2017-09-13 / Community View

Inaugural Veterans Summit a success


Attica’s Linda and Gary Bonner had out information about the Vietnam 50th Commemorative Committee. 
Photos by Phil Foley Attica’s Linda and Gary Bonner had out information about the Vietnam 50th Commemorative Committee. Photos by Phil Foley MAYFIELD TWP. — Six months of planning culminated Saturday morning with hundreds of area veterans gathering at the DuPont-Lapeer Airport for Veterans Summit —Honoring Heroes.

The day kicked off with the Scream N Rebels squadron, a group of pilots who fly vintage WWII trainers, who performed a flyover at the airport. Bruce Koch flew his Vultee SNV-1 Valiant over from Flint’s Bishop Airport.

He said his warbird turned 75 on Sunday.

Mayfield Township Supervisor Dianna Ireland was thrilled with the turnout. She said she approached Lapeer County Veterans Affairs Director Ed Ronders in April about putting on a veterans’ event at the airport. “I thought it would be a perfect location,” she said.

Ronders said the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and his office had been looking for a place to do something. He said it offered an opportunity to connect veterans and their families with resources and benefit opportunities. The event offered everything from educational opportunities, to veterans’ benefits and employment opportunities.


Lapeer’s Jim Stevens, who served in the Air Force from 1955- 59 takes a close look at a Swiss Scout Car that Metamora’s Fred Roberts is converting into a German SdKf222 Leichter Panzerphawagen. The Metamora man is a member of the 704 Tank Destroyer Division, a WWII re-enactor group. Lapeer’s Jim Stevens, who served in the Air Force from 1955- 59 takes a close look at a Swiss Scout Car that Metamora’s Fred Roberts is converting into a German SdKf222 Leichter Panzerphawagen. The Metamora man is a member of the 704 Tank Destroyer Division, a WWII re-enactor group. Rob Ells and Brad Rzetelny, drove from Livonia for the Roush VIP’s veterans’ program. Rzetelny said the company has hired 352 veterans, mostly skilled tradesmen, in the past three years.

“If you were a wrench turner in the Army,” he said, “we can use you.”


Young Marines Caroline Lamay of Otisville and Lance Cpl. Ethan Fick of North Branch direct traffic at Saturday’s Veterans Summit – Honoring Heroes at DuPont-Lapeer Airport in Mayfield Township. Young Marines Caroline Lamay of Otisville and Lance Cpl. Ethan Fick of North Branch direct traffic at Saturday’s Veterans Summit – Honoring Heroes at DuPont-Lapeer Airport in Mayfield Township. Attica’s Linda and Gary Bonner, members of the 50th Vietnam Commemorative Committee, handed out pins to 25 Vietnam veterans and invited them to a special dinner Oct. 21 in North Branch. “It’s been pretty steady,” Linda said.

Helen Budd came over from the U of M-Flint’s Student- Veterans Resource Center. “It’s about getting the word out,” she said, as she passed out information about programs for veterans and their dependents.

Ronders said he was pleased with the turnout for the firsttime event and he wants to do more outreach.



Metamora’s Fred Roberts shows off what his Swiss-built scout car will look like when he’s finished converting it into a replica of a WWII German military vehicle. He and other members of the 704 Tank Destroyer Division, a WWII re-enactors group, brought a half dozen vintage military vehicles to the Veterans Summit – Honoring Heroes. Metamora’s Fred Roberts shows off what his Swiss-built scout car will look like when he’s finished converting it into a replica of a WWII German military vehicle. He and other members of the 704 Tank Destroyer Division, a WWII re-enactors group, brought a half dozen vintage military vehicles to the Veterans Summit – Honoring Heroes.

Bruce Koch’s Vultee SNV-1 Valiant, California Girl, sits on the tarmac at Dupont-Lapeer Airport. Along with doing a flyover, Koch offered rides at $150 for 15 minutes to help cover the $400 cost per hour it takes to operate the 75-year-old Navy trainer. Bruce Koch’s Vultee SNV-1 Valiant, California Girl, sits on the tarmac at Dupont-Lapeer Airport. Along with doing a flyover, Koch offered rides at $150 for 15 minutes to help cover the $400 cost per hour it takes to operate the 75-year-old Navy trainer.

Rob Ells and Brad Rzetleny showed off a couple of Roush Automotive military themed custom vehicles and recruited employees for the Livonia-based auto supplier. Rob Ells and Brad Rzetleny showed off a couple of Roush Automotive military themed custom vehicles and recruited employees for the Livonia-based auto supplier.

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