Marquette County vet honored at ceremony

Bill Hager talks about his years of community service at VFW post #3165 in Negaunee. C. William “Bill” Hager of National Mine was name 2018 Marquette County Veteran of the Year in a ceremony on Friday at VFW Post #3165 in Negaunee Friday evening. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

By COREY KELLY

Journal Staff Writer

NEGAUNEE — C. William “Bill” Hager of National Mine was named the 2018 Marquette County Veteran of the Year in a ceremony on Friday at the VFW Post 3165 in Negaunee.

“I am extremely honored and humbled to be selected,” Hager said. “It’s a real honor and, not only am I honored, I think this should be shared with many, many veterans who have done an awful lot for an awful lot of people.”

The Veteran of the Year program is sponsored by the Marquette County Veterans Alliance, which awards a veteran who has demonstrated selfless service, leadership and volunteer spirit in support of veterans, their families and veteran advocacy.

“He just goes above and beyond,” said Jim Provost, chairman for the Marquette County Veterans Alliance. “He has been doing this for many, many years.”

Hager grew up in Iron River and went on to serve two combat tours in Vietnam with the U.S. Navy. Hager continued to serve both the state of Michigan and the nation during his career in the Army National Guard before his retirement in 1993. Since, Hager has dedicated his time to service of veterans and others across the Upper Peninsula. He has served in and led multiple nonprofit organizations within Marquette County and is well respected as a mentor, counselor and advocate for veterans and their family members. Hager earned numerous military awards highlighted by the Meritorious Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon and Vietnam Campaign Medal.

“In accepting this awardm, I accept it on behalf of all of the veterans who have done so much over the years,” Hager said. “For me it’s a great honor to be picked out as perhaps an example of how veterans should be acting within the community. It’s a great honor and I accept it on behalf of all veterans.”

Provost said the celebration was a way to thank Hager for all he does in the community.

“If I wanted to say I wanted to leave a legacy, I would like that legacy to be I made a difference in a lot of people’s lives,” Hager said. “They’ve made a difference in mine.”

Corey Kelly can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is ckelly@miningjournal.net.