ESCANABA - An Escanaba man was recognized as the 2012 U.P. Veteran of the Year at a ceremony Thursday at the U.P. State Fair.
Richard Morrison, of Escanaba, was selected by the U.P. Veteran of the Year committee for this year's recognition, and was sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps League Detachment 444 of Delta County.
Morrison was awarded a plaque during the ceremony by Gov. Rick Snyder, and also received a U.P. Veteran of the Year cap and traditional jacket. U.S. Congressman Dan Benishek and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow also made presentations to Morrison during the ceremony. Other legislators attending the event were State Sen. Tom Casperson and State Reps. Ed McBroom and Matt Huuki.
U.P. Veteran of the Year Richard Morrison and Gov. Rick Snyder
"I want to thank everyone who's responsible for this," said Morrison of the recognition, taking the time to introduce members of his family who were in attendance.
Snyder commented on Morrison's recognition, thanking him for his service.
"It's an honor to be back here again this year because this is just a wonderful event," said Snyder. "To have an opportunity to honor our veterans is truly important, because you're all special, and to recognize one in particular for his outstanding service, Richard, congratulations. You've been a model for all of us to look at in terms of your service in World War II and the Pacific, coming back and being a veteran service officer to help other veterans ... that's truly outstanding."
Morrison, a World War II Iwo Jima survivor, served with the 4th Marine Division Signal Company. Among the military honors he 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.
He has been an active member of the Marine Corps League for 50 years, serving the organization in many positions. He is also a Pedigree Devil Dog of the Military Order of Devil Dogs, the Marine Corps League's honor society.
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 named U.P. Legionnaire of the Year in 2008.
Other local civic duties he's participated in include the Marine Corps League's Toys for Tots program and the Escanaba Elks Dictionary to Schools Project. He was a foreman in building the children's playground Harbor Hideout in Escanaba's Ludington Park.
Morrison was a service officer in the American Legion for 26 years, with the American Legion, Department of Michigan, recently naming their service officer's school at Higgins Lake after him.
Following his retirement, Morrison was named the Veteran's Affairs and Rehabilitation Committee chairman for eight years, receiving the committee's title "Emeritus." He also served on the National Service Officer's Committee for 10 years.
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.