Little Flanders Field receives makeover

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Volunteers from Home Depot, Michigan State Police and Marine Corps League 1327 Alpena Detachment paint the crosses at Little Flanders Field in Alpena. Each cross honors a man or woman who died during combat.

ALPENA — Volunteers from Home Depot, Michigan State Police and Marine Corps League #1327, Alpena Detachment met at Little Flander’s Field Tuesday to spruce up crosses which represent the men and women from the Alpena area who died during combat.

About two dozen people were putting a fresh coat of white paint on the crosses that honor those lost during the Civil War through to the war in Afghanistan. The name plates were removed, but will be put back on and everything will be ready for the Memorial Day celebration on May 28.

According to Home Depot Community Captain Jerry Plohocky a grant for the project was received from the Team Depot Foundation and the local store also donated supplies needed for the work. He said store employees volunteered to help because the company believes in supporting the community, especially the veterans who live here and died for our country. Plohocky said it has been about five years since the crosses were painted and it is important to the store that they look nice for those they honor.

“Our associates who volunteered to do this are doing it out of love, country and commitment to the community,” he said. “We want to present a good and honorable picture for our veterans on Memorial Day and every day.”

Marine Corps League Commandant Frank Rosinski said the Marine Corps League is like other service organizations and includes Marines and some Navy veterans who worked with Marines. He said the volunteers do projects in the area that help veterans and help to improve the conditions of the crosses was needed.

“They were a little weathered and we wanted to get them back to the bright white like they are in Arlington National Cemetery,” Rosinski said. “These are all individuals who died in combat and I think it is the least we can do for them.”

Michigan State Police Alpena Post Commander John Grimshaw said MSP has several initiatives that support veterans. He said MSP asked Home Depot if it could be a part of the project and the store welcomed it without hesitation.

“We have many active and retired military in our ranks, so this is the type of thing that we want to do to give back to the community,” Grimshaw said.

Grimshaw said Tuesday’s project coincided with Peace Officer Memorial Day, where fallen law enforcement officers are remembered and honored. He said there were a few new troopers cleaning near graves of troopers who are buried in the area.

“This was all an easy mix and both projects compliment each other very well,” he said.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.