The American Legion Post #287 in Cedar Springs is proud to welcome the State Commanders and Presidents to our home for the annual Early Bird dinner this Saturday, January 9.
This dinner is held the first week in January to show our appreciation to the members of our Post, Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion who have paid their dues by Veterans Day of the previous fall. It is our tradition to invite the leaders of our state to attend this event. It is also our tradition to give them each a set of red flannels. In the past it was given to prepare them for the Upper Peninsula trip, which usually follows directly after our dinner, in an attempt to keep them warm during the cold and often snowy conditions of the UP in January. The past presidents and commanders all bring the red flannels they were given during their year and put them on so they can all dance together in their red flannel finery.
This year the American Legion Commander for the State of Michigan is Michael Buda. He was elected and installed as Commander at the 2015 Annual Summer Convention held in Sterling Heights, Michigan, June 25-28. Mike is from Post #364 in Dearborn Michigan. He has worked tirelessly for the cause of veterans in this state, holding many offices and chairmanships along the way. His special project for this year is the Patriot Fund Project. This project is part of the American Legion on a State level. It was created to provide Emergency Temporary Financial Assistance to Veterans, Active Duty Service Members and their families in time of need. It is specifically intended to help veterans who do not qualify for other existing Financial Relief programs. The Patriot Fund is one of the few, if not the only fund available to non-wartime veterans in our state. Commander Buda is a US Marine Corp veteran, serving in the Viet Nam era. He has retired form Chrysler Corporation. Mike and his family live in the Dearborn, Michigan area. At our dinner, Commander Buda will be speaking about his project and bringing update on the legion activities of the past year. We welcome Commander Mike to our Post.
The American Legion Auxiliary president for the 2015-2016 year is Sue Verville. She was also elected at the State Convention held this summer. She and her family are from the Iron River area in the Upper Peninsula. Sue has held many offices and committee chairmanships on her way to the office of President. She has been busy this year traveling around our state visiting the many Districts and Posts. Her theme for this year is “Branching out as a Legion Family.” Her symbol is a tree with the roots and branches intertwined. The tree is stronger this way just as the Legion, Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion and the Legion riders work together, the organization will be stronger, too, making our service to veterans better and more viable than ever before. We welcome Sue and her husband, Dwaine, Past Sons of the American legion Detachment Commander, to Cedar Springs.
The Sons of the American Legion Detachment of Michigan is proud to bring Fred Ruttkofsky to our Post as the Commander for the State of Michigan, 2015-2016. He is an honorary life member of Squadron #300 of Lake City, Michigan. Fred has a long history with the Sons of the American Legion. He too has held many offices, serving as 4th Zone Commander for 6 years. He and his wife have 5 children, all Legion family members. Fred will be speaking on the current successes of the SAL and his special project: Wilwin Lodge. Wilwin is located in the Upper Peninsula near Trout Lake. It is used as a retreat for veterans returning from deployment who may need a place to reconnect with their families, or those suffering from PTSD. We welcome Commander Fred to our Post and look forward to his time with us.
Our Auxiliary Honorary Junior President this year is our own Taylor Townes. Taylor is having a busy year leading the over 800 girls who make up our Junior Auxiliary. She is a junior at Greenville High School. Choir is her favorite subject. Taylor’s special project for this year is “Be Nice.” This is a program to stop bullying among our teenagers. We are very proud of Taylor and the project she has chosen.
The Dinner will be held Saturday night at the Post at 80 S. Main Street, Cedar Springs.