Reminder: Kowall and Nofs honoring Vietnam era veterans at Hastings event

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Mike Nofs on Wednesday reminded interested parties of a county-wide, formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Saturday, June 10 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

Kowall, R-White Lake, and Nofs, R-Battle Creek, are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Hastings in Barry County in conjunction with the American Legion Post 484 Hickory Corners, American Legion Post 140 Middleville, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 7 Battle Creek, Military Order of the Purple Heart USA Chapter 110, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4461 Lake Odessa, and American Legion Riders Post 45.

The ceremony will give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans, Gold Star Mothers 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 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 10, at the Barry Expo Center Exhibition Hall (home of the Barry County Fair), 1350 N. M-37, in Hastings.

The master of ceremonies will be retired U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard Col. Frank J. Walker, currently an Air Force Academy Admissions liaison officer and veteran advocate. The guest speaker will be Brig. Gen. Michael A. Stone, assistant adjutant general for installations for the Michigan Army National Guard and deputy director, Michigan Department of Military & Veterans Affairs.

RSVP to Barry County American Legion Commander Jim Gross at 616-328-1343 or by email at j.gross13@yahoo.com.

The event will be supported by members of the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, who will be in attendance. The Commemoration was congressionally authorized to do what should have been done over 50 years ago: thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice.

Kowall and Nofs 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.

In support of the Vietnam veterans, a motorcycle procession by American Legion Riders Post 45 will formally open the ceremony. The post welcomes all motorcycles, trucks and cars to join the procession. Riders will depart at 12:45 p.m. from American Legion Post 45 at 2160 S. M-37 in Hastings. The Barry County Sherriff’s Department will provide a police escort. For more information, contact John-John Richards, vice president of the American Legion Riders Post 45, at 269-870-0660.

Additional event highlights:
•    The 110th Attack Wing Air National Guard Unit and the Barry County Honor Guard will present and retire the colors;
•    The 110th Attack Wing Air National Guard Unit will present military honors for the POW/MIA Missing Man Table;
•    Joanna Lauren will perform the national anthem and God Bless America;
•    The Delton Kellogg High School Band will perform under the direction of band director Sara Knight; and
•    Every child attending the ceremony will receive an American flag;

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.

Kowall announces new programs to honor Michigan mothers and wives of the Vietnam era

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, in conjunction with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, on Tuesday announced two new programs to honor mothers and wives (at the time of service) of Vietnam veterans.

Kowall is asking Michigan Gold Star Mothers or Gold Star Wives of the Vietnam era to contact Director of District Affairs Lynn O’Brien at 517-373-0563 to receive either an “In Memory Of” or “Deceased Vietnam Veteran’s Surviving Spouse” Certificate of Honor and lapel pin.

“These two programs are ways to recognize and show gratitude for the incredible sacrifice and support of the families of those who served their country during the Vietnam era,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “We owe our freedom not only to those who have laid down their lives for us but to their families as well.”

The “In Memory Of” program honors immediate family members of veterans listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The “Deceased Vietnam Veteran’s Surviving Spouse” program honors the surviving spouse at the time of death of a veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. armed forces at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location.

For the past several years, Kowall has held numerous formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremonies, in both Lansing and throughout the state, and often in conjunction with local legislative colleagues.

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

Sen. Kowall and guests honor Michigan’s fallen soldiers

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, Vincent (Tom) Oltesvig (right) and Cpl. Dennis Powers (left) paid tribute in the Senate Thursday to those who gave their lives defending our country.

Oltesvig, who is commander of the Highland, White Lake, Milford Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9914, served in Vietnam and received four Purple Hearts, the Army Commendation medal and the Combat Infantryman badge.

Powers served in Vietnam.

Oltesvig and Powers were Kowall’s guests for the Michigan Senate’s 23rd Annual Memorial Day Service.

The Memorial Day Service is an annual ceremony that honors the service members who fought with bravery to defend our nation’s freedom.

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***KOWALL PHOTO ADVISORY*** Kowall, Pavlov present lapel pin to Vietnam veteran Jack Beattie

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, and Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, on Tuesday presented a Vietnam veteran lapel pin to Chief Petty Officer Jack Beattie at the Michigan Capitol.

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.

Top photo caption: Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, pins a Vietnam veteran lapel pin on the coat of Chief Petty Officer Jack Beattie in the office of Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, at the Michigan Capitol. Beattie served in the U.S. Navy from 1965 to 1991 and is one of the survivors of the June 8, 1967 attack on the USS Liberty.

Bottom photo caption: Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, and Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, on Tuesday presented a Vietnam veteran lapel pin to Chief Petty Officer Jack Beattie (center left) at the Michigan Capitol. Capt. Luke Clyburn (left) joined the senators for the presentation to Beattie, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1965 to 1991 and is one of the survivors of the June 8, 1967 attack on the USS Liberty.

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Reminder: Kowall and Pavlov honoring Vietnam era veterans at Sandusky event

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Phil Pavlov on Monday reminded interested parties of 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, in front of the Moving Wall, which will be located in front 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 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 pre-program ceremony will include the Moving Wall on display and a static military vehicle display.

The event also will include:
•    Posting of the colors by the Croswell American Legion Cecil Service Post 255;
•    The national anthem sung by Sandusky High School graduate Amanda Mrozek;
•    Invocation given by Don Rudy, Sandusky Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2945 and Russell Wakefield Post 369 of the American Legion;
•    POW/MIA Missing Man table by Sandusky High School graduate Brandon Hughes;
•    Service Medley by the Sandusky High School Saxophone Quartet; and
•    Refreshments provided by Croswell American Legion Cecil Service Post 255 and Sandusky VFW Auxiliary 2945.

