Guard honors veterans

ALPENA -The Air National Guard Fighter Wing Group took the time out of its schedule on Thursday to give a quick hello and thank you for serving to veterans in Alpena who are residing in assisted living homes and under the care of Hospice of Michigan.

The group of service personnel made visits to Tendercare Greenview, Alpena Tendercare, and Turning Brook. The men and women are in Alpena from Ohio to train at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center and will hold special presentations for the veterans that included the singing of The Star Spangled Banner and folding of the flag.

Tendercare Greenview Referral Manager Annie Hepburn said Tendercare was contacted by Hospice about the troops visiting the facility. She said since the home was in the process of planning its “Summer Celebration Party,” everyone figured having the Air National Guard in attendance would add a special touch to the event. Hepburn said the residents who are veterans appreciate it when they have a chance to mingle with troops who are enlisted today.

“It is a great honor to have them not only at Tendercare Greenview, but all of our facilities to recognize our vets who have served, as well as for us to honor them for continuing the service,” Hepburn said. “This is the first year we have had them come, and thanks to a joint effort, we were able to have them and it’s wonderful.”

Tendercare has veterans from several different wars who watched as the military personnel folded the flag and saluted the colors during the national anthem. Norbert Donakowski, 92 years old and a veteran of World War II, said he appreciates it when men and women who are in the military today thank him for the service he provided during the war.

“It always means a lot to me when someone thanks me,” Donakowski said. “Every time I wear my World War II hat I have people come up and thank me. It feels good.”

MSgt. Richard Markley said it is always special to him when he gets to spend time with veterans who served in the military before him. He said it is an honor to spend time with them and support them.

“It is always emotional to see the honor guard ceremony being done in front of the folks that went before you,” Markley said. “It just seems different then when I see it with our guys. I think it is because of the history behind what these guys have done. The World War II guys saved the world. I think this is a little more poignant.

The residents at the event enjoyed a buffet of chicken, salads, fruit and a beverage. While they were eating lunch they were entertained by Gregg Altman, who played his acoustic guitar and sang and Diane Madison, who accompanied him on the bass.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com