Memorial Day plans set
IRON COUNTY—Those who gave their all for their country will be remembered and honored next Monday, May 29, when Iron County and the rest of the nation observes Memorial Day.
Ceremonies will take place Memorial Day morning at cemeteries around the county, led by the West Side and East Side Veterans councils.
Bates Township: The Memorial Day service at the Bates Township Cemetery will start at 8 a.m. with a flag-raising ceremony by members of Veterans of Foreign War Post 3134 of Iron River. Barbara Stafford is the master of ceremonies.
Music will be by Jane Adams and George and Patsy Peterson. The invocation and benediction will be by Pastor Kraig Tass of Iron River Bible Church.
The main speaker will be Spec. 4 David Gutowski, a Vietnam veteran.
Alex Atanasoff will read the roll call. After the benediction, the color guard fires its salute and taps is played to end the program.
Refreshments will be served immediately after the ceremony at the Township Hall, with Gail Passamani as host.
In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to the Township Hall.
Beechwood: Ceremonies at Rosehill Cemetery in Beechwood begin at 8 a.m., after the AMVETS Post 436 color guard marches to the site.
The wreath will be placed by Annalia Lopez, assisted by Harlie and Gracyn Melstrom. They will also lead the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance. Trumpeter Curt Brendel plays the National Anthem.
Dorothy Javoroski, the master of ceremonies, will introduce Pastor Mike Rucinski, who will give the invocation and benediction.
Melina Lopez will give a patriotic reading, followed by a musical presentation by Krista Gussert and Gary Friestrom, and Melina Lopez will give a patriotic reading.
The speaker will be Air Force Maj. Frank “Jason” Jirik. After his remarks, Brendel will play “America,” the roll call is read and the benediction is given. The Post 436 color guard fires the volley, and Brendel plays taps.
Immediately after the program, everyone is invited to relax at the Beechwood Hall at a Memorial Day social.
Crystal Falls/Amasa: The Memorial Day ceremonies in Crystal Falls are arranged by the East Side Veterans Council. Observances start with a short parade that lines up at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Logan Street at 8:30 a.m.
The parade starts at 9 and marches to the ceremony area at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery for the program.
Christopher Sholander, the master of ceremonies, will introduce Jack Koivisto, Lutheran liturgist, for the invocation, followed by the National Anthem from the Forest Park High School band.
The main speaker will be Christy Gervais, who is from Moberly, Mo., and who started playing trumpet at the age of 10. She excelled in music and participated in the All-Collegiate Orchestra while attending Northeast Missouri State University at Kirksville, where she received a regent’s and music scholarship. She graduated with bachelor of music education and master of arts degrees.
After college, she auditioned and joined the U.S. Navy music program, performing as a trumpet instrumentalist and featured soloist
for 10 years. After leaving the Navy, she continued as a freelance trumpet artist through the Chicagoland area. She is currently a member of the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra and the 85th Army Band in Arlington Heights.
Gervais currently lives in Winthrop Harbor, Ill., with her husband, Navy Musician Chief (ret.) John Gervais. She plans to retire to the Crystal Falls area in 2023.
Following the speech and music by the Forest Park band, the Auxiliary will lead the wreath ceremony, followed by a volley by the color guard, taps by the band’s buglers and a closing prayer Koivisto.
After the ceremony, participants will board school buses to Amasa for the parade and program there. En route, they will stop at the 82nd Airborne Division Memorial for a wreath ceremony. This includes a prayer by the auxiliary, volley by the color guard and taps, played by Gervais. A wreath will be placed in the river.
In case of inclement weather, the parade will be canceled, and the service will be held inside the Eddie Chambers Memorial Gym at Forest Park High School starting at 9:30 a.m. An announcement would be made on WIKB radio.
The Amasa parade takes place downtown. After the parade, buses take participants to Hematite Cemetery, where the service will be repeated.
Anyone who would like to help place the grave flags should be at the cemetery May 27 at 9 a.m. The flags will be put away on May 30 at 11 a.m. Doughnuts and coffee will be served.
Iron River: Memorial Day events begin at 9 a.m. with the firing of a volley at the old City Cemetery.
At 9:30, the West Side Veterans Council will lead a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial on Genesee Street. The presidents of the Legion Post 17 Auxiliary and VFW Post 3134 Auxiliary will present the wreath at the memorial.
A vocal duo, Abby Miller and Erika Lindwall, will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and another song. A parade up Genesee Street will immediately follow ceremonies at the memorial.
The program at Resthaven Cemetery starts at 11 a.m. Vocalists Abby Miller and Erika Lindwall will sing the National Anthem. Don Wolf of American Legion Post 17 will be the master of ceremonies and give the invocation and benediction. The main speaker will be Darin Long, retired officer of the U.S. Navy.
A combined unit of all veterans groups will lead the military honors, and the firing squad will come from members of the Michigan Army National Guard. The two Auxiliary presidents will present the wreath at the cemetery.
Following the Resthaven ceremony, the program will be repeated at noon at the cemetery in Alvin, Wis.
Stambaugh: Members of Reino American Legion Post 21 will place flags on the graves of veterans at Stambaugh Cemetery on Sunday, May 28, at 9 a.m.
The Memorial Day program starts at 10:30 a.m. on May 30. Marie Brunswick is the master of ceremonies.
The flag will be raised by members of the Caspian-Gaastra Fire Department, while Kerry Rivard sings the National Anthem. Deacon Robert Kostka of St. Agnes/St. Cecelia Catholic church, who is also a member of Legion Post 21, will give the invocation and benediction.
Linda Nasser and Linda Johnson, members of the Reino Post 21 Ladies Auxiliary, will place a wreath, and West Iron County students Rachael Tefft and Natalie Tomasoski will give recitations.
This year’s guest speaker is Master Sgt. (ret.) Gerald Williams, a lifelong Michigan resident and a 1982 graduate of West Iron County High School.
He served four years in the Michigan Army National Guard in Iron River as a combat engineer and then 22 years in the Air Force as a combat arms training and maintenance instructor and security forces craftsman. He was stationed in England, Germany, Qatar and Kuwait.
After retiring in 2007, he and his wife, Bobbi, ran a small business in Norfolk, England, before returning to Iron River. He is very active in the veteran organizations in the area: a life member of VFW Ottawa Post 3134, AMVETS Post 436 of Beechwood and American Legion Reino Post 21, holding the position of post service officer for all three groups.
Williams is district service officer for the American Legion’s 12th District, chaplain of the West Side Veterans Honor Guard and was hired in July 2015 to the Iron County Veterans Service Office. He is a nationally accredited service officer with the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers.
The program will conclude with the firing of the volley by members of the Reino Post 21 firing squad and the playing of taps.
In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place at the Caspian-Gaastra Fire Department.