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Meetings & Minutes

Michigan's World War 1 Centennial Commission Final Report 2018


Michigan World War I Centennial Commission

December 21, 2018

Table of Contents


Introduction 3

Michigan in World War I 4

Report of the Commission 5

Recommendations 6

Members 7

Public Act 97 8


This report was adopted by the Michigan World War I Centennial Commission at its final meeting on December 7, 2018.  

Senate Bill 248 was approved by the Governor and took immediate effect on July 13, 2017, as public Act 97. The Act created the Commission and tasked it with aiding the State of Michigan in commemorating the role that Michiganders played in the First World War, which began in 1914 and lasted into 1919.  No appropriations were approved for the effort.

Members of the Commission were appointed as follows. On July 21, 2017, Speaker of the House of Representatives Tom Leonard announced his appointment along with Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof. On October 27, 2017, Governor Rick Snyder announced his appointments. The Act sunsets on December 31, 2018.

Members of the Commission would like to thank Governor Rick Snyder and the leadership of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs for their support of the Michigan World War 1 Centennial Commission..

Additional thanks go to Susan Mennenga from the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, the MidWest Project Manager for the World War 1 Centennial Commission.

Michigan in World War I

A total of 873,383 Michigan men registered for military service under the selective service acts; 135,485 were inducted. Some 5,000 Michigan men were killed in battle or died of disease while in the service; 15,000 were wounded.

On the home front, “Michigan contributed mightily with her fields and factories toward winning the war.” Women played a large role through many roles including working in factories.

Before service in World War 1, the Michigan National Guard was expanded by the U.S. War Department. The Michigan Guard merged with members of the Wisconsin Guard to form the 32nd (“Red Arrow”) Infantry Division on July 18, 1917, with Michigan furnishing 8,000 troops of all arms. Michiganders served in other units such as the First Michigan Ambulance Company, which was incorporated into the 42nd (“Rainbow”) Division as Michigan's representative. Michigan also provide three volunteer units, the 16th Regiment of Engineers (Railway), Base Hospitals 17 (Harper Hospital )  and 36 (Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery). The North Russian Expeditionary Force (A.N.R.E.F.) was part of the National (Draftees) Army and had a majority of the men from Michigan.

Report of the Commission

At 10 a.m. on Friday, December 14, 2017, Michigan’s World War 1 Centennial Commission was called to order by Major General Gregory Vadnais. After introductions elections were held for Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary. Dennis Skupinski became Chair, Mark Sutton became Vice Chair and Shelly Kasprzycki became Secretary. The Commission will sunset on December 31, 2018.

The Michigan WW1 Centennial Commission’s website: ww1cc.org/Michigan is hosted by the U.S. World War 1 Centennial Commission at “no charge” and will be archived and in the Library of Congress.

The WW1 Centennial Commission set up the following committees: Government, Education, Veterans Organizations , Museums & Libraries, Home Front and Overseas.

The following events took place:

February 26, 2018: The members of the heavy metal band Sabaton were awarded the Certificate of Excellence for their music. The songs are about historical events and a number of them are about events during the World War. Challenge coins were given also along with the story of the Military Challenge coin.

April 12, 2018: Society of Automotive Engineers, World Congress, Cobo Center, Detroit. Dennis Skupinski presented a paper on the “Liberty Truck” along with a display.

April 14, 2018: The Tallis Scholars performed a War & Peace concert at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Detroit. A World War 1 Color Guard was provided and Tartanius Flynn performed as a Four Minute Man.

May 28, 2018: White Chapel Cemetery, Troy Memorial Service for the American North Russia Expeditionary Force or the “Polar Bears”.

June 30, 2018: 100 Cities/100 Memorials sponsored by the Pritzker Military Museum & Library and the U.S. World War 1 Centennial Commission awarded to “The Survivor” Beaverton’s War Monument. Susan Mennenga (Pritzker & U.S.WW1 Centennial Commission) with Dennis Skupinski awarded the grant and certificate at the rededication ceremony.

August 4-5, 2018: The Michigan Military Heritage Museum in Grass Lake hosted “Over Here” Michigan’s World War 1 Centennial event. The Coe House had Home Front activities while the museum had music, displays and remembrance. The Brass Quartet from the 126th Infantry Regiment Band performed along with the River Raisin Ragtime Revue & The Dugouts. The WW1 Maquette, one of two, was also on display from August 4-19. Michigan was the first state to host it.

October 1-2, 2018: Pritzker Military Museum & Library Chicago, Il. Dennis Skupinski represented Michigan at the States Caucus and U.S. World War 1 Centennial Commission meeting.

November 8, 2018: State Capitol Building, Lansing. Michigan World War 1 Centennial event for the state legislators. Mark Sutton acted as master of ceremony.

November 11, 2018: Detroit’s Veteran Day parade theme was World War 1. Bells of Peace National Bell Ringing Ceremony started at 11 a.m., bells rang 21 times. Jerry Benson coordinator.

