Reminder: Lawmakers honoring Vietnam era veterans at Grand Rapids event

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake; Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell; and Sen. Pete MacGregor, R-Rockford on Saturday reminded interested parties of a Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony next Saturday, March 4 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

The legislators are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Grand Rapids to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. They encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the event is made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration and hosted by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3946 and American Legion posts 2, 258 and 356. It will be held at noon on Saturday, March 4, at the American Legion Boat and Canoe Club 401 N. Park St. NE, in Grand Rapids. American Legion Post 258 Color Guard will present the colors.

Those who are interested in attending should RSVP to American Legion Post 356 Commander Fred Chambers at 616-443-7630 or skysoldger@aol.com.

The lawmakers will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location.

Hot dogs and hamburgers will be prepared, available for purchase and served by the Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Post 258. Singer-songwriter Kelly Trudell will sing the national anthem, the “Armed Forces Medley” and “The Sound of Hope.” Trudell has been awarded the President’s Lifetime Volunteer Service Award for her work with veterans, soldiers and their families.

Kowall has held numerous lapel pinning ceremonies, in both Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Save the Date: Kowall and Bieda announce Fraser event honoring Gold Star Mothers and Vietnam era veterans

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Steve Bieda on Thursday announced they are sponsoring a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Monday, March 20 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

Kowall, R-White Lake, and Bieda, D-Warren, are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Fraser to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans, Gold Star Mothers and their families. They encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the event, made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, March 20, at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6691, 17075 Anita Ave., in Fraser. The Post 6691 Auxiliary will serve lunch.

RSVP to Post Commander Larry Rosseel at LPRosseel@comcast.net or Lynn O’Brien in Kowall’s office at 517-373-0563.

Gold Star Mothers Elsie Mannerow and Mary Jean Linville, whose sons were killed in action in Vietnam, will be the guests of honor. Each will receive an “In Memory Of” pin exclusively presented to Gold Star Mothers. Teri Johnson, president of the Michigan department of Gold Star Mothers, will attend the ceremony. Johnson’s son, Army Sgt. Joe Johnson, was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010.

The lawmakers will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location. The symbolism attached to the lapel pin is significant, Kowall said.

“The Commemoration honors all Vietnam veterans, whether they served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period,” he said. “All were called to serve and the overwhelming majority of these veterans served honorably and admirably.”

The Commemoration was authorized by Congress and established under the secretary of defense, and then formally launched in 2012. It was designed to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families in hometown America, in light of the 50th anniversary of the war. Recognition is given to these heroes when commemorative partners, such as Kowall, hold events for the veterans and their families.

“Michigan’s Vietnam veterans, whether drafted or enlisted, served our country with honor. Tragically, too many returned home with little thanks for their service and not much help transitioning to civilian life,” Kowall said. “This ceremony is a way to recognize veterans of the Vietnam War era, Gold Star Mothers, and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation and the Michigan Legislature.”

Bieda agreed.

“This ceremony is an opportunity for us to show those who have worn the uniform of the United States the respect and dignity they deserve,” Bieda said. “It is a privilege to participate in honoring the sacrifice that our state’s Vietnam veterans made as they served us.”

Kowall has held numerous events, in both Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

“It is always a moving time for me when I am able to present the lapel pins and personally thank each veteran for their service,” Kowall said.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Reminder: Kowall and Proos honoring Vietnam era veterans at Bridgman event

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. John Proos on Wednesday reminded interested parties of a Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony this Friday, Feb. 24 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

Kowall, R-White Lake, and Proos, R-St. Joseph, are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Bridgman to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. They encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the event, made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration (VWC), will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24, at the Bridgman American Legion Post 331, 4241 Legion St., in Bridgman.

For more information about the event or to RSVP, call Post Commander Dave Mutz at 269-465-4032 and leave a message, or email American Legion Ladies Auxiliary President Kim Knuth at kimbrly567@aol.com.

The lawmakers will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location.

