Some people pass the time by immortalizing others in bronze and painting, Gerry Evans uses a different kind of medium.
“I do the Veterans of the Month articles, we’re in our 16th year now,” said Evans. “We honor deceased veterans. Most veterans don’t want to open themselves to that chapter in their lives.”
Evans is an Army veteran, having served during the Korean War from 1951 to 1956.
“I joined the reserves in 1951 when I was in East Jordan High School,” said Evans.
“I was in the 310 Ordinance Depot in Charlevoix. It used to be an old school house where they held their meetings.”
Evans went to Korea in May 1954 and served until October 1955 as an electrician for the seventh division.
“I was in headquarters and headquarters commandant as an electrician,” said Evans. “I was over there during the occupation. They signed the truce on my birthday in July 27, 1953, that’s when they set up the DMZ.”
After his tenure in the Armed Forces, Evans worked for Bell Telephone in Detroit for 12 years.
“After I was finished working for Bell Telephone then I came back to East Jordan, my father had been raised up here,” said Evans. “I worked for Top O Michigan Electric for seven and a half years.”
Evans is a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, serving as Commander of the American Legion Ernest Peterson Post 228 in 1999.
“I starting writing the Veterans of the Month article because I wanted to honor my father Ernest Evans, who had been in World War I. I had seen something similar to it done before,” said Evans. “I also started the Veterans Appreciation Day, which takes place the second Wednesday in May.”
The Veterans Appreciation day is designed to educate area students about all branches of service. Artifacts will be on-hand for students to see from all periods of war from World War I to present.
“We get 600 to 800 kids coming through the post in eight hours,” said Evans. “It’s good that kids get to see that their freedoms didn’t come free, and everything has its price.”
Evans is also involved in honoring veterans with a flag ceremony after their passing.
“We do a flag-raising ceremony, a bugler will play taps, and then the flag will be presented to the family after the ceremony is complete,” said Evans. “I’ve had a lot of widows say they don’t feel closure until we’ve had that ceremony for them.”
To honor a veteran in a flag-raising ceremony or Veteran of the Month article, please contact Gerald E. Evans at (231) 588-6067.
Evans has two children: Ernest and Ann who live in East Jordan, and Atlas.
“I’ve been married to my wife Sally now for 60 years,” said Evans. “I married her in Essexville before I went to Korea.”
Evans also takes care of his wife Sally, and is on the Committee for revitalizing American Legion Posts.
“I am taking care of my wife, she has some health problems,” said Evans. “She’s just caught up to me in age, she’s 82 now.”
He added, “I’m on the State Committee for revitalizing American Legion posts and starting new ones.”
Evans is currently living in Ellsworth, but he does spend some time in East Jordan at the house where he was raised.
Boyne City’s free salute to Veterans and Armed Forces, “America Sings,” will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9 in the Performing Arts Center at Boyne City High School.
Entertainers include the Northern Michigan Chorale, Boyne City High School Jazz Band and Boyne Meets Broadway show tunes from the High School Drama Department, Jake Slater’s Tribute to Elvis, Gaeyle Gerrie-Boss and others.
Admission is free and doors open at 1:30 p.m.
VETERANS DAY OBSERVANCE
The Boyne City American Legion will hold a Veterans Day ceremony in Veterans Memorial Park at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11.
FREE VETERANS BREAKFAST
Veterans and their families are invited to a free breakfast at the North Central Michigan College cafeteria on Tuesday, November 11, from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. The college’s Student Veterans Association and Chase Bank are sponsoring the event to show appreciation to our local veterans and their families.
No reservations are necessary.