Centennial groups celebrate together


October 8, 2019


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Bessemer — Three organization are combining patriotic events Wednesday to celebrate 100 years of serving the Bessemer community.

Washington Elementary School, American Legion Post 27/American Legion Auxiliary Unit 27, and Bessemer Womens Club are each 100-years-old in 2019 and each will hold an event on Wednesday, Oct. 10 to celebrate a patriotic theme together at the Bessemer City Hall auditorium. The all-ages open house event is free and open to the public.

“Activists through the decades, these organizations strived to make positive changes to support the people of Bessemer and the Gogebic Range,” said Sue Abelman of the Bessemer Womens Club.

A 100 Letter Tribute will run from 1 to 8 p.m., she said. The three organizations are collaborating to send 100 letters to active duty servicemen and women and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces as a fall activity. Letters will be written during the event to help meet the goal, she said.

Bessemer Area Schools students of art teacher Jen Werner, are contributing patriotic drawings to be included with the mailings, Abelman said. A 100 food items collection will be given to a local food pantry, she said.

There will also be Quilts of Valor exhibit organized by Sharlene Shaffer and Pauline Borgan.

Shaffer is a member of Northern Lights Quilt Guild and leads the Quilts of Valor effort in this area, Abelman said. Borgan, of Rhinelander, Wisconsin, is with the Pieced for Peace group and will be accepting donations for signature blocks to complete future quilts for veterans, she said.

“Both ladies are affiliated with the Quilts of Valor Foundation,” Abelman said. “The women will present two veterans with quilts.”

The first veteran, Charles Tirpik, will receive a quilt at 1:30 p.m. He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1970. He currently is the commander of the American Legion Post 27. The second veteran, Donna Frello, will be presented with a quilt at 6 p.m. She served in the U.S. Air Force from 1979 to 1995. She was stationed in South Korea, Germany, and stateside, and is the commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3673 and is a member of American Legion Post 27.

Frello will join the choir of the Bessemer Area School District in singing the National Anthem, under the direction of Sandra Genisot.

The three organizations will also have displays highlighting service over the last century. Members of the groups will be available to elaborate and answer questions.

The American Legion Post 27/American Legion Auxiliary Unit 27 provided services and resources for veterans, Abelman said. The Bessemer Womens Club came together to support their community through activities that helped people of all ages and worked to effect social and civic changes, she said.

The Washington Elementary School educated many generations of students in Bessemer, she said. It was accomplished with quality instruction, administrative planning, and the dedication of support staff, she said.

“All continue their work and service today,” Abelman said.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and area legislators are also recognizing the three organizations for a century of dedication and service, she said. A tribute certificate will be presented to the organizations at p.m.

Myron Re, club historian for Marty’s Goldenaires, will have an exhibit for the organization that was established in 1950. Martin “Marty” Lamoreux presented the idea of a drum and bugle corps to the membership of the American Legion Post 27.

Two recent veteran participants of the U.P. Honor Flight will present on a recent trip to visit memorials in Washington D.C. John Frello will have information about the organization.

Joanne Kuula, from the Fabric Patch, donated a patriotic lap quilt to be in a drawing and the donated proceeds will go to the Honor Flight. The quilt called “4th of July” is designed by Bonnie Hunter and was made by Susan Kangas.

The Bessemer Public Library will have a collection of patriotic books on display selected by Melissa Lupino, library director.


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