ESCANABA — Thurday is Veteran’s Day at the U.P. State fair, and this morning there was a special award ceremony given to the U.P. Veteran of the Year. This year’s recipient is Bernard Stanaway Jr.
Bernie, as most people know him, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, and the post commander for the Negaunee VFW Post 3165. He’s an active member of several clubs and organizations around the community, as well as an active volunteer helping everyone from the Boy Scouts to retirees and fellow veterans.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer was given the opportunity to present the plaque to Bernie, honoring him for all of the work he’s done to help those in the community.
“Our state, our country, our families, and our communities are better off because of Mr. Stanaway’s hard work and dedication,” Governor Whitmer said. “So it is my honor to acknowledge Bernard Stanaway Jr. with the 2019 U.P. Veteran of the Year award, and let him know we are a grateful state, in all 83 counties, for the work that he does everyday.”
State Senator Ed McBroom and State Representatives Beau Lafave, Sara Cambensy, and Greg Markkanen were also all in attendance, and they presented Bernie with their own certificate for the work that he’s done.
U.S. Representative Jack Bergman, who is also a Marine Corps veteran, read Bernie’s honor into the congressional record, where it will always be a part of history.
“That’s part of the congressional record, so he can go there, his kids, his grandkids, it is an official part of the history of our country,” said Representative Bergman. “And our country is what it is because of people like Bernie stepping up to serve, and doing the right thing for the right reasons. I encourage everybody to give a little more to your community, give a little more to your country. As John F. Kennedy said, ‘don’t ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’ And in Bernie’s case, what can you do for your community and what can you do for the next generations.”
As for Bernie, was honored to be given the award and to be recognized by his peers.
“It’s a great honor to get this award today,” he said. “It’s very humbling. I’m not one to try and pat myself on the back or anything but it’s very humbling and very rewarding to get this. I don’t do what I do because I want accolades, I do it because I see a need and I do it. It’s just who I am.”
Bernie also received congressional recognition from Senators Stabenow and Peters, who could not be in attendance. Wayne Roy, who is a member of the Gladstone American Legion Post 71, was also awarded the Honorary U.P. Veteran of the Year at the ceremony.