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.

Oakland Press: Police Week honors those who keep us safe

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

In addition to upholding our state and federal constitutions, one of my top priorities as a Michigan senator is to help enact laws that ensure the safety of residents of the 15th Senate District and the entire state.

Because protecting fellow Michiganders is an important part of my job, I have the utmost respect for those whose entire jobs consist of keeping us safe: our police officers.

In the United States today, more than 900,000 law enforcement officers put their lives on the line for the safety and protection of others.

These officers serve with valor and distinction — and with great success. Federal statistics show that violent and property crime rates in the United States are at historic lows, thanks in large measure to the dedicated service of the men and women of law enforcement.

That protection comes at a price, however. Each year, there are approximately 60,000 assaults on law enforcement officers, resulting in nearly 16,000 injuries. Sadly, over the last decade, an average of 146 officers a year have been killed in the line of duty. And throughout U.S. history, more than 20,000 law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice.

More recently, there have been 44 police fatalities in the United States from Jan. 1 through May 1, an increase of 29 percent from the same time last year. In Detroit, eight police officers have been shot or killed in the line of duty in the past eight months.

Police officers have one of the most difficult jobs imaginable, and they deserve our honor and respect. In 1962, President Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. This year, Police Week runs from Sunday, May 14 to Saturday, May 20.

Each year, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge on Washington, D.C. to participate in a number of planned events honoring those who have given their lives protecting us.

This year’s events included the 36th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, held on Monday at the U.S. Capitol; and the National Police Survivors Conference and C.O.P.S. Kids/Teens event, held Tuesday. This second event allowed surviving family members and co-workers more opportunities to learn about coping and grief, and to build important social connections. Various activities were provided to young children and teens of fallen officers.

We must do all that we can to support our police brothers and sisters, to help reduce the senseless violence that too often takes their lives, and to help ensure that their lives have not been in vain.

Police Week grants us time to reflect on, support and honor the service and sacrifice of our law enforcement officers. Here in Michigan and in Oakland County, take some time to thank your local police officers for all they do to keep us safe. To learn more, visit policeweek.org.

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.

Senators welcome guests to Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, Sen. Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, and Sen. Vincent Gregory, D-Lathrup Village, welcomed the Oakland County Chapter of Credit Unions to the state Capitol on Wednesday.

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Save the Date: Kowall and Nofs announce Hastings event honoring Vietnam era veterans

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Mike Nofs on Wednesday announced they are sponsoring a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Saturday, June 10 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

Kowall, R-White Lake, and Nofs, R-Battle Creek, are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Hastings in conjunction with the Barry County Honor Guard, American Legion Post 484 Hickory Corners, American Legion Post 140 Middleville, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 7 Battle Creek, Military Order of the Purple Heart USA Chapter 110, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4461 Lake Odessa, and American Legion Riders Post 45.

The ceremony will give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans, Gold Star Mothers 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 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 10, at the Barry Expo Center Exhibition Hall (home of the Barry County Fair), 1350 M-37, in Hastings. The guest speaker will be Brig. Gen. Michael A. Stone, assistant adjutant general for installations for the Michigan Army National Guard and deputy director, Michigan Department of Military & Veterans Affairs.

RSVP to Barry County American Legion Commander Jim Gross at 616-328-1343 or by email at j.gross13@yahoo.com.

Kowall and Nofs 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 and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation and the Michigan Legislature.”

Nofs agreed.

“I’m honored and privileged to be able to present these Vietnam veterans with these Commemorative Lapel Pins,” Nofs said. “It’s a small token of our gratitude and appreciation for their sacrifice. That sacrifice will not be forgotten.”

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.

“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.

Any Gold Star Mothers or Gold Star Wives of the Vietnam era who would like to receive an “In Memory Of” pin at a future lapel pinning ceremony should contact Lynn O’Brien in advance of the ceremony at 517-373-0563.

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

Kowall welcomes guest to Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, welcomed Julie Day to the capitol on Tuesday. Day was a guest of Kowall and Sen. Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc.

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Kowall, local groups collect household items for women’s shelter

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall on Friday partnered with local organizations and volunteers to collect household items for an area women’s shelter.

The Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce (LACC), Two Men and a Truck, Kowall and other volunteers packed trucks with items donated by Giving 360 for delivery to the shelter on Mother’s Day.

“The Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce was seeking partners for Two Men and a Truck’s ‘Movers for Moms’ initiative and Giving 360 graciously stepped up and agreed to help,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “It was a joy to be part of this effort, and it is comforting to know these women will be receiving some much-needed items on Mother’s Day.”

Giving 360 runs a nonprofit organization to which large retailers donate usable household items that Giving 360 then donates to low-income and charitable causes. 2017 is the tenth year of Two Men and a Truck’s “Movers for Moms” program, which recognizes mothers living in shelters on Mother’s Day by arranging the delivery of small gifts for women who are victims of domestic abuse or homelessness.

The donations include nonperishable food items, paper products, soap, pillows, blankets and more.

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Photo caption: Two Men and a Truck Operations Manager Chris Rieck (left) and Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, partnered with local organizations and volunteers on Friday to collect household items for an area women’s shelter.