November 17, 2018: A ceremony honoring Eugene I. VanAntwerp was held at the Michigan Military Heritage Museum. Mr. Van Antwerp was instrumental in making November 11th a National Holiday in 1938 as the National Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Originally, it was called Armistice Day honoring veterans of the World War but was changed by Congress in 1954 to Veterans Day to honor all those who served. A Special Tribute from the Governor, a Proclamation by the Mayor of Detroit and a Resolution by the Michigan Assembly were given to Mr. Van Antwerp’s four surviving children, Agnes, Dan, George and Dacia

During December 2018: Michigan World War 1 Centennial Commission paper items to be given to the state of Michigan archives. Michigan World War 1 Centennial Commission non-paper items will be archived but that decision has not been made yet.

The website will be copied (date unknown) and archived in the Library of Congress.


The recommendations from the summary report of the Michigan World War 1 Centennial Commission are:

1) That attention be given along with a mandate for planning of important anniversaries of military history events such as the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2 and Korea, 50th anniversary of the end of Vietnam, etc. The reason for this is to prevent what happened with the World War 1 Centennial namely; getting started too late, having to deal with legislation, not selecting the best and most talented people for the commission, just to list a few of the issues.

2) This responsibility be given to a regularly constituted workgroup to be composed of the following:  a member of the a veterans organization, a representative of the Capitol Commission, an educator, a museum person, a business person and a historical/cultural foundation. A representative of the Dept. of Military & Veterans Affairs would facilitate this group, which could work with a newly formed or existing commission, as initiated via legislation or executive order. These seven people would work to create a pool of qualified candidates to serve on the various commissions and make sure that they are organized in advance of the anniversary. They would provide "Seed Money" for the commission and also serve as consultants. This subcommittee would meet a few times a year and provide quarterly or bi-annual reports. The Michigan Historical Commission may be the place for this subcommittee to reside. Besides having an existing organization from which it could be organized, staffed and overseen, it also has the ability to move quickly.


Joseph Calvaruso of Galesburg -- executive director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation; bachelor’s degree in management and economics from Albion College and a master’s degree in finance from Western Michigan University.

Christopher Causley of Eastpointe -- logistics specialist for the United States Army Tank Automotive Command; a founding member and president of the Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society Museum in Eastpointe; associate’s degree in automotive technology from Macomb Community College and a bachelor’s degree in military history from the American Military University.

John (Jack) Dempsey of Plymouth -- member of Dickinson Wright PLLC; former member of the Michigan Historical Commission; bachelor’s degree in social and political science from Michigan State University and a law degree from George Washington University. Grandson of a World War I veteran.

Edwin Fogarty of Hillsdale -- adjunct mathematics instructor at Jackson College and the great-nephew of a World War I veteran; bachelor’s degree in mathematics and psychology from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in mathematics and statistics from Wayne State University.

David Hales of Farmington Hills -- social studies consultant for Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency supporting K-12 teachers and schools in social studies curriculum, instruction, or assessment; previously served on the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission; bachelor’s degree in social studies and language arts and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Michigan State University.

Ken Hibl of Clare -- served as the Clare city manager for nearly 20 years and previously served 31 years of active service in the United States Army; bachelor’s degree in professional aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and graduate of the U.S. Army War College and the U.S. Army Installation Management Course.

Shelly Kasprzycki of Jackson -- executive director of the Michigan Humanities Council working with the board of directors to connect people, grants, programs, and communities to create quality cultural programs; bachelor’s degree in health administration from Eastern Michigan University and a master’s degree in public health education from Central Michigan University.

Dennis (Denny) Olson of Quinnesec -- served as Breitung Charter Township Supervisor for 14 years; chair of the Dickinson County Township Association; a board member of the Michigan Township Association, the Great Lakes Timber Professional Association, and the Michigan Association of Timberman; owner and operator of Olson Sand and Gravel, owns and operates a log truck, and U.S. Army veteran who served in the Vietnam War.

Dennis Skupinski of Ann Arbor -- banker with Huntington Bank; a leader of the effort to commemorate the centennial of World War I in Michigan, producing Michigan’s World War I Centennial News Report since June of 2012; bachelor’s degree in zoology from Michigan State University.

James Spurr of Portage -- senior partner at Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, PLC; 36 years of experience practicing law and previously served on the Michigan War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission; president of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society; member of board of trustees of the Michigan Maritime Museum; bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Wayne State University Law School.

Mark Sutton of Eaton Rapids -- public relations director of the American Legion Department of Michigan; president of the Michigan American Legion Foundation; bachelor’s degree in finance from Walsh College.

Mike VerHulst of Grand Haven-- Exhibits Facilitator for the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven and has been curating exhibitions since 2014; bachelor’s degree in history and museum studies from Central Michigan University; latest exhibit titled Courage Without Fear: The Red Arrow Division in World War I: the exhibit focused on West Michigan’s contributions to the war and the role the Red Arrow Division played in securing victory for the allies. Appointed by Senate Majority Leader, Arlan Meekhof, Fall 2017.

Mark Wilson of Evart -- Public Works Director for the City of Evart; former United States Army infantryman; longtime advocate for historical preservation with an emphasis on cemetery and gravestone preservation, and restoration; provides hands on workshops as well as educational presentations on gravestone and cemetery preservation for municipal and private organizations; intimately involved with local history and Historical Societies; lifetime member of the VFW, and AMVETS organization. Appointed by Speaker, Tom Leonard, July 21, 2017.

