Forty-one memorial quilts depicting Vietnam veterans and their families affected by Agent Orange dioxin – one of the chemicals sprayed during the Vietnam War that caused medical problems – arrive in Sanilac County.
The Agent Orange Quilts of Tears exhibit will be on June 1-5 from 3-7 p.m. at the Croswell American Legion Post 255 lobby, 97 W. Harrington Road, Croswell.
The quilts, made up of blocks depicting vets and even some of their children, are then moved to the Wesleyan Family Life Center, 200 Peck Road, Croswell. Viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 4; and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on June 5.
Appropriate for the Vietnam era, there will be a helicopter escort flight.
The Veterans’ Appreciation Team, or VET, a non-profit organization that promotes awareness and appreciation for veterans, coordinates the presentation of the quilts. The EFP includes students and other volunteers from Lapeer, Sanilac and Tuscola counties. A Utica-area teacher has expressed interest in starting a VET group, according to VET coordinator Bonnie Koning.
“We connect students and veterans by offering free appreciation dinners to vets and guests,” she said. “We tour in different communities and we participate in the Memorial Day Parade. We deliver meals to vets on Veterans Day and do field trips to and visit the Grand Rapids Veterans Home.
“It’s about connecting the missing link that students don’t find in Vietnam textbooks. When students and veterans come together, I think the veterans get as much out of it as the students. The students are learning everything our guys had to go through,” she said.
“Part of my mission is to create a quilt for our local veterans who had to deal with Agent Orange,” she said. “We bought a whole stack of fabrics and went to American Legion posts to distribute them and they are starting to come back now. I hope we have enough blocks to have a 42nd quilt. They can honor friends or family members who have dealings with Agent Orange or a deceased person.
Koning has free quilt blocks and instructions for anyone wanting to create a square. Volunteers are also available to create blocks for veterans who need someone to make their squares. Call 810-346-3560 for more information or to have a square sent to you.
The Farm Bureau Company and Sanilac County Farm Bureau officers donated more than $2,800 to bring the quilts. Lapeer’s Vietnam Veterans of America Post 287 also contributed to the effort.
Vietnam veterans are encouraged to bring souvenirs to display on the tour.
An Agent Orange Awareness Motorcycle and Vehicle Race will be held on Sunday, June 5th. It starts from two places and joins M-53/M-46.
The Sandusky Run begins at 2:30 p.m. at the Sandusky Airport at 1213 N. Sandusky Road, Sandusky, and ends at the Wesleyan Family Life Center, where the quilts will be on display. The schedule is from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The Sanilac County Sheriff’s Department runs the run which is free and open to the public, although donations are accepted to be used for veteran support.
The Lapeer Race starts at 2 p.m. at Ray C’s Harley-Davidson, 1491 S. Lapeer Road, Lapeer, and goes through Marlette, to the Family Life Center.
A ceremony takes place after the race at 5 p.m. at the Family Life Center. This event includes guest speakers and the presentation of 50th anniversary commemorative pins, authorized by the US Congress, to all veterans who served in the Vietnam era. There will be music from the 1960s and 1970s and food.
Utica Legion Post Holds Patriotic Events
American Legion Victor I. Rieck Post 351 and Sons of the American Legion, 46146 Cass Ave., Utica, is hosting their fifth annual Blessing of the Bikes from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, Saturday, May 14.
Several events are planned for Saturday, May 21 — Armed Forces Day. From 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Post Office volunteers place American flags at veterans’ graves at St. Lawrence Cemetery and the City Veterans Memorial in downtown Utica.
At noon, the “Jeep Babes Charity Ride – 92 for 22” convoy (which starts in Warren at 11 a.m.) arrives at the station with a police escort to raise awareness of veteran suicide and help with prevention. This event lasts until 4 p.m.
From 2-5 p.m. there is a USO-style outdoor show by “The Purple Clover Supporting Our Troops and Veterans – in Macomb County, Michigan”. (Bring lawn chairs.) It’s free, but donations will be made to the John D. Dingell Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Detroit and “Wounded Warriors.”
For more information about the show, call 586-604-2562 or email
There is a meat raffle inside the venue with dinner at 6:00 p.m.; the cost is $15.
At 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 29, the city of Utica is hosting a Memorial Day ceremony that includes members of the Post Office. For more information, call 586-731-9833.
The Sterling Heights VFW Open House will be on May 21
Veterans of Foreign Wars Ext. 6250 is hosting an open house from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 21. The position is located in the pilot group building at 44400 Van Dyke Avenue, Sterling Heights. The new post commander is US Army veteran Jeff Norgrove, 586-996-2004.
Stamp Out Hunger feeds veterans and military families
Today, Saturday, May 14, is the National Letter Carriers Association Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. The Clinton Township Veterans Pantry benefits from driving. Vets and military families can call 586-776-9810 for food assistance.
DAV Service Agent Helps With VA Claims May 19
Disabled American Veterans Chapter 119 hosts DAV National Service Officer, 5-7 p.m. Thursday, May 19 at Knights of Columbus Hall, 23005 Little Mack Ave., St. Clair Shores to assist vets with claims of the Department of Veterans Affairs. For more information, contact Allen Houth at 586-218-9432.
Yoga for veterans offered in Belle Isle on May 21
The Detroit Vet Center Veterans Outreach Program is sponsoring a free yoga, meditation and mindfulness event, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. May 21 at the Belle Isle Nature Center overlooking the Detroit River at 176 Lakeside Drive. For more information, contact Maeve Quinn at Maeve.Quinn@va.gov or 313-822-1141. The Detroit Vet Center is located at 11214 Jefferson Ave., Detroit.
Optimists Recognize First Responders at Breakfast
The St. Clair Shores Optimist Club is hosting a St. Clair Shores Police and Fire Department Appreciation and Recognition Breakfast at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 19 at the Ascension Greek Cultural Center.
“This is the first time together since 2019,” said Optimist Club President Debbie DePape. “We will recognize police officers and firefighters from 2019, 2020 and 2021.”
For more information, contact DePape at 586-291-1271.
Send news from service clubs and veterans organizations to Linda May at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the landline 586-791-8116.