Photo courtesy of Michael Thorin
Michael and Victoria Thorin
Retired Hoover firefighter and Army veteran Michael Thorin and his wife, Victoria, hold a U.S. flag presented to him by the Hoover Fire Department Honor Guard during a Veterans Week ceremony at the Hoover Public Library in Hoover, Ala., on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015.
The city of Hoover kicked off Veterans Week activities Sunday with a Thank A Vet Celebration at the Hoover Public Library.
More than 240 people came to a reception to honor veterans of all U.S. armed forces at 2 p.m. in the Library Plaza. It was free and open to the public.
The special guest speaker was retired Hoover firefighter Michael Thorin, a U.S Army veteran. Thorin from 1990 to 2009 served as a stateside medic with the Army and Army National Guard. He also served as a combat medic in Afghanistan for six months in 2003 and performed security and reconnaissance operations in Iraq for 18 months starting in 2005.
Thorin has received numerous awards, including three Army commendation medals, seven Army achievement medals, a combat action badge, an Afghanistan combat medal, Iraq campaign medal, Army service medal and Army overseas service medal.
In July, Thorin received the 2015 Freedom Award from the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce and, in February, he was named Hoover’s 2014 Firefighter of the Year.
Today, Thorin talked about the origins and history of Veterans Day and the sacrifices that members of the armed forces make to help keep the United States safe and protected. He also talked about the toll that serving in the armed forces can take on people, both physically and emotionally.
Many veterans who serve in combat situations, such as himself, battle post-traumatic stress disorder, and 22 veterans commit suicide in the United States every day, he said.
Sunday's ceremony also included patriotic music, including songs for each branch of the military, during which members of those branches stood.
“It was really a wonderful experience," said Kelsi Walters, the senior administrative assistant at the library. "It was just very moving."
The Alabama Youth Symphony played the national anthem during the reception and then gave a concert in the Hoover Library Theatre at 3:15 p.m.
Today’s events concluded with a flag-folding ceremony, which was held in the Library Theatre instead of at the flagpole in front of the library because of the rain. The Hoover Fire Department Honor Guard presented Thorin with a flag that flew over the state Capitol in Montgomery, which Thorin said was a very meaningful experience for him.
Additional flag-folding ceremonies are scheduled in front of the library Monday through Thursday at 4:45 p.m. each day.
Here’s a list of other Veterans Week activities in Hoover:
- Monday, Nov. 2, 10 a.m. – Friends of the Hoover Library present: The American Village. Reception at 9:45 a.m. in the theater level meeting rooms.
- Monday, Nov. 2, 2 and 6:30 p.m. – Monday at the Movies in the Hoover Library Theatre, featuring “U:571.”
- Tuesday, Nov. 3, 10:30 a.m. – Veterans Re-entering the Workforce presentation by the Construction Education Foundation of Alabama, in the adult programming room.
- Friday, Nov. 6, 1 p.m. – U.S.O. Concert at the Hoover Senior Center
- Monday, Nov. 9, 10 a.m. – Veterans Memorial Arbor groundbreaking at Aldridge Gardens
- Wednesday, Nov. 11 – Veterans Day
- Monday, Nov. 16, 6 p.m. – City Council honors Veterans Week volunteers at the Hoover Municipal Center during a council meeting