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2018-08-08 / Local News

Vietnam Memorial Visits U.P.

by Stephen King


Vietnam Era Veteran Bud Grubba and Lynn Maki, widow of Jim Maki, a Vietnam Veteran, create a rubbing of Donald Taylor’s name on the Moving Vietnam Memorial Wall. Seven men from Luce and W. Mackinac Counties lost their lives during the Vietnam War: James A. Gruezke, Gerald E. Hetrick, Roger C. Nesbit, Donald T. Taylor, Wallace R Thorson Jr, Francis Feneley and Clifford D. Williams. Vietnam Era Veteran Bud Grubba and Lynn Maki, widow of Jim Maki, a Vietnam Veteran, create a rubbing of Donald Taylor’s name on the Moving Vietnam Memorial Wall. Seven men from Luce and W. Mackinac Counties lost their lives during the Vietnam War: James A. Gruezke, Gerald E. Hetrick, Roger C. Nesbit, Donald T. Taylor, Wallace R Thorson Jr, Francis Feneley and Clifford D. Williams. The Moving Vietnam Wall was set up in the Marina Harbor Park in Manistique last Thursday, August 2 to Monday, August 6.

The Wall was open to the public 24 hours a day, and many special events took place over the weekend. One of those events was held last Saturday with many elected officials making visits.

U.S. Representative Jack Bergman, a Vietnam veteran, was one of the speakers. Bergman recalled that before he enlisted, there were two men he knew from his hometown who lost their lives in Vietnam and whose names were inscribed on the Wall.


The Vietnam Moving Memorial Wall visited Manistique August 2-6. photo courtesy of Bob Bowser The Vietnam Moving Memorial Wall visited Manistique August 2-6. photo courtesy of Bob Bowser The Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C. began in 1982 with a group of volunteers. The Moving Wall was established in 1985 as a means to bring the experience of the Vietnam Memorial to those people who could not afford to make the trip to Washington D.C.

Congressman Bergman also talked about being a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War, and personally knew many of the names on the Wall.

Of those who gave speeches, all invoked a personal connection to the Vietnam War. All had relatives who served and most knew names on the Wall.

“For me, this is very personal. I served in Vietnam and knew some of these guys,” said U.P. Vietnam Veteran Terry Teeples, “but a few years ago I had a stroke and lost many of my memories. I’m here today to look at the wall and see if I can recognize some of these names and perhaps trigger some memories of the guys I knew there.”

Katelyn Rader, representing U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, stated that there were just under 100 names on the Wall from the U.P.

Locally, those names include James Dankowski, U.S. Army from Mackinac Island, and Francis Feneley, U.S. Air Force from Curtis. Feneley is officially listed as Missing In Action.

One of the volunteers at the Wall explained, “Most of the names are from those killed in action. There are also MIAs and POWs listed.”

Another name on the Wall with local connections is Roger Nesbit, U.S. Marines. He is listed as being from Luce County and was KIA.

He grew up in Gould City and graduated from Engadine High School. Engadine’s most prestigious award is the “Roger Nesbit Trophy,” which is awarded in football each year.

Other names from the EUP include:

Luce County—James Gruezke - U.S. Army; Gerald Hetrick - U.S. Marines; Donald Taylor -U.S. Army; Wallace Thorson - U.S. Marines; Clifford Williams - U.S. Marines.

Chippewa County:— Brimley: Donald Bumstead - U.S. Marines, Charles Howard - U.S. Army; Dafter: Michael Meehan - U.S. Army; Fibre: Frank Maki - U.S. Army; Kinchloe: Ivan King - U.S. Army; Pickford: Larry Smith -U.S. Army; Sault Ste. Marie: Harrison Bell - U.S. Army, Harry Desormeaux - U.S. Army, Michael Poliski - U.S. Army, Ronald Somes - U.S. Army, Kenneth Verrett - U.S. Army, Dennis Wirt - U.S. Army and Milan Wydra - U.S. Marines.

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