SL, GH residents honor veterans with Memorial Day parades, services

Dylan Goetz • May 29, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Sweat dripped down the faces of participants in the Tri-Cities Area Memorial Day parades and services during one of the warmest Memorial Days in recent memory.

In Grand Haven, the parade route was changed to accommodate a memorial service in Central Park. The service is normally held at Waterfront Stadium, but construction in that area is still not complete.

The Grand Haven parade started at 9:30 a.m. and was followed by the service. The Spring Lake parade started at 11 a.m.

United States Army Reserve and Spring Lake native Jonathan Ten Brink honored three fallen comrades at this year’s Spring Lake Memorial Day Service at the Spring Lake Township Cemetery .

Ten Brink and other attendees were given an opportunity to call out names of veterans that they wanted to honor with a moment of silence at the service held on May 28.

Spring Lake resident Ted Fricano, a local business owner, hosted the service after the Memorial Day Parade, which started at the Harvest Bible Church in Spring Lake. The parade continued east down Exchange Street, north on Fruitport Road, and finished at the Spring Lake Township Cemetery. 

Photo Gallery: Spring Lake parade, memorial

“There is a feeling of pride and joy that those of us that did not serve feel when we are surrounded by veterans,” Fricano said. “I am very, very honored that I was asked to be a part of today’s presentation.”

Fricano later presented the Spring Lake Memorial Day Parade Marshall Edward “Jack” Gardner.

“(Gardner) is truly an inspiration to all of us,” Fricano said. “He is a true, wonderful, west Michigan hero. We are very proud to have (Gardner) as a citizen of Spring Lake.”

Gardner, born Grand Haven in 1933, is a Korean War veteran who served in the United States Air Force. He settled in Spring Like in 1959, and has since been involved with the Boy Scouts of America. Former President Gerald R. Ford awarded Gardner with the Silver Beaver, which is one of the highest honors in the Boy Scouts of America organization.

“It is my pleasure to be here and thank God I made it here again for another year,” Gardner said, after being presented with a flag by Daniel Grable with the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.

Gardner, riding in the first truck in the parade, waved two American flags in each hand as he  greeted the spectators. Gardner received a standing ovation from the crowd as he rode by.

Soloist Kayla Raschke was accompanied by members of the Spring Lake High School marching band for “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.” Spring Lake High School trumpeter Jensen Hussey performed “Taps.”

Photo Gallery: Memorial Day in Grand Haven

Gerry Tripp was the grand marshal for this year’s Grand Haven Memorial Day parade. Honorary marshals were John Begert, George Bennett, Terry Grotemat, Dewie Jordan, James Land, George McCarthy, Robb Meints, Darrel Myers, Chester Simons, Norm Spring, Louis VanRaalte, Dale VanZantwick, Robert VerMurlen and Sam Young.

Duane Smith read a roll call of veterans who died in the past year.

The Gold Star parent is Hilda Zimmerman, mother of Lt. William Zimmerman. Gold Star parents honored Spc. Shawn Gajdos, Sgt. Ernest Moore, LCpl. Mark VanBeukering, Cpl. Donald McGowan Jr. and Pfc. Stuart Zysk.

Carson Bretz and Hannah Smith performed “Taps.”

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