Michael L. Emerson is the oldest of eight children from a French mother and a German/Austrian father who emigrated from Western Europe. Michael was raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. in the towns of Wheaton, Kensington, and Silver Spring, Maryland. Michael went to Oakland Terrace Elementary School, Newport Mill Jr. High School and graduated from Wheaton High School in 1979, four months after his 16th birthday (Michael was academically accelerated and allowed to skip the 1st and 11th grades). Growing up, Michael and his family spoke mostly French at home, he also lived and went to school for one year in Paris, France. Michael is still able to speak near fluent French.
At the age of 19, in April 1982, Michael joined the active duty United States Marine Corps where he enlisted specifically to be an Infantryman. Michael graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot – Parris Island, South Carolina boot camp on 18 August 1982, he was the 4th squad leader of his Platoon #2041. After boot camp, Michael completed Infantry Training School – Camp Geiger at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina on 15 September 1982, graduating second in his class. Michael received his primary Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) of 0311, which is an Infantryman. After Infantry Training School, Michael was stationed “Main Side” at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina with the 1st Battalion/2nd Marines (1/2), Bravo Company, in the unit’s Heavy Weapons Platoon. While with 1/2 Michael went from being an Infantryman to a Mortar-man (MOS 0341). In addition, Michael also became a Machine Gunner (MOS 0331). Because of Michael’s swimming prowess, he was chosen to go to Water Safety Survival School, becoming a Water Safety Survival Instructor (WSSI) and graduated first in his class (earning an official secondary MOS 8563). In 1983, during Michael’s first overseas deployment he and his unit went on a 3 month NATO CRUISE on the U.S. Navy ship, the USS Trenton LPD-14, going to England, Scotland, Spain and Norway. While on this NATO cruise, Michael participated in the Navy’s “Order of the Blue Nose” initiation, becoming a “Blue Nose” when his ship crossed the Arctic Circle. In 1984 on Michael’s second overseas deployment, which was a 6 month WestPAC deployment. His unit was sent to the Philippines, South Korea and Okinawa, Japan (Camp Schawb, Okinawa), spending time on the U.S. Navy ship, the USS Anchorage LSD-36. In 1985, during Michael’s third overseas deployment, while on active duty, he was with UNITAS/WATC XXVI (United American States/West African Training Cruise 26) on the U.S. Navy ship, the USS Saginaw LST-1188 for 6 months. Michael went to the Caribbean, Central/South America, and to West Africa. While in the Caribbean and Central/South America, Michael participated in military cross training with our allies in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Columbia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, and Brazil (spending 2 weeks in Rio de Janeiro). While in Panama, Michael received “The Order of the Ditch,” which is a certificate for going through the Panama Canal on a U.S. military ship. Michael also participated with his fellow Marines in marching across land from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean along the Panama Canal (about 42 miles). Also, when the USS Saginaw LST-1188 crossed the equator in the Pacific Ocean near the South American country of Ecuador, Michael participated in the Navy’s “Shellback/Wog” initiation becoming a “Shellback.” During this same cruise UNITAS/WATC XXVI Michael also went to West Africa for military cross training in Zaire, Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Togo, Ghana, Guinea, Senegal, and Mauritania. While off the coast of West Africa Michael also crossed over the equator in the Atlantic Ocean aboard the USS Saginaw LST-1188. Since Michael crossed over the equator in BOTH the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean this made Michael a “Golden Shellback.” Unfortunately, while in Africa, Michael was seriously injured during one of the military missions he participated in. Due to Michael’s many military service connected injuries Michael is a Disabled for Life American Veteran.
While on the UNITAS/WATC XXVI cruise, Michael was able to use his French speaking skills to translate for the Navy and Marine Officers, Staff NCOs and even some of the American Ambassadors of the various countries he visited and trained in. Michael was awarded a Certificate of Commendation from Rear Admiral R.C. Ustick for the “Superior Performance” of his translation duties.
During UNITAS/WATC XXVI military operations, Michael also played on the U.S. Marine Corps Volleyball team, playing against the National and Olympic Volleyball teams of the Central/South American and African countries they visited and cross-trained with.
Michael also played on the 2nd Marines Regimental Football team as a linebacker while stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, U.S.A.
After Michael was promoted to the rank of Sergeant he went to Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) School at Parris Island, South Carolina, he was third in his class.
