Westlake honors military members

Matthew Michelich, second from left, accepts his military banner from Mayor Dennis Clough during a reception prior to the Sept. 18 City Council meeting. Joining Matthew are his mother, Kim, sister, Katie, and father, Rob. Photo by Denny Wendell

The city of Westlake held its annual military reception prior to the Sept. 18 City Council meeting to recognize the service of Westlake residents serving in the armed forces. The ceremony served as the official retirement of the military banners hanging at the intersection of Dover Center and Hilliard, a tradition that Dave Rencehausen of the city's sign shop began several years ago.

“On behalf of Council, I believe I speak for everyone when I say Westlake has always been proud of the volunteer spirit,” said City Council President Michael Killeen, “and no one shows that volunteer spirit more, or to a greater degree, than our citizens who actually serve us in the armed forces. We are grateful for their service … and whatever we can do to honor them is not enough, but hopefully we show our respect and our admiration.”

One of the evening’s honorees, Matthew Michelich, was in attendance with his parents, Rob and Kim, and his sister Katie (pictured above right with Mayor Dennis Clough), and grandmother Rita. Michelich recently completed a 4-year term of service in the U.S. Marine Corps, achieving the rank of corporal. A 2010 graduate of Westlake High, Michelich served in Texas, with a 6-month stint in Japan.

Kevin Basch, also a Marine, was recently promoted to the rank of first lieutenant and is currently stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. His mother, Linda Basch (pictured above left), accepted the banner in his honor. Kevin, a 2007 WHS grad, was the first of her children to serve in the military, and she said that his 9-month deployment to Afghanistan this year was nerve-wracking. She was grateful for Skype, which she used to communicate with Kevin twice a month, and cell phones. “I told him to text me when he landed in the States [returning home from Afghanistan]. I burst into tears when I got it.”

Mayor Clough thanked all servicemembers for their sacrifice.

“We appreciate the freedoms that we all have in this country but also, of course, in the city of Westlake,” Clough said. “We’re very appreciative of the efforts of those who step to the plate and volunteer a portion of their lifetimes to help keep this country safe.”

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Volume 6, Issue 20, Posted 10:05 AM, 09.30.2014