ESCANABA - The Delta County Jaycees hosted their 2nd annual Military Appreciation Night on Oct. 12 at the Danforth Place. The banquet was held to honor service members and veterans from the community.
Entertainment included patriotic music by Joe and Loretta DeChristopher, a poetry selection read by Sara LaMarch, and patriotic numbers by the Dancing Grannies. The night also featured a Color Guard, Flag Folding Ceremony, and keynote speaker, Colonel Vance Visser.
Encouraging words were spoken by Col. Visser, thanking all veterans for the sacrifices they have made in their military careers. He encouraged soldiers to share their stories in order to help heal any hurtful or challenging reoccurring memories they have still to this day.
Taking part in the second annual Military Appreciation Night hosted by the Delta County Jaycees are: from left, Kristi Hansen, Jaycee; Jenilee Spear, Jaycee Military Appreciation Night chairperson; Colonel Vance Visser, keynote speaker; Kassandra Howard and Ruth Germain, Jaycees; Brian Nelson, Jaycee president; and Sara LaMarch, Jaycee.
Col. Visser concluded his speech with the words, "Nights like this are special; nights like this don't happen in too many places. I just want to say thanks."
Pianist Joe Pepin played the hymn of each branch of the Armed Forces in an "Honoring of the Branches" and each veteran stood as they heard their branch's song. Bugler Craig Woerpel played "Taps" after master of ceremonies, Mike Schubert, gave an explanation of the Table Set For One, symbolic of POW/MIA soldiers. Art Menard and the Northern Wolves Pound 174, Military Order of the Devil Dogs, presented the Honor Flight committee with a donation to sponsor a veteran on the flight.
This year's Citizen Patriot Award was presented to veteran Richard Morrison. He was chosen by the planning committee because of his years of service to our country, and his active service to our community still to this day. The criteria for the award was "Exemplary Love, Honor, and Service for God, Country, and Community."
Makenna Nelson, a fifth-grade student in the classroom of Pat Gannon at the Escanaba Upper Elementary, was the honored recipient of the Student Patriotism Essay Award. This year's topic was "My American Hero Is..." and was open to all area fifth-grade students. Makenna wrote about her Grandpa Polowski, who had served in the Air Force. Brian Nelson, president of the Jaycees, presented Makenna with a plaque on stage for her winning essay after she read her it to all those in attendance.
Each year, one local veteran and student will be recognized with these awards.
"They Delta County Jaycees primary purpose for this night is to honor our military, past and present. With this evening, I feel we accomplished that," said chairperson, Jennilee Spear. "It is important to remember that a lot of our veterans did not receive the warm homecoming and overwhelming amount of gratitude that our troops today receive for their courageous service to our country. This night is important to honor them and let each and every one of them know their service did not go unnoticed, and that we do appreciate them."