This page is dedicated to those who have been honored by family, friends etc. by way of the Thomas Township “Hometown Heroes” banner project. Thomas Township and the Downtown Development Authority is proud to display the banners of those residents, past and present, who have served or are currently serving the United States of America.
ARMY – AIR FORCE STAFF SERGEANT
JUNE 1942 – DECEMBER 1945
WORLD WAR II
My Father, My Hero!
-Honored by Judy Fanning
MARINE CORPS – SERGEANT
1995 – 2002
Mark has always been a great person. From a young age he was always focused on goals and trying to be the best. He is a loyal and loving son, father, husband, brother, uncle and friend. Anyone that has the pleasure of knowing him is better because of him.
-Honored by Judy Fanning
ARMY – E3
APRIL 20TH, 1976 – JANUARY 10TH, 1979
Marty is a proud American who enlisted in the Army at age 17. He is a great man who has your back which makes him a great friend as well!
-Honored by American Gasser Hot Rod Shop
MARINE CORPS – PRIVATE FIRST CLASS
1951 – 1954
Our father was a proud Marine. While serving our county he received the following medals; National Defense, Korean Service with 1 star and the United Nations Service Medal. Bob was an honest and humble man. He was a loving father, grandfather, and a dear friend to everyone. Bob passed away September 24, 1983 at the young age of 50. Gone but never forgotten.
-Honored by Rick Pahssen
DAVID A. SOMMERS
AIR FORCE – SERGEANT
MAY 1969 – MAY 1973
Long before we were married he proudly served in the Air Force. He completed a tour in Vietnam as a combat photographer where he flew hundreds of hours documenting the Air Force’s role in the war. He earned an Air Medal and Commendation Medal. He then served two years with the air demonstration team, The Thunderbirds, where he traveled the U.S. representing the Air Force. Ever since we have been married he has continued serving his community in various roles that were instilled in him while serving the country.
-Honored by Edith Sommers
FLORENZIO M. ORNELAS
ARMY – SP4-E-4
DECEMBER 8, 1964 – AUGUST 21, 1966
Florenzio volunteered to go to Vietnam. He was very honored to serve his Country. His family is very proud of him and feels he deserves to be included in this honor because he grew up in Shields and Saginaw. He passed away on June 26th, 2020.
–Honored by Darlene Ornelas
ARTHUR D. NOEY
NAVY – LT. COMMANDER
1971 – 1991
Art Noey proud to have served his country. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1963 and served for 28 years, three of which were active duty. He was deployed aboard the USS Midway and spent the better part of 1971 in Vietnam. In 1991, Lt. Commander Noey retired from the Navy, having thoroughly enjoyed his time abroad, with the Philippines and Japans being among his favorites. He credits the Navy for teaching him discipline. Today he owns and operates three (3) Maytag stores between Saginaw and Frankenmuth.
-Honored by Paige Breece
NAVY – TORPEDOMAN’S MATE THIRD CLASS USNR
JUNE 15, 1943 – MARCH 15, 1946
WORLD WAR II
My father served his country starting at age 17. He was a resident of Thomas Township and also a business owner, he owned “Paul Bunyan Meat Products.”
-Honored by Ann Pahssen
1952 – 1954
My Grandfather is a strong man with a desire to give back to the community. He currently serves as the Michigan State Commander for the American GI Forum and assists with military funerals as a chaplain.
-Honored by Alex Ornelas
JACK E. TEMPLE
ARMY – COMBAT ENGINEER – SERGEANT E5
JUNE 1953 – JULY 1955
I am very proud of my Dad.
-Honored by Kimberly Alfano
ARMY AIR FORCE – MASTER SERGEANT
1945 – 1945 & 1950 – 1953
My father, Edmund, enlisted in the US Army Air Force in 1941 at the age of 22 and served in the European Theater through the end of the war in 1945. He was recalled in 1950 to serve in the Korean War and served until 1953 with his final rank as Master Sergeant. He passed away and was buried with military honors in 2007.
-Honored by Patrick Wurtzel
WILLIAM O. PRINE
NAVY – LIEUTENANT (JG), USNR
1943 – 1945
WORLD WAR II
Enlisting in the US Navy “to do his part for Uncle Sam”, William received his high school diploma while at sea. WW II ended with Lieutenant J.G. Prine aboard a Merchant Marine tanker in the Panama Canal. He earned the Atlantic, Mediterranean Middle East, Pacific War Zone Bars, and the Victory Medal. A Kings Point graduate commissioned Ensign USNR, and a University of Michigan Architecture graduate, William worked as an architect until retirement. This nomination is in William’s honor for the integrity with which he led his life. William is remembered as a loving family man and proud American Veteran.
-Honored by Becky Prine Sullivan
ARMY – SPECIALIST 2ND CLASS
MARCH 1955 – MARCH 1958
Vern enlisted and served in the US Army Signal Corp and achieved the rank of Specialist 2nd class. He was stationed in the US Army Signal Defense Engineering Agency as a radar repair technician assigned to the Missile Master System which was the defense of Washington D.C. With pride and dedication, Vern served 40 years in Thomas Township as a police officer, board member, and Treasurer. Vern is a much-loved husband, father grandfather, great grandfather, and friend.
-Honored by Yvonne Weber
NAVY – E4
2008 – 2014
Brett decided to serve his country after High School in the most challenging way possible, he wanted to be a Navy SEAL. He was not dissuaded even when I told him he had a better chance statistically to be an NFL player. He accepted the challenge with the words “I just want to be the best.” Though his dream to be a SEAL was not realized, he became a Rescue Swimmer and Weapons Instructor. He did two tours of duty assigned to the assault ship USS Makin Island. He served his country proudly and in my eyes, he is the best.
-Honored by Craig Monahan
JACK J. BETHURUM
AIR FORCE – SERGEANT
1947 – 1953
Jack served his country in the Air Force during the Korean War with the same selfless existence in which he lives his life today. Though we always thank him for his service, we think that he would love to see his picture on a banner in Thomas Township, the community where he has lived with his family for so many years.
-Honored by Kathy Potucek
CHARLES “RUSTY” VAN MARTER
NAVY – FIRST CLASS PETTY OFFICER
1962 – 1987
Our dad served in the United States Navy for 25 years. He served in the Vietnam Era and experienced the ridicule from Americans when he returned home. He does not talk much about that time for many reasons. He also does not brag or display the fact that he was in the Navy as he is a very humble man. We would like to honor him publicly for his service and dedication to our country, which is something he would never ask for or expect. He is our family’s hero and we love and respect him!
-Honored by Dana McClure, Tracy Aldrich, and his entire family
ARMY AIR FORCES – T/SGT
1941 – 1944
Enlisted in the Army Air Forces on December 27th, 1941. Flew as a T/SGT with the 341st Sqdn, 97th Bomb Group. They pulled the 1st daylight bombing raid from England and the oldest Fortress Group overseas. Veterans of 4 campaigns, 1st Fortress to bomb Europe from England, 1st to strike Germany from Africa; 1st to land an American Fortress in Russia. He was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for extraordinary heroism. Metals: Air Medal w/2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Presidential Unit Emblem, WWII Victory Medal, European – African – Middle East Campaign Medal w/2 Silver Stars, American Campaign Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, and Honorable Service Lapel Button
-Honored by Kerri Stockford
ARMY – SPEC 4
1971 – 1973
Everything about Ron exemplifies what service means. Ron always goes out of his way to help people and never expects anything in return. Whether it be fixing his granddaughter’s bike or helping a neighbor fix a chimney. Ron is always willing to help. His grandkids love him and he returns that love tenfold.
-Honored by Josh Kemerer