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Veteran to be honored

July 16, 2014 - Ortonville- The community is invited to join the VFW in honoring long-time area resident and Army veteran Don Kengerski at 10 a.m., Aug. 2, at the Veterans Memorial Park at the corner of Mill and South streets in the village.

During a special ceremony, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 582, supported by the Village of Ortonville, will rename the site the Donald Kengerski Veterans Memorial Park, dedicating a plaque to the 84-year-old who served in Korea.

"I feel good about it, it was a surprise for me," said Kengerski. "I guess I'll be here forever, even after I'm gone."

At a future date, a new tree will be planted in the park and dedicated to Dane Guisbert, 90, also a long-time VFW member.

"They are dedicated members of the VFW and this is a good way to honor them," said Dennis Hoffman, new VFW Post 582 commander. "They've done a lot of hard work and both are charter members, there since the beginning."

Kengerski entered the U.S. Army in March 1951 and entered combat in the North Korean countryside as a 21-year-old machine-gunner in M-Company, 32nd infantry regiment, of the 7th Infantry Division. He received 38 pieces of shrapnel in an August 1952 skirmish, but continued his duty in North Korea. He returned to the United States and was discharged on March 5, 1954. Kengerski received the Purple Heart and Silver Star medals. He was VFW Post 582 commander for 19 years before stepping down last year.

VFW Post 582 is marking its 30th year in Ortonville. The organization supports the community with sponsorship of a Little League team, replacing tattered flags at schools, placement of flags on graves on Veterans Day, sponsorship of the Memorial Day Parade, and contributing to 20 different charities with funds raised from sales of poppies and raffle tickets. The VFW also does the honors for veterans at their funerals.

To be a member of the VFW, a veteran must have an honorable discharge and campaign ribbon from a foreign war or conflict.

"We would like to get some Iraq and Afghanistan members— they are younger and we need younger members," said Hoffman. "VFW members receive hospital benefits and financial aid from the Veterans Administration."

VFW Post 582 meets at 7:30 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month at the Old Town Hall, 486 Mill St.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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