After Michael left active duty in April 1986 and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, he chose to join the USMC active reserves in Alameda, CA. Because of Michael’s French speaking abilities, Michael’s MOS was changed to Military Intelligence with the 30th ITT (Interrogation Translation Team), Michael was trained as a French Interrogator and Translator (MOS 0251).
During Michael’s military service he served in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Marine Divisions.
In February 1991, Michael was officially recalled from reserve duty to active duty to participate in Operation Desert Shield/Storm during the Persian Gulf War. Along with the medals and ribbons he received for his participation and actions during the Desert Storm/Persian Gulf War, Michael also received a Certificate of Commendation for his “Superior Performance of Duty.”
During Michael’s 10+ years of U.S. Marine Corps military service career he was awarded:
Michael is a LIFE member of the following Veterans organizations:
Veterans of Foreign Wars – VFW.
The American Legion – TAL.
Marine Corps League – MCL.
Disabled American Veterans – DAV.
American Veterans – AMVETS.
Military Veterans Organization – MVO.
Patriot Guard Riders – PGR.
Michael is the Founder and also a Charter member of AMVETS (American Veterans) MOH Richard A. Pittman Post #1947 – Stockton, California, which meets at the Stockton Civic Auditorium in downtown Stockton, California every first Tuesday of the month at 6:30PM.
Michael is the Founder and a Charter member of MVO (Military Veterans Organization), located in Stockton, California.
In 2008, Michael and his previous American Legion Post #649 submitted and passed a Resolution in both the California Department/State and the National American Legion Organization to endorse and support the building of the Flight 93 NATIONAL Memorial in Shanksville, PA.
In 2009, Michael and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post #554 (in Somerset, PA) submitted and passed a similar Resolution in both the Pennsylvania Department/State and the National VFW Organization to endorse the building of the Flight 93 NATIONAL Memorial in Shanksville, PA.
In 2013, Michael and the Board of Directors of the National Desert Storm War Memorial (using the same resolution wording as Michael used in 2008 & 2009) submitted and passed a Resolution at the National American Legion National Convention to endorse and support the building of the National Desert Storm War Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Michael is also the recipient of the California State Legislature Assembly 20th District’s: “2011 VETERAN OF THE YEAR” award.
In addition, Michael was chosen again as the recipient of the California State Legislature Assembly 20th District’s: “2014 VETERAN OF THE YEAR” award.
After leaving active military duty in April 1986, Michael traveled around the Southern and Western United States for about 2 months. Michael visited many historic landmarks and cities. At the end of his cross-country trip he arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area in June 1986, at the age of 23, with just his 1982 silver 4-door Honda Civic, a water cooler, a backpack of clothes, and $50.00. Michael quickly found employment in the real estate industry in the cities of Sunnyvale, Los Altos, and Palo Alto in the “South Bay,” near the city of San Jose, in Santa Clara County, California. Michael was very good at his job and became the #1 sales person for CalLand. But in 1988, he realized to make a much higher income he would need to get into electronic sales since he lived in the center of “Silicon Valley.” So he changed his career and became a salesman at a small Electronics Hardware Manufacturing Company in San Jose, California to learn the industry. Within a year he had outgrown this smaller company, so he went to work for a much larger company, but he found that this new company was poorly run and managed. So, in September 1990, Michael decided to open his own Electronics Turnkey Hardware Manufacturing Company called Emerson Enterprises. During the 1990s Michael took college night classes and earned a Degree in Business in 1993, and later a degree in Computer Business Applications in 1997. Emerson Enterprises became a very successful Electronics Hardware/Software Manufacturing and Supply Representative Company. We helped to manufacture products in the Consumer Electronics and Military Electronics industry. At Emerson Enterprises’ peak the company farmed out work that employed about 1,000 people who manufactured products for our customers. Because of this success Michael was able to retire in 1999 from his company. Importantly, Michael’s 2 sons were born in 1999 and 2003, Nickolas-Franco M. Emerson was born in Palo Alto, California on 21 April 1999 and Tyler Michael K. Emerson was born in Las Vegas, Nevada on 9 May 2003, two of the best days of Michael’s life. The horrible events of September 11, 2001 had