2017 West Michigan Chapter News & Announcements

WMC Participates in Grave Dedication Ceremony

On September 17, a special grave marker dedication honoring Ida Sears McLean, Organizing Regent of the Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton Chapter of the DAR (which organized the event), was held with our State Society Color Guard in official attendance. Also on hand were the Mayor of Holland, Mike Threthewey, members and officers of the Hamilton Chapter of the DAR, and descendants of the McLean family.

Click on the photo above to enter the photo gallery and learn more about the event.

WMC Co-Hosts Free Genealogy Workshop

The WMC, along with Holland’s Herrick Library, the Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton Chapter of the DAR, and the Holland Genealogy Society, collaborated to host a free genealogy workshop in Holland on September 9. Three sessions included “Finding My Family with DNA Testing,” and “Insights on DNA Testing Resources and Tips for Interpreting Results,” presented by Richard Hill, and Jan Arpel presented “Using Family Tree DNA, Ancestry DNA, and Gedmatch Websites.”

WMC Compatriot Chip Stevers served as program director and emcee for the event, which was attended by 63 people - nearly double that of the previous year. The program was dedicated in its entirety to DNA research as a valuable tool of genealogy research.

The workshop featured two nationally-recognized experts in the area of DNA genealogy research. Richard Hill explained to the gathering how he found his birth parents using DNA research, borrowing from his award-winning book on the story. He followed this up with a talk about the objectives of DNA testing and offered opinions as to the various enterprises that offer the testing.

Jan Arpel, former president of the National Genealogical Society, closed the program with a talk and hands-on presentation on how to use the services of DNA testing providers and how to analyze the results to the greatest benefit.

Special thanks to the staff at Herrick Library for providing their auditorium for the meeting along with coffee and "fancy" cookies.

Click on the photo above to enter the photo gallery and learn more about the event.

(Thanks to Doug Rasmussen and Ken Goodson for supplying the information used in this article.)

Amway Presented Flag Award

  

On August 11, West Michigan Chapter members Chip Stevers (right) and Ken Goodson presented a flag award to Mike Lawrence, Building and Grounds MRO Manager North America (center in above photo, courtesy Kathy McDonagh), at Amway World Headquarters in Ada, Michigan.

Dedicated compatriot Mark Ackerman couldn't attend this award ceremony due to an injury, but the award was nominated by my wife Sheryl Ackerman, a member of the Sophie deMarsac Campau chapter of the DAR. Compatriot Ackerman remarked about Amway: "They have a very impressive July 4th display (photo on right) and it is an inspiration to the community."

WMC Members Attend Carnival for Veterans

On Saturday, July 29th, West Michigan Chapter members Chip Stevers, Mark Ackerman, James Hartmann, Jason Gideon, and Ken Goodson attended a carnival held at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Compatriot Ken Goodson reported, "Several hundred people volunteered to help the veterans get around to the different events. Our group was assigned escort duty, and our job was to escort the vets to the different events. From game booths to food booths, then to a music plaza, whatever they wanted to do, it was our assignment to make it happen! The day could not have been better, the weather was great and as you would expect, so were the veterans. It was an enjoyable fun day for all the volunteers."

Chip Stevers reported, "I was with Betty Carley all day (photos above). She served in the Army as a Med Tech, and has been in the GRVH for about a year. She's from Pontiac Michigan. We hit EVERY stop! Her "winnings" were significant, and included an Afghan, quilt, red hat, sunglasses, jewelry, food, socks, and even money ($12!). She even won a Chipmunk doll she named ...Chip. We dined on hotdogs and fries, but skipped the ice cream. Toward end the day, we stopped to listen to the band (3 songs) and toured the antique cars. What a blast!"

Compatriot Mark Ackerman reported, "Had what I hope was a great time for the guy I escorted, a 93 year old WWII Pacific theater Army veteran. He didn't care about any of the events or food, he just wanted a cold soft drink and was just glad to be outside of his room in the breeze and shade and listen to the music, so that is what we did! He had arm mobility issues, so events were limited, but I engaged him in conversation, and he liked the music until they changed the band after noon. He and I had some common knowledge of the music that we liked and that was great. I lived down the street from Rem Wall & the Green Valley boys, and he remembered listening to them! I told him it was an honor to meet and spend time with him, and that I was thankful for his part in our nation's history. Considering the trouble this facility has seen lately, I hope we all made a positive impact on it!"

It's obvious they did.

WMC Honors the West Michigan Whitecaps

A flag award was presented on Friday, July 7, to Fifth Third Ballpark, home of the West Michigan Whitecaps West Michigan SAR chapter. The award was nominated by Compatriot Tom Lannon and presented by myself, Mark Ackerman. Vice President Jim Jarecki accepted the award on behalf of the West Michigan Whitecaps organization. Jim has been with the organization for all 24 seasons they have been playing baseball. Social Media director Jason Brower was also present to assist with photography.

The Whitecaps are a Class A Midwest League team affiliated with the Detroit Tigers and have accomplished 6 MWL championships. Notable former Tiger players include Brandon Inge, Omar Infante, Fernando Rodney, and Joel Zumaya.

The ballpark's flag is visible from US-131 at some distance, and is quite the sight on a windy day. Unfortunately, the wind did not cooperate while we took photos. The team receives a lot of comments about the flag and were thankful to the SAR for the recognition, but it is they who deserve the thanks for their grand display of the flag. Thank You West Michigan Whitecaps!

