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Tag Archive | "Paul Schrier"

Man takes own life after setting fire to home


 

This pole barn was completely destroyed in a suspicious fire Friday morning, May 18, 2018. Post photo by J. Reed

by Judy Reed

When Paul Schrier visited Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral home last Friday morning, he walked by a man sitting in his vehicle with the window down and gave him a friendly hello. He doesn’t remember if the man responded.

“I may have been the last person to talk to him,” said Schrier.

When he finished his business at the funeral home, Schrier noticed the man was still there in the parking lot as he headed over to Elmwood Cemetery to dig more holes for the Avenue of Flags. About 10 minutes later, Schrier heard a gunshot. When he looked to see what was going on, he saw the flashing lights of police at the funeral home. And then he heard another shot. What Schrier didn’t know was that this was the tragic end of the search for Bruce Bott, the 71-year-old Algoma Township man who had set his house on fire and burned his property earlier that morning, before ending his life in the parking lot of the funeral home.

A fire was set by the homeowner in the basement of this home on Algoma Ave. Post photo by J. Reed.

It started early Friday morning, May 18. According to Algoma Township Fire Chief Troy Guerra, they were toned out at 6:48 a.m. to a structure fire at 12131 Algoma Ave, between 14 and 15 Mile Roads. When they arrived on scene, they found the basement of the home on fire, as well as the pole barn. He said they sent out a second alarm on the pole barn fire to call in more aid. 

Guerra said they didn’t find anyone inside the home.

The fire also spread to a small shed behind the home, which was extinguished. The pole barn was destroyed.

The fire was deemed suspicious, and while firefighters from multiple fire departments battled the blazes, and the Michigan State Police investigated the fire, the Kent County Sheriff Department followed up on information they were given about a contentious divorce, in case the fire was deemed arson. The divorce between Bott and his wife was finalized April 30. So police began to search for Bott.

This shed near the home was also burned in the fire May 18. Post photo by J. Reed.

At approximately 9:30 a.m. the Kent County Sheriff Office received a call from Bliss-Witters & Pike funeral home in the 13000 block of Northland Dr NE. The caller reported a suspicious person who had just arrived at their facility. Dispatchers learned that Bott was sitting in his vehicle in the parking lot after dropping off a last will and testament to the funeral home.

The man was still sitting in his vehicle when officers arrived, but as deputies approached, they saw him shoot himself with a handgun. No shots were fired by responding deputies.

Bott was safely transported to Spectrum Butterworth with life threatening injuries. Shortly after 1:00 p.m., he was pronounced dead by medical staff at Spectrum Butterworth.

There were no injuries to the man’s ex-wife, who was not living at the home at the time of the fire.

 

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A way to remember: the Avenue of Flags


The Avenue of Flags lines the road through Elmwood Cemetery, a reminder of many of the veterans that have served over the years. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

It’s a majestic site each Memorial Day—hundreds of flags standing proudly, unfurled in the breeze, against the pale blue of a sun-drenched sky. They line the avenue that winds through Elmwood Cemetery on Northland Drive in Cedar Springs. They are beautiful to look at, but what is the story behind them?

According to Paul Schrier, treasurer at the American Legion Glen Hill Post #287, each flag honors a veteran who is no longer living. The flags are casket-sized, and according to Paul, it began years ago when families would give the Legion the flag they received at their loved one’s burial. They would hold on to it for the family, and then fly it once a year on Memorial Day. 

However, some families want to keep the original flag, so the Legion allows families to just buy a duplicate to fly once a year. The Legion also provides a pole and a plate at the base with the name of the veteran.

One thing many people may not know is that the veteran does not have to be buried in Elmwood Cemetery to have a flag on the avenue. But they do need to be a veteran, have been honorably discharged, and have some connection with Cedar Springs. A duplicate flag costs $50, and can be bought from the American Legion Post.

It’s unknown exactly when the tradition started. Schrier said he’s been organizing it for about the last seven years. However, we came across a story in a 1998 edition of the Post where George Cooley, a veteran now deceased, said at the time he had been doing it for 14 years. At the time, there were 101 flags on the Avenue of Flags.

According to Schrier, there are now 180 flags.

It takes some work ahead of time to get the holes in the cemetery ready for the flags, as well as get any new nameplates made. The American Legion also is always looking for volunteers to help put up the flags at 6 a.m. Monday morning, and then take them down again about 4 p.m. in the afternoon. If it is raining, or if rain is forecasted, they will not put them out since they are cotton, and will instead hold services in the American Legion hall.

So what does Schrier want people to feel as they walk through the Avenue of Flags? “It’s pretty impressive. I hope they remember the veterans that have served over the years,” he said.

If anyone would like to volunteer to help, or would like to buy a flag for a future year, contact Paul at the American Legion Post at 696-9160.

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American Legion donates to food pantry


N-Legion-Donation-YunkerThe American Legion Post #287 gave a check for $500.00 to the Cedar Springs Community Food Pantry in January as part of the Legion Service program. The Food Pantry offers groceries and personal care items for the needy members of our area. Pictured are Gordon Frost, Post Chaplain, Bill Yuncker, Post Commander, Steve Lindeman, former pastor of the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, where the Pantry is located, and Paul Schrier, Post Finance Officer.

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Schrier named 5th District Legionnaire of the year


N-American-Legion-SchrierThe American Legion Glen Hill Post #287 here in Cedar Springs is honored to have their Finance Officer, Paul Schrier, named the 5th District Legionnaire of the year.

At the District meeting held March 12, 2016, the District Commander Garrett Veihl made the announcement. This award is given yearly to an outstanding Legion member who has contributed above and beyond average participation for the Legion. The 5th District includes all the Legion Posts in Kent and Ottawa counties. Congratulations Paul!

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