a profound impact on Michael, he became more actively Patriotic. Choosing to join and participate in some of the major Veterans Service Organizations like AMVETS, the VFW, The American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans, the Marine Corps League and the PGR, eventually joining and becoming a life member in all of these major U.S. Veterans Organizations. In 2002, Michael decided to design and build a Memorial to honor the Heroes of United Flight 93. United Airlines Flight 93 was the 4th plane to crash on 9/11. United Flight 93’s original destination was San Francisco, California, but instead, after the crew fought valiantly against the hijackers, ended up crashing in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Michael contacted some of the surviving family members and with their support ended up designing and building the Flight 93 Memorial, which he chose to locate in Union City, California (in the San Francisco East Bay Area), this Memorial was dedicated in 2007. The Flight 93 Memorial in Union City, CA is the FIRST 9/11 Memorial built in the World. Since 2002 Michael has designed, or helped to design and build, 12+ Military Veteran and 9/11 Memorial’s all over the USA. Michael volunteers all of his time and effort and does not get paid for any of his work designing/building these Memorials. In the 2000s, Michael continued to take college night classes and earned degrees in Economics and History in 2009. So in 2010, using his new Economics degree, Michael became an Economic Consultant/Professional & Trustee to businesses, corporations and individuals. Michael finally fully retired in July 2017, and moved to Stockton, California to be close to his 5 step-grandchildren. Michael now spends a lot of his time with his family, volunteering to help veterans and those in his community, plus he also continues to donate his time to design, help design and help build Military Veteran and 9/11 Memorials and Monuments all over the USA.
During the 1990s & 2000s, while working and going to College at night, Michael earned a:
1. Business Degree in 1993 (with Honors).
2. MicroComputer Degree in 1997 (with Magna Cum Laude Honors).
3. Degree in Economics in 2009 (with Honors).
4. Degree in History in 2009 (with Honors).
Michael is also a LIFE member of the following College organizations:
College Fraternity “Alpha Phi Omega” (APO).
College Honor Scholarship Society “Alpha Gamma Sigma”.
College Economics International Honor Society “Omicron Delta Epsilon”.
Michael is also the recipient of the 2007 California State University President’s Student Service and Leadership Outstanding Citizenship Award.
Michael was greatly honored when he was selected, awarded and commissioned on 18 November 2013 as a “Kentucky Colonel” by the State of Kentucky because of his many years of military, volunteer and philanthropic services and activities. Additionally, Michael also has been awarded each year over the last 7 years different Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels: “Medals of Distinction” for his continued outstanding efforts and donations to those in need. Click here to see Michael’s official “Kentucky Colonel” Commission certificate.
Michael was also greatly honored when he was selected, awarded and commissioned on 27 October 2020 as a “Kentucky Admiral” since he spent about 1 year “At Sea” serving on 3 different U.S. Navy ships (the U.S.S. Trenton, U.S.S. Anchorage and U.S.S. Saginaw) and is a Golden Shellback (which he earned for sailing over the equator in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans) by the State of Kentucky for his many years of military, volunteer and philanthropic services and activities. Click here to see Michael’s official “Kentucky Admiral” Commission certificate.
Michael is also a past member and chapter President of “Toastmasters International,” a national speaking and presentation club.
Michael has traveled the World and so far has traveled to and visited 110 out of 210 Countries on 6 out of the 7 Continents (not Antarctica, yet). He has also been to all 50 of the U.S. States and every major U.S. city and tourist attraction. His goal is to travel and visit all 210 countries on planet Earth; and if future technology allows it, to also visit the Moon.
Michael has been married once, and is now very happily divorced and dating. Michael has 2 biological sons, and currently 5 “step-grandchildren,” he has been part of the lives of his 4 youngest step-children since their birth (the oldest since age 6).
Michael recently fully retired and moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Stockton, California (just south of Sacramento, California) in July 2017 to be near his 5 step-grandchildren.
Michael believes in giving back to his community and has been a community volunteer for more than 30 years. Michael’s volunteer philosophy is: “I believe to be a good citizen you need to give back to your Community and Country for the common good.”
