The Foster Grandparent Program of Washtnaw County, Mich., is supervised by Cresha Reed. Every third Thursday of each month there is an in service held at the Senior Center in Ypsilanti. This in-service keeps all of the grandparents informed of current issues that effect seniors.
The in-service for January was in celebration of Dr. Kings birthday and Ms. Reed had guest speakers who spoke to that time in history. The first guest speaker was an 82-year-old Prisoner of War in the Korean Conflict, 24th Infantry Regiment Buffalo Soldier named Robert Fletcher. Mr. Fletcher told a fascinating story of life as a black man in the Army and after being captured. He discussed how it felt to return home after serving his county and being held captive for 34 months . His story was very compelling and you could almost visualize what it was like for him.
The next speaker was Dr. Elizabeth Allen. A 73-year-old black woman, an Army captain, nurse with a master’s degree who served in Vietnam. Her face has graced the cover of many magazines because she chaired the Commission for Agent Orange, a chemical used during the Vietnam War that caused illness for the troops, and had a bill put through Congress that would take care of some of the medical bills of these veterans.
She told us about the governments Project 100,000. A program designed to draft 100,000 black men who did not qualify to be drafted. They drafted 350,000 black men who otherwise would have been denied. These men for used for Army combat. Since they did not qualify to be drafted once there service was over they did not qualify for benefits. A very sad time for our country.
The meeting concluded with lunch and Dr. Kings “I Have a Dream” speech playing in the background.