Grayling Main Street program launches banner program to honor service of veterans
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
The Grayling Main Street program rolled out a new promotion to honor members of the armed services just in time for Veteran’s Day.
Banners recognizing the service of five veterans were placed on light poles in downtown Grayling.
Grayling Main Street Executive Director Rae Gosling learned of the banner program at a National Main Street Convention held in Kansas City, Missouri.
In a session led by Main Street leaders from Emporia, Kansas, Gosling was informed how they use banners to recognize veterans as way to leverage the uniqueness of the community to develop programs.
Emporia is known as the birthplace of Veteran’s Day in 1953, when Nov. 11 was changed from Armistice Day, to mark the end of World War I, to a day to recognize veterans who fought in all wars.
Gosling and community members kick-started the banner program in Grayling to honor the significance of Camp Grayling’s history in the community, the veterans who call Grayling home, veterans who visit Grayling, and current armed service members who train here.
“With having Camp Grayling right in our back yard, it made a lot of sense that we could be leveraging the unique military element of our community for something,” Gosling said.
The banners serve as a design element and promotions aspect for the downtown business district.
“We get to promote our community, promote our veterans, and promote our history, and also have a beatification effect for our community and put up something that is colorful and engaging and is valuable and useful for honoring veterans showing our community pride,” Gosling said.
Sponsorship for the banner this year cost $100. Next year, it will cost $200 for a banner. The intent is to have the banners placed on 80 light poles from the Crawford County Courthouse to the Grayling Elementary School. The added cost for next year will pay for banner brackets to be placed on light poles located outside the immediate downtown business district.
The sponsorship fees will go to support community organizations. Ten percent will go to Grayling Main Street for administrative costs. Forty-five percent will go to the Crawford Historical Society for its military annex building, while the remaining 45 percent will go the Naval Sea Cadets program, which meets at Camp Grayling.
The Sea Cadets will help put up, take down, and store the banners as the program grows.
“They’re going to use this as a service project to connect with veterans,” Gosling said.
To sponsor a veteran, the person must live, work or actively volunteer in the community.
Gosling sponsored a banner for her father-in-law, Charles Gosling, who served in the U.S. Army as a specialist from 1968 to 1970. He served as a doctor in Grayling for several years. Gosling, who recently retired, now resides in Charlevoix.
Alayne Hansen, the business services professional for the Michigan Works Northeast Consortium for Crawford and Oscoda County, sponsored a banner for her father, the late Ralph H. Hoste. He served as an electrician for the U.S. Coast Guard based in Cheboygan from 1950 to 1954.
“He was a natural leader and was respected by his fellow Coast Guard members,” Hansen said.
Following his time in the Coast Guard, Hoste continued to serve as an electrician in Center Line. He and his wife, Helen, had nine children.
Hansen said supporting veterans is close to her heart with what she does at Michigan Works, finding members who served in the armed forces jobs and training opportunities.
“It is just a great way to recognize his service and what a great man he was and great father,” Hansen said. “He loved his country was very supportive of veterans.”
Hannelore Dysinger, the director of Crawford County Housing Commission, sponsored a banner for her husband, Stacey L. Dysinger. He served in the U.S. Army as a specialist from 1985 to 1989. Most of Dysinger’s years in the service were spent in Germany, where the couple met.
“I think it’s great that Grayling allows me to display him and to honor him since he served the country just like many other veterans have,” Hannelore said.
Kate DeVries-McIsaac, from Tip’n the Mitten, sponsored a banner for her spouse and business partner, Stacy McIsaac. She served in the U.S. Army from 2010 to 2012 as a specialist, mechanical technician, and operator for U.S. Patriot missile launchers.
“It’s just a chance to thank her for her willingness to do something that I would have a hard time being willing to do,” Kate said.
Tim Rombach, the chairperson of the Michigan Main Street Committee and Grayling’s Downtown Development Authority, sponsored a banner for his father, Donald C. Rombach. He served two tours in Vietnam in the U.S. Army as an engineer from 1968 to 1971 at the height of the war.
“He rode on some convoys as they would go from one place to another,” Tim said. “He definitely saw live fire.”
The Rombachs started coming to Grayling in 1989.
“Fly fishing is what really brought us to the area,” he said.
Tim followed in his father’s footsteps and is a senior engineer for ATC Group Services in Grayling. He appreciates the opportunity to recognize his father, who also resides in Crawford County, for his service.
“For me to be able to do that, it’s a way of thanking him as being an individual that is worthy of appreciation outside of being his son,” Tim said.
While Memorial Day is held to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, Tim is pleased the community is starting a program to honor veterans.
“You can only thank the ones that are here with any meaning,” he said.
Tim added that the banners are a way to give Vietnam veterans a proper homecoming since they received a poor reception from civilians when they arrived back in the U.S.
“He did not feel as a veteran that people were grateful for the work that they were doing,” Tim said. “He didn’t feel appreciated by society at all. It took many years for that attitude or that social consciousness to turn around to something that was appreciated.”
Application for banners, which will be displayed in 2019, started being accepted on Nov. 1. For more information, call (989) 390 7689 or e-mail GraylingVeteranBanners@gmail.com.