National Mine man named U.P. Veteran of the Year

Hager to be honored Thursday at Upper Peninsula State Fair

C. William “Bill” Hagar has been selected as the 2021 U.P. Veteran of the Year. He will be honored for his achievements at a formal ceremony at the U.P. State Fair in Escanaba at 11 a.m. Thursday. All veterans and the public are welcome to attend the ceremony. (Courtesy photo)

NATIONAL MINE — C. William “Bill” Hager has been selected as the 2021 Upper Peninsula Veteran of the Year. The National Mine man was picked by the U.P. Veteran of the Year Committee and nominated by the Marquette County Veterans Alliance. He will be honored during the U.P. State Fair on Thursday.

Hager served in the U.S. Navy from 1963-67. In 1977, he joined the U.S. Army serving from 1977-93 with the 107th Engineers, Active Guard Reserve retiring as a highly decorated Master Sergeant (E-8). During his time in the military, Hager earned the Army Service Ribbon; National Defense Service Medal (2); Recruiter Badge; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Vietnam Campaign Medal W/Devices; Vietnam Service Medal (2); Combat Action Medal; Meritorious Unit Citation; Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal (2); NCO Professional Development Ribbon (4); Army Good Conduct Medal (3); Navy Good Conduct Medal; Navy Efficiency Medal; Army Commendation Medal (5); Meritorious Service Medal; and the Navy Expeditionary Medal.

Hager holds lifetime memberships in the AMVETS, DAV, VFW, VVA, Ishpeming Armory NCO Club, K.I. Sawyer NCO Club, Camp Grayling NCO Club, U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Museum, National Guard HHC 49’s and the Marquette County Veterans Alliance.

During his civilian years, he continued serving veterans as president of the NMU Vets Club; the 107th Engineers Association Board of Directors and a facilitator for a Peer Support Group.

Over the years, he actively served his community as a member of the Lions Club, Marquette County Youth Coalition, Marquette County Volunteer Fire Department (ladder captain), Ishpeming Board of Review, the non-profit One Love Brigade, Red Cross and Salvation Army volunteer, swim coach and volunteer meet referee in Gwinn and Marquette County, and the Marquette County Fair Association. In addition, Hager volunteered at an amputee seminar at the Milwaukee VA and does Santa duties at the Jacobetti Home for Veterans.

The Marquette County Veterans Alliance states, “(Bill Hager) makes a better place for veterans and community by opening his home, property and finances to others. (Bill) has been a mentor, counselor and advocate for county veterans and addresses such issues as PTSD, drugs and alcohol addiction through a church group, providing work and therapy for veterans at his hobby farm for rescued miniature horses and donkeys. (Bill) routinely aids homeless families, searching for benefits, housing and helping the veterans enroll in VA services.”

“He is active in church activities, including teaching Sunday school and often donates his time cleaning houses, doing yard work and repairing items for his neighbors and community members … he provides employment to mentally and physically disabled community members.”

Spending two tours of military duty in Vietnam, he used his experience to author a play that went into full production for four weeks at the Vista Theater in Negaunee, highlighting the struggles of Vietnam veterans while in service and their return home providing hope and promise for veterans and family members.

He resides in National Mine with his wife, Katherine. He has two children, Will and Michelle Hager Park, five stepchildren and eight grandchildren.

Hager will be honored for his achievements at a formal ceremony at the U.P. State Fair in Escanaba at 11 a.m. Thursday. All veterans and the public are welcome to attend the ceremony.


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