U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters today introduced legislation to name the Traverse City Veterans Affairs (VA) Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) after Army Colonel Demas T. Craw, a Traverse City-area native and Medal of Honor recipient, who fought in both World War I and II. The VA CBOC in Traverse City provides health care services for thousands of Northern Michigan veterans every year, including primary care, women's health, disease prevention and telehealth services. Once constructed, the new facility will also offer mental health, physical therapy and home-based primary care services. Congressman Dan Benishek (MI-01) introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives earlier this year.
"This clinic represents the commitment we have made to keep our promises to our veterans," said Senator Stabenow. "Naming this clinic after one of Traverse City's own heroes is a fitting tribute to Colonel Craw and to the thousands of local veterans who will receive care at this facility."
"Colonel Demas T. Craw is a Michigan hero who served in two World Wars and gave his life in service to our nation," said Senator Peters, a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. "Honoring Colonel Craw by naming his hometown Traverse City Community Based Outpatient Clinic after him is a fitting tribute to his service and stands as a reminder of the sacrifice that so many Michigan veterans have made for our nation."
"Renaming the Traverse City VA Clinic was a local undertaking from the start," said Rep. Benishek. "Veterans organizations and impassioned citizens came together to raise awareness about the legacy of Colonel Craw and his sacrifice. Because of their efforts, the Traverse City Clinic will stand as a testament not only to Colonel Craw, but to the spirit and dedication of Northern Michigan's veterans."
Colonel Craw was born in 1900 near Traverse City in Long Lake Township, and attended Traverse City Central High School before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1918. Craw served in both World Wars, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy, and rose to the rank of Colonel. During World War II, Craw served in the U.S. Army Air Service as a military attaché to Greece where he reportedly came under fire 136 times and participated in 21 Royal Air Force bombing sorties. He received numerous commendations for his career of service, including the WWI and WWII Victory Medals, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and the Purple Heart. Craw was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor after he was killed in action near Port Lyautey, France in November 1942 while attempting to broker a cease-fire.
A broad coalition of veterans groups support naming the Traverse City CBOC after Colonel Craw, including the Grand Traverse Area Veterans Coalition, VFW Cherryland Post #2780 and Auxiliary, Fife Lake American Legion Post #219, Michigan American Legion Post #35, the Northwestern Michigan Chapter of Military Officers Association of America, American Military League Post #1, and Northwestern Michigan College.