n To the legion of area food pantries, whose officials and volunteers do yeoman’s work to fend off the effects of unemployment, underemployment, homelessness and other maladies that intensified during the Great Recession and doggedly hang on today. Food pantry officials are gearing up for the holidays, a traditional time of feasting and celebration that for the poor and hungry only intensifies their need and, frequently, sense of estrangement from the better-off world around them. Fortunately, organizations such as Benzie Area Christian Neighbors, the Father Fred Foundation and Kalkaska Area Interfaith Resources, to name a few, are very capable local vehicles. They deserve our appreciation — and support.
n To retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Rose White Hutchinson and George Champlin, locals who care about military veterans. Hutchinson recently spoke up about the relative state of disrepair of the veterans monument at the American Legion Park near downtown, a seemingly forgotten site. Champlin, commander of the Sons of the American Legion’s Traverse City branch, is doing something about it. “What we’re going to do is demolish what’s there and put the monument back together,” he said. The idea, he said, is to fix the monument by next summer. The Legion is putting its money where its mouth is, too, with a $5,000 contribution.
n To Doug Davis, a Traverse City resident and Vietnam war vet who adopted Remmy, a military service dog who spent four-plus years in Afghanistan as a bomb-sniffing ace. Davis handled military dogs while in Vietnam and maintained a soft spot for canines who served their country. Remmy, a 12-year-old Dutch Shepherd, needed to be assimilated into a gentler, more stable environment after his tour ended, and he found the right home with Davis and his wife Pam. The story of Davis and his relationship with Remmy serves as a reminder of those who’ve done their best to fight for our country. Many northern Michigan residents — and dogs — put their lives on the line and acted admirably as America’s representatives. Veterans Day is their official day, but their feats deserve every-day appreciation.
n To the Leelanau County students who this year traveled the southern United States and learned first-hand the struggles, horrors, and tragedies faced by those who so valiantly fought for civil rights for black Americans, and really for all Americans. Students from lily-white Leelanau traveled with minority students from Detroit, immersed themselves in some of the civil rights movement’s sacred sites, and met people who waged the battle against racism and bigotry and for freedom for all. Local students likely learned lessons they’ll never — and shouldn’t — forget.