By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Dearborn Veteran of the Year for 2016, Charles Anderson, was honored during the annual Veterans Day ceremony along with all veterans who served in the armed forces.
“I am humbled to be named Veteran of the Year,” he said. “I will continue to serve the public as I have done before because it comes from the heart”
The celebration, hosted by the city and the Dearborn Allied War Veterans Council was held at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center Nov. 11.
Veteran of the Year is chosen from nominations submitted, and the winner is selected by a committee of past recipients of the honor.
“I want to share this with all of you,” Anderson said. “There are people more deserving than me who are gone now.”
Friends and family of veterans attended the ceremony, and Anderson took that time to thank his wife, daughter, son and more for their support.
“My family has been there for me through tough times in my life,” Anderson said. “They are the best support system anyone can ask for.”
Anderson served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1969 as a U.S. Navy Seabee, part of the Naval Construction Battalion after being drafted at the age of 25.
Over 35 years, he has contributed to veterans organizations and the Dearborn community. He owned and operated Speedy Printing in the city for more than 20 years.
Anderson serves as second vice president of the James Huard Chapter 267 Vietnam Veterans of America, where he oversees committees involving Agent Orange.
He is a life member of the Marine Corps League Dearborn Detachment 152, American Legion Post 364, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2107 and Disabled American Veterans.
Anderson cited bringing the Moving Vietnam Wall to Dearborn in 2000 as his proudest achievement. He also brought the mobile Vietnam Veterans monument “Wall that Heals” to the city in 2012.
Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. presented Anderson with a plaque for the honor and thanked all veterans who served the United States.
“It’s not enough to just say thank you,” he said. “We have to commit resources and create opportunities to help veterans return to normal life and succeed in society.
State Rep. George Darany (D-Dearborn) also honored Anderson with a certificate from the state during the ceremony.
“It’s my honor to honor you,” Darany said. “It was great to see your work, including bringing the Moving Wall to the city and with Agent Orange.”
Anderson is involved in the creation of the Vietnam War Education Center in Washington, D.C., where the stories of Vietnam veterans will be on display.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)