Today, Dr. Benishek introduced legislation to rename the Traverse City VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) after Colonel Demas T. Craw, a Medal of Honor recipient from Traverse City.
"Renaming the Traverse City facility after a local Medal of Honor recipient is an appropriate way to not only recognize the service of Colonel Craw, but it is also a reminder of the sacrifices that so many Northern Michigan veterans have made for our nation," said Dr. Benishek.
Born near Traverse City in 1900, Colonel Craw served in in the U.S. Army during both world wars. As a United States Army Air Forces officer in WWII, he served as a U.S. advisor to the Royal Air Force prior to American entry to the war and was captured and interned by German forces for six weeks in 1941. He was killed in action on November 8, 1942, after volunteering to lead a dangerous and ultimately successful mission behind enemy lines. He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty."
The renaming effort has been led at the local level by Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Terry Hawn and Dr. Dan Lathrop. Together, they worked to build interest and local support within the veteran community and with Traverse City officials. Federal legislation is needed to rename a VA CBOC.
"This is an idea that was born in Traverse City and I commend LTC Hawn and Dr. Lathrop for all their hard work and desire to honor a local hero," added Dr. Benishek. "We are taking the necessary steps to see this idea become a reality by introducing a bill and building bipartisan support."
The legislation was introduced with the entire Michigan Congressional delegation as cosponsors. Renaming the facility currently has the support of the Grand Traverse Area Veterans Coalition, VFW Cherryland Post 2780, Traverse City American Legion Post 35, Fife Lake American Legion Post 219, Cherryland VFW Post 2780 Auxiliary, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Northwestern Michigan Chapter, American Military League Post #1, State Senator Wayne Schmidt, State Representative Larry Inman, and Traverse City Mayor James Carruthers. In addition, over 2,000 Traverse City area residents have signed a petition to rename the facility after COL Craw.