Public Act 97

Act No. 97

Public Acts of 2017

Approved by the Governor

July 13, 2017

Filed with the Secretary of State

July 13, 2017

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 13, 2017




Introduced by Senators Warren, Colbeck, Rocca, Bieda, Ananich, Kowall, Conyers, O’Brien and Schmidt


AN ACT to create a commission to commemorate the centennial of World War I; to prescribe the powers and duties of the commission; to prescribe the powers and duties of certain state agencies and officials; and to repeal acts and parts of acts.


Sec. 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the “World War I centennial commission act”.

Sec. 2. As used in this act:

(a) “Commission” means the World War I centennial commission created in section 3.

(b) “Department” means the department of military and veterans affairs.

(c) “Veteran” means that term as defined in section 1 of 1965 PA 190, MCL 35.61.

Sec. 3. (1) The World War I centennial commission is created within the department.

(2) The commission shall consist of the director of the department, or his or her designee, and 13 members. The governor shall appoint 11 of those 13 members with the advice and consent of the senate, and the senate majority leader and the speaker of the house of representatives shall each appoint 1 member.

(3) The members first appointed to the commission must be appointed within 90 days after the effective date of this act.

(4) If a vacancy occurs on the commission, the governor shall make an appointment in the same manner as the original appointment.

(5) The governor may remove a member of the commission for incompetence, dereliction of duty, malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance in office, or any other good cause.

(6) The first meeting of the commission must be called by the director of the department. At the first meeting, the commission shall elect from among its members a chairperson and other officers as it considers necessary or appropriate. After the first meeting, the commission shall meet at least quarterly, or more frequently at the call of the chairperson or if requested by 7 or more members.

(7) A majority of the members of the commission constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at a meeting of the commission. A majority of the members present and serving are required for official action of the commission.

(8) The business that the commission may perform must be conducted at a public meeting of the commission held in compliance with the open meetings act, 1976 PA 267, MCL 15.261 to 15.275.

(9) A writing prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by the commission in the performance of an official function is subject to the freedom of information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246.

(10) Members of the commission shall serve without compensation. However, members of the commission may be reimbursed for their actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties as members of the commission.

Sec. 4. The commission shall do all of the following:

(a) Plan, develop, and execute programs, projects, and activities to commemorate the centennial of World War I.

(b) Encourage private organizations and state and local governments to organize and participate in activities organized by the commission.

(c) Facilitate and coordinate World War I centennial activities throughout this state.

(d) Serve as a clearinghouse for the collection and dissemination of information about World War I centennial events and plans.

(e) Develop recommendations on ways to commemorate the World War I centennial in this state and provide a report on these recommendations to the director, the governor, and the legislature.

Sec. 5. The department shall assist the commission in carrying out its duties under this act.

Enacting section 1. This act is repealed December 31, 2018.

This act is ordered to take immediate effect.


WWI Commission Meeting December 7, 2018 at the Michigan National Guard Headquarters

Meeting started at 1002
Moment of silence in recognition of Pearl Harbor attacks

Dennis Skupinski
Steve Kozera
Mark Sutton
Jerry Benson
Denny Olson and guest Carmel Olson
Jack Dempsey
On phone:
Joe Calvaruso
David Hales
Shelly Kasprzycki
Motion to accept meeting minutes from October 8, 2018 by Denny Olson, no corrections, seconded by
Edwin Fogerty, motion carried.
David Hale provided a summary of his efforts to provide education materials to school teachers.
City of Detroit Mayor gave tributes to November 11 and Eugene VanAntwerp
Mark Sutton mentioned that the MI Legionnaire Nov/Dec issue had a promotion for Bells of Peace and
WWI. The issue was sent to 96,000 Legion family members.
Discussion about the Summary Final Report. Lots of discussion about the future anniversaries coming
up, WWII, Korea, Vietnam. To promote either a commission for each or one commission that deals with
all of these anniversaries.
Motion by Jack Dempsey to accept the Summary Final Report with corrections to be made, second by
Denny Olson. Motion carried.

Motion to adjourn: by Denny Olson second Jack Dempsey motion carried.


World War One Commission Meeting October 5, 2018

Meeting held at the Michigan National Guard Headquarters, Lansing, Michigan.

Meeting opened at 1005

Dennis Skupinski

Steve Kozera

Mark Sutton

Jerry Benson

Edwin Fogerty

Denny Olson

Henry Schienebeck – Guest

On Phone:  

Mark Wilson

Mike Verhulst

Joe Caruso

David Hales

Chris Causley

Old business:

Report from David Hale: Promoting to schools to hold a program on November 9, asking to show three video documentaries.

Minutes of previous meeting:  motion by Denny Olson Second by Edwin Fogerty  Motion passed.

Steve reports that a proclamation about WWI from Governor and a Tribute for Eugene I. Van Antwerp.

Denny promoting the State Capitol Christmas Tree with World War One.  

