Fraser vets raise flag

By: Nico Rubello | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published July 8, 2013

 A Fourth of July celebration at the Fraser VFW Post 6691 featured post members hoisting a 20-by-40-foot American flag between two posts outside the VFW.

A Fourth of July celebration at the Fraser VFW Post 6691 featured post members hoisting a 20-by-40-foot American flag between two posts outside the VFW.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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At 25 by 40 feet, you couldn’t miss the Fraser VFW’s new American flag waving outside the post on the Fourth of July.

Scores of people, including many Fraser VFW Post 6691 members and their families, were present as a handful of veterans hoisted the flag that afternoon. The flag was donated to the post by the Fraser VFW ladies auxiliary and erected on two poles that used to reside on the nearby soccer fields.

“I call it ginormous,” said VFW member Mike Sand of the flag’s size.

Post member Herb Huey secured the post and rigging necessary to raise the sizeable flag.

“The theme of the VFW, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, is to promote Americanism,” he said. “The Fourth of July is more than a four-day weekend or a sale at Target.”

The Fraser VFW will be displaying the flag on national holidays and during the annual City Picnic on July 14.

Also in attendance were VFW Post Commander Rick Carroll, ladies’ auxiliary president Debbie Scheetz, Fraser Mayor Doug Hagerty, Councilman Mike Carnagie and state Rep. Marilyn Lane.

Lane, D-Fraser, also is one of eight Michigan House Democrats who have been selected to a task force focused on helping veterans access services and health care.

She said the task force will be hearing directly from veterans about “hiccups” in existing veterans programs, and about whether new programs are needed. Topics could include housing, health care, employment, education, the re-adjustment into civilian life after a deployment or supporting the families left behind during a deployment.

“This is what this task force will flush out to be able to make certain that everything we have in place is doing its job. And if it’s not, how do we better adapt it?” Lane said. “What is it that we can do better? Because it’s a debt of gratitude to them for serving our country.”

The task force is co-chaired by two veterans: state Reps. David Knezek, of Dearborn Heights, a Marine who served two tours during the Iraq War; and Harvey Santana, of Detroit, a Navy veteran who served during Operation Desert Storm.

Other task force members include Reps. Brian Banks, of Gross Pointe Woods; George T. Darany, of Dearborn; Andrew J. Kandrevas, of Southgate; Charles Smiley, of Burton; and Henry Yanez, of Sterling Heights.

Sand said veterans support services in Michigan, and particularly southeastern Michigan, have been lacking for a long time. Awareness about this is increasing as troops return from service in Afghanistan and Iraq, he added.

In particular, Sand said there could be more affordable transitional housing for service members returning from duty. Other services could help cross-train service members for employment in the civilian world, he said.

“It’s coming, but it’s been a slow process,” Sand said.

For more information about the VFW flag display, call Sand at (586) 296-0183.

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