Michigan American Legion State Commander Larry Money will attend the ceremony, and Sons of the American Legion Bridgman Post 331 will post colors along with bagpiper Jodie Godush (who will also sing the national anthem). To honor our fallen heroes, Jodie will play Amazing Grace and Larry Burwell will perform Taps at the end of the event.

Kowall has held numerous lapel pinning ceremonies, both in Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

Proos said we live in the land of liberty today because of the tremendous sacrifice of America’s veterans, and our Vietnam veterans deserve our respect and appreciation for answering the nation’s call to service and defending our freedom.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Oakland Press: Career and technical education important to Michigan

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

In Michigan, and here in the southeast part of the state, we have a long and storied history of manufacturing greatness. Automobile production has driven much of the state’s success, and today the auto industry continues to play a critical role in our economy, with Michigan being home to more than 330 companies engaging in automotive research and development.

These businesses spend $11 billion annually on research and development. A significant part of that R&D money will now go toward technology surrounding autonomous vehicles. Michigan has modernized guidelines for driverless vehicle research and operation. This will keep the state at the cutting edge of automobile technology innovation, growth and design.

With much of the U.S. economy evolving to a new era of advanced technologies, career and technical education (CTE) programs have become essential to the economic success of future generations. Career and technical education prepares individuals to be college- and career-ready by providing core academic skills, employability skills and technical job-specific skills.

February is Career and Technical Education Month. CTE Month is held each year to celebrate career and technical education and the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country.

In Michigan, career and technical education is designed as part of Michigan’s career preparation system to provide learners with experiences, knowledge and skills that will prepare them to choose and obtain employment upon high school completion. CTE is a way of closing the skills gap, expanding economic opportunities and improving student outcomes.

The Senate has continually focused on legislation that promotes CTE and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in Michigan. Available STEM-related jobs continue to increase — illustrating the importance CTE programs will have in our educational system in the decades to come. Since 2010, the growth rate of STEM employment in Michigan has outpaced the growth seen in all other occupational employment, and this trend is expected to continue through 2020.

I co-sponsored legislation that requires the state to provide job training subsidies for certain employers through community colleges. The jobs must pay 175 percent of the minimum wage, and the partnership between community colleges and employers has created almost 12,000 new jobs since it began.

In addition, we have passed legislation that allows students to meet certain graduation requirements by completing CTE courses and programs. The legislation also ensures that Michigan students and parents are made aware of the ability to create a “personal curriculum” built in part around CTE courses and programs.

The Senate has recognized the importance of both CTE and STEM education, which have an immediate and positive impact on those students who choose to participate in them, and we will continue to focus on legislation encouraging these programs.

For more information about CTE and what it can mean for you or your children, please visit www.acteonline.org to learn more.

This column first appeared in the Oakland Press. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.

Spinal Column: February is Career and Technical Education Month

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

In Michigan, and here in the southeast part of the state, we have a long and storied history of manufacturing greatness. Automobile production has driven much of the state’s success, and today the auto industry continues to play a critical role in our economy, with Michigan being home to more than 330 companies engaging in automotive research and development.

These businesses spend $11 billion annually on research and development. A significant part of that R&D money will now go toward technology surrounding autonomous vehicles. Michigan has modernized guidelines for driverless vehicle research and operation. This will keep the state at the cutting edge of automobile technology innovation, growth and design.

With much of the U.S. economy evolving to a new era of advanced technologies, career and technical education (CTE) programs have become essential to the economic success of future generations. Career and technical education prepares individuals to be college- and career-ready by providing core academic skills, employability skills and technical job-specific skills.

February is Career and Technical Education Month. CTE Month is held each year to celebrate career and technical education and the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country.

In Michigan, career and technical education is designed as part of Michigan’s career preparation system to provide learners with experiences, knowledge and skills that will prepare them to choose and obtain employment upon high school completion. CTE is a way of closing the skills gap, expanding economic opportunities and improving student outcomes.