WMC Stays On Top of Area Flag Recognitions

A Flag Award was given to Grand Rapids Harley-davidson, Hudsonville location on June 16, 2017 by Mark Ackerman, WMC SAR flag award chairman. They have a big flag seen from I-196 with accompanying POW-MIA flag. The corporation is heavily involved with soldiers and vets aside from their flag display at this location and generally patriotic. They were very excited to receive the award. The award was nominatd and submitted by Mark Ackerman.

On March 24, 2017, a Flag Award was given to Inontime Logistics. Their receptionist informed Mark Ackerman they are a patriotic group as was evident by the cased flag in their office and their outside flag as well. Eric Bruins accepted the award. He was very honored and he is the president of operations and has been there the entire 18 years of the businesses history. They handle and maintain the flag themselves. The award was nominated by Craig Rich and submitted by Mark Ackerman.

Click on any photo above to enter the gallery.

WMC Meeting Features Patriot Biography Presentation

At the last WMC chapter meeting (May 10), members and guests were honored with a special presentation of a biography of Patriot Dr. George Sager by his fifth-g-grandson, Roger Cotner. (For Dr. Sager's full biography, please click here.) Compatriot Cotner opened his remarks with a special shout-out to MISSAR Genealogist Michael Huey for the critical work he performed in connecting Roger with his Patriot. Patriot Sager lived in Ohio for the remainder of his post-War life and Roger is from there, as well.

On a recent trip to his alma mater, Wittenberg University in Springfield, Roger stopped by Darby Township Cemetery in Plain City, Ohio in an attempt to locate his Patriot's grave marker, but it could not be found. Undaunted, using his research, Compatriot Cotner contacted a Darby Township trustee and obtained permission to erect a new marker for Dr. Sager with help from the Veterans Administration. Roger's hard work paid off (see photos above), and Dr. Sager's gravesite will be formally dedicated May 28, 2017.

WMC Honors Local members at Annual Meeting

It was Ladies Night at the 2017 WMC Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids, and it was an evening of celebration and special recognition of contributions over the past year of not only of members and friends, but of their wives and significant others. Chapter president Ken Goodson presented the SAR’s Distinguished Service Award to Tom Lannon of Grand Rapids for his work as WMC Co-Treasurer, as well as for his work on veterans programs and the chapter's scouting programs.

Awarded the Roger Sherman Bronze Medal for outstanding service were: Mark Ackerman of Grand Rapids for his work as Flag Chair, James Biener of Grand Rapids for his role as Co-Treasurer and work with veterans programs, Jason Gideon of Grant for his tenure as WMC 1st Vice President, as well as his work on the chapter newsletter and member of the color guard, Charles “Chip” Stevers of Ada for his tenure as WMC 2nd Vice President and his meeting organization efforts, and Craig Rich of Holland for his work as chapter media liaison.

Mark Johnston of Plainwell received the Bronze Medal of Appreciation for his work as WMC Secretary and as liaison with the local chapter of Children of the American Revolution, which includes his daughters Jasmyn and Natalia.

Awarded a Certificate of Distinguished Service was Ron Strauss of Wyoming for his work documenting the West Michigan Chapter’s history.

Awarded Certificates of Appreciation were: Kameel Chamelly of Martha’s Vineyard for hosting the annual meeting, Harry Rinker of Kentwood, and Nathan Triplett of East Lansing.

Also recognized at the annual meeting were Grand Rapids-based Moses Clark Society of the CAR officers Danielle Taylor (Senior Society President), Society President Alycia Pietrzar, and Chapter Secretary Ovilia Taylor, who received the SAR Bronze Medal of Appreciation for their service.

Elizabeth Kraatz and her children Alice and James received the Bronze Medal of Appreciation. James Kraatz is an SAR member, but also serves as State Secretary of the CAR and has been instrumental in working with the State Society to recognize our veterans, additionally serving as a member of the SAR Color Guard in two key events during the year. Alice serves as Second VP of the State Society of the CAR and initiated the appeal to the Michigan State legislature to proclaim March 29th as Vietnam Veterans Day in Michigan.

Please click on any of the photos above to launch the gallery of images from this event. (Photos courtesy of Cyndie Hartmann)

WMC Particpates in Ceremonies Honoring Vietnam Veterans

Michigan Senate Resolution #35 states: "All citizens of the state of Michigan are encouraged to honor our Vietnam veterans." Your Western Michigan Chapter of the SAR did just this. On March 29, the 44th anniversary of when the last combat troops were withdrawn from Vietnam and the last known prisoners of war held in North Vietnam arrived on American soil, we participted in a celebration that was held at Bronson Park in Kalamazoo, and Kanley Chapel, on the Campus of Western Michigan University, to recognize and thank Veterans of the Vietnam War. All Vietnam-era veterans in attendance were individually recognized and received a special commemorative pin issued by the Department of Defense.

Please click on any of the photos above to launch the gallery of images from this event.

WMC President Ken Goodson Gives Talk to Students

Compatriot Ken Goodson delivered a talk on the American Revolution with particular emphasis on Washington's Guard to a select group of 5th and 6th graders at Lamont Christian School on January 19. WMC Compatriot Thomas Lannon, who organized the event, was also present. After the talk, both compatriots fielded questions from the class. (photo courtesy Lamont Principal Joseph Oosterheert)

Local Belle Tire Receives Flag Award

Compatriot Mark Ackerman (not pictured) presented an employee of the Kalamazoo Street Belle Tire in Kentwood (outside of Grand Rapids) with a Flag Award certificate on 11 February 2017.

WMC Tours Ford Museum

On Saturday, January 14, West Michigan Chapter members and their guests gathered for lunch then toured the Gerald R. Ford museum, guided by Compatriot Harry Rinker.