Vietnam Veterans of America host Operations Christmas event

Freedom Military Life Chest Donation to Veterans

Remember our new Life Chest Lifer Claude Wood? Well, The Life Chest and Claude’s story had the privilege of being featured in local newspaper The Macomb Daily by Linda May!

Read the full article here!

“Freedom Military Life Chests –- repositories for treasured memorabilia –- were recently presented to 55 veterans from the Tri-County area. They received them the day before Veterans Day at the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 9 building in Detroit.

The Life Chest company of Troy put on the program and donated the chests.

“Veterans were selected based upon their service both during and after their military time,” Mike Sand, of Fraser, said.

Macomb County vets who received chests included Al Opra, Laura Rios, Jerry Van de Vyver, Dave Trevino, Phil Gannia, Paul Palazzolo, Steven Mrozek, Tara Perez, Keith Edwards, Joe Rheker, Steven Gerebics, Robert Slavko and Therese Wrobel.

Sand received one, as did George Sheppard III.

On Veterans Day, Sheppard gave his chest to Claude Wood who is the Fraser-Reid Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6691 charter commander. Wood celebrated his 97th birthday on that day. Sheppard’s father was also a charter member of the post in 1946.

“George gifted his chest to a special friend and fellow veteran, Claude Wood. Claude is a 97-year-old World War II veteran and a 1946 charter member of the Fraser VFW Post 6691. George’s father, George Sheppard Jr., was also a charter member. Claude and George III have both dedicated their lives to supporting our military and veterans. At a surprise birthday recognition and celebration, George presented his special gift to Claude. A very emotional moment indeed,” Sand said.

The chests have pewter emblems representing each branch of the armed forces and the Great Seal of the United States.

“This is definitely a family heirloom to be passed from generation to generation, one of the finest holiday presents anyone could ask for. We cannot thank The Life Chest company enough for such a gift,” Sand said. “It was a very nice gesture on their part and I kind of look at the chest as a cross between a footlocker and a hope chest. I have put some very special things in mine such as the pen Governor Engler used to lend the State of Michigan’s support to the Michigan Vietnam Memorial Monument.

Sand’s chest contains a U.S. flag displayed by four Detroit mayors, an autographed book depicting Vietnam memorials in all 50 states, keepsakes from his parents, challenge coins, military patches, audio tapes, DVDs, and books related to Sand’s Vietnam War experiences.

“It’s sort of my personal time capsule,” he said.”


Thank you to Linda May for the great article!