Monument to honor Ossineke men killed in action

OSSINEKE — The Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox monuments stationed at the entrance of Ossineke soon will be joined by a new monument honoring Ossineke military veterans who were killed in action in two wars.

Friday wooden mockups of copper plaques that eventually will be affixed to the monument will be presented to the families of Bruce Hahn and Roger Brilinski during a presentation at Sanborn Elementary in Ossineke. The event will take place beginning at 2 p.m.

The monument is a massive chunk of limestone embedded in a concrete base near the statues and is easily viewed along US-23.

Both men attended the school as youths, according to resident Dan Crevier, one of the volunteers who has worked to make the monument a reality. He said the ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. at the elementary’s annual event honoring veterans.

Crevier said Hahn was drafted and did not volunteer to go, but did his service to his country all the same.

“Brilinski was a volunteer but they needed to be recognized for this,” he said. “Times are different.”

Friday’s ceremony at Sanborn will honor more than 20 area veterans who were invited to the school for festivities, singing, a guest speaker and the presentation of gifts created by students.

The event will be followed with a small reception for veterans and is open to the public, according to school officials.

Crevier, a Vietnam veteran, was childhood friends with Hahn who was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam attaining the rank of staff sergeant.

Hahn was in the infantry and was killed during a combat situation in Cambodia May 6, 1970, at the age of 21.

Brilinski also was a member of the Army infantry and was sergeant. He was killed during a helicopter crash in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm on Feb. 27, 1991. He was 25 years old.

Crevier said that although the men were killed no one really did anything in the community with a monument to honor the men.

He said through the work of many volunteers the idea to get a large limestone slab and to affix metal plaques to it was conceived. Crevier said most of the work to get the stone to the location, to pour the cement, and do much of the work was from a group of volunteers from Ossineke.

The idea to put plaques on the monument was going to be a costly one, until resident Bob Schultz got involved and made wooden mockups of plaques that will be cast in copper by Schultz at a lower cost.

Crevier said although he hopes there are no more men or women ever killed in action from the area there is room on the monument to add more plaques.

“Hopefully that will never happen,” he said.

Crevier said the original location of the monument was proposed to be at the Sanborn Township Park on Lake Huron, where Hahn really liked to spend time as a youth but the organizers wanted the monument where it could get more exposure to the public.

Crevier said the monument not only was a way to honor Ossineke residents who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country, but also to show that a rift in the country over the Vietnam war has been largely healed over the decades.

Jason Ogden can be reached via email at jogden@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Jason on Twitter @jo_alpenanews.

What: Dedicationof veterans monument

When: Friday at 2 p.m.

Where: Sanborn Elementary Schoolin Ossineke