Welcome to Mid-Michigan Honor Flight
"It's never too late to thank a veteran."
"For some, it's their first time to DC. For most, it's their last. But for all, it's a trip of a lifetime!"
- Greg Locher 2017
OUR NEXT FLIGHT
Mission XV Flight Date, May 17, 2023
Effective May 2025, all persons traveling MUST HAVE A REAL ID COMPLIANT Identification...NO EXCEPTIONS. Click here to learn more and to determine if you are compliant or not.
Mission XIV Photos
Click here to be taken to them.
Mid Michigan Honor Flight Board of Directors
President & Hub Director
Bob was born in Pontiac, Michigan, and has lived all over the State: Ortonville, Newberry, Petoskey, East Jordan, Charlevoix, Jackson and Waters. He graduated from Tahquamenon Area High School in May, 1980.
On June 15, 1980 Bob boarded a plane and flew to Anniston, Alabama to attend U.S. Army Basic Training and stayed there to complete Military Police Training. He served as a Military Police (MP) at Fort Bliss, Texas, and then, at a Nuclear Missile Security Guard/MP at Pforzheim, Germany. He continued to serve in the Inactive Ready Reserve for six more years.
After leaving the Army, Bob worked as an Armed Security Guard at the Big Rock Nuclear Power Plant in Charlevoix, Michigan. He has been a Sergeant with the Michigan State Police for over 18 years, currently working at the Houghton Lake Post. He enlisted in the State Police in February, 1987 and, since graduating from recruit school, he has worked at the Newberry, Jackson, Gaylord and Houghton Lake Posts.
Bob's father is a Korean War Veteran. Two of his brothers served in the Army during World War II and two more of his brothers served during the Korean War. One was in the Navy and one in the Army. His mother’s brother served on a Nuclear Submarine during the Vietnam War. Two of his sisters also served in the Army, during the early to mid-80s.
Bob had the privilege to accompany his father on an Honor Flight in the fall of 2014, from the UP Honor Flight Hub. They left Escanaba and flew to Washington DC. That experience was enough for him to realize that we need to do more for our heroes and is a motivating factor for him to get more involved. Bob and his wife love to spend time with their five children.
Kelli Johansen is a mother of two young boys, Owen & Kyle, and wife of Tim. They reside in Chippewa Lake, Michigan.
Kelli is a ''stay at home mom'' but holds many jobs outside of the home including volunteer/work for Mecosta County Commission on Aging, chair member & volunteer at Mecosta VFW, volunteer within her son's schools, classrooms, & sports activities, and helps in a local wood shop.
Kelli graduated from Byron Center High School, Byron Center, MI 2001.
She then attended Baker College in Muskegon, graduating with certificate degrees in General Health Care, Massage Therapy, and Recreational Therapy. While attending these classes Kelli elected to take additional classes to support a substitute teaching certificate and maintain her credit hours for the state of Michigan.
Kelli enjoys staying healthy and active in & out of the gym while managing a healthy and strong lifestyle for her family. She enjoys learning and experiencing new opportunities in and/or out of her community.
Brenda King Gibson
Brenda and her husband, Peter have been a part of the Greenville community for 25+ years. They raised their two children, daughter Taylor and son Nathan (Marine Veteran) within the community.
Brenda brings 20+ years of accounting and logistical experience into the MMHF team. As an active member of Blue Star Mothers, Brenda spearheads the local Treasures for Troops care package event for the past seven years – since the inception of the project. She has also held board positions within her local chapter as well as the state level. Brenda is also very involved with fundraising and event planning for several local and national military based non-profit causes.
As a member of Blue Star Mothers, Brenda has helped out with every flight leaving and returning to Grand Rapids – and spent her birthday as a guardian on the 2018 Honor Flight out of Traverse City, Michigan. “It is always an honor to relive history through the eyes of those who lived it.”
Eric Hoffman hails from Charlevoix MI.
Eric served 23 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He traveled broadly, including numerous deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. He has lived on the West coast, East coast, and points in between of our great nation. Having the opportunity to work with people/organizations of diverse backgrounds and differing ideologies, Eric considers himself fortunate for the many friendships and lessons gained during this time.
His immediate relatives have participated in every major American conflict including the Revolutionary war. Eric is humbled by what veterans have accomplished in action and considers his service a privilege to stand on the shoulders of giants.
After the Marine Corps, Eric returned home to Charlevoix and has kept busy as a contributing member of the Antrim, Charlevoix and Emmet County communities. Eric volunteers time to local and national concerns, some, including the American Legion, fraternal organizations, beautification projects, and Toys for Tots. Eric is actively engaged in township government and serves as a public-school substitute teacher in his area. He is a lifetime member of the VFW and Marine Corps League. He serves as an American Legion Service Officer, and on the Charlevoix County Veterans Affairs Committee.
Before joining the USMC, Eric cut his teeth on business and life learning skills as a Realtor®, teacher, and restaurateur.Eric obtained his BS in Professional Aeronautics, with dual Minors in Management and Logistics. In addition, he graduated with distinction earning a MS in Aviation Aerospace Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He has extensive experience in Technical Operations, Quality Systems, Safety Systems, Human Resources, Training, Security, and International Relations Management
His personal time is spent with family, friends, and maintaining his old farm house property in Charlevoix
Kathy lives in Newago with her husband Jim. They’ve raised six children and are currently proud grandparents of 14.
