Military veterans gather together after being inducted into Harrison Township’s Memorial Wall Nov. 7. They are, from left, Bernard J. Pavone, Mark W. Spooner, Tommie K. Phelps, Frank P. Schwenck and David R. Trevino.

Military veterans gather together after being inducted into Harrison Township’s Memorial Wall Nov. 7. They are, from left, Bernard J. Pavone, Mark W. Spooner, Tommie K. Phelps, Frank P. Schwenck and David R. Trevino.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Six veterans inducted into Harrison Township memorial

By: Nick Mordowanec | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published November 17, 2020

 Mike Parr, commander of the American Legion Patriot Team Post 4 Honor Guard, speaks to the gathered crowd near the library.

Mike Parr, commander of the American Legion Patriot Team Post 4 Honor Guard, speaks to the gathered crowd near the library.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Six new members are officially part of the Harrison Township Veterans Memorial: Gerald Allen, U.S. Army; Bernard Pavone, U.S. Air Force; Tommie Phelps, U.S. Marine Corps; Frank Schwenck, U.S. Navy; Mark Spooner, U.S. Marine Corps; and David Trevino, U.S. Marine Corps.

In a Nov. 7 ceremony put on by the township and its 13-member Beautification Commission, local dignitaries spoke about the sacrifices made by vets and how they impact the community.

The American Legion Patriot Team Post 4 Honor Guard presented flags and conducted a gun salute at the end of the program. Boy Scout Troop 209 and Cub Scout Pack 95 led the Pledge of Allegiance. The L’Anse Creuse Choir sang a couple numbers: “United We Stand” and “Song for the Unsung Hero.”

Harrison Township Supervisor Ken Verkest started the ceremony by saying, “It’s the greatest country in the world, and we have our veterans to thank for that.”

Retired Air Force Brigadier Gen. Doug Slocum, known locally for formerly commanding Selfridge Air National Guard Base, then took the mic and spoke about freedoms and liberties allotted to Americans.

The vets inducted on that day are some of the last breed of vets from a certain era, he said, and soon vets from the Gulf War and those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan will eventually join them.

Slocum spoke about Digger O’Dell, the U.S. Air Force veteran and prisoner of war in Vietnam who died in October, and how after he was held captive for years, he still held hope that he would come out alive.

When you look at vets and their sacrifices, Slocum said, “You’ll get a deeper appreciation for this country and this flag. … It’s worth fighting for.”

American Legion Patriot Team Post 4 Honor Guard Commander Mike Parr spoke about how vets are treated in their post-military lives, suffering from mental issues and increased suicides.

He encouraged attendees to say “thank you” to a veteran because he or she is a neighbor, a member of the community.

“Tell vets that you love them, that you appreciate them,” Parr said.

Trevino and Spooner served three years in the Marine Corps, while Pavone served four years in the Air Force. Trevino and Spooner have known one another for almost 40 years, but all their journeys go back even further.

“We actually crossed paths in Vietnam, didn’t even know it,” said Trevino, who like Spooner was a past president of the Vietnam Veterans chapter in Detroit. “We do a lot of things for veterans.”

Pavone, who served from 1954 to 1958, said there’s a special comradery among their ilk, a group of “brothers” for life. Trevino said it’s an unspoken bond, the way vets communicate with each other — even if they never previously met.

Responses can be something as simple as “welcome home,” or “thank you” for your service.

Of course, there is always room for military branch supremacy.

“We keep them flying,” Pavone joked.

Trevino responded, “We keep them alive!”

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