A special door dedication in Coleraine honors men killed in Vietnam, and service of so many

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A dedication for a door, but it was so much more. People attended the ceremony on Saturday in Coleraine.

The door honors eight men from Itasca County who died in Vietnam. They are: Robert Anders, Richard Antonovich, Norris Brenden, Ronald Fraser, Lauren “Renny” Huerd, Richard Koski, Dennis Smith, and Ronald Zempel.

Their names and faces are on panels of the door that used to be at the Redding Bus Depot in Grand Rapids.

Ellen Barnes, the Planning Group Chair, said, “The depot was torn down to make room for the new justice center. But the door was saved. The County Board donated it to the Itasca County Historical Society, who then donated it to the VFW. And the post members decided to dedicate the door to the eight Itasca County veterans who did not come home from Vietnam.”

“For over 50 years, if you were enlisted or drafted, it was through that door that you transitioned from being a farmer, logger, miner, to soldier, sailor, marine, or airman,” shared the emcee and Army veteran, Jason Anderson.

Two choral groups provided some patriotic music for the event.

Hugh Quinn, who was on the committee who helped plan the ceremony, added, “Metaphorically, all of us had to go through a door at some point. And we come back through that door. But we’re never the same. It’s just the way it is. This is a chance for us to collectively gather as well.”

The door is now at the VFW Post 1720 in Grand Rapids.