Automotive museum honors veterans

By: Brian Louwers | C&G Newspapers | Published November 13, 2015


CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP —Hundreds of veterans came out to take a stroll through history — and to be recognized for their contributions to it — during a Veterans Day event at Stahls Automotive Museum in Chesterfield Township.

Veterans of the U.S. armed forces, accompanied by family members, friends and supporters, toured the museum on Nov. 11 during special hours set aside to honor those who served their country in times of conflict and peace.

Inside the museum, veterans found more than 100 vintage vehicles and enjoyed music honoring branches of the U.S. military, played on a Wurlitzer pipe organ.

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally established to commemorate the cessation of hostilities at the end of World War I. The war ended at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918.

Armistice Day became Veterans Day in the United States in 1954, and is now observed elsewhere as Remembrance Day.

Troy Schielein, southeast Michigan regional coordinator with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps and fought abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan, gave the keynote remarks during a solemn ceremony at Stahls that began at 11 a.m.

“I feel it’s necessary to honor some of those that unfortunately are not recognized, and they go through sometimes more difficult situations than those of us who deploy to a combat zone: that is, the families, the wives, the siblings, the children, the mothers, the fathers,” Schielein said. “Those are your unsung heroes. When we deploy to a combat zone, we are prepared to die if necessary. We know what we’re getting into, or at least we think so. Our families don’t do anything but wait for that return home.

“I can tell you as one who has had to knock on the door, that’s had to inform your wife and her young child that their Marine wasn’t coming home — those families are really the bond that keeps us all together and keeps us going,” Schielein said.

The event at Stahls was free, but donations collected throughout the day went to benefit Operation Homefront, dedicated to supporting Michigan’s military families. Stahls pledged to match all donations received.

Last year, the event, coupled with the matching donation, raised $22,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.

The event at Stahls was again supported by the Detroit Arsenal of Democracy Museum in St. Clair Shores.

“Throughout the world, most countries are using this day to honor veterans,” Detroit Arsenal of Democracy Museum Director John Lind told the crowd. “I want you to go through the day remembering those men and women who served their country.”

Ted Stahl, founder of the Stahls Automotive Foundation, told his honored guests that “veterans are very important to our family.”

“This is a very special day, and we really thank you for coming,” Stahl said.

Among the veterans who toured the museum was Bud Yates, 85, of Macomb Township, and his wife, Ceil.

“I congratulate (Ted Stahl) for having accomplished all of this in his life. I also thank him for inviting all the veterans,” Yates said. “He’s a very generous man, from what I can see. It’s phenomenal.”

The Stahls Automotive Museum is located at 56516 N. Bay Drive in Chesterfield Township. For more information about the event or programs at Stahls, call (586) 749-1078.