Selfridge Air National Guard Base Honors Vets in Lead Up to Air Show

In collaboration with Selfridge Air National Guard Base and this weekend's Open House and Air Show, American House Senior Living Communities sponsored a visit of resident veterans to a preview at the base.

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Selfridge Air Force Base, Harrison Township, MI — July 8, 2022

This weekend, Selfridge Air National Guard Base opens its gates to the general public to host the 2022 Open House and Air Show. The event is free to all attendees and will feature a number of opportunities to witness the incredible planes and personnel of multiple branches of the United States Armed Forces as they demonstrate the capabilities of our military aircraft.

Vintage Aircraft appearing in the Air Show this weekend at Selfridge Air National Guard Base / Lasco Press Photo

The Friday before the weekend show at Selfridge is designated “Family Day.” It is a celebration of those who serve(d) for those who provide(d) the ultimate support so they can fulfill their mission to protect our country. The setting seemed appropriate to honor veterans in an event sponsored by caretakers entrusted with the well-being of those heroes.

Rosie the Riveter visits with Veterans at Selfridge Air National Guard Base / Lasco Press Photo

That group of trusted guardians, nurses, protectors, and often companions, work for an organization known as American House Senior Living Communities. This is not the first time The Lasco Press has interacted with members of this group. A few years ago they helped us bring our readers a patriotic Memorial Day Tribute to “the Greatest Generation” and a beloved local World War II veteran.

Selfridge Air National Guard Base

Selfridge Air National Guard Base is the only US installation housing Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Customs and Border Protection services.  The Base is one of the oldest continuously operating military airfields in the nation.

The Michigan National Guard took possession of the former Joy Aviation Field on July 1, 1917. The first flight on what was then called Selfridge Field took place on July 8, 1917. The base has been in continuous use ever since. In 2022, it will mark 105 years of service.

American House Senior Living Communities

In the last 40 years, American House has grown to more than 54 communities with an additional nine in various stages of development. They have an extensive presence of communities in Michigan, with a reach that extends throughout the Midwest, New England, and Florida.

There are 19 such communities in southeastern Michigan. Among the thousands of residents they provide housing for, over 300 of those individuals are veterans according to Chief Executive Officer, Dale Watchowski.

Watchowski went on to say, “We love our veterans. We are proud to be a sponsor of this year’s Selfridge Open House and Air Show and to give our veteran residents the opportunity to preview this incredible experience and celebrate their bravery. At American House, we express our deep gratitude and sincere appreciation to our veterans for their brave and selfless service to our country. We thank them for answering the call of duty, their gallant courage, and the extraordinary sacrifices they and their families have made on our behalf in the name of freedom, liberty, and peace.”

American House Veterans and Staff visit Selfridge Air National Guard Base / Lasco Press Photo

Everyday Heroes

Not all heroes wear bronze stars, some deserve recognition for just being there, supporting those called to fight, and performing the daily tasks that keep the various branches of the armed forces functioning.

Ray Harrison

Ray resides in America House’s Grand Blanc location. He entered the Army after the conclusion of World War II. Ray’s responsibilities were something few Americans are likely to even know about.

During the Second World War, the regime that ruled the Deutschland was not just feared as European country invaders, but citizens of the German state itself often fled their homes as refugees in their own country.

Ray was sent to the worn-torn country well after peace accords were finalized. He searched the vast forests of Germany looking for those residents who fled there for their own safety. Ray’s job was to tell them the war was over and it was safe to resume their lives in their home towns and villages. Ray was not just an American Hero, he was a hero to the German people he assisted.

Ray Harrison with members of the WWII Jump Team performing this weekend at Selfridge Air National Guard Base / Lasco Press Photo
Beverly Mankowski

We often associate heroism with the fighting man. Were it not for the women of the United States Armed Forces, the guys at the front line may not have had the tools to succeed. During the major conflicts of the early to mid-20th century, women stepped into military support roles to keep the wheels of progress moving.