Denny reports it was too late to add stuff the silver bells parade this year.

November 8 at Capitol:  12 to 1pm invited Governor and Lt. Governor.  A table will be present with WWI posters.

Jerry is working on a choir for the ceremony

Shelly – bell ringers??

New Business

Dennis received a certificate of appreciation from the Pritzker Museum.

Last meeting December 7, 2018 1000 in Lansing.

Meeting closed at 1051.

World War One Commission Meeting September 7, 2018

Meeting was held at the Michigan National Guard Headquarters in Lansing

Meeting Opened at 10:00am

On phone:

Chris Causley

Shelly Hendrick

Joe Calvaruso

Mike VerHulst

Another member joined the conversation at 17:13 minutes


Dennis Skupinski

Steve Kozera

Mark Sutton

Jack Dempsey

Matt Van Acker

Jerry Benson

Minutes of previous meeting: Motion by Jack Dempsey to accept minutes as written, second by Mark Sutton, motion passed.

New business:

Governor signed a proclamation recognizing the bell ringing on November 11, 2018 at 11 am

Silver Bell parade – Denny is working to get WWI trucks in the parade.

November 8, 12 -1 at the rotunda in capitol recognition.  Discussion about the ceremony.

Shelly is seeking bell ringers for November event.

Flanders Field reading? Jerry will read it

What comes first national anthem or the pledge?  According to U.S. Army protocol is anthem first and then pledge.

We still need WWI stories by commissioners and staff to the website.

Recommendation by Jack Dempsey to watch documentaries by David Reynolds from Oxford University in England on YouTube about World War One events.

Move to close: Motion by Mark Sutton, second Jack Dempsey, motioned passed.

Meeting closed at 10:56am

Next meeting October 5, 2018

10 am at the  3411 N. MLK Blvd. Room 229 Lansing,MI 48906 

Call in number is 517 481 7100 1003# 8080#

Also, our website ww1cc.org/michigan, please email me any events or news items that should published.

10 am at the

Next Meeting: September 7, 2018 

  10 am at the  3411 N. MLK Blvd. Room 229 Lansing,MI 48906 

Call in number is 517 481 7100 1003# 8080#

Also, our website ww1cc.org/michigan, please email me any events or news items that should published.


Michigan World War One Centennial Commission Meeting

Minutes of May 4, 2018

Location: Michigan National Guard Headquarters, Lansing, Michigan

Meeting started at 10:00 am

Present: Edwin Fogarty, Denny Olsen, Angela Simpson, Jerry Benson, Jack Dempsey, Mark Sutton, Dennis Skupinski, Joe Calvaruso,  Steve Kozera, Tim Loney,  Shelly Hendrick Kasprzycki, James McConnell

Motion to accept minutes by Mark Sutton, second by Joe Calvaruso, motion passed.

Old Business

VSO report – Mark Sutton next issue for MI Legionnaire coming out June first week.

Chris Causley – working on businesses that were present in WWI, finding it difficult to find information.

Jack Dempsey government report – Resolutions to Dennis by June 15.  Will email to committee.

Denny Olsen – met with township associations, dropped off resolution example to Michigan Township Association (1200 members).  Lansing Christmas Tree event working to get the WWI float in the Silver Bells Parade. Western Star Trucks dressing up a truck and want to be in the parade.

Logging Show in Wisconsin – Great Lakes Timber Professional Association Expo (a two state group) – Oshkosh, WI, September 6,7, and 8 doing Great War Theme.  Vendors are being encouraged to dress up their vehicles in red, white, and blue. Veterans will have free entry. A request to have the 32nd Division Flag on the pin with the U.S. Flag.

Veterans Day Parade in Detroit, WWI Theme

Veterans Day Ceremony in Lansing, Report Steve Kozera – at State Capitol Rotunda set for November 8, 12-1 pm for a WWI centennial event. Ring bells, invite all new and old legislatures.  Ceremony details TBA. Looking for bell ring group to perform there. Sherry volunteer to call Rotary Club if they know bell ringers. Idea to have a high school band to event. Jerry Benson will request to groups for a choir.  Bugler at end for TAPS.

Traveling WWI Memorial – Working to bring WWI Memorial concept work to Grass Lake Military Heritage Museum, event is August 4-5 “Over Here” event, but would like the piece there from August 1 to August 20.

Dennis S. report – Society Automotive Engineers Expo April 12 gave speech on Liberty truck.  National Donate Day first Friday of June. Original donate made in WWI. Spoke to Cops and Doughnuts.  Speaker Bureau is up and running see website for list of speakers.

Continue to seek WWI veterans from people who

October 1st in Chicago at Pritzker Museum, Nationwide states caucus for the WWI committees.

New Business:

Dennis waiting on details on events at National Cathedral on national bell ringing.  J. Benson trying to spread word on getting bell ringers around the state. Reaching out counties.

Dennis has a blank resolution he will send to all committee members.

Speaking opportunities coming up, Dennis will send list when these minutes go out.

Next meeting: September 7, 2018, 10 a.m.