Kathy is a busy volunteer, dividing her time between Mid-Michigan Honor Flight, the Blue Star Mothers of America and Sleep in Heavenly Peace, MI-Sheridan.
Kathy has helped out with MMHF since the maiden flight. When she served as Department of Michigan President for Blue Star Mothers, MMHF was her president’s project.
Kathy is mother to two combat Veterans. Her oldest son is a Navy Veteran, having served in a fighter squadron and her youngest son is an Army Veteran, serving as a Cavalry Scout in the 10th. Cavalry.
2nd Vice President
My first exposure to Honor Flight occurred while assisting my grandson in selecting a project for his Rank of Eagle Scout. We met with representatives of Honor Flight and worked on the scout project. I was humbled to my very core by their dedication and professionalism. Their motto of “It's never to late to thank a veteran” and throughout the project I heard that the veterans come first. I wanted to be a part of this organization so my wife and I were able to volunteer and work the next 4 flights. We were blessed with every event.
I was again humbled when I was asked to be a member of the board.
As a retiree from the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, I had numerous outdoor skills which I put to use as a Cubmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster in the Boyne City and Petoskey area. Duty to God, Duty to Country and Duty to Others. I also serve in a church in the East Jordan area in various positions serving the community. I taught CPR and First Aid for the American Red Cross for a period of 20 years as volunteer community instructor.
Military service has also been an important part of my life. As a Vietnam Era veteran, I have served in numerous Infantry units. From the U.S. Army to the National Guard I have served a total of 13 years. My duty stations include tours in the states, Germany and Korea.
My family is very important and I have been blessed to be married to my wife Debby for 43 years. She has been an integral part of all of our life adventures. We have 2 daughters and 4 grandchildren who are the love of our lives. Grandchildren truly make you feel younger.
The outdoors has been important in my life. Career selection was the result of, “The only thing I knew was the woods”. Also can be summed up by saying “Gone fishing, be back for deer season”.
The Honor Flight events that I have been part of made me realize that when I stand by these veterans that we serve, I stand next to Greatness.
Diane Diehm is a contributing member of her Mecosta community, and has been serving as an Administration Assistant to Board members of Mid-Michigan Honor Flight. She has recently accepted the position of Vice President.
Diane grew up in Lansing, but spent much of her youth visiting relatives in Mecosta, MI. She decided to raise her two children there and became a Real Estate Agent. She also owned her own Gourmet Food Shop.
Diane is President of the Mecosta Area Committee, a member of the Mecosta Revitalization Project with the Mecosta Family and Youth Center, the General Federation of Womens Clubs – Heart of the Lakes – Mecosta, and cares about the people she has come to know as neighbors.
She has always been a volunteer and felt that the men and women who served our country deserve to be thanked. Being a part of making that happen is a way she can show her deep appreciation and respect for these Veterans.
Gary grew up in Dearborn, Michigan before moving ‘up north’ shortly after marrying his wife of 24 years. Gary attended Ferris State University where he earned both his Associate and Bachelor’s degree and where he now works as Athletic Camps Coordinator/Operations Analyst in addition to being an independent insurance agent.
Gary has been active in everything from township government to school board, church councils, and fraternal organizations. He has served as a youth group leader and coach on occasion, and you may have even seen him in a community theatre performance with Stage M in Big Rapids.
While he was never in the military, he grew up in a family where his Dad and uncles served in World War II. His first experience with Honor Flight in June, 2014 was life-changing for both his vet and himself. Gary considers it a privilege to serve Honor Flight in any way he can.
Cosme was born and raised in Weslaco, Texas. Hejoined the Army right out of high school (2007) and completed basic and MOS (Military occupation specialty) training that same year. During his 7½ years, he was stationed at Camp Casey, South Korea, Fort Bliss, Texas and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Cosme deployed to Iraq out of his Ft. Bliss unit. After the military, he decided to move back home where he became a corrections officer for the local sheriff's department.
In 2018, Cosme moved to Canadian Lakes, Michigan. There he joined the Morton Township fire department where he started his firefighting career and also obtained his EMT license. As of December 2020, he is also a full-time firefighter with the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety.
Hi, my name is Ken Rizzio. I am retired and live on the north side of Holland. I worked all of my professional career providing economic development services to businesses and local units of government throughout Ottawa County. I have both administered and worked for several non-profit organizations over the years. Volunteers are the key to any successful organization.
My father was an Army combat veteran assigned to an armored field artillery unit in Europe during World War II. In his honor, it is a privilege for me to volunteer my time to Mid-Michigan Honor Flight, Inc. I am impressed with the mission and commitment of the MMHF Board members. I look forward to helping with the organization’s fundraising efforts to make those flights for veterans possible.
I also volunteer, along with my wife Barb, at Mobility Worldwide West Michigan in Holland. I serve as the Treasurer and she is the Bookkeeper who helps me manage all of MWWM’s accounting data and information in QuickBooks.
We have three grown children and three grandsons who all live in the greater Holland area. My main interests are canoeing, hunting and fishing. I grew up in Marquette, MI and enjoy the out-of-doors.