Michael L. Emerson is the Founder, Originator, Designer, and Chairman of this website. This website is Emerson’s idea to help veterans and active duty military/reserve personnel and their families find all of the great veteran support organizations that they need, and have earned, in the San Joaquin County area of Northern California. This website was setup to aid both younger and older veterans and active duty/reserve military and their families. There is also a calendar of local events that veterans and active duty/reserve can attend and participate in. Why Emerson though to do this is because when he finished his enlistment, and was Honorably Discharged from the United State Marine Corps, he had no idea how to get help from other veterans and veteran support organizations. It is Emerson’s hope that this website will make it easier for veterans/military and their families to find everything they need in San Joaquin County to support them to have happy, healthy and productive lives. Website: www.VeteranHelp.net
VEHICLES 4 VETERANS (V4V): Michael also founded and is the chairman of the V4V program. The mission of V4V is to donate a working vehicle to as many local San Joaquin County, California military veterans as possible that are in need of a vehicle. These vehicles will be used to go to work in, to transport their children to and from school/activities, to bring their family to medical appointments, etc. We get donated unwanted serviceable used vehicles from generous donors, then local vehicle auto repair shops donate to fully service these used vehicles to safe working condition. Also, local towing and SMOG companies donate to transport and SMOG the vehicles. V4V in turn donate these repaired working vehicles to local veterans in need. No one in our organization is paid for their work, we are all unpaid donors, sponsors and volunteers. We plan to give away 1 free vehicle to a military veteran every month. This program is being sponsored by a 501c3 charity known as SMR and will be run by the VeteranHelp.net veterans group. Both SMR and VeteranHelp.net are San Joaquin County, California veteran charity based organizations. Donations are tax deductible. Michael feels that this program will greatly enhance the lives of local military veterans and their families, and it also gives individuals, businesses and the community a chance to show their appreciation and support to military veterans who have given so much to our Country.
FISH 4 VETERANS (F4V): Michael also founded and is the chairman of the F4V program. The Mission of F4V is to donate at NO COST to the veteran: fish tank equipment and to set it all up for local San Joaquin County disabled military veterans with PTSD and other trauma. Years of research have found and proven that having and caring for fish has a calming effect which helps to relieve stress and anxiety. Michael persuaded local fish & pet stores to donate the materials for this program. Once a disabled military veteran has applied for this program, and has been accepted, our volunteers will bring the donated fish tank equipment to their home and set it all up for them at no cost. But, with the understanding that after the initial setup, the disabled military veteran is fully responsible for all future care and maintenance of the fish tank, fish equipment and live fish. This Program is being run by VeteranHelp.net and sponsored by SMR which is a 501c3 Veteran’s Charity. So donations will be tax deductible. The local Veteran’s Administration (VA) has approved this program and although the VA does not help us with any funding, they do pass out our F4V flyers to inform veterans about our program. We feel that this program greatly enhances the lives of local military veterans. It also gives individuals, businesses and the community a chance to show their appreciation and support to disabled military veterans who have given so much to our Country.
(Michael is not paid or compensated in any way for all of his volunteer work, he 100% donates all of his time, expertise, memorial designs, connections and contacts).
WALLER COUNTY VETERANS MEMORIAL:
Michael is the Designer of the WALLER COUNTY VETERANS MEMORIAL in Hempstead/Waller, Texas. The veterans group spearheading the effort contacted Michael in May 2013 after they read the “Monument Man” article about Michael designing and building memorials all over the USA in the American Legion’s national magazine, the May 2013 issue. Michael donated a design for the Memorial next to the Waller County Court House and sent the design in June 2013, later Michael made the final design changes they requested. Michael also connected them with granite supplier and laser etching engraver Jim Smith. It has taken the veterans of Waller County many years to get the approvals and funding for the Memorial. The Memorial was completed and dedicated on Veterans Day, 11 November 2020. Check out this website: Website for the Waller County Veterans Memorial
WOMENS EQUALITY MONUMENT:
Michael is the Founder, Originator, Designer, and Build Manager of the WOMENS EQUALITY MONUMENT which he wanted to build in Stockton, California. Michael started the Monument’s design and build process in Spring 2018. Michael’s plan was to dedicate the Monument on 26 August 2020 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary that women received the formal and legal right to vote in the U.S.A. on 26 August 1920, and of course to Honor and Appreciate all women. But because there has been Little to No Interest or Support to Build the Monument by the Women and Men of Stockton, the Various Businesses & Organizations of Stockton, and the City of Stockton Government this Monument has been put on hold until we get the needed support from the Community and Local Government. Website: www.WomensEqualityMonument.com (not built yet).