Open discussion:

Videos ideas – Bell ringing, WWI Committee, What could VSO’s participate in WWI, What could Museum’s do with the WWI.  What could Libraries do, what could a social studies class do. What are we looking for companies. Do you have a WWI ancestor?  Are you a business that wants to celebrate WWI? (conversation at 40 mins), November 8 event announcements. Can we do something at two NASCAR Events?

Meeting closed: 10:50 a.m. Mark Sutton motioned to close, seconded, motion passed, meeting closed.

Next Meeting: September 7th 2018


Michigan’s  World War I Centennial Commission

Friday, April 6, 2018

Meeting Minutes

Attending: Dennis Skupinski, Denny Olson, Mike VerHulst, Jerry Benson, Mark Sutton, Edwin Fogarty, Jim Spackman

Phone in: Ken Hibl, Joe Calvaruso, Rob Price, Jim McConnell, Mark Wilson

Dennis welcomed everyone to the meeting at 10:02a.m.

No corrections made for the previous meeting’s minutes.  Denny Olson motioned to approve the minutes. Edwin Fogarty seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.

Old Business

Education Subcommittee – David

  • March 24, 2018: David Hales gave a presentation to the Michigan Council for Social Studies regarding the educational resources that are available on the WWI Centennial Commission’s website.  Approximately 40 teachers attended the session.

Veterans Organizations & D.A.R. – Mark

  • American Legion newsletter will be sent out in the next couple weeks encouraging people to help preserve and protect WWI monuments that are outdoors.
  • Asking AL members to conduct research on family members that served in WWI and share it with the AL.

Museums and Libraries – Shelley

  • No report

Home Front - Chris

  • No Report

Government – Ken

  • Efforts to raise money to restore the WWI memorial in Beaverton still underway.
  • A few municipalities across the state have adopted resolutions to acknowledge the centennial of WWI and the citizens that served in the armed services during the war.
  • A resolution template is being developed and will be distributed to the attendees of the Michigan Township Association.

Armistice Day Bell Ringing Ceremony – Jerry

  • Jerry Benson drafted invitation for any organization that would like to participate in bell ringing ceremony.
  • Churches of all denominations have been contacted. Looking for suggestions on how to include mosques and temples.
  • Universities across the state have also been contacted and courthouses will be approached next.
  • Dennis will provide details on the bell ringing ceremony when it is decided on the national level.

Overseas – Dennis

  • Dennis working to raise awareness about the connection between Bay City and Birmingham, UK

Veteran’s Day Parade in Detroit – Dennis

  • Dennis petitioning to have Nov.11 declared Eugene Van Antwerp Day

Veteran’s Day Lansing – Dennis

  • Dennis will contact mayor of Lansing to inquire about a parade.
  • Mark Sutton recommends holding an event on the Thursday, Nov. 8 so the Michigan State Senators and State Representatives can be in attendance.
  • Discussion on the possibility of having a bell ringing ceremony in the capitol building in either the rotunda or having bell ringers in the gallery above the senate floor.
  • Election Day in Nov. 6.

Traveling WWI Memorial to Michigan – Dennis

  • Dennis working to bring the memorial to Michigan for the first part of August.
  • Memorial is approximately 1’H x 12’W and must be displayed indoors.  
  • Would like to display the memorial somewhere close to Lansing.

Home Front Event August 4&5, 2018 in Grass Lake – Dennis

  • Event will feature re-enactors, music, and period vehicles.
  • Commissioners encouraged to attend.

Society of Automotive Engineers – Dennis

  • Standard B “Liberty Truck” will be on display at Cobo Hall April 12.
  • Will also be on display Sept. 10-13 at COMVEC 2018 in Rosemont, IL.

WWI Research Project for friends or relatives of commission and staff – Dennis

  • Commissioners encouraged to research family members that served in WWI and write a bio to be included on the commission’s website.

Reminder: Pritzker Military Museum & Library Oct. 1, 2018

  • National WWI Centennial Commission meeting will be taking place on this date.
  • Representatives from Michigan’s WWI Centennial Commission are encouraged to attend if possible.

New Business

Overseas memorial services for WWI:

  • Still looking for someone to attend ceremonies in France to represent Michigan.
  • Mark Sutton will advertise the information in the next American Legion newsletter.

Washington D.C. National Cathedral Bell Ringing:

  • Dennis still waiting on details about how the bells will be rung.

Midway Village Museum in Rockford, Illinois WWI re-enactment

  • A WWI re-enactment will be held April 7-8 and features re-enactors and period vehicles.

Subcommittee goals: Assembled by Dennis

Education – David

  • Michigan specific information on WWI
  • Major General George O. Squier’s contributions to radio and flight technology in WWI.

Veteran’s Organizations & D.A.R. – Mark

  • Write article on WWI for several veteran’s magazines about Michigan’s connections to Veteran’s Day (Eugene Van Antwerp story).

Museums & Libraries – Shelley

  • Establish a program for libraries and museums to participate in Armistice Bell Ringing Ceremony on Nov 11, 2018 at 11 a.m.

Home front – Chris

  • Compile list of Michigan manufacturers and the products they made for WWI.

