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Veterans get personal tour of Traverse City memorials built in their honor

(upnorthlive.com photo)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- A special opportunity for Grand Traverse area veterans Wednesday as they took part in the 2nd Annual Hometown Heroes tour.

Five buses filled with veterans were police escorted around Traverse City getting a tour of all the memorials in their honor.

Nearly 200 veterans from WWII hopped on the bus getting an exclusive tour of 11 Traverse City veterans memorials and cemeteries.

“So I think it's just really important for the community to recognize that we have a lot of veterans among us and in our hometown and it's important for us to showcase them,” said Lori Wells of the manager of the Senior Center Network.

Starting at Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City and making stops at places such as Oakwood Cemetery, Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens, and the Veterans Memorial Park.

“And there's so much history here, back in our cemeteries and the memorial parks and along the route that were pointing out to people,” said Peg Jonkoff with Reynolds-Jonkoff Funeral Home, the event sponsor.

Organizers say the inspiration for the event comes from the honor flight.

“We thought what could we do locally for our people who live here that maybe couldn't take part in the honor flight and get some local partners involved and so we thought about an honor ride,” said Wells.

Among the veterans, was 96-year-old Lorraine Hamilton, who joined the Army Nurses Corps in 1943.

“I went to England and we got patients from the continent that had wounds and fractures mostly and we were very busy it was 1000 bed hospital there,” said Hamilton.

She along with others who attended say they're grateful for the chance to get together, and appreciate being recognized.

“We're blessed to live here in everything they do for not just veterans but for anybody and I mean it's just an outstanding place to live,” said Air Force and Army veteran Neal Horning.

The event was put on by the Senior Center Network and Reynolds-Jonkoff Funeral Home.

They say it wouldn't have been possible without support from BATA, the Coast Guard, Traverse City Police and many others.

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