— Zola Speakes and her niece, Sherry Schmalen of Traverse City, wanted to do something to remember Speakes’ seven brothers who served in the military over the course of the past 70 years, so Schmalen put together a proper tribute.
Schmalen created a scrapbooking page which features a photo of each brother from the period when they served. The page was a template taken from scrapbooking software Schmalen has at home and includes the name of each brother and the date when they died. Three of the seven have passed away since their military service.
“They love it,” said Speakes, of Burton. “The family was thrilled with it.”
The tribute includes the names and photographs of brothers Marvin, Vernon, Dewey, Manford, Lovell, Willard and Ted McGinnis.
Marvin, Vernon and Dewey all served in World War II. Lovell and Ted saw duty during the Vietnam War and Manford and Willard served in peacetime in the years between. Schmalen is Vernon’s daughter.
Vernon, Dewey and Willard have all died in the past 13 years. None of the brothers were killed in combat, though Speakes said Lovell was badly injured during an accident on Guam in 1965 during Vietnam.
She said several of the brothers live in the area, including Lovell who just relocated to Burton this week. The idea for the page came about because of Lovell, who was hospitalized in February for several weeks. Speakes said he had his military photo up on his Facebook page during this time and Schmalen thought it would be a nice idea to create the scrapbooking page to have for Lovell and the rest of the family.
“She brought it to our family reunion in August,” she said, noting that Lovell missed the reunion due to his health. “Veterans Day is going to be special this year. (Lovell) will be here and he’ll get to see the page.”