Thank a Veteran This Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a time for us to remember and pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to America. It is not only a day to honor our veterans, but to thank them as well. We certainly would not enjoy the blessings we do here in Michigan if it were not for their dedication.

I would also like to thank the families of those who serve for their sacrifices. They endure while their son or daughter, brother or sister, husband or wife preserve our freedoms and spread democracy across the globe. All too often they never return home.

 Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day because it was set aside as a time to honor those killed in the Civil War by decorating their graves. While first widely observed in 1868 to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, after World War I, observations began to honor those who died in all of America’s wars.

I encourage everyone to do something to honor the brave men and women who fought and died for our great nation as well as those now serving. Many such heroes live and work right here in Southwest Michigan and across our state.  Thank a veteran for his or her service, or proudly display the American flag.

Most of all, remember our fallen heroes who gave their lives so that we could remain free. We owe them a great debt. Because of fine men and women like them our nation remains strong and the envy of the world.

Discover Michigan’s Natural Beauty

Springtime in Michigan is finally here.  After a long winter, the flowers are in bloom, the days are warm and the nights are cool.

As many of you plan your summer getaways, I encourage you to look at the numerous outdoor recreational opportunities our great state has to offer.

Whether you are discovering Michigan’s natural beauty at one of our state parks or on one of our gorgeous beaches, you can connect with your family, have fun and support the local economy all at the same time.

Michigan’s backyard offers world-class fishing, boating and camping. And by enjoying the state’s outdoors, you help support Michigan’s tourism industry and the thousands of small business job providers and families who depend on it.

To help you with your vacation plans, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has valuable, user-friendly information online at:

The site includes a map of state campgrounds and parks and links to resources like campsite amenities and an online reservation page.

Pure Michigan also offers excellent information on campgrounds at:

In Michigan, we are truly blessed with a wealth of natural wonders. I hope you join me enjoying our great outdoors this summer.


A Time to Honor Our Fallen Police Officers

Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe and respond in times of crisis.  Sadly, last year more than 150 of these brave men and women never returned home.

To salute the dedication and sacrifice of law enforcement, in 1962 Congress established May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week on which it falls as National Police Week.

Communities nationwide and across southwest Michigan will unite this week to honor and remember those officers who were killed in the line of duty, as well as the family, friends and fellow officers they left behind.

The names of the officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in 2010 will be formally dedicated Friday evening on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., during the 23rd Annual Candlelight Vigil.

Closer to home, I encourage residents to join local police officers and their families as we honor the officers who lost their lives in service to our community.

The annual Law Enforcement Memorial Day Service will begin at noon on Friday at the Law Enforcement Memorial located in Lake Bluff Park in St. Joseph.

While the ceremony is a chance to pay tribute to these heroes, police week is a time to thank the law enforcement officers still protecting us.

May God keep them safe and bless their families with strength.