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
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.
Lori is from Port Huron and has lived in the St. Clair County area her entire life. She is married to a Navy veteran and the proud mom of 3. Her oldest daughter is married to a Marine veteran, her son and daughter in law are still active duty Air Force and her youngest daughter is an Air Force veteran. As the mom of active duty Airmen, she once had their children living with her for over a year when they were both overseas in different countries. When one member of the family serves in the military, the whole family serves.
Volunteering has been a big part of her life beginning when her children were young and they all were involved in Scouting, she was either a leader or assistant for their troops. Soon after her son entered the Air Force, she became involved with Blue Star Mothers. A few years later, realizing that the entire family serves and not just moms, she formed a new organization with several other women called Raising American Heroes in 2019. There the entire family gets involved with supporting our veterans and active duty troops and families of our fallen. She has been a volunteer for the American Red Cross in the Services to Armed Forces division supporting our veterans and active duty troops since 2018. Through these organizations, Lori was introduced to Mid Michigan Honor Flight and it was a perfect compliment to her passions to support our veterans.
She has held multiple board positions in the various volunteer organizations from secretary and financial secretary to President. Joining us during the middle of the Covid pandemic was a challenge but helping to resume the Honor Flights has been a highlight to her as a volunteer and a Board Member for Mid Michigan Honor Flight.
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.