Thank you for a successful year of Backpack


To the Editor:

The Gladwin Backpack Buddies Program has been running strongly in the Gladwin schools for the sixth school year. Weekend nutrition has been going home each Friday with 96 K-5 students, who may not have it otherwise. A program like this takes time, commitment and support by many volunteers as well as dollars.  

The food is delivered at the school twice a month. Volunteers are needed to cart and store the food in the building. Two days a month, 8-10 people bag food for the children. School staff distributes the bags to the children at the school each Friday. Thank you to the many wonderful volunteers who have participated during this 2018/2019 school year, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Christ the King Lutheran Church and to the supportive school staffs at Gladwin Intermediate and Elementary Schools.

The program started serving 24 children in 2013 but has expanded to 96 children. This expansion over the past six years was only possible by the generosity of compassionate individuals, local and regional churches, Gladwin Tops, Gladwin Golden Agers, Epsilon Kappa Chapter, Friends of Clare County Parks and Recreation, Gladwin Knights of Columbus, and from grants received from the DeShano Community Foundation, The SpartanNash Foundation, Chemical Bank, North/West Lower Michigan Synod of ELCA, Seebeck Foundation, Midland Area Foundation, Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation and Shopko. A special “thank you” also goes out to Family Fare in Gladwin who continues to donate all of the plastic grocery bags.  

This program will pick up and continue in September when the next school year begins. It costs approximately $100 to feed a student on the weekend during his/her school year. If there are businesses or individuals who would like to make a monetary contribution to this much needed program, please send your check to Christ the King Lutheran Church, 600 S. M-18, Gladwin, MI 48624, specifying “Backpack Buddies.”  

Thank you to all who have been part of this program. Let’s continue feeding the hungry children in our community.

Jill Phillips

Co-Chair of Christ the King Lutheran Church Backpack



A Great Month for the Great Lakes

To the Editor:

This past month has been tremendous for the Great Lakes. There were developments on three different fronts: funding for constructing a new lock at the Soo Locks, funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and a new plan to prevent Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan through the waterways near Chicago.

On May 21, I voted for legislation in the House Appropriations Committee that fulfilled President Donald Trump’s request for $75.3 million dollars to start building a new lock at the Soo Locks.

This is historic progress!

After decades of inaction, President Trump spurred the development forward when he pledged his support for building a new lock in April 2018 following a conversation with me, Congressman Jack Bergman of Watersmeet, and Congressman Paul Mitchell of Dryden.

As Michigan’s senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, I then went to work and advocated for the funding with my colleagues on the committee. That effort was rewarded with the funding being included in legislation.

I will continue to support this funding as it moves forward in Congress because building a new lock is vital to Great Lakes shipping, the economy, good-paying manufacturing jobs, and the national security of our country. 

Already, the Army Corps of Engineers has begun the process of looking for engineers and others who will begin working on the design and construction of a new lock. This exciting development is moving forward!

Another major success for our Great Lakes last month was the inclusion of the funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in legislation passed by the Appropriations Committee.

Congress has passed this funding every year despite previous budget proposals from Presidents Obama and Trump trying to reduce it.

In fact, in a famous announcement earlier this year, President Trump became the first president in years to publicly support $300 million for GLRI. His announcement came directly after Congressman Bergman, Congressman Bill Huizenga of Zeeland, and I urged him to support the GLRI and we are thankful he did.

After years of work, my colleagues and I have built a strong bipartisan coalition of support for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative including Republicans, Democrats and President Trump. This broad base of support will help ensure GLRI is fully funded in 2020.

Finally, on May 23, the Army Corps of Engineers announced a new plan to prevent Asian carp from getting into Lake Michigan through the waterways around Chicago.

The plan at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam will use an electric barrier and other technologies to stop Asian carp from coming through the waterways near Chicago. Asian carp are an invasive species and they would threaten every other species of fish in the Lakes, putting the environment, fishing, recreation, and tourism at risk. The new plan from the Army Corps is an overdue step in the right direction.

A new Lock is on the way, restoration for the Great Lakes is being funded, and there is a plan to stop Asian carp. All of these developments made May a great month for the Great Lakes and will help ensure future generations are able to enjoy all the Lakes have to offer for years to come.

Congressman John Moolenaar represents Michigan’s Fourth Congressional District, which is made up of Clare, Clinton, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Mecosta, Midland, Missaukee, Ogemaw, Osceola, Roscommon, Shiawassee, and Wexford counties, and parts of Montcalm and Saginaw counties.


John Moolenaar 


A tribute to a loyal and honorable husband

To the Editor:

My name is Christy Whitt Galford, a widow. My husband was Thomas H. Galford, a veteran that received an honorable discharge in his military service time.

Thomas was a native of Gladwin, MI. His school years were spent attending Charles Amble Elementary and being involved with some curricular activities.

He bonded with very special friends, then and following on into Harrison High. 

He was in a band that made an album titled 76 Spring Concert involved with some corrective activities, and graduated with the class of 1980. Tom’s very special friends continued on enjoying their time together.

Thomas’ service time:

Enlistment – Michigan Army National Guard, Feb. 12 1980 to Feb. 20, 1981. Training was construction equipment repairer. Tom received Honorable Discharge.

Enlistment – Navy, March 20, 1981 to March 12, 1985. Stationed on U.S.S. Fulton AS 11. Training was electrical/mechanical equipment repairman. Being involved in many tragic situations under horrible conditions and surviving. One of many was a submarine and fire on the U.S.S. Fulton AS 11 on March 2, 1984 at Overhauled Dynamics Fore River Shipyard receiving a good conduct award. An honorable discharge.

Enlistmant – Navy June 3, 1986 to July 2, 1990. Stationed Iwo Jima LPHZ. Involved in many tragical situations under horrible conditions and surviving. Tom helped with preparation/setting up for Persian Gulf War. Receiving a good conduct award. A honorable discharge and a rank of ABHB.

Now being of a civilian he enjoyed being on the open road being a 18 wheeler truck driver, Tom always having a feeling of being free/freedom.

Tom always said, “When I went into the military my health was good – nothing physically wrong. But when I got out I was broken, bad health conditions.

Thomas was a 100 percent disable veteran with the disabilities all being service connected.

Right knee sublaxation with deginative joint disease, left knee with arthritis, low back strain. Dept. of V.A. prescribed braces for these areas along with a cane which gave better mobility but didn’t eliminate three the excruciating pain he suffered daily with this pain triggered his hypertension to be worse. This then triggered into a Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia Anxiety. Tom’s daily life was challenging and difficult. With daily pain, hypertension that led to Panic Disorders that he was unable to control but learned to live with.

Tom having another condition but never recognized as a disability he has much difficulty hearing but adjusted to reading peoples’ lips. He had tinnitus.

Tom and I met in Duluth, GA on July 4, 1995 with his dog Annie. Tom told me Annie chose me, now living together and got married in Kissimmee, FL on July 4, 1999. Our theme was based from John Wayne, Tom’s idol. We bought our home on March 1, 2000. Both of us having jobs in FL.

Our marriage was based on decency for one another. With our love for each other we became one.

Tom has some very good qualities that he was able to share with me daily, never stopping and quitting, always pushing on; accepting the bad with the good; having a good personality; joking/laughing through the pain daily. Doing everything to the best of his ability but pushing to do it better. Tom had the qualifications/abilities always eager to learn more I gave him a title “Jack of all Trades.” Tom made me feel very protected. Tom taking the time always making me feel comfortable in many complicated situations. He was my mentor.

Tom and I enjoyed life. He taught me to respect nature in every area and location.

Tom taught me fundamentals of survival. How to adjust to changes in life.

Tom died horribly in a house fire on November 29, 2014 in Gladwin, MI while Tom and I were visiting his mother, Mary on Thanksgiving Holiday at her home.

At around 1 a.m., Tom and I getting awakened suddenly out of a sound sleep. As Tom and I standing next to each other I remember not hearing alarms of warning and things were not clear of the situation. If it was life threatening. As Tom stood beside me I noticed his face looking “so sleepy” with a perplexed expression. Tom was wearing sweat pants and flip-flops nothing covering chest or arms. Tom left my side now heading toward the front of Mary’s home. The front having an exit door that Tom could escape to get safely out. Seconds had passed and in my confused state I now realized I now was faced with danger. Quickly moving to an exit door to escape, but not before catching on fire. First the top of my scalp, then parts of right hand and arm, then my night shirt back burning and melting into my skin. My back was on fire along with my night shirt back. Being taught by Tom to run, drop and roll, on fire running outside, dropping my hands and knees sliding as I rolled in the snow putting the fire out on my body. Praying for God to help me. The feeling of needing Tom’s comfort I remember smelling burnt hair, skin and cloth it was overpowering. A neighbor found me at the field fence.

It was shortly after that the Chief Fireman told me they had found Tom. His body was on the backside of the home inside up against with one foot touching the sliding exit door. Tom had pieces of a jacket with his body. This jacket had been hanging by that door. Tom was burnt out of recognition.

I remember being in so much pain and so scared/afraid, I found myself remembering that in a bad situation “Be Strong.” Feeling Tom being right beside me now faced with life by myself.

Tom was taken to Blodgett Morgue. Being burnt out of recognition using his mother, Mary’s DNA to identify Tom. This taking two months. Tom was a distance from me but his spirit staying with me giving me comfort.

I was taken to Hurley Burn where I received around the clock treatment and care from November 29 to December 15. With only having out of state Wellcare HMO traveling with open wounds going back to FL for continuing my treatment and care. Having no family near it was very difficult for me to manage and scary because being by myself. I did what I could but relied on very close friends for help as I healed slowly.

When I was admitted into Hurley Burn the nurses then referred to my back looking like “a piece of burnt bacon crispy and black.” It hurt for me to move, I was scraped from my lower neck, both shoulders and into my back to the upper part of waist. Getting scraped to about three layers before my back bone. My skin grafts was taken from areas of lower waist to lower butt. Going through two major surgeries, with having 50+ staples and were taken out the day of release from Hurley Burn, this pain was horrendous.

It’s been four years and I still have pain with limited mobility. My hair has grown back but it grows slowly. I’ve learned to accept, adapt and continue on living – this was one of many tools of life Tom taught me through our marriage.

My life as it is today is a new normal. I’m taking one day at a time with each day as a new day and pushing forward for a brighter/better tomorrow. The word failure and defeat is not in my vocabulary.

I am so honored that Tom took his time to share his life with me for 19½ years.

I miss Tom. He is still a very important part of my life. Tom is carried deep in my heart and I cherish his loving memories that only I have.

Thomas Howard Galford at the age of 52, died with honors. Even though with his last minutes of life he endured much pain having the will to live, pushing on. Fighting as a soldier would do the very last breath he drew. A very special hug and kiss to my courageous husband.

Christy Whitt Galford

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