Community event delayed but not forgotten

By Tim Hoyle DLA Disposition Services

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Members of the Defense Logistics Agency in Battle Creek joined with the community and other Defense Department elements for a long delayed event to recognize America’s armed forces along with those serving in the Battle Creek, Michigan, who distinguished themselves through their extra efforts.

The Military Affairs Committee of the Battle Creek Area Chamber of Commerce had been working with the Michigan Air National Guard’s 110th Airlift Wing to conduct the 59th Annual Armed Forces Day Luncheon in May until federal-directed force protection measures ruled out using the Air Guard base for the event. Later the committee worked with the Firekeepers Casino and Hotel to be the site for a Nov. 13 Annual Armed Forces Day and Military Appreciation Luncheon event, which also helped celebrate Veterans Day.

“Our being here today is testimony to the volatile and dangerous world we are living in,” said T.R. Shaw, MAC chair and retired Navy commander. “We refused to let it go unrecognized and will continue this event for years to come, no matter when or where it takes place … This is our sacred duty.”

Keynote speaker Tiffany Eckert spoke on behalf of Folds of Honor, a non-profit organization designed to provide educational support to spouses and children of America's fallen and wounded soldiers. Eckert shared stories of how she met husband, an Army reservist, his deployments and how he volunteered for his last assignment even though his past wounds would have exempted him.

“He said to me, ‘I am an NCO and those are my guys. I went to basic and advanced infantry training with them. I know where they are going…I have to go with them,’” Eckert said. The last time Eckert said she saw her husband was at the end of his 14-day leave for the birth of their son.

Since her husband’s death, Eckert said her family has received help from people and groups like Folds of Honor, which currently provides funds for tutoring her son and daughter. She said she is picky about where she will lend her support because it affects her children and her husband’s legacy.

The awards portion of the event began with Bradley Awards named in honor of General Omar Bradley, one of America’s greatest generals. Bradley commanded the largest American force ever united under one man’s leadership during World War II and later became the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Bradley awardees included:

  • Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Glidden, 110th Airlift Wing

  • Petty Officer First Class Margaret Conley, the Navy Operational Support Center Battle Creek’s admin officer

Next came the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center Service Awards, which are presented to individuals from DLA Disposition Services, Logistics Information Services, and DLA Installation Support at Battle Creek who represent the “spirit of service” synonymous with the center and its namesakes. The 2015 awards were presented to:

  • Michael Chapman, Logistics Information Services

  • William Cohoe, DLA Installation Support at Battle Creek

  • Steve Carter, DLA Disposition Services

The Battle Creek VA Medical Center Fire Department received the “Veterans Affairs Service Award” from the VA Medical Center as a group of employees committed to “serving those who served” and who represent the Department of Veterans Affairs in a positive manner.  Among the department’s achievements was its support and services when the community was in need, especially after a major vehicle pile-up last January on nearby Interstate 94 involving more than 193 vehicles.

The Marine Corps League honored the outstanding member of the Marine Corps’ Platoon Leaders Course with the Duane E. Dewey Award.   It is named in honor of Corporal Duane Dewey, who served as a Marine during the Korean War.  Dewey received the Medal of Honor after he bravely risked his life to shield his fellow Marines from a hand grenade.  The recipient for this year’s award was Officer Candidate Peter A. Wyman.

Kara Beer, Battle Creek Area Chamber of Commerce president, presented the Chamber’s Community Service Award, which acknowledges the exceptional efforts by members of the Battle Creek community to honor and support U.S. service members, veterans and their families. The 2015 award went to Greg and Bud Dunn with Atlas Sales for continued support of the military and their participation with the Folds of Honor.