Men and women whose service spanned from World War II to the Vietnam War received an American flag pin and a certificate to honor their service and sacrifices. Family and friends joined the staff and residents at Heartwood Lodge for the special Veterans Pinning Ceremony.
Members of the American Legion Charles A. Conklin Post 28 and VFW Sgt. Alvin Jonker Post 2326 also joined in recognizing and honoring their fellow servicemen and women.
“That’s what we live for,” said Larry Lambert, an American Legion Honor Guard member and Air Force veteran.
Veterans honored included residents, staff and volunteers from North Ottawa Care Center at Heartwood Lodge and Hospice of North Ottawa Community.
Each veteran saluted as they received their pin.
While family and friends spoke with their loved ones, Navy veteran Bill Melinn smiled as he thought about the ceremony.
“I appreciate it,” he said.
At 18, Melinn served in the South Pacific during World War II, where he was in the last of the invasions.
Now 89, Melinn visits different places in the community and proudly wears a Navy hat, but he’s sometimes surprised at the responses he receives. He said people often stop him, shake his hand and thank him for serving the country.
“It makes you feel good,” he said.
The following veterans were honored during the ceremony:
Gary Ruttan: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers captain, served in Korea during the Vietnam War
Edward Seewald: U.S. Army after the Korean War
Fred Peterson: U.S. Army private first class, repairing machinery during the Korean War, earned a Battle Star
Richard Kuhlman: U.S. Marine Corps private first class, worked as a mechanical engineer not during wartime
Herman Snyder: U.S. Coast Guard seaman from 1942-45 during World War II
Howard Bredin: U.S. Air Force staff sergeant
Gary Korvela: U.S. Army in Germany
Bill Melinn: U.S. Navy war tender third class during World War II
Harold Chaney: U.S. Army during World War II
Edward Lesar: U.S. Navy machinist
John Bastek: U.S. Coast Guard for 34 years, worked as a maritime lawyer
Alvin Pearson: U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War
Irving Borta: U.S. Navy during World War II
Leslie Ennenga: U.S. Army during World War II
William Gray: U.S. Navy 1946-48, worked on a carrier and held many roles
Cornell Beukema: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War II
Wesley Parsons: U.S. Army during the Korean War in artilery
Randy Cady: U.S. Navy for four years and 18 years as a food service officer
Dawn Westman: U.S. Coast Guard for 22 years, worked as an independent duty corpsman
David Horton: No information listed
Larry Jeffery: No information listed