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Tag Archive | "american legion"

A Thousand Letters Home, the journey of the letters


Tonight (Thursday) at Cedar Springs Middle School

Following the 2006 death of her father, Aarol W. “Bud” Irish, of Saginaw, MI, Teresa Irish opened the Army trunk that had resided in the family home her entire life. There, nestled in row after row, were her dad’s nearly 1,000 letters from WWII. Visited only by him over the course of six decades, the letters were postmarked from Nov. 1942 to Dec. 1945.

The Cedar Springs Public Library, in partnership with the American Legion Auxiliary Glen Hill Post 287, invites residents to a special prograrm tonight, Thursday, October 22, at 7 p.m. at Cedar Springs Middle School, 4873 16 Mile Road. A Thousand Letters Home author, Teresa Irish, will take you on an engaging and inspirational journey based on her father’s 1,000 letters from WWII.

The fragile and yellowed pages were written to Bud’s parents back in Hemlock, MI, and to the sweetheart who would later become his wife. From lonesome, moonlit nights listening to the Hit Parade, to the foxholes and front lines in Germany where Bud would receive the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart, to correspondence with the heartbroken mothers whose sons died by his side, this is a moving and historic story of life and loss, hope and perseverance, unwavering faith, and true love. A Thousand Letters Home is comprised of 320 of these poignant letters and 104 corresponding photographs.

A Thousand Letters Home author, Teresa Irish.

A Thousand Letters Home author, Teresa Irish.

The firsthand account through the eyes, heart and words of one soldier mirrors the journeys of many who served in WWII. From training camps across the U.S.A., to Ports of Embarkation where they boarded ships and crossed the ocean to fight on foreign soil, millions of young Americans were abruptly pulled from civilian life and thrust into the unfamiliar world of a military at war. At every opportunity, Bud poured his thoughts and feelings into his letters, all amidst reassuring words to loved ones a world away. Unable or perhaps reluctant to recount what they had experienced, many veterans chose to spare their loved ones the detailed atrocities of war – these would be their own personal burdens to bear for the remainder of their lives. Bud foreshadowed this in a letter to his parents written from Europe on February 4, 1945, “…Heaven knows they [soldiers] don’t want anything more on earth than to get it over and go back to their loved ones…We don’t want anything extra when we get home, but just want to find everything as we left it and forget everything that’s happened or we’ve seen over here…” 

Irish’s entertaining storytelling blends humor and history to leave audiences laughing, crying, and reminiscing. She reaches across generations with a little something for everyone. Lest we forget.  It’s a presentation you won’t want to miss!

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American Legion hosts Veterans luncheon


If you were in Cedar Springs around lunchtime this past Saturday, September 12, 2015, you would have noticed the buses at the American Legion.

The annual lunch and bingo for the Veterans from the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans was in full swing.  The American Legion Family (Legion, Auxiliary, Sons of The American Legion and Auxiliary Juniors) from Glen Hill Post 287 hosted the event.

The veterans enjoyed a great meal along with dessert, courtesy of Mary Goller-Kilts and helpers, and then moved up front to win prizes for their shouts of Bingo!

Many members of the Legion Family were on hand to help out and make it an enjoyable afternoon for the veterans.

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The Poppy Lady


MaryAnn Yuncker dressed as The Poppy Lady for story time on May 27, at the Cedar Springs Library.

MaryAnn Yuncker dressed as The Poppy Lady for story time on May 27, at the Cedar Springs Library.

A special lady shared one of her favorite books with families at preschool story time at the Cedar Springs Library on May 27.

Local American Legion Auxiliary Past Department President MaryAnn Yuncker bought one of her favorite children’s books highlighting American veterans, “The Poppy Lady” by Deborah Crane, to read and donate to the Library.

The book is the inspiring story of Moina Belle Michael. Moina was inspired by the poem by Lt. Col. John McCrae, In Flanders Fields, that spoke of the poppies growing on the battlefields where they had buried soldiers during World War I. Against all odds, and in a day when women had few rights and opportunities, Moina almost singlehandedly launched a national campaign to establish the red poppy as the symbol of sacrifice and courage of America’s soldiers. Sacrificing her own personal life, Moina helped individual soldiers in many ways. Thus the American Legion auxiliary Red Poppy Program was established.

MaryAnn dressed up in late 1800’s attire and, as you can see in the photo, she very much resembles Moina Michael in body and spirit.

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Memorial Day services at the Legion


By Judy Reed

The threat of rain forced Memorial Day services to be held inside the Cedar Springs American Legion Glen Hill Post this year instead of at area cemeteries. “The flags are made of wool and are hard to get dry,” explained Commander Bill Gregones.

The Cedar Springs Marching Red Hawks were in attendance, and this year’s speaker was Nelson Township Supervisor and longtime resident Colonel Tom Noreen. “Standing with the Marching Red Hawks (band) 45 years ago, as a tuba player, at a similar Memorial Day ceremony, little did I realize I would be speaking at it in the future,” he said. Noreen also didn’t imagine at that time that he would serve 26 years in the Army.

“Scripture tells us that there is no greater love than a man laying down his life for his friends,” Noreen told the crowd. “The men and women we honor and remember today have proven that they are not just friends to us Americans, but they are friends to men and women around the world.

“I’ve seen the endless crosses at Normandy, the markers in the Punchbowl and the tombs at Arlington. The changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown, as they honor the fallen heroes without name, and those who rest in places unknown. They each have stories to tell. From our founding Revolution to today’s Global War on Terrorism, over one million men and women in the Armed Forces have sacrificed their lives, while defending America in time of war.”

