2017-11-16 / Social

Mike Kasper Honored By National Guard

By Jacob A. Ball


At left: Mackinac County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Kasper received a challenge coin from the Michigan National Guard for organizing a unique training exercise to test responses to emergencies on Mackinac Island. Mr. Kasper said he was surprised, calling it a great honor. At left: Mackinac County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Kasper received a challenge coin from the Michigan National Guard for organizing a unique training exercise to test responses to emergencies on Mackinac Island. Mr. Kasper said he was surprised, calling it a great honor. The Michigan National Guard has honored Mike Kasper, emergency management coordinator for Mackinac County, with a challenge coin for helping arrange and stage a first-of-its-kind emergency training exercise involving Mackinac Island and its ferry lines last fall.

Major General Gregory J. Vadnais, commander of the Michigan Army and Air National Guard who presented the award last week, said it is a rare distinction for a civilian. Mr. Kasper said it was a great honor to receive the coin, which is decorated with a map of Michigan and a frontier soldier surrounded by the words, “Presented by the Adjutant General of Michigan.”

The Michigan National Guard’s 51st Civil Support Team, based in Augusta, and the 1437th Engineer Multi-Role Bridge Company, based in Sault Ste. Marie, took part in the exercises, which had two components: responding to an emergency aboard a ferry adrift in the open water and evacuating Mackinac Island if existing docks are unavailable.

For the Island evacuation, Mr. Kasper said, the Bridge Company was to design and construct an emergency ferry dock. It was the first test of the National Guard unit’s ability to respond to such an event in the Great Lakes.

Mr. Kasper said he had no expectation he would receive anything for his work; he felt he simply was fulfilling his duty to keep Mackinac County residents safe and secure.

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