People visiting a cemetery may be curious about the grave marker with the five-pointed star and the letters GAR on it, and ask what it signifies. With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War upon us, organizations across the country have scheduled events to commemorate this era of American history. Tom Jenkins and Dale Aurand, members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, will explain the origin of these organizations and what they represent at our July Speaker Series event.

Tom Jenkins has been a resident of Traverse City since 1999 after retiring from a career in the Parks and Wildlife Divisions of the Department of Natural Resources. For many years he has had a keen interest in the history and historical preservation of the great American Civil War. His interest arose when he was serving in the U.S. Navy in the Virginia area.  He and his wife spent many weekends touring and studying the Civil War sites of the region. When Tom became aware of the Robert Finch Camp 14 in Traverse City, he applied for and received a membership based on his Great Grandfather Charles’s service in the 184th Regiment of the New York State Volunteers.  Tom was appointed as the Camp Graves Registration Officer and has been actively identifying and recording a data base of those veteran’s burial sites in our 11 county area. Primarily, he works with the Genealogical Societies of the counties to discover the burial sites and, in some instances when requested, coordinate the placement of military grave stones on those sites currently unmarked.

Tom now also serves the Camp as the Secretary, and his wife Judy is active in the Frances Finch Chapter of the Sons of Union Veterans Auxiliary as the Chaplain. Judy will also be attending the meeting and will be happy to answer any questions the members may have regarding the Auxiliary mission and membership opportunities.

Dale Aurand began his career with Michigan Bell Telephone in 1969 and transferred to Traverse City in 1991. Since his retirement in 2003 he became active in the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Dale is currently Commander of Robert Finch Camp 14 in Traverse City. At age 10 Dale learned his Great-Grandfather was in the 9th Michigan Cavalry and has had an avid interest ever since. Through extensive reading and research he has acquired many insights about the 9th’s involvement in the Civil War.

This event is free and open to all.  Join us on Monday, July 25, 2011, at 7 PM in the Community Room of the Boyne District Library in downtown Boyne City.

* Note that the annual meeting of the membership follows this presentation.