Hantz Group Vet of the Game

The Plymouth Whalers and Hantz Group are proud to present the 5th year of the Veteran of the Game.  At each Whalers home game, a United State Armed Forces veteran is honored at the ten minute mark of the 1st period, as Hantz Group presents a $100 on his or her behalf to the Suits for Soldiers fund.  In addition, each Veteran is interviewed during the 1st intermission on the Whalers television broadcast.  Below you will find descriptions from the 2014-15 & 2013-14 season Veterans of the Game, plus how to nominate a Veteran of the Game.

Veterans of the Game

10-11-14: Chelsea Okey & Courtney Azar

Chelsea served as a Cryptologic Linguist for the U.S. Army from 2006 to 2011. She conducted air assault missions while attached to the 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan earning an Army Commendation Medal. After leaving Active Duty in 2011, she signed with the Minnesota National Guard for 13 months and worked alongside sister, Courtney Azar, in training new recruits for basic training. Courtney served as an Aviation Operations Specialist in the National Guard for 9 and ½ years. She was stationed at Fort Sill, OK for 6 months prior to deploying to Iraq from 2007-2008. While in Iraq, She was stationed at Camp Anaconda in Balad, Iraq. She is still currently serving in the Minnesota National Guard as part of the Recruit Sustainment Program and plan to sign for another 3 years this fall. 

10-04-14: Vaughn Hull

Vaughn was a part of the K9 security police section. He served in Vietnam in November of 1970 through November of 1971 with the 35th Security Police Squdron Phan Rang Air Base. Vaughn also received such medals as, National Defense Service Medal, Vietname Service Medal with one Bronze battle Star and an Air Force Small Arms Marksmanship Ribbon. 

9-27-14: Joesph Cook

Joe served 25 years in the United States Marine Corps from 1966 through 1991. During this time Joe had two tours in Vietnam and he also participated in Operation Desert Storm. Joe's most notable assingment was that of Detachment Commander of the Marine Security Guard Detachment, American Embassy; La Paz, Bolivia during the early 80's. Joe retired in October, 1991 with the rank of Master Sergeant E-8. 

3-15-14: Lisa Briegel

Lisa Briegel served in the U.S Army from 1985 to 1988 as Colonel Driver while active duty. She also was a Sergeant from 1990 to 1994 in the U.S. Army Reserves. She worked as an Administrative Specialist for 70th Division. Lisa was activated several times for Desert Shield and Desert Storm for Admin support. She has received the Army Achievement Medal as well as Army Accommodation Medals. Lisa currently is working at the VA Hospital in Ann Arbor in support of our soldiers.

3-09-14: Terri Price

Terri Price served in the U.S. Navy as an Aviation Supply Technician. She was reported and stationed in the U.S. Naval Air station in Adak, Alaska. She was responsible for the aviation supply office where all aircraft were registered, inspected and maintained Adak is the northern most U.S. Naval Air station.

3-01-14: Don Shea

Don Shea served in the U.S. Navy from 1970 to 1974 as a Petty Officer 3rd Class. He was assigned to 3 tours in Vietnam and was assigned to the USS Truxtun DLGN-35. The ship was known as the fastest ship in the nuclear fleet.

2-28-14: John Maize

John Maize graduated in 1971 and joined the Navy in 1973. Served in both the Vietnam War and the Gulf War. He received several medals for his service during the Vietnam campaign and the liberation of Kuwait.

2-22-14: Curtis Leanna

Curtis Leanna Jr. served in the U.S. Air Force from 1965 to 1969 as an Air Force Sargent. He was a security guard of B-52s from 1965 to 1968 and was in Vietnam part of the 31st security police squad. He was manning the observation towers overlooking the “FREE FIRE ZONE” and leading “SAT” response teams outside the perimeter fence.

2-15-14: Geoffrey Joseph

Geoff served for 10 years as enlisted aircrew. During his 10 years of service he deployed seven times and participated in numerous operations including, Operation Northern Watch, Operation Endearing Freedom, Operation Noble Eagle and security for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Geoff has 3460 flight hours as a Radio Operator aboard US Air Force Aircrafts.

2-07-14: Peter Konigsberg

Peter Konigsberg served in the U.S Army from April 1991 thru 1996 as an Airborne Military Policeman. After jump school he served in the 82nd Military Police Co./ 82nd Airborne Division.  He was deployed on Humanitarian relief and United Nation Peace keeping operations. He then transferred to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command where he served as a Military Police Investigator on the Fort Bragg Drug Suppression Team.

2-01-14: Scott Cude

Scott has served nine years in the U.S. Army, six of those years as a Combat Medic.  His service includes two tours in Afghanistan and one in Kosovo.  Included in his many accomplishments are earning his Jump Wings after successfully completing Jump School at Fort Benning.

1-31-14: Master Sergeant Jeffery Clark

Jeffery served from 1983 to 2005 in the U.S. Marine Corps retiring as a Master Sergeant. He served a total of 5 years in Okinawa, Japan, negotiating on international regulation regarding vehicle registration. Clark earned a Navy/Marine Corps commendation medal along with two Navy/Marine Corps achievement medals for personal accomplishments during the 21 ½ years of service.

1-25-14: Johnnie Johnson

Johnnie was a Second Class Petty officer Submarine Service in the U.S. Navy. He served from 1966 to 1970 and was aboard the USS Cutlass SS478. He served as an Interior Communications Electrician during a war patrol in World War II. Johnnie patrolled the North Atlantic, Caribbean and one Mediterranean cruise. Johnnie was part of the last boat to operate with the USS Scorpion before it sand off the Azores.

