachment 444 of Delta County, was just recently selected by the committee for the recognition.
According to the committee, Morrison is a World War II Iwo Jima survivor and has highly served with the 4th Marine Division Signal Company. Among the military decorations he has received are the World War II Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars, and the Presidential Citation Ribbon with one Bronze Star.
Richard M. Morrison
Morrison is a 50-year active member of the Marine Corps League, and has served the organization in many positions through the years, including the 2009 and 2012 Marine Corps League State Conventions. He also is a Pedigree Devil Dog of the Military Order of Devil Dogs, the honor society of the Marine Corps League. Morrison is a 66-year active member of the American Legion, a 40 & 8'er, once the honor society of the American Legion, and is a member of the National Service Officers Association. He was also named U.P. Legionnaire of the Year in 2008.
Morrison's other civic duties include continuous activity in the Marine Corps League's Toys for Tots program, which he has served for 26 years, in addition to the Escanaba Elks Dictionary to Schools Project. He was also a foreman in building the children's playground Harbor Hideout in Escanaba's Ludington Park.
Morrison served the American Legion for 26 years as a service officer.
Just recently, the American Legion, Department of Michigan, named their service officer's school at Higgins Lake the Richard Morrison Service Officer's School in his honor.
Upon his retirement, Morrison became the Veteran's Affairs and Rehabilitation Committee chairman for eight years and has received the committee's title "Emeritus." . He has served on the National Service Officer's Committee for 10 years. During his time he made numerous trips to Washington, D.C. to serve on these committees.
Locally, Morrison is a member of the Delta County Veteran's Council "Funeral Honor Guard," and participates in as many as 70 veteran funerals each year. He also participates in all local parades, is a volunteer at the American Legion's Fair Booth at the U.P. State Fair, and is the "go to" person when it comes to veterans regarding Iwo Jima.
"I don't know what to say," said Morrison with a laugh, on his recognition. "I guess it's an honor to be nominated and selected, but I'm just a little farm boy that grew up on a farm and had to struggle for most of his life."
Morrison will be honored during the U.P. State Fair at 11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, by Gov. Rick Snyder and the Veteran of the Year Committee. All veterans will be able to get into the fairgrounds for $5 on that day.