By MICHELLE MERLIN email@example.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Rose White Hutchinson was the first woman to serve on Air Force One.
But now, the Traverse City resident — who’s flown with three presidents — said she can’t fully enjoy a veterans monument at a local park.
The easily overlooked veterans monument at the American Legion Park near downtown Traverse City, she said, is falling apart: a concrete block is crumbling at the corners, and a spot for a flag pole sticks out, empty except for a small flag Hutchinson placed there earlier.
“After putting in all those years in the military, now I can’t even fix the flag pole,” Hutchinson said.
There’s good news, though. The .47-acre park at the corner of Cass and Washington streets is actually undergoing a years-long face lift performed by Traverse City’s American Legion Post 35.
George Champlin, the commander of the Sons of the American Legion at the Traverse City branch, said changes are on the way.
“What we’re going to do is demolish what’s there and put the monument back together,” Champlin said.
Champlin is optimistic the monument will be fixed by summer 2014.
Champlin said the American Legion approached the city about fixing the monument a few years ago. The city didn’t have the money to renovate the park, so the Legion undertook the task.
Champlin estimated the entire project will cost $5,000.