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 U.S. Army veteran Bob Sims, left, is presented with a medal by U.S. Air Force veteran Mike Miski, center, as Sims is thanked for his service by U.S. Air Force veteran Bruce Storace, right, during a Veterans Day program Nov. 7 at The Helm Life Center in Grosse Pointe Farms.

U.S. Army veteran Bob Sims, left, is presented with a medal by U.S. Air Force veteran Mike Miski, center, as Sims is thanked for his service by U.S. Air Force veteran Bruce Storace, right, during a Veterans Day program Nov. 7 at The Helm Life Center in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran


Helm salutes veterans at annual event

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published November 13, 2018

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — In honor of Veterans Day Nov. 11, The Helm at the John A. and Marlene L. Boll Life Center in Grosse Pointe Farms once again took time to honor some of the local men and women who have served the nation.

During a special program and luncheon Nov. 7, more than two dozen veterans and their family members gathered as they were acknowledged by Helm officials; an honor guard from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 154, based in Clinton Township; and officials from the Louisa St. Clair Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

Representing the honor guard were U.S. Air Force veterans Mike Miski and Bruce Storace, and U.S. Army veterans Leo Lalonde and Ralph Kolb. The veterans in attendance were each presented with a symbolic medal.

“If it wasn’t for the World War II and Korean and Vietnam veterans, we wouldn’t have what we have today,” Miski said after the ceremony. “It’s an honor to do this. We’re all brothers. You don’t have to be a combat veteran. We all served.”

Military members honored included U.S. Navy veterans Leslie Anderson, George Gourlay, Dean Hart, Louis Neuder, Patrick Beard and Lisa Mazur Arementrout (represented by her father, Al Mazur); U.S. Army veterans Ken and Russ Casey (represented, respectively, by their daughter and granddaughter, Laura Casey), Frank Murray, Bob Sims, Sam Thomas, Tony Noto, Jeremiah Bourke, Bill Collins, Pauline Grace, Ronald Kangas, David Knox, Richard Landuyt, Al Mazur, Jack Nemeh and Dan Snyder; Air Force veterans Peter Ferrara, David Hoover, Thom Inchiostro, James Johns, Archie Stewart, Roy Walter and John Czerkis; Marine Corps veterans Frank Seleno and Ronald Uplegger; and Army Air Corps veteran Jean Gilbert.

Beard is not only a veteran, but also a Helm board member.

“I just think it’s great to recognize the veterans,” he said. “You see these guys, and you feel blessed, because I came back (from serving being physically and mentally) fine, but so many didn’t.”

Helm Executive Director Peggy Hayes, whose late father served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in WWII, said the entire Helm staff attends this ceremony. It is believed to have been started roughly 12 years ago, when The Helm was still known as Services for Older Citizens.

“This event is, of course, to honor all of the veterans who have served our country,” Hayes said. “It’s one of our favorite events. It’s such a special thing to see these guys who served their country so many years ago. It brings a tear to my eye.”

Storace said his late father was a WWII veteran stationed in North Africa, Central Europe and Germany.

“He wouldn’t talk about it that much,” Storace said.

But as a veteran himself, Storace recognizes the sacrifices made by his brothers and sisters in uniform.

“It’s our way of saying thank you,” he said of taking part in ceremonies like this. “Those guys back there — they deserve it.”

That’s why organizations like DAR were on hand.

“At DAR, one of our missions is patriotism, so we are very interested in our veterans,” said Jane Turnbull, past regent of Louisa St. Clair Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution.

Turnbull said the Louisa St. Clair chapter donated an American flag and a flagpole for it to The Helm.

Current Louisa St. Clair DAR Regent Kay Burt-Willson said that taking part in this annual service is an important part of their work.

“What better way to show and promote patriotism than by honoring our veterans?” she asked.