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Mid-Michigan veterans find ways to celebrate amid pandemic

Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 7:03 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Many of the parades and other celebrations you’d normally see on Veterans Day are off the table during the pandemic. But, Mid-Michigan is still finding ways to honor the men and women who served.

“What you can see behind the mask, I guess, smiling and honoring people and coming together as one...It makes my heart feel really really good,” said Bob Wilkinson, a Vietnam veteran.

98-year-old veteran Herb Elfing is another veteran who has had to find a new way to celebrate.

Elfing served in World War II and survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. This year, he’s celebrating through his window as he battles COVID-19.

At Herb’s retirement in Jackson, there was a moment of silence followed by a walk around the parking lot to honor veterans.

“I get a tingly feeling when I walked out. Especially the way we had walked out front, you could see the other veteran’s eyes saying ‘hey, we know what this is about,’” said Wilkinson.

“As a Vietnam veteran, it’s very heartwarming to come out and see all these veterans and see people support veterans,” he said.

That includes Reinold Yahnka, this year’s Jackson County Veteran of the Year. He served in Vietnam and is involved with the Veteran’s Foreign Wars to this day.

“Veterans don’t do anything for accolades so when you do get see things, it’s greatly appreciated," said Reinold Yahnka.

Herb is set to come out of quarantine on November 24. He is still deciding if he will make his annual trip to Pearl Harbor in December.

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