Overseas – Dennis

  • To have someone represent Michigan this fall at the WWI ceremonies in Europe.
  • To connect the cities of Bay City, MI and Birmingham, U.K. in a recognition ceremony of Austin Village.

Government – Jack

  • Proclamation signed by Governor and Mayor of Detroit recognizing Eugene Van Antwerp Day on Nov. 11, 2018

Lansing Christmas Tree lighting – Denny

  • Denny following up with Western Star Trucks regarding the use of a “Stars and Stripes” show truck in the “Silver Bells in the City” parade
  • Local Western Star dealer said they are onboard with the project

Ken: Proclamation for the Michigan Municipal League and the City of Clare. Also to help with Austin Village

Open Forum

  • Cops N’ Donuts has been participating in National Donut Day for the last few years. They expressed willingness to display posters provided by the WWI Centennial Commission at all their locations.
  • Interest has been shown in the speakers bureau.  Any commissioners that have a WWI presentation should send information on the presentation to Dennis to be included in the speakers bureau.
  • Jim Spackman recommended developing a WWI banner to display outside Camp Custer

Next meeting will take place May 4th at 10:00 a.m. at the same location.

Michigan's World War I Centennial Commission

Meeting Minutes

Friday, March 2, 2018

Attending: Dennis Skupinski, Denny Olson, Mike VerHulst, Jerry Benson, Matt VanAcker,

Phone In:Chris Causley, Ken Hibl, David Hales, Joe Calvaruso, Rob Price, Mark Sutton, Jack Dempsey, Mark Wilson, Jim Spurr

Dennis welcomed everyone to the meeting at 10:02a.m.

Special Guests Matt VanAcker and Jerry Benson from the Michigan State Capitol gave a brief history of battle flags that are on display in the rotunda of the capitol building.  Among the flags are reproductions of battle flags carried by Michigan units during World War I.  The original flags are in storage at the Michigan Historical Center.  Information about Michigan’s battle flags can be found at capitol.michigan.gov/battleflags.  

Minutes from the last commission meeting had one correction: David Hales’ name to be corrected from “Hale” to “Hales.”  Denny Olson motioned to approve the minutes.  Mike VerHulst seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.

Mike VerHulst contacted Larry Wagenaar of the Historical Society of Michigan about featuring the commission in the Michigan History Magazine.  No space is available in the magazine but the commission was offered space in the Historical Society of Michigan’s newsletter to encourage museums and other history organizations across the state to create programming related to World War I.  Mike will work with Dennis to write up information for the newsletter.

Education Committee:

  • Education committee drafted a purpose statement for their subcommittee
  • March 24, 2018: David Hales will present to the Michigan Council for Social Studies about the educational resources on the WWI Centennial Commission’s website
  • Recommends using the educational resources from the national WWI commission’s website on the Michigan WWI commission website
  • Lesson plans should be drafted to help teachers teach about WWI throughout the state of Michigan

Dennis informed the commission of memorials that will be taking place overseas in the fall of 2018.  If any commissioners are able to attend please contact Dennis.

The National Cathedral in Washington D.C. will hold a bell ringing ceremony at 11am  on Nov. 11, 2018 to commemorate the centennial of the armistice.  Anyone that is able to attend is encouraged to do so to represent Michigan. Also, the National Plan is to have bells ringing starting at 11am in each time zone across the country on November 11th. Please contact your local churches, schools etc that have bells so that they can participate. More information at the next meeting.

October 1, 2018 will be the National States WW1 Centennial caucus in Chicago,IL at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library. The National WW1 Centennial Commissioners will be there along with commissions from other states. Please plan on attending. This should last all day so plan on arriving Sunday and leaving Tuesday or late Monday night.

Dennis mentioned a traveling WWI memorial that could be brought to Michigan if museums and cities around the state would be willing to host it. It is the model of the National Memorial that will be located in Pershing Park Washington D.C.


There is a national WWI poster contest that is open to people of all ages.  There are separate youth and adult categories. Dennis  will provide a link at the next meeting, the National WW1 Centennial Commission has not officially posted the competition site as of this date.3-4-2018

If you have or will do a WW1 presentation, please send Dennis an email with the title of your presentation so that he can post it on the webpage and form a speakers bureau.

Dennis encourages all member of the commission to research family members that served in the armed forces during WWI and to assemble a short biography and any photos that might be available.  These biographies will be added to the commission’s website.

Dennis is working with the Daughters of the American Revolution to create programming related to WWI that will take place on the state level.  Currently, DAR only has programming on a national scale. I am working with Nancy Marshall out of the Ann Arbor location.

The band Sabaton was presented with the Award of Excellence and Challenge Coins by the commission for their songs about battles in World War I.  The award was presented in Grand Rapids during the band’s concert on February 26, 2018.  The band then played one of their World War I songs titled “The Lost Battalion.”

April 12, 2018: The Society of Automotive Engineers,  World Congress Experience at Cobo Center in Detroit will feature a presentation on the Standard B Liberty Truck by Dennis Skupinski.  No Liberty Truck will be available but a display will be set up. The Liberty Truck was designed by the S.A.E. during WW1 and became the first purpose built military truck with standardized parts.  At  Rosemont, IL at COMVEC 18 (September 10-13) will feature the Liberty Truck from the 1st Division Museum and the display from Detroit.

