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National Mine veteran named 2021 U.P. Veteran of the Year

CARNEY — C. William “Bill” Hagar has been selected as the 2021 U.P. Veteran of the Year. The Marquette County Veterans Alliance nominated Bill to receive this award.

The selection committee consists of U.P. and State Commanders from throughout the Upper Peninsula of Michigan representing all military organizations.

Bill 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, Bill 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.

Mr. Hagar 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, Bill 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, Bill 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, One Love Brigade non-profit, Red Cross and Salvation Army volunteer, swim coach and meet referee volunteer in Gwinn and Marquette County and the Marquette County Fair Association. In addition, Mr. Hagar 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 Hagar 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 veteran enroll in VA services.”

The Coalition also goes on to say that, “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 duty in Vietnam, Bill 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.

Bill resides In National Mine with his wife, Katherine. He has two children, Will, and Michelle Hagar Park, five stepchildren and 8 grandchildren.

Bill Hagar will be honored for his achievements at a formal ceremony at the U.P. State Fair in Escanaba on Thursday, Aug. 19 at 11 a.m. EDT. All veterans and the public are welcome to attend the ceremony.

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