NATIONAL DESERT STORM WAR MEMORIAL:
Michael was contacted by the Board of Directors for THE NATIONAL DESERT STORM WAR MEMORIAL which is being built in Washington, D.C. He has been asked to be a Memorial Consultant Volunteer because of his many years of experience with designing and building memorials. Michael is helping in any way he can and in any capacity the Board needs of him. Such as, advice on the Memorial’s size, aesthetics, and location. Michael is also a Desert Storm Marine Corps veteran and will use his connections in Government and military Veteran Service Organizations to help move the project forward. To read an article in the American Legion National Magazine about the Memorial from Feb 2014: Read article here.
For more details and to donate: www.NationalDesertStormWarMemorial.org
GOLD STAR FAMILIES MEMORIAL MONUMENT:
Michael is the Originator, Build Manager, and Donation Collector of the 29th GOLD STAR FAMILIES MEMORIAL MONUMENT, the 1st one built in California and the 1st one built west of the Mississippi river. The Monument was designed by Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams. Woody is a WWII Marine Corps veteran who received his Medal of Honor for combat actions during the Battle of IWO JIMA, Japan. Woody’s vision is to put at least 1 of these Monuments in every U.S. State. He designed the Memorial to forever honor and remember the families of our KIA military Heroes and their Gold Star Families. The Monument Michael built was dedicated at Lone Tree Cemetery in Hayward, California on Saturday, 2 December 2017. To learn more, support the Monument, support building more monuments, and to donate to the upkeep of the Hayward, California Monument, please visit: The GOLD STAR FAMILIES MEMORIAL MONUMENT in Hayward, California.
HAYWARD 9/11 MEMORIAL:
Michael is the Founder, Originator, Creator, Designer and main Fundraiser for the HAYWARD 9/11 MEMORIAL in Hayward, California which was built to honor all of the Heroes of 9/11. In addition, the Memorial also honors Hayward First Responders and Veterans, listing the names of those who have died in service to the Community and the Country since the founding of the City of Hayward and the Spanish/American War. The Memorial is now complete thanks to the donations of materials, funds and labor from local people and organizations and others around the country. We completed and dedicated the Memorial on Memorial Day, Monday, 30 May 2016. For more information, to donate for upkeep, and to get involved please visit: The HAYWARD 9/11 MEMORIAL in Hayward, California.
OAKLAND COUNTY, MICHIGAN 9/11 MEMORIAL:
Michael was contacted by “Detroit Hank” Kinzey who was working on the OAKLAND COUNTY 9/11 MEMORIAL in Pontiac, Michigan (in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan) to ask for his help to complete the Memorial that was built to Honor and Remember the Heroes of 9/11, which includes dirt and rocks from Shanksville, PA for Flight 93, a large piece of metal from the World Trade Center Twin Towers from Manhattan, New York, and a large piece of stone from The Pentagon building in Washington, D.C./Arlington, VA. Michael first met Hank when he and the Flight 93 families did the “Ride with the 40” motorcycle run across the USA and stopped to visit Michael’s FLIGHT 93 MEMORIAL in Union City, California on 10 September 2009. Michael was honored to help with the Oakland County 9/11 Memorial by writing and donating the wording that was used on the FLIGHT 93 and the PENTAGON parts of the Memorial. Michael also supplied 9/11 photos he has taken, or collected over the years, from the NYC, Flight 93 and Pentagon 9/11 sites. Out of the 16 photos used on the Oakland County 9/11 Memorial, they used 14 that Michael supplied. Michael was invited to and attended the dedication of the Oakland County 9/11 Memorial on 11 September 2015. Michael is very honored and proud to have been asked to donate his help with getting this beautiful 9/11 Memorial built.
SILENT HEROES OF THE COLD WAR NATIONAL MEMORIAL:
Michael was also Assistant Chairman of the Memorial project to build the SILENT HEROES OF THE COLD WAR NATIONAL MEMORIAL located at the Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway on Mount Charleston in the outskirts of Las Vegas, Nevada. This Memorial was built to honor and remember the Military Service members of the United States who served during the Cold War (Michael served in the U. S. Marine Corps during the Cold War) and the Secret Operatives who worked to win the Cold War. At the same time we also built a USAF #9068 MONUMENT to remember the fourteen U-2 Government Operatives who died in the 17 November 1955 plane crash on Mount Charleston, Nevada. The Memorial is located in the U. S. Forest Service’s Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway Recreational Area very near the crash site. The U. S. Government and the State of Nevada have designated this new Memorial to be a “National Park.” Michael helped with finalizing the design, putting together the donation request packets, setup the partnership and sponsorship with the American Legion, and contacted major Las Vegas Casinos for donations to build the Memorial. With the help of donations from the community we completed and dedicated the Memorial on 29 May 2015. For more information, to donate to the maintenance fund, and to get involved please visit: The SILENT HEROES OF THE COLD WAR NATIONAL MEMORIAL in the Las Vegas Area, Nevada.