August 4-5, 2018: A Home Front event will be held at the Michigan Military Heritage Museum in Grass Lake

Each subcommittee is tasked with developing 2-4 goals or projects to promote awareness about WWI.  The  projects do not have to take place during the commissions term which ends in December of 2018. There are a number of events which happened after the Armistice was signed.  Jerry Benson noted that the last troops to come home to Michigan arrived on Belle Isle on July 4, 1919.

The Silver Bells Parade in Lansing will be held on November 16, 2018.  Denny Olson suggested the commission try to secure a spot in the parade lineup.  Denny has a contact that can provide a truck and trailer to pull a float.

Salvation Army National Donut Day is June 1. (First Friday in June) The Commission will pursue options to partner with the Salvation Army and Donut shops to promote this day of remembrance.  Ken Hibl will contact Cops N’ Donuts about providing donuts for the event. If you know a local Donut shop owner or manager ask them to get involve. Chris will coordinate this with hs local Salvation Army contacts from last year.

April 14, 2018: Tallis Choir from England will perform WWI songs as the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit.  Michigan Military Heritage Museum has put together and Honor Guard and 4 Minute Man for the event.  Members of the commission are encouraged to attend.


Ken Hibl mentioned that the Michigan Municipal League Conference is this month.  Ken wrote a memo that will be sent to city managers across the state to declare their cities “Centennial Cities.”  Dennis will give remarks regarding WWI and the commission to the attendees of the conference.  

Next meeting will take place April 6 at 10:00 a.m. at the same location.

Denny Olson motioned to adjourn.  Mark Sutton seconded.  Meeting adjourned at 10:57 a.m.


Mike VerHulst motioned to adjourn.  Deny Olson seconded. Meeting adjourned at 10:56 a.m.



Michigan's World War I Commission Meeting Minutes

Friday, February 2, 2018

Attending:  Col. Jim Spackman, Chris Causley, James Spurr, David Hale, Jack Dempsey,   Susan Mennega (special guest), Dennis Skupinski, Mark Sutton, Edwin Fogarty, Tim Loney, Mike VerHulst, Denny Olson, Shelly Kasprzycki, Major Corissa Barton of National Guard.

Dennis welcomed everyone to the meeting at 10:02 am.

Special Guest Susan Mennega provided an overview of projects.  Susan Mennega is the WWI Project Manager for Pritzker Military Museum and Library.  She congratulated the commission on their work. Everything we are doing in being documented on the federal register for all the states and will go into the National Archives.  Dennis created a social media presence as well, as other many other states.

Susan leads 12 states in the Midwest.    Please let Susan know the list of events across the state as they will be shared, and she will attend what she can.  They can also provide recognition at events. 7.5 million dollars was set aside to fund centennial work, and there is a skeletal staff to support the projects around the nation.  If and when the federal budget is approved, there is a 3 million appropriation for the centennial.

Susan invited everyone to visit Midway Village Museum for a WWI reenactment in Rockford, Illinois.

There will be a podcast and meeting on October 1, 2018 at the Pritzker Museum and Library in Chicago commission members can attend.  

There will be a nationwide event at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  All ring bells at 11 am on 11/11/18 across the country. This is in the planning phase.   She also invited everyone to Washington, DC on November 8th at the National Cathedral.  

If people are interested in World War I genealogy, please contact Pritzker Museum & Library’s Teri Embrey  tembrey@pritzkermilitary.org      

The 100 Cities/100 Memorials  is a matching grant for communities who would like to restore a World War 1 monument or memoral. It is sponsored by the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

In round one Beaverton, Michigan’s monument “The Survivor” was selected. It is located at: 3220 W. Lang Rd. Beaverton,MI 48612.


The contact is Ed Rachwitz, appleed@hotmail.com          The Michigan commission should do something special, a visit and presentation  of the 100 Cities/100 Memorials the plaque was suggested. Denny suggested hosting a meeting up in Beaverton and visiting other historical sites as well.  Susan asked that if there were any other really outstanding historical memorial, please let her know. Perhaps recognition can be provided.

Old Business

Mark motioned to accept the December 15, 2017 minutes; Mike Seconded the meeting, Mike motioned to accept minutes.   The motion carried unanimously.

Mike requested information from the Michigan Association of Museums and requested they provide WWI dates of events to Dennis.

On March 24th, the second day of the Michigan Council for Social Studies Conference there will be a session on WWI teaching resources.  This will take place at Macomb County ISD. Saturday, March 17th will host a presentation on World War I scholars.   The workshop cost is now free. The location is Wayne RESA in Wayne.

The Governor Proclamation will be sought through a subcommittee.

Chris Causley sent out a manufacturing and business list from WWI.  Dennis noticed the Grand Rapids Airplane Company was left out, and Ford Motor Company in Dearborn made Eagle boats and should be on list.  This is a work in progress.