1-18-14: Frank Rogers

Mr. Frank Rogers, a 91 year old World War II veteran from Westland, Michigan.  On December 7th, 1941, Corporal Rogers of the United States Army Air Force was stationed at Hickam Field, Honolulu Hawaii and witnessed the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.  Shortly thereafter, he took a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant and became a pilot flying B-24s in the 15th Army Air Force based out of Foggia, Italy.  On his 9th mission, flying over Germany, Lt. Rogers was shot down by enemy fire and taken Prisoner of War by the German Army.  Mr. Rogers was a POW for over 18 months.  As we take this opportunity to THANK all former Prisoners of War, please join me in paying tribute to this true American Hero.

1-17-14: Derek Atkinson

Derek D. Atkinson is the Public Affairs Officer at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System (VAAAHS), responsible for strategic communications, marketing and outreach. Derek graduated from Grand Valley State University with a BA in Political Science and previously served in the District Office of a U.S. Representative. Derek is a Marine Corps Veteran who served in Afghanistan with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in 2001-2002.

1-02-14: Laura Jackson

Laura Jackson is an Operation Specialist Second Class Surface Warfare who is currently assigned to the USS Ashland which is part of the 7th fleet station in Sasebo (sass-a-bow) Japan. She joined the Navy in 2010 after graduating from Walled Lake Western High School and just re-enlisted for 6 more years.

12-14-13: Brent Lambrix

Brent Lambrix is an electrician in the united states navy, aboard the ship u.s.s. Princeton stationed in San Diego, calif. His ship just returned from deployment in November, from the coast of Syria and Iraq.

12-11-13: Gary Dykhouse

Gary Dykhouse was a sergeant in the United States Air Force and served in Germany as a Computer Operator HQ USAFE from 1966-1969.

12-07-13: Rick Bowes

Rick Bowes was a 3rd Class Gunners Mate and joined the U.S. Navy in 1987 after graduating from Plymouth Canton High School. Rick deployed three times, to the Mediterranean & Red Sea, including Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm from 1990 to 1991.Rick received a National Defense Service Ribbon, 3 Sea Service Ribbons, a Southwest Asia Campaign Ribbon and a Good Conduct medal.

12-06-13: John Frizzell

John served as a Buck Sargent during World War 2 in the United States Army. John was a rifle and carbine expert and received the American Theater Ribbion, Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon, Philippine Liberation Ribbon and a Bronze Battle Star.

11/29/13: John, Joesph, James Burkart

John served 4yrs in the US Navy Seabees  from 1968-1972 and 2yrs in the US Navy Reserves from 83-85, and deployed for a combat tour to Vietnam in 70-71. Father of 4 military veterans, 2 of which are also here today. 

Joseph served in the US Army reserves and has worked as a civilian for the Department of Navy for 9 years and was named the NAV-SEA Engineer of the Year in 2009. He just returned Nov 8th from an 8 month deployment to Afghanistan, where he was technical support to the US Army, Navy and Marine Corps Special Forces. 

James is in his 8th year as a Captain in the US Marine Corps. He deployed for a 7 month combat tour to Afghanistan with The 1st Infantry Battalion 9th Marines in 2011. He is now stationed at the US Army JAG school in Charlottesville, Virginia.

11/27/13: David Laverty

David was a combat engineer in Vietnam, who earned several medals during his years in service.  David is a current member of the Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and VFO post and currently resides in Redford.

11/16/13: Steve Williams

Steve served in the USMC from 1983 – 1989. He served in the 1st Battalion 3rd Marines in Kaneohe Bay and Oahu, Hawaii. Steve also served in the 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa, Japan he provided relief for Marine rifle companies involved in Beirut Barracks explosion, after he was promoted to Corporal.

11/09/13: Jon Luker

Jon Luker voluntarily served a 3 year hitch with the US Army during the Vietnam Era.  10 years later, Luker provided training support for the 12th Special Forces Group.  These days, he serves as an officer or member of several veterans organizations, including the Michigan Buddy to Buddy program.

10/26/13: Lee Weatherford

Lee Weatherford served the United States Air Force in 1970-1974 and was a sergeant. Lee served in Germany, Okinawa and was part of the 557th Red Horse.    

10/25/13: Daniel & Dan Pauls

Daniel Pauls who served in the United States Air Force from 2005-2009 as a Security Forces member at Nellis AFB, NV. During IOF He deployed to Iraq and preformed Area Security Operations. During his time in service he received the; Army Commendation Medal, Meritorious Unit Award and Air Force Combat Action Medal. Joining Daniel is his Father Dan Pauls who served in the United States Navy from 1973-1976. He was stationed at Alameda Naval Base, California where he served on the USS Wabash as the ships Pipefitter.  He Performed 28 months of costal duty during this time.    

10/12/13: Jason Francolini

Jason was a Sergeant in the US Army for 9 years, 4 years of active duty with the 1st infantry division and 5 years in the NJ National Guard. He served two combats in Iraq  as a medic and was promoted to Sergeant and given a squad leader position in 2006. Jason was head of a squad of 4 medics during a 12 month tour in Baghdad. Jason will be graduating from the University of Michigan this December earing his Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering.     

9/21/13: Mark Lindke


Mark was a County Veterans Counselor in 1974 and the Director of Washtenaw County Department of Veterans Affairs in 1996 retiring in October 2010. Mark also served as the President of the Michigan Association of County Veterans Counselors and is currently the Ex-Officio of the MACVC. Mark remains active and is part of the Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program.

Vet of the Game Interviews

During the first intermission of each Whalers home game, the Hantz Group Veteran of the Game is interview by Whalers broadcaster Peter Krupsky.  Visit the Hantz Group Vet of the Game videos page to hear their stories!