Save the Date: Kowall and Pavlov announce Sandusky event honoring Vietnam era veterans

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Phil Pavlov on Thursday announced they are sponsoring a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Saturday, May 27 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

The “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” ceremony in Sandusky will be part of the “Moving Wall Vietnam Veterans Memorial” event hosted by the students of Sandusky Community Schools over Memorial Day weekend under the direction of Sandusky High School teacher George Lasecki.

Kowall, R-White Lake, and Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, are hosting the lapel pinning to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. The lawmakers 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 lapel pinning, made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 27, on the front lawn of the Sanilac County Courthouse, 60 W. Sanilac Road, in Sandusky. RSVP to the Sanilac County Department of Veterans Affairs at 810-648-0212 or by email at director@sanilaccountyva.org or clerk@sanilaccountyva.org.

Kowall and Pavlov 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 Moving Wall is a half-size replica of the Washington D.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It has been touring the country from April to November since 1984. Sandusky students are bringing the Moving Wall to Sanilac County to honor and respect those who made the ultimate sacrifice through remembrance and education. Find out more about the students’ efforts at
Facebook.com/TheMovingWallSanduskyMichigan2017.

“The Moving Wall accompanied with the pinning ceremony helps add closure to the trauma of the Vietnam War,” Kowall said.

The United States of America Vietnam War 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 and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation and the Michigan Legislature.”

Pavlov agreed.

“Vietnam veterans and their families deserve the utmost respect and honor,” Pavlov said. “It is a great privilege to present them with these Commemorative Lapel Pins as a token of our gratefulness for their sacrifice to our nation.”

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.

Photo Advisory: Kowall welcomes Monsignor John Budde to Capitol to give Senate invocation

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, welcomed Monsignor John Budde, pastor of St. Mary Our Lady of the Snow Parish in Milford, to the Michigan Capitol on Wednesday. Budde gave the invocation before the start of the Senate session.

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

Oakland Press: Renew your driving focus during Distracted Driving Awareness Month

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

In 2015 there were more than 297,000 car crashes in Michigan. More than 74,000 people were injured in those crashes, and 963 people died.

That is too many injuries and too many deaths from what are most often preventable accidents.

We all know of the dangers associated with drunk driving. Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs are a significant traffic safety problem; approximately 38 percent of fatal crashes involve alcohol and/or drugs. That is why Michigan has adopted a concerted effort to reduce drunk driving in the state.

Driving under the influence is not our only concern. Advances in technology bring both new automobile safety features, but they also bring new ways to impair our driving.

With today’s technology, we can not only make phone calls while driving, but we can also send texts or emails and update social media. Many drivers are under the mistaken belief that they can operate the vehicle and use their cell phones at the same time. But this multitasking myth often results in crashes due to delayed braking times or the driver not being fully aware of surroundings, such as traffic signals.

In fact, texting and driving is six times more dangerous than drinking and driving. That is why Michigan has banned texting while driving since 2010.

The National Safety Council established April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to bring attention to what has become an epidemic. Distracted driving is responsible for 5,000 deaths and 450,000 vehicle crashes in the United States per year.

I encourage you to take time this April to consider your own driving habits and make any necessary changes to them. When you are on the road, remember to focus on the task at hand — driving. Your life — and the lives of those around you — depends on it.

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: Renew your driving focus during Distracted Driving Awareness Month

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

In 2015 there were more than 297,000 car crashes in Michigan. More than 74,000 people were injured in those crashes, and 963 people died.

That is too many injuries and too many deaths from what are most often preventable accidents.

We all know of the dangers associated with drunk driving. Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs are a significant traffic safety problem; approximately 38 percent of fatal crashes involve alcohol and/or drugs. That is why Michigan has adopted a concerted effort to reduce drunk driving in the state.

Driving under the influence is not our only concern. Advances in technology bring both new automobile safety features, but they also bring new ways to impair our driving.

With today’s technology, we can not only make phone calls while driving, but we can also send texts or emails and update social media. Many drivers are under the mistaken belief that they can operate the vehicle and use their cell phones at the same time. But this multitasking myth often results in crashes due to delayed braking times or the driver not being fully aware of surroundings, such as traffic signals.

In fact, texting and driving is six times more dangerous than drinking and driving. That is why Michigan has banned texting while driving since 2010.

The National Safety Council established April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to bring attention to what has become an epidemic. Distracted driving is responsible for 5,000 deaths and 450,000 vehicle crashes in the United States per year.

I encourage you to take time this April to consider your own driving habits and make any necessary changes to them. When you are on the road, remember to focus on the task at hand — driving. Your life — and the lives of those around you — depends on it.

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.

Reminder: Kowall and Horn honoring Vietnam era veterans at Linden event

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Ken Horn on Tuesday reminded interested parties of a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Monday, April 24 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

Kowall, R-White Lake, and Horn, R-Frankenmuth, are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Linden in conjunction with American Legion Family Post 119, Post Commander Jesus Lozano, and Linden Community Schools.

The ceremony will give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. The lawmakers 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 4 p.m. on Monday, April 24, at Linden High School, 7201 Silver Lake Road, in Linden.

RSVP to Jesus Lozano, Linden Michigan Vietnam Veterans Pinning, at 810-354-8130 or via email at LMVVP@aol.com.

Kowall and Horn 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.

U.S. Army Vietnam veteran Terry L. Groves will emcee the event and the guest speaker will be U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam veteran Joe Caballero. The invocation will be given by Chaplain Richard Laing, American Legion Family Post 119; Veterans of Foreign Wars 3243 Fenton Color Guard will post the colors; and Marianna Ziegler-Hickey will perform the national anthem.

Other highlights include:
•    Disabled American Veterans Genesee County Chapter 3 will display POW/MIA Missing Man Table;
•    Static military vehicle display by Dan Brewer on the front lawn of Linden High School;
•    Special Guest Alida Rose Smith — Miss Poppy American Legion Auxiliary 119 Linden — will lead the Pledge of Allegiance;
•    American Legion Auxiliary 119 Linden will serve light refreshments; and
•    The “Old Timers Band” will perform a variety of patriotic and 60s era songs throughout the ceremony.

Kowall has held numerous events, in both Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including VFW/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.