Mike will reach out to Larry Waggoner.  Mike suggested that we also reach out to Michigan History Day (student projects throughout the state), which will take place on April 28th.  David suggested it isn’t practical this year as projects have already been submitted regionally.

Dennis reported there are very few reenactors in Michigan, though an event will take place in Grass Lake.    Jack Dempsey provided a list of historical markers around the state and it was sent out last night. He also provided a vignette done by Michigan Historical Foundation (see website.)

David will be meeting in universities on February 10th.

Denny reported there aren’t any events so far in the Upper Peninsula.  Denny has been in touch with Congressman Bergman, who serves on Veteran’s Affairs committee.    In the first weekend in June in 2018, Denny will try to have Bergman recognize WWI in Dickinson County.  He is also hoping to have a tour list around the UP commemorating WWI.

New Business

Pritzker Museum will host a special event on October 1, 2018 with the National Commission of World War I Centennial.

There is no date on Beaverton memorial recognition yet.

Shelly will report back on the Ojibwa Culture Center on the war memorial.  


Educational Subcommittee:  David has a wealth of resources available for classrooms.  David has three educators on the committee including Randy Schon, Paul Schienler, and Michelle Anderson.

Veterans Organizations and DAR:  Mark can be on that.  Mark will put out articles and other materials.  Please contact Dennis if you have a good contact at Michigan DAR.

Museums and Libraries:  Mike and Shelly.

Homefront:  Chris Causley – set up Homefront and what it was like during the war here at home.

Overseas:  Dennis will head it up.

Government:  proclamations, etc.  Also Sister City sort of thing with England about the Austin Village.  Perhaps Jack Dempsey, Denny, and Ken Hibl. Carl Levin has a strong interest in the Austin Village issue.

August 4 and 5 will be a major event in Grass Lake Michigan with vehicles and demonstrations.

The schedule for meetings from here will be the first Friday on the month.  The next meeting will be March 2, 2018 at 10 am at this location.

Michigan World War I Centennial Commission Meeting Minutes

December 15, 2017

Attending:  J. Calvaruso, C. Causley, J. Dempsey, E. Fogarty, D. Hales, K. Hibl, S. Kasprzycki,

  1. D. Skupinski,  M. Sutton, D. Olson, M. Verhult, M. Wilson, MG Vadnais, M. Stone, T. Loney, M.

Stone, S. Kozera, A. Simpson.

Absent:       J.Spurr


Major General Vadnais welcomed the commission members and military staff to the meeting and

asked commission members to introduce themselves.  He then called for election of officers, and

asked that we have open discussion about plans, and set a meeting date following.

Election of Officers

Mark Sutton motioned that Dennis Skupinski be elected Chair; seconded by Denny Olson.

Motion carried unanimously.

Denny Olson motioned to elect Mark Sutton as Vice Chair; seconded by David Hales.  Motion

carried unanimously.

K.Hibl motioned to elect Shelly Kasprzycki as Secretary; seconded by Jack Dempsey.  Motion

carried unanimously.

Open Discussion

The commission discussed the following key components of plans:

  • • Kasprzycki will ask museums who is doing World War I displays or events and compile a


  • • Skupinski will share the humanities grants link on the website.  Anyone who has

information to submit to the website, please email michigan@worldwar1centennial.org.

  • • The website address is ww1cc.org/Michigan.
  • • The national logo will be adopted by Michigan with “Michigan” below the logo.
  • • Skupinski has a power point presentation that can be shared throughout Michigan.
  • • David Hale is conducting two workshops in March (see website for information).
  • • We will want to focus on encouraging citizens to visit their local museums and projects,

especially for Armistice Day.

  • • Thursday, November 8 is the last state legislative session day.  The committee agreed that

we will want a Governor’s proclamation and perhaps a plaque or memorial of some kind,

modeled after successful other memorials done.  MG Vandais will bring full color

military representation, and has the connections to see if there is legislative support.

  • • Sutton suggested that we recognize manufacturing businesses around the state who

contributed to the arsenal of democracy.  Causley will provide a list.

  • • Sutton will share with all schools the list of local museum activities and educational

programs available.

  • • Larry Waggoner of the Historical Society of Michigan will be contacted to promote the

WW1 commission work.  Mike Verhult will handle this and coordinate local history


  • • An essay contest is possible, but the national logo will be used.  There may not be time

for an essay contest.

  • • Mark Sutton volunteered the American Legion Foundation as fiduciary if needed.

  • • Skupinski will check on the availability of WW1 reenactors.
  • • Dempsey will provide a list of historical markers regarding WW1.
  • • Hales will make connections with the universities.
  • • Olson asked that any plans around the state must include the Upper Peninsula.

Contributions from the mining industry and Michigan Technological University were


  • • The commission may schedule field trips to various museum displays.
  • • Dempsey will provide the vignette done by the Michigan Historical Foundation in

conjunction with WKAR.

Next Meeting Date

The next meeting will take place on Friday, February 2, 2018 at 10 am at the Military Affairs

Room 229, 3411 N. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

A list of commission members, with phone and email addresses, will be shared by Skupinski.

A motion was made by Dempsey to adjourn at 11:20 am; seconded by Olson.  Motion carried


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