Michigan American Legion Wilwin Lodge
Let's welcome our soldiers home
Wilwin Lodge sits on property that once hosted a large lumbering operation, complete with mill, railroad spurs including its own village that included a school/church. It is now a peaceful retreat deep in the north woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; place of hope and healing, recovery and renewal, education and inspiration, sharing and support.
Erected in 1914 to give lumber buyers a comfortable place to stay while they made their deals with the mill, the lodge had accommodations for 15 people in 6 large bedrooms. The lodge has a 2 story atrium (Great Room) with large dual stone fireplaces. It is a stunning building.
The property consists of nearly 600 wooded acres which include a total of 5 buildings including the lodge, veteran’s retreat home, modern horse barn, granary, and large garage. In recent years, a veteran’s pavilion, conference/recreation center with full commercial kitchen and a caretaker’s cabin has been erected on the property. The facility also has over 10 miles of well groom trails for hiking, 4 wheeling, and bicycling on.
Please check out this video to hear how this wonderful facility has already affected so may veterans and how you can help us do even more
At its 2015 Annual Meeting at Sterling Heights, June 26th the Board of Directors accepted the resignation of CEO and Board Chairman, Lou Oberle. In addition, the Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Roger Webster, Department of Michigan’s newly elected National Committeeman. Both members served Wilwin proudly for the past 5 years and with dedication and perseverance to make Wilwin the Nationally recognized Veteran’s Facility it is today.
The Board voted to accept Garrett Veihl, Post 28, Grand Haven and John Kinzinger, Post 46, Ann Arbor to fill the vacant positions.
The Auxiliary appointed Merilee Walters , Wolverine Post 122, 19th District to replace Patricia Laine who has served the Wilwin Board for 5 years with utmost distinction contributing many usable ideas during her tenure. She certainly was a rock on the board also serving as its recording secretary for the past 2 years.
The Sons of the American Legion at its annual convention in early June appointed Harley “Butch” Maxwell to replace S.A.L. Board member Ron Wyatt who served Wilwin the past 5 years as its representative.
All newly elected Board Members will be approved by the D.E.C. at Department’s 30 Day meeting.
Newly elected officers for the 2015/16 fiscal year are as follows: Steve Stiggow will replace Lou Oberle as CEO and Board Chairman; Garrett Veihl Vice-President; Dan Crisp, Secretary; and PDC Bill Hafeman, Finance Chairman. Merilee Walter will take over Pat Laine’s job as recording secretary. Earl Ruttkowsky will continue to represent Legion Riders and act as care-taker to the lodge along with his wife Beverly.
The Board will continue its mission to serve Veterans, especially those with PTSD and TBI and make Wilwin available to youth groups, particularly boy scouts and girl scouts. The next few years will be challenging negotiating with the Graymont Mining Company, and possibly relocating Wilwin to the Ludington area.
PDC and Board of Director, Wilwin
Wilwin Board of Directors were notified on April 8th that Wilwin will be the recipient of a $10,000 grant from the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation in commemoration of his April 8th birthday. Letter received can be viewed here. Complete grant recipient letter can be viewed here.
The new address for Wilwin is P.O. Box 11, Trout Lake, Michigan 49793. Applications for rooms reservation should be mailed to this address. Donations will continue to be sent to Department in Lansing.
Anyone who wishes to make reservations for 2015 please call Beverly Ruttkofsky at 231-229-5030 (new number for reservations).
National Commander Dellinger and his wife visited Wilwin August 4-7. Not including our own PNC Tom Cadmus, the past 3 National Commanders have visited Wilwin. Commander Dellinger donated a pool table for our veterans through the American Legion's Comfort Warrior Fund. Each year the Commander visits Mackinac Island. A special thanks for the hospitality of Post 299 and Commander Paul Wandrie for doing a tremendous job in hosting this event.
Nashville Country Music Star Richard Lynch has teemed up with Wilwin on a new release entitled "Love Tattoo." Richard, his promoter, Joe Blanchard, and Wilwin's CEO have paired up with the Michigan Legion Riders to promote a motorcycle ride to the Kewadin Casino in the Soo where they will put on a concert July 25, 2015. As Richard travels around the country promoting "Love Tattoo," profits of the song will go to Wilwin, also. Visit the Love Tattoo Foundation website for more information on their mission. Joe Blanchard is from Gould City. Visit the concert event facebook invite for details.
Saturday July 25th 2015 - The ride will be from Mt Pleasant to Sault Ste Marie. Open to all American Legion Riders from any state. Preregistration appreciated and we will try to ensure free ride patches for all that preregister. An information packet will be mailed to you. Ride will end at the Kewadin Casino where country music artist Richard Lynch will be hosting a benefit concert for Wilwin lodge Saturday evening.
Dedication to the Conference Center at Wilwin will take place in the spring. The official name of the center will be Robert W. Considine Ecotherapy Conference Center. Ecotheraphy is what psychologist Dr. Kane calls Wilwin referring to the effect that it has on his PTSD and TBI patients.
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