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Long serving color guard members honored


From L to R: Jackie John, Verna Smigiel, Pat Merlington, and Beatrice Kelly.

Four longtime women members of the Cedar Springs Glen Hill Post #287 and retired members of the women’s auxiliary color guard—who marched mainly during the early 1970s and early 1980s—were honored for their service on Red Flannel Day when they rode in the parade in a Red expedition.

There was a time when you would see these women (now all retired) marching as color guard in all kinds of parades—July 4th parades in Grand Rapids, Sand Lake and Croton; Red Flannel Day; parades in Stanwood, Stanton, Trufant, Greenville, Rockford, and Howard City; and the Memorial Day events in the area cemeteries.

“We practiced all the time,” said Verna Smigiel, 76, of Pierson. She is a 43-year member of the Glen Hill Post, who joined under her husband Jim. She marched for 40 years. She retired from color guard two years ago.

The other women include Jackie John, 86, of Grand Rapids, who joined under her deceased husband, Joe. She has been a member 40 years and marched for 15. Beatrice Kelly, 96, has been a member for 47 years, and marched for 17. She joined under brother, Virgil Middleton, who served during WWII. And Pat Merlington, 75, of Cedar Springs; who has been a member 47 years, and marched for 12. She joined under her brother, Harold Naffziger.  

If you see these ladies, tell them thank you for representing us so well for so many years!

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