While this Memorial Day featured ceremonies honoring veterans, the annual Memorial Day Parade and a new 5K run/walk provided a memorable day for Orion families as well.
The Lake Orion Police Department partnered with American Legion Post 233 to honor WWII veteran Bob Butler as the 2017 Lake Orion Memorial Day Honored Veteran.
Butler and Police Chief Jerry Narsh led the parade, which featured local veterans, boy and girl scouts, the LO Youth Baseball League and other community groups.
The LOHS Marching Band , under the direction of Michael Steele, entertained the crowd during the parade and also performed at the Orion Veterans Memorial ceremony.
Orion Township held its first Memorial Day 5K run/walk after the parade, with proceeds from the race supporting the Orion Veterans Memorial and the Lake Orion DDA.
Race Director Jenny Bhatti said the race had 192 participants, a great turnout considering 50 participants signed up on race day.
“Which is huge for our first year. I’m very happy with the turnout. Everybody seems to be very excited and they love that it supports our veterans and that it’s right after the (Memorial Day) parade,” Bhatti said. “It’s a beautiful (race) route, so everything should be good.”
“What an amazing event to honor our veterans,” said Orion Twp. Supervisor Chris Barnett. “You don’t have to be a veteran to participate. We’d love to have 400 runners next year.”
Bhatti, Barnett and crew handed out flags before the race and each runner/walker got a commemorative dog tag upon crossing the finish line.
The race began at Broadway and Flint streets in the village, wound down M-24 to Heights Road, through the neighborhoods along Lake Orion before circling back to Odanah and finishing at the Veterans Memorial.
Alexander Pollack, age 24, a member of the U.S. Army, won the race with a time of 17 minutes, 34 seconds.
Misty Godley, age 23, was the top woman runner with a time of 21 minutes, 13.5 seconds.
The race also featured a special award for Marvin Stevenson, age 82, a retired Marine, who was the oldest veteran to finish the race, with a time of 52 minutes, 49 seconds.
— By Jim Newell