— To local graduates who recently walked across a stage and into the next phase of their lives. We wish you all the luck in the world.
— To Benzie Central Middle School eighth-grader Hunter Jones, who etched his name in the state’s middle school record books May 29 at the Megastar meet in Shepherd. Jones broke the 47-year-old 1,600-meter record held by Paul Singer, of Saginaw St. Thomas Aquinas (4 minutes, 34.4 seconds), with a time of 4:32. He also set the new 3,200 mark, which previously had been set in 2011 by Ben Hill, of Royal Oak (9:52.5). Jones ran a 9:34.
— To Traverse City Central High School athletic trainer Amy Ream, who has been named the Secondary School Athletic Trainer of the Year by the Michigan Athletic Trainers Society. She received this honor in recognition of her abilities to meet the needs of students, lead initiatives in health and safety for the Trojans and for her abilities to relate to families and staff during her 28 years of service.
— To Hannah Beard and Jessi Martin, who are both licensed commercial pilots from the Northwestern Michigan College aviation program and are about to embark on the four-day, 2,538-mile Air Race Classic, an event exclusively for female pilots.
The Air Race Classic, in its 90th year, takes place June 18-21, with 113 pilots competing. Teams consisting of at least two pilots will start in Jackson, Tennessee, and make flybys at several timing points — including Sault Ste. Marie — before ending in Welland, Ontario.
“I want us to show strong,” Martin said. “I’d like to have it be a positive experience that we can hand on to women next year.”
Participating as part of another team, not representing the college, is Tori Gann, an NMC flight instructor.
— To Traverse City resident Linda Woods, who took up an invitation to bring her eagle staff to ceremonies commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day — the June 6, 1944, invasion at Normandy. She’s a Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians citizen and the caretaker for Mashkawiz Ode Ogitchidaa Kwe, as her eagle staff is named. That’s Odawa for “Strong Heart Warrior Woman,” and she calls her Migizi for short — an eagle staff is not an object, so Migizi is a “she,” Woods explained.
Migizi is primarily for women veterans, but she also belongs to the community wherever Woods is, Woods said. She hopes to bring healing having brought the eagle staff to France, and to honor the memories of soldiers buried there, especially those buried on foreign soil.
Eagle staffs represent a flag that predates the stars and stripes, and Native American veterans served under both, said Joe Podlasek, organizer for the National Gathering of American Indian Veterans in Wheaton, Illinois. They do so at per-capita rates that typically overshadow any other ethnic group in the U.S., he said. Native Americans also served at high rates during the Vietnam War, when Woods was in the U.S. Air Force. She served four years starting in 1962, and lived in California for a long stretch before returning to northwest Michigan in 1990.