These women are heroes to the members of their gender that now serve side-by-side in the modern U.S. Military. Beverly Mankowski grew up in a small town in south Georgia. A group of her high school classmates were recruited into the Air Force during the Korean Conflict and they teased Beverly to join them. She did. Beverly said it was to be an important part of her post-high-school education and thought it might also be fun.

The decision impacted her entire life as circumstances placed her in Michigan.  Beverly attended Oakland Community College and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in written and visual arts. She also received the 1st Helen Krupa Award at OCC and edited the college magazine & newspaper called “Peaces of Ourselves.”

She resides in the American House in Troy with her husband Joe, who she met in Michigan. Joe faced a number of health challenges over the last few years and credits Beverly with the decision to move him into an American House Senior Living Community as a key to his survival. Beverly says, “He is doing great, he’s involved in all of the planned activities and we enjoy our residency together at American House.”

Beverly Mankowski attending the Veteran’s Tribute at Selfridge Air National Guard Base / Lasco Press Photo

The Air Show

If you head out to Selfridge this weekend to see the Air Show, expect to be thrilled. The veterans in attendance sat in awe as the huge C-130 seemed to float by their viewing position.

An Air Force C-130 makes an appearance at Selfridge Air National Guard Base / Lasco Press Photo

The pilot was Spencer Boone, the son-in-law of American House CEO Dale Watchowski. After his flight, Spencer came by the assembly area and spoke to many of the veterans in attendance.

American House CEO, Dale Watchowski, Air Force Pilot Spencer Boone, and Tabitha from MVH visited with veterans at Selfridge Air National Guard Base / Lasco Press Photo

The performance of the F-22 Demonstration Team showed off some of the amazing capabilities of the premier fighter jet in the world. Drawing cheers and applause from the appreciative crowd.

An F-22 demonstrating its combat abilities at Selfridge Air National Guard Base / Lasco Press Photo

Hours for Saturday, July 9th, and Sunday, July 10th are 8 am to 4 pm. As mentioned admission is free, preferred seating is available. For full details on the event visit the Team Selfridge website.

American House Residents

Repeatedly, American House residents reference the quality of care as the main deciding factor for moving into their assisted living facilities. Maintaining a sense of independence, the ability to retain important family relationships, well-planned activities that encourage participation, the ability to make decisions on your own, and removing the worry of no one there to provide assistance in an emergency. All of that combined with a well-trained and caring staff sets a standard that far exceeds the stigma of the normal nursing home experience.

And kudos to American House for the special recognition to those individuals who have served our country gallantly.

About Selfridge Air National Guard Base

The 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard is the host unit at Selfridge. The Wing’s 107th Fighter Squadron traces its history to two key dates: an original organization as the 107th Aero Squadron on August 27, 1917. That unit was disbanded following World War I and then reorganized as the 107th Observation Squadron on May 7, 1926, after beginning initial meetings in the summer of 1925.

The Wing’s 171st Air Refueling Squadron was first created as the 374th Fighter Squadron in 1943, during World War II. The modern configuration of the 127th Wing was created in 1996 by the merger of the 127th Fighter Wing and the 191st Airlift Group.

In total, nearly 3,000 full-time civilian and military personnel work at the base, in addition to approximately 3,000 members of the Air and Army National Guard and the Reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces.

About American House Senior Living Communities

Founded in 1979, American House Senior Living Communities’ vision is to provide high-quality housing for seniors at an affordable price. That vision of excellence has endured for more than 40 years and expanded to serve residents at a number of senior housing communities.

“At American House, our mission statement is Living Well is Being Well. This drives everything we do.” Our vision is to be an innovative senior housing company that creates sustainable excellence and stakeholder value, with an unparalleled commitment to compassionate care provided by passionate people.

American House is a best-in-class innovative senior housing company creating sustainable value for our residents and their families, and our employees, referral sources, and investors. Together, we foster meaningful relationships that create memorable moments.

For more great pictures of the Veterans Tribute click on the link to the author’s Facebook page.