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VETERANS DAY: Bay Veterans Foundation to Mark Holiday with Flags Flying

BVF Launches Support Group, Eyes Activity Center, Housing, GED Program

November 3, 2017       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Medal of Honor awardee Hershel "Woody" Williams, 94, cheers Bay Veterans Foundation accomplishments at Gold Star Famiiles dedication here. (Photo by Dee Dee Wacksman).

The Bay Veterans Foundation has good reason to celebrate Veterans Day on Saturday, Nov. 11, because it has an impressive list of accomplishments in the two years since it was organized, including:

Restoration of Battery Park in downtown Bay City and erection of Michigan's first Gold Star Families memorial, also the first in the nation to recognize families.

Dedication programs that have included some of the nation's greatest war heroes, including Hershel "Woody" Williams, last surviving Medal of Honor awardee from the Battle of Iwo Jima, and Col. Roger Donlon, Vietnam War honoree who has visited here several times.

Video of the Gold Star dedication, a 1 hour seven-minute production by Nick Paige of Bay County TV, is being broadcast at 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Charter Ch. 190 or is available on

And, the latest service provided by the BVF, John Hall of WSGW Radio commented: "A support program for local veterans organized by the Bay Veterans Foundation held its initial meeting at the Dow Bay Area Y-M-C-A on Washington in Bay City Thursday.

"Foundation Committee member Frank Hoese says their goal is to make local veterans aware of important services.

"Hoese added a November 30th meeting at 6 p.m., also at the Y-M-C-A, will focus on eligibility for veterans benefits.

"Hoese says tips on resume writing will be part of the discussion at another planned meeting in January."

According to the VA, Bay County has the highest concentration of veterans in the State for its population. As of 2016, the number of veterans residing in Bay County is 9,014 (including 600 women) while Arenac County was estimated to have 1,494 veterans. The State of Michigan is home to 623,630 veterans.

The byword of the BVF is "Helping Veterans Help Themselves."

Among ideas for community improvement being considered by BVF is an educational upgrade of the workforce through support to high school completion and GED high school equivalency achievement, depending on determination of need and availability of community collaboration, according to Keith Markstrom, BVF president.

Also being studied is the need for housing for veterans, initiatives that are underway in other Michigan communities under veteran leadership, he said.

Also being considered is an activity center for veterans, perhaps combining offices of support services, Markstrom said.

Among accomplishments, BVF has:

- Served as the coordinating and fundraising partner for the renewal of Bay City's historic Battery Park (approximately $100,000 in improvements)

- Raised funds to establish the Michigan Gold Star Families Memorial Monument (approximately $90,000)

- Initiated the Bay Veterans Foundation Support & Information Group with the Dow Family Y.

- Organized and implemented a Holiday Christmas Tree/Wreath Lighting Ceremony in Battery Park.

- Serves as Saginaw Spirits "Veteran of the Game" Sponsor for all home games.

- Sponsored Children's Library International Scholarship to support educational needs of children in Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam.

- Coordinates Great Lakes Bay Character Development Program for teachers and other youth leaders under the auspices of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.

- Maintains Battery Park and Gold Star Monument

Financial support has been provided to:

Saginaw Veterans Administration Medical Center Patient Needs Fund

Recreational Therapy Electronic Bingo Machine ($5,000)

Recreational Therapy Golf Simulator ($1,500)

Palliative Care Unit Comfort Stations for Family overnight stays ($5,000)

Bay County Veterans Council Honor Guard Uniforms and Out-of-town Travel

Bay County Veterans Transportation Service (Driver Jackets)

USS Edson Education Fund


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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
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