Two area soldiers called to serve at Ford funeral ceremonies in Grand Rapids


Two area servicemen were called to support the funeral of former first lady Betty Ford last week.

The soldiers included Spc. Christopher Rutan of Jackson, and Pvt. Brian Bickham of Napoleon.

Both served in security roles at the funeral.

Rutan, is a member of C Battery 1st Battalion, 119th Field Artillery, Albion Army National Guard.

In civilian life, Rutan works for Grand Marketing as account manager and is the son of Ruth David and Stephen Rutan, of Jackson.

Bickham, also is a member of 1st Battalion, 119th Field Artillery Albion Army National Guard. He is the son of Thomas Bickham, of