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Celebrating Veterans Day


Officially established in 1919, Veterans Day commemorates the end of “the Great War,” World War I. Along with preserving the date’s historical significance, Veterans Day is widely regarded as a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve the common good.

At Maddin Hauser, many of our people have family and friends who have served in branches of the United States military. On Veterans Day, we proudly recognize our colleagues’ family members who have served our country. We honor these service members by sharing their stories.

Diane Gillette

Diane shines the spotlight on her father, Sgt. Ivan E. Koop. He served in the Army from 1947-1950. During his service, he was called to fight in the Korean War.

As assistant squad leader of a demolition team probing for mines, he successfully cleared hundreds of yards of antipersonnel mines. These efforts were under the constant threat of enemy fire and strengthened the Army’s defense.

While working hard to protect his squad, Sergeant Koop and his assistant were wounded by an undetected mine buried in snow. Ignoring his own injuries, the brave sergeant returned to the main line to secure medical aid for his team.

Michelle Sikorski

Michelle shares the story of her great uncle, Lt. Col. Gilbert VanderMarliere. Born in 1912, he joined the Air Force at age thirty. A true patriot, the lieutenant colonel fought in three wars – World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Following his recovery in Japan, Sgt. Koop was awarded the Korean Service Medal with a Bronze Star, a UN Service Medal, and a Purple Heart. He retired from service in 1950.

As the pilot of a B-17 bomber in 1944, he took on heavy German anti-aircraft firepower and crashed. Captured by the Germans on April 24, 1944, he was held prisoner for over a year and gruesomely tortured. On April 29, 1945, the Americans advanced and freed him.

After fully recovering from his war wounds, he was called back to service when the Korean War started. Flying combat missions, his primary focus was rescue flights. When the war in Vietnam began, Lt. Col. VanderMarliere was again asked to serve his country. This time, he trained the next generation of airmen to conduct rescue missions and fly in combat.

This brave patriot served 28 years of active and reserve duty, retiring in 1970. The decorated airman received the Air Force Cross and Purple Heart medals for serving in three wars. He was laid to rest at Fort Custer National Cemetery in 1992 with other men and women who served our country.

Loretta Spence

Loretta comes from a long line of military members from every branch, including her grandfathers and uncles who served in the Army, her father who was in the Air Force, and cousins who are Marines. She shines the spotlight, however, on her fiancé, Philip John Steele, Jr.

As a United States Marine Corps member, Platoon 2029, PJ served from 1992-1996. He fought as a combat engineer in the Gulf Wars and Somalia. When reflecting on his time in the service, he shares good and not-so-good memories. Retired from the Marine Corps, he is now a general manager for London-based Element.

Loretta proudly shares that the veterans in her family express the same sentiment; no matter the situation, if they could wear their uniforms, stand, and fight alongside their brothers, they would still do it today.