The Senate has continually focused on legislation that promotes CTE and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in Michigan. Available STEM-related jobs continue to increase — illustrating the importance CTE programs will have in our educational system in the decades to come. Since 2010, the growth rate of STEM employment in Michigan has outpaced the growth seen in all other occupational employment, and this trend is expected to continue through 2020.

I co-sponsored legislation that requires the state to provide job training subsidies for certain employers through community colleges. The jobs must pay 175 percent of the minimum wage, and the partnership between community colleges and employers has created almost 12,000 new jobs since it began.

In addition, we have passed legislation that allows students to meet certain graduation requirements by completing CTE courses and programs. The legislation also ensures that Michigan students and parents are made aware of the ability to create a “personal curriculum” built in part around CTE courses and programs.

The Senate has recognized the importance of both CTE and STEM education, which have an immediate and positive impact on those students who choose to participate in them, and we will continue to focus on legislation encouraging these programs.

For more information about CTE and what it can mean for you or your children, please visit www.acteonline.org to learn more.

This column first appeared in the Spinal Column newsweekly. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.

Photo Advisory: Kowall and colleague present lapel pin to Vietnam veteran

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, (third from right) and Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., D-East Lansing, (11th from right) on Thursday welcomed to Kowall’s Capitol office U.S. Navy Vietnam Veteran Gary Quinn (ninth from right), Quinn’s wife Karen (fifth from right), the Quinns’ family and friends, and Michigan National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais (seventh from left) and his wife Leanne (in front of Vadnais).

The senators presented a Vietnam veteran lapel pin to Quinn. The symbolism attached to the Vietnam veteran lapel pins is significant. The pins honor all Vietnam veterans, whether they served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period.

Note: For a print-quality version of this photo and other Kowall photos, click the image or click Photowire under the Media Center tab, above.

Save the Date: Lawmakers announce Grand Rapids event honoring Vietnam era veterans

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, Sen. Dave Hildenbrand and Sen. Pete MacGregor on Thursday announced they are sponsoring a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Saturday, March 4 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

The legislators are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Grand Rapids to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. They encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the event is made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration and hosted by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3946 and American Legion posts 2, 258 and 356. It will be held at noon on Saturday, March 4, at the American Legion Boat and Canoe Club, 401 N. Park St. NE, in Grand Rapids.

Those who are interested in attending should RSVP to American Legion Post 356 Commander Fred Chambers at 616-443-7630 or skysoldger@aol.com.

The lawmakers will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location. The symbolism attached to the lapel pin is significant.

“The Commemoration honors all Vietnam veterans, whether they served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “All were called to serve and the overwhelming majority of these veterans served honorably and admirably.”

The Commemoration was authorized by Congress and established under the secretary of defense, and then formally launched in 2012. It was designed to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families in hometown America, in light of the 50th anniversary of the war. Recognition is given to these heroes when commemorative partners, such as Kowall, hold events that thank and honor the veterans and their families.

“Michigan’s Vietnam veterans, whether drafted or enlisted, served our country with honor. Tragically, too many returned home with little thanks for their service and not much help transitioning to civilian life,” Kowall said. “This ceremony is a way to recognize veterans of the Vietnam War era and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation and the Michigan Legislature.”

Hildenbrand agreed.

“Those who serve in our military make unimaginable sacrifices on a daily basis,” said Hildenbrand, R-Lowell. “Many Vietnam veterans faced criticism from their fellow Americans when they returned home and never received the thanks they deserved. Our goal is to show them that they were not forgotten and that we appreciate their service to our country.”

MacGregor said he is looking forward to the event.

“Michiganders care deeply and have the utmost respect for our military veterans,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “Unfortunately, those sentiments were not always communicated during the Vietnam era. It is fitting then, that during this 50th anniversary of that conflict, we make the time to publicly thank and commemorate the service and selfless sacrifices of those brave veterans who served during that time.”

Kowall has held numerous events, both in Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

“It is always a moving time for me when I am able to present the lapel pins and personally thank each veteran for their service,” Kowall said.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.