Military and First Responders Night

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Military and First Responders Night

Bella Reynolds, Asst. Managing Editor

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An overwhelmingly large crowd filled the stands the night of Oct. 18th at the Milford football field. The Milford Mavericks took on South Lyon in an intense game of football at their last home game of the season. However, the highlight  was the Military and First Responders Night. Milford High School’s Military and First Responders Night is always a special event for the community in which the school recognizes and honors veterans, military, and first responders. Few other schools recognize such diverse groups and individuals into various events. The substantial crowd witnessed a static display of a CH-47F Chinook helicopter flown by CW4 (Chief Warrant Officer 4) Tim Miller. After surrounding the field, the Chinook landed in the parking lot by the varsity baseball field. Military members were then honored alongside of Highland Township and Oakland County first responders.

Along with the landing, vehicles and respondents in presence, students, staff, and the community were able to tour the inside of the Chinook and all the vehicles that were there, ranging from police cars, both old and new, to vehicles as big as SWAT cars. In addition, all branches of past and present Military were there to take pictures, answer questions, and engage with the public. CW4 Miller said, “It was an honor for myself and my crew of four to support this Military appreciation night at MHS with a static display of a Chinook helicopter. Supporting these types of community events allows the Military to honor and remember those who have served and are currently serving in the armed forces. It allows the public the opportunity to get a closer look at the Military equipment that is based in the local Detroit area.” He later continued, “It’s important that we have the support of our local community and bring awareness to the many service members that live in Milford area. It’s a great chance to hear and share stories with others.”

Not only has the Chinook helped with community events such as this one, but since 2012, the CH-47 unit in Selfridge has deployed three times in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also supported hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Harvey, and Irma, along with forest fires. CW4 Miller’s unit is from the Michigan Army National Guard, based out of Selfridge National Guard base in Mt. Clemens, MI. They have six CH-47F helicopters and 70 soldiers that support the unit. Miller concluded,  “This is the greatest thing about supporting events like this, it’s talking with everyone and sharing our mission and the military! It’s important to pass this to the next generation.”

Outside of the aircrafts and vehicles, there were vendors that were set up throughout the area, ooking for donations that would go toward Wounded Warriors. The foundation is for wounded veterans from the military actions following September 11, 2001. Another interest throughout the fun-filled night was the T-shirt cannon. Branches of the military brought along T-shirt cannons that fired shirts with the words “I dominated” into the crowd. This addition kept the crowd engaged and brought even more excitement into the stadium. In the past, the First Responders Night brought in one of the biggest crowds of the year;  this year, even more people came to the game to support the soldiers of our nation and cheer on the players. The varsity Mavericks this year also wore camo and black uniforms to show their support for the military and first responders.

Over the years, students have said that this night every year is their favorite game to attend because the atmosphere of the stadium is so much different than other games. Senior Ronnie Savage, who has enlisted into the U.S. Army (post graduation) said, “I think it’s important to honor the first responders and those who have served and give them a thank you, to recognize the sacrifices they make for us everyday.” Savage is enlisting into the U.S. Army for the reason that, “It’s my dream job, it’s always what I’ve wanted to do, I want to do something important with my life after high school.”

Aside from a Military perspective, on this night, Deputy Delanoy, the Milford Police Officer Liaison, has been on staff here at Milford High School for seven years. A different perspective on the night, is first responder Delanoy, who said, “It’s always nice to see the community give back to the people who have to work in the middle of the night, weekends, and holidays, and the service men and women who are away from their families for long periods of time, it is good to know that our community cares.” He later continued, “It is important to know that when we have to work, when others aren’t and they’re at home with their families, that we’re appreciated being there, that when they have an emergency that our services are there. It is always nice to work in a community that you are supported in.” As Delanoy has been a part of this night as long as it has been going on, he said, “I think it went very well, what I would do next year is advertise the night more in the community and possibly get a group picture with both the military and first responders.”

The fans, players, coaches, and others who helped make this night possible all came together to recognize those that have served and continue to serve our country. Assistant Varsity Football Coach Scott Hiipakka was one of many people behind the operation of this special night. Hiipakka, a Colonel and Land Component Commander, has been serving in the Military for 26 years. “Milford is a really strong community,” Hiipakka said. “The fact that so many different organizations come together to honor the service and sacrifice of both responders and the military makes it really special to all.”

With his third year coaching the Milford High School football team, his position in the Military has allowed him to give ideas and resources on how to make this night so special. “There are so many veterans in the community and Milford does such a special job on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and for the high school to do something different is so meaningful to the community.” Hiipakka was first motivated to join the Military by the challenge it brought and has continued to serve because of the joy it brought him, and the more challenges he wanted. “I’ve been really blessed in my life, and to be able to serve in the special operations community was really impactful.” Hiipakka left with the words, “Events like this night just don’t happen without the support of the leadership of the school, both Principal McKenna and Mr. Marszalek, are both really supportive of making the night special for the community.”