THE AMERICAN VETERANS DISABLED FOR LIFE MEMORIAL:
Michael also supported and helped with the building of the THE AMERICAN VETERANS DISABLED FOR LIFE MEMORIAL located in Washington, D.C. Michael is a service connected lifetime disabled veteran, so he has a direct connection to this Memorial. The Memorial is in the heart of Washington, D.C. very close to the National Capitol Building. The Memorial was built to remember and honor Disabled American Veterans who live with and suffer everyday from their injuries that they received during their honorable service in the U. S. Military. The Memorial was dedicated on 5 October 2014. Michael was invited to and attended the Dedication with his family. For more information please visit: THE AMERICAN VETERANS DISABLED FOR LIFE MEMORIAL in Washington, D.C.
CASTRO VALLEY VETERANS MEMORIAL:
Michael is also the Designer and Project Build Manager for the CASTRO VALLEY VETERANS MEMORIAL (CVVM) in Castro Valley, California. The Memorial was built to honor all of our Military Veterans. After about three years, plus hundreds of hours of donated time and effort, and with the help of other veterans in Michael’s Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post #9601, in Castro Valley, California the Memorial was completed at the end of October 2012. The CVVM was Dedicated on Veterans Day, Sunday, 11 November 2012. For more information, to donate, and to get involved please visit: www.CVVM.info
FLIGHT 93 NATIONAL MEMORIAL:
After Michael completed the FLIGHT 93 MEMORIAL in Union City, California, the National Park Foundation, which is a division of the National Park Service, and the Flight 93 Family Organization invited Michael to be a member of a special National Steering Committee to help build the FLIGHT 93 NATIONAL MEMORIAL in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The Steering Committee consisted of a total of 24 people including: President Bill Clinton, President George Bush (Jr.), Vice-President Joe Biden, Army General Tommy Franks, past Pennsylvania Governor and Homeland Security Czar Tom Ridge, the owner of Outback Steak House Chris T. Sullivan, Flight 93 Family members, and Michael L. Emerson with other prominent individuals. Michael participated in the Flight 93 NATIONAL Memorial’s dedication in Shanksville, PA on 10 Sept. 2011. Michael also participate in the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 at the crash site on 11 Sept 2011. For more information and to get involved please visit: www.HonorFlight93.org. This is a copy of Michael’s Steering Committee business card: (Image of business card)
2ND MARINE DIVISION REMEMBRANCE MONUMENT:
In March 2011, Michael went on a trip to the Pacific Islands of Guam, Saipan, and Tinian to visit WWII U.S. Marine Corps battle sites, he also visited and toured the Island of Iwo Jima, Japan, site of the famous WWII Marine Corps U.S. Flag Raising on Mount Suribachi. While on Tinian Island, Michael visited the Army Air Corps Base where the two planes, the Enola Gay & Bockscar which dropped the two atomic bombs on Japan on 6 & 9 August 1945, were loaded and took off from, this Base is now a U.S. National Park. While there, Michael noticed that all of the units that were on Tinian during WWII had a Remembrance Monument built and left there to honor each unit. But, although the 4th Marine Division had a Monument, a Monument for the 2nd Marine Division, who also fought and took the Island from the Japanese, was missing. So Michael enlisted the aid of Don Farrell, an American and U.S. Air Force veteran, who lives on Tinian Island to build a 2nd Marine Division Monument. Together, Michael and Don, got the approval of the Mayor of Tinian, the Governor of the Mariana Islands, and the National Park Service to build a matching Remembrance Monument for the 2nd Marine Division. Michael had the black granite wording plaque made in the USA and shipped it to Tinian. At the same time Don had the Remembrance Monument built for the plaque to be installed on. The new 2nd Marine Division Remembrance Monument was formally dedicated on 1 July 2011. Because of the distance, Michael was not able to attend. This is a link to a Leatherneck Magazine Article written about Tinian and the dedication: Because Marines Never Forget: Tinian. Also this is a link to a video that was made of the dedication: 2nd MarDiv Monument Dedication & Commemoration on Tinian
THE FLIGHT 93 MEMORIAL:
(This is the FIRST Memorial/Monument that Michael built.)
