Orion community remembers its fallen veterans on Memorial Day

Orion community remembers its fallen veterans on Memorial Day

Memorial Day race raises more than $10k for the Orion Veterans Memorial

By Jim Newell
Review Editor
 LAKE ORION — The Memorial Day ceremony at the Orion Veterans Memorial was the culmination of the day’s events, with veterans, family and community members showing their support for those who have died — and their appreciation for those yet alive who have served.

Veterans from North Oakland VFW Post 334 read the names of the 41 Orion military soldiers who have died in active duty, from the Civil War to the present, a somber reminder of the toll taken on Orion’s veterans.

A ceremony at 10 a.m. in Children’s Park honored those veterans lost at sea, with a wreath tossed into Paint Creek in symbolic remembrance, followed by a gun salute from the Lake Orion American Legion Post 233 Color Guard.

And while there is a reverence for those who have been lost, other events in Orion honor those veterans who are gone but not forgotten, those still living and to celebrate the freedoms for which they have sacrificed.

The parade in downtown Lake Orion included veterans, first responders, boy and girl scouts, military vehicles and the Lake Orion High School marching band.

The 7th annual Orion Veterans Memorial Day Race had its largest participation this year, with 415 people registering for the 5k run/walk or the 5-mile race, said race director Jenny Bhatti, adding that through sponsorships and race entry fees they were able to raise more than $10,000 for the ongoing care and maintenance of the Orion Veterans Memorial.

Jim Hubbard, commander of VFW Post 334, passed out flags at the finish line to racers and was amazed at how much the race had grown over the years.

The first year we had 70 (participants) and we thought, ‘Oh my goodness, what a wonderful thing.’ Now we have more than 400 people,” Hubbard said. “We have such a wonderful veterans memorial because of the support of the people in this community.”

Last year, the race raised $9,600 and had more than 350 participants.

“It’s amazing. People have started to realize that this is a great annual community tradition,” said Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett. “It’s just a great way for them to start the day and remember what this day is really about. Great, great community event. I couldn’t say enough ‘thank yous’ to people.”

Barnett serves on the Orion Veterans Memorial board and said the board wanted to find ways to bring people to Orion’s Memorial Day events while raising funds for the memorial.

“We talked about a way to get younger people and more people from the community involved and we have a great tradition here with the VFW and the American Legion and the wreath ceremony and the parade and of course the ceremony at the memorial.

“But wanted to try to liven up the crowd and make sure that our next generation remembers and understands what this day is really about,” Barnett said. “It’s not about eating hot dogs and tubing on the lake – although that’s really important – the reason we’re able to do that is because of the sacrifice that the people who came before us have made.”

5K Run/Walk results
Female Open Winner: Lillian Limberg, Rochester Hills, age 15, 22:32.7 minutes.
Male Open Winner: Anthony Goatley, Madison Heights, age 16, 18:30.7 minutes.
Female Masters Winner: Shannon Wiklanski, Auburn Hills, age 41, 23:36.6 minutes.
Male Masters Winner: Michael Nolan, Oxford, age 60, 21.05.8 minutes.
Female Top Military Winner: Monica Nagy, Frankfort, IL, age 21, 25:53 minutes.
Male Top Military Winner: Paul Culver, Oxford, age 55, 22:31.8 minutes.

5-mile Run Results:

Female Open Winner: Paula Antoniou, Lake Orion, age 49, 35:39.4 minutes.
Male Open Winner: Eric Berg, Shelby Township, age 20, 28:01.6 minutes.
Female Masters Winner: Kelly Valente, Dearborn, age 43, 37:00.4 minutes.
Male Masters Winner: Eric Lohr, Lake Orion, age 42, 29:17.2 minutes.
Female Top Military Winner: Teresa Cook, Dearborn, age 43, 36:45.9 minutes.
Male Top Military Winner: Dominic Fano, Sterling Heights, age 36, 34:49.8 minutes.



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