Noreen said he felt that there is one thing that people tend to gloss over about Memorial Day is that these people died for our freedom. “While the semantics of how they died, why they died or where they died can become blurred by those seeking to minimize their sacrifice, the reality is that they died in serving the very country that allows for the freedom to belittle their heroic actions.”

Services were scheduled all across the area, including Algoma, Sand Lake, Pierson, and Howard City.

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American Legion rifle winner

N-American-Legion-Straub-webThe Sons of The American Legion, Glen Hill Squadron 287, of Cedar Springs would like to congratulate Carl Straub of Cedar Springs. Carl’s winning ticket for their Rifle Raffle was drawn on February 28 at Post 287.  Pictured are SAL Commander Dominic Merlington, Carl Straub holding his new Remington .308 and SAL 1st Vice Commander Keith Tyler.

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New service officer at American Legion

William Yuncker

William Yuncker

William Yuncker has been appointed as the new Service Officer for the American Legion Glen Hill Post #287 in Cedar Springs. He is available to help veterans with filing Veterans Administration claims or any other service related problems.

The VA clinic has moved from its downtown Grand Rapids location to its new site near M-6 and Byron Center Avenue, adjacent to Metro Hospital, in Wyoming, Michigan. The new phone number is 616-249-5300.

Bill is looking forward to serving you. He will be available at the Legion Post hall (80 S. Main Street) from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. every Wednesday. Please call him at (616) 264-7124.

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American Legion presents checks 

Pictured (from L to R) is Pastor Steve Lindeman, Commander Bill Gregones, food pantry volunteer Caroline Bartlett, and food pantry volunteer Sue Harrison. Post photo by J. Reed.

Pictured (from L to R) is Pastor Steve Lindeman, Commander Bill Gregones, food pantry volunteer Caroline Bartlett, and food pantry volunteer Sue Harrison. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed


The Cedar Springs American Legion Glen Hill Post #247 presented checks last week to both the Cedar Springs Ministerial Association and the Cedar Springs Community Food Pantry.

American Legion Commander Bill Gregones presented Pastor Steve Lindeman, representing the Ministerial Association, with a check for $200, to help with the requests they receive at Christmas time.

Gregones presented Sue Harrison with a second check for $100 for the Community food pantry, which is located at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, on Main Street, where Lindeman is pastor.

The American Legion makes the presentations annually. “They do quite a bit to make sure the unfortunate have something on the table for the holidays,” noted Gregones.

The Community food pantry serves up to six families per day, up to 30 families per week. The pantry can always use donations. They have needs for personal care products such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper, etc. Foods they are currently in need of include dry milk, eggs, milk, butter, margarine and venison. “We received no venison this year,” said volunteer Sue Harrison. Any venison would need to be processed through a commercial processor in order for them to use it.

If you’d like to drop off food, the pantry is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Food can also be left near the church office. Anyone wishing to become a client at the center must be referred through North Kent Community Services.


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American Legion hosts Veterans luncheon


By: LoraLee Nauta


On September 6, 2014, the American Legion Glen Hill Post 287 served the veterans from Grand Rapids Veterans Home a wonderful home-cooked meal. As always, Mary Goller-Kilts served her famous Swiss steak with all the fixings. The Auxiliary ladies made homemade pies. The veterans really enjoy having homemade pies, which is something they don’t always get at the Home.

We were honored to serve 30+ veterans, plus six home aids, along with 15 volunteers to assist. It was a great day. We played bingo with gifts and cash as prizes. This is an event that we all look forward to every year. To watch the happiness in their eyes and smiling faces is so worth it, because if it wasn’t for these wonderful veterans, we would not have the rights we have now.

Thank you for all that bravely served. We will never forget!

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Thank You

The family of Justin Ryan Holloway would like to thank everyone for all the prayers, love, kindness and support given to us through the loss of our beloved Justin. Special thanks to Pastor Beasinger and the Pierson Bible Church, the American Legion #287 and Mary Goller-Kilts for the wonderful luncheon, and Kevin Pike of Bliss Witters & Pike Funeral Home.

With love,

The Robinson & Holloway families

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Glen Hill Post 287 family helps Beach Elementary


by LoraLee Nauta


The American Legion, Sons of The American Legion and the Auxiliary teamed together to purchase dictionaries for every third grade student. We all felt it was important to give back to our community and our students. They are the future of our country, and we wanted to help anyway we can as an American Legion Family. We delivered approximately 262 books to the Beach Elementary on Wednesday, March 13, 2014.

Mr. Ken See, the principle, was very happy to have this donation. Along with Mr. See, we had 10 students: Eli Malon, Leah Ramsey, Aricia Tompkins, Brady Mason (who is also a Squadron 287 member), Darrien Kolk, Molly Bentley, MacKayla Cazier, Haley Castle (Auxiliary 287 junior), Taylee Self, and Bryce Skelonce. We also had members of our Glen Hill Post Family with us: MaryAnne Yuncker, Past Department President & Unit Education Chairmen; Post Commander Bill Gregones; Keith Tyler, Squadron 287 member and Department Children & Youth Committeeman; and LoraLee Nauta, Auxiliary President.

This book is not only a dictionary, it has the Periodic Table, details about the American Flag, the United States Constitution, a section on all the United States Presidents, the fifty states, plus several more items. We were honored to present these books to the students.

It’s important to the Glen Hill Family to give back to our community and our schools. The Glen Hill Post family is very involved with the veterans, but also many other programs. Education is one of our programs we feel strongly about. These students are the future, and these books should help the students with their studies and give them information that will help guide them.



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