Michael is the Founder, Originator, Creator, Co-designer and Fundraiser for THE FLIGHT 93 MEMORIAL in Union City, California which was built to honor Heroes of 9/11. After contacting the local families of the Heroes, and getting their approval and support, Michael contacted Union City, CA (the city of Hayward, CA had already turned the project down) and they enthusiastically approved of the Memorial. After 5+ years spending hundreds of hours of time and effort, and with the aid of a lot of good people and organizations, The Flight 93 Memorial, Union City, California was completed and dedicated on Saturday, 8 Dec 2007. For more information, to donate, and to get involved please visit: The Flight 93 Memorial, Union City California
VETERAN TICKETS FOUNDATON (VetTix.org & Hero’s Wish):
Michael was also the Deputy Director of Strategic Relations of the Veteran Tickets Foundation, which is the foundation that oversees and operates VetTix.org and HerosWish.org. The Veteran Tickets Foundation is a nationally recognized 501c3 Veterans Support Organization, that is also approved by the Department of Defense (DoD). VetTix’s mission is to: “Give something to those who gave.” The Foundation teams up with sports teams, sport leagues, promoters, organizations, venues and everyday event ticket holders to provide free (and discounted) tickets to the more than 26 million active duty Military, Veterans and their families in the United States. Gold Star Families are also eligible for this program. VetTix.org: Supplies entertainment, lasting memories and reintegration opportunities by providing FREE event tickets to sporting events (Pro & College), concerts, shows, zoos, and many other family activities. Hero’s Wish: Is a program for active duty military personnel (one month prior to, while on leave from or one month after their deployments), and also severely wounded warriors and Gold Star Families of men and woman killed in action (KIA). Hero’s Wish allows members who meet certain criteria to request specific tickets for any single event, and have donors fulfill that request either by ticket donation or by donating money to make the Hero’s wish come true. For more information about Veteran Tickets Foundation, to get involved, and to donate please contact Michael directly and also visit: www.VetTix.org
THE 9/11 FLIGHT 93 ROSE:
Part of Michael’s duties in helping build the FLIGHT 93 NATIONAL MEMORIAL in Shanksville, PA as a member of the 24 person National Steering Committee of the National Park Foundation, was to help raise funds to build the Memorial. One of Michael’s fund raising activities was that he persuaded rose hybridizer J.B. Williams to donate a genetic one of a kind rose, which is red with a white stripe in the center of the petal. Michael named the rose “THE 9/11 FLIGHT 93 ROSE.” Michael then negotiated with several flower nurseries located around the U.S.A. to grow and sell the rose bushes to the public. For every rose bush sold $5.00 went to help fund and build the Flight 93 NATIONAL Memorial. We have fully SOLD OUT of all of our rose bushes, but for more information please visit: www.Flight93Rose.com
SOMERSET COUNTY FLAG COMMITTEE:
Michael was also on the Board of Directors of the Somerset County Flag Committee, Inc. in Somerset, Pennsylvania which is located near the 9/11 – United Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The Somerset Flag Committee’s purpose is to maintain the Veterans Memorial grounds area and also the 120 foot flag pole that was dedicated to the Heroes of United Flight 93 on 14 June 2009. The organization continues to seek donations to pay for the maintenance of the Flag Pole area and to purchase more of the 60 foot x 30 foot US Flags (about $2,000 each) that are flown daily. For more information, to see pictures of the Flag Pole, to get involved, and to donate please contact Michael directly and also visit: www.SomersetFlag.org
VETERANS SUPPORT FOUNDATION:
Michael was also on the Board of Directors and 1st Vice President of the Veterans Support Foundation (VSF) which is affiliated with the United States Armed Forces Association (USAFA). The VSF was originally the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund (VVAF) which was the charity division of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA). Years ago the VVA decided to spin off their charity division, so it could also help other veterans organizations, and continue to help veterans after the last Vietnam Veteran died and the VVA organization would cease to be an active organization. Although Michael is a Persian Gulf War/Desert Storm veteran, he was selected by the VSF Board of Directors to be the first non-Vietnam Veteran to formally be part of the organization. For more information, to get involved, and to donate please contact Michael directly and also visit: www.VSF-USA.org