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Tag Archive | "World War II"

WWII Veteran takes flight of a lifetime


WWII Vet George Hesley, right, and his escort, National Guard Captain   Brian Anderson.

WWII Vet George Hesley, right, and his escort, National Guard Captain Brian Anderson.

 

WWII Vet George Hesley

WWII Vet George Hesley

It was in the early 1940s when a young George Hesley was called from building B-24 bombers in Ypsilanti, to bear arms in World War II.

On Saturday, September 27, the 91-year-old WWII Army Veteran from Cedar Springs was found winging his way to Washington D.C., on one last mission, along with 79 other Veterans, courtesy of Talons Out Honor Flight. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for most of the men to visit the memorial to them for service to their country.

Each Veteran was accompanied by a Military member “Guardian.” George’s escort was National Guard Captain Brian Anderson, son of Rex and Kathy Bremmer, also of Cedar Springs.

Talons Out Honor Flight is Southwest Michigan’s hub for the national Honor Flight Network, a non-profit charity organization, whose purpose is to honor our World War II Veterans with an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. Each Guardian donates funds for the privilege of escorting their Veteran, helping to make it possible, for as many as possible, to make the journey.

George was greeted by two columns of military personnel standing at attention upon arrival at the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport. Check in time was a very early 5:30 a.m. and breakfast was served as the Mall City Harmonizers sang the Armed Services Military Songs, God Bless America, America the Beautiful and other patriotic songs in the background.

Throughout the event, there were retired and active duty Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard personnel interacting with the Veterans and attending to their every need.

Following breakfast the Veterans boarded a Delta MD90. The jet then rolled through a water cannon salute on the tarmac, which was lined with Military, Talons Out Volunteers and families standing at attention to honor those on board as the plane passed by.

The Veterans also enjoyed water cannon salutes upon landing and takeoff at the Reagan International Airport and were amazed at the groups of people who were there to greet them at every turn.

The first stop on their tour was the World War II Memorial followed by the Lincoln, Vietnam and Korean War Memorials. The bus tour also included all the various landmarks around Washington D.C. and the Veterans and Guardians alike enjoyed a full police escort, complete with sirens and flashing lights, throughout the tour.

The next stop was Arlington National Cemetery for the changing of the guard where over 220,000 of our dead are buried. George was especially touched when thinking about those men and women who gave their all for America; some of whom he most likely trained for war. Visits were then made to the Marine Corps Memorial, the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon and the Air Force Memorial.

Upon arriving back at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport, the Veterans’ buses were led to the Air Zoo by fire trucks with sirens blaring, passing through an archway made up of two ladder trucks holding a huge American Flag and a stunning display of hot air balloons that were lit up for the occasion.

They were then escorted along a pathway to the Air Zoo lined with hundreds of people of all ages, who clapped, whistled and thanked them for their service as they rolled by. The crowd of people reached out and shook the Veterans’ hands, expressing how much their sacrifices were appreciated and welcoming them home from that “One Last Mission.” There were tears of joy and smiles on all faces as they drank in the love that was shown by one and all.

Veterans remarked over and over at the numbers of people who came out to greet them and most of all with the sincerity with which they were thanked. One Veteran remarked that it would take a week to wipe the smile off his face, while George mused it had taken 91 years for him to become a celebrity!

Read George’s personal story on page 8.

For more info, visit their website at http://talonsouthonorflight.org or their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TalonsOutHonorFlight.

 

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CHARLES V. DUBRIDGE


C-obit-dubridge-webCharles V. Dubridge 85, of Cedar Springs, died Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at home with his family by his side. Charles was born July 21, 1929 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the son of Henry and Mildred (Loree) Dubridge. He served his country in the U.S. Army during World War II and had been a draftsman at Fridgidaire in Greenville, retiring in 1990. His family was very important to him and he was a great father and grandfather. Surviving are his children, Wanda (Roger) Kleinjans, Tom (Char) Dubridge, Chuck (Linda) Dubridge, Rob (Angel) Dubridge; daughter-in-law, Ellen Grifhorst; 12 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; brothers, Robert (Bonnie) Dubridge, Leon (Helen) Dubridge; sister, Nyra Goetzel; sister-in-law, Dorothy Dubridge; nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Evah in 2003; brothers, Harry, Lynn, Don and Flinton; sister, Lucy Vidro. The family will greet friends Thursday from 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where a Rosary will be recited at 7:30 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday 11:00 am at St. John Paul II Church, Cedar Springs. Rev. Fr. Lam Le celebrant. Interment with military honors will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Sand Lake. Memorial contributions may be made to Gentiva Hospice, 2221 Health Dr. SW, Wyoming, MI 49519.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

 

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OTTO J. FORD


C-obit-Ford-webOtto J. Ford 91, of Cedar Springs, died Sunday, October 12, 2014 at Lincoln Square Assisted Living, Grand Rapids. Otto was born May 18, 1923 in Quincy, Michigan, the son of Cecil and Luella (Newberry) Ford. He served in the U.S. Army, in the Pacific Theater, during World War II and was a member of the Cedar Springs American Legion. Following the war he came back to Cedar Springs and worked in his father’s gas station on Main Street. He also had been an auto mechanic for Jack Hough Ford and later worked on the grounds crew at the Grand Rapids Golf Club. Surviving are his wife, Winifred, whom he married on August 14, 1971; stepsons, Dean and Deb Parker, Dale and Jeny Ransom; grandchildren, Amy Ransom and Dana Aspinall, Jason and Cyndi Parker, Rick and Rene` Martin, Julie and Bob Robinson, Jeremy and Haley Parker; 9 great-grandchildren; sister, Greta Ackerly; sister-in-law, Inez Ford; many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother, Lloyd and sister, Marjorie. The family will greet friends Friday, October 17 from 1:00 pm until time of service at 2:00 pm at Mamrelund Lutheran Church, Kent City. Pastor Leonard Dahlgren officiating. Interment Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs. Memorial contributions may be made to Mamrelund Lutheran Food Pantry.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

 

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RALPH D. LOVELESS


C-obit-LovelessRalph D. Loveless, 92 of Rockford, went to be with his Lord and Saviour on Monday, February 24, 2014 at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Ralph was born February 2, 1922 in Grand Rapids, Michigan the son of Richard and Irene (Axford) Loveless. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corp serving during World War II. Known as “Ralph the Entrepreneur”, he has successfully started six businesses. He was a Real Estate investor and developer, licensed builder, auto body – paint sprayer, advertising and sign painter, and an artist specializing in oil and sketching. He was rated #1 salesman in every position. Ralph competed in the Senior Olympics for five years winning numerous gold, silver and bronze medals. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather. Surviving are his wife, Marjorie (Olgetree) whom he married on May 22, 1945; children; Evelyn Bearss of Grand Rapids, Dave (Elaine) Loveless of Rockford; grandchildren, Mark (Jennifer) Loveless, Dawn (Wes) Thrasher, Ginger Schafer, Eric (Angela) Bearss; 12 great grandchildren; brother, Milton (Joann) Loveless of Florida. He was preceded in death by a son-in-law, Thomas Bearss; brother, Neil Loveless. The family will greet friends Saturday from 11:00 am until time of service at 12 noon at Rockford Baptist Church, 221 Courtland Dr., Rockford. Pastor Garry Koon officiating. Interment Courtland Township Cemetery in the spring. Military honors by the U.S. Army. Memorial contributions may be made to Mel Trotter Ministries, 225 Commerce Ave. SW. Grand Rapids, MI 49503.

 

Arrangements by Bliss Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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