NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) — Mona Shores High School held a special event at its football game against Zeeland West High School honoring veterans and first responders.
The fifth Sailor Salute game even included a flyover before kickoff. The event was canceled last year because of the pandemic.
Tim Lipan, the chair of the planning committee, says the tribute has grown bigger each year.
“What you see today is the culmination of five years of growth from that event with static displays from the military branches, representatives of all kinds of police and fire,” Lipan said.
First responders, service members and veterans were recognized on the field before the game.
Sgt. Dan Hibler with the Norton Shores Police Department, who was also involved in the planning, says it was an honor to be recognized.
“It’s always heartwarming to feel the support of the community. We work in a great community here in Norton Shores and even throughout here in Muskegon County and Ottawa County. We’re all proud to serve in this area,” Hibler said.
Motorcycles flying the American flag came to show their support, which included Vietnam veteran Mike Holmes who served in the Navy and rode to bring awareness about POWs and those still Missing in Action.
“My time in Vietnam we didn’t get the recognition like we do now,” Holmes said.
The football players also showed their appreciation by thanking the honorees on the way to the locker room ahead of the game.
Organizers say the event was more than a tribute: It was a way to bring people together.
“One of the things we wanted to do is connect our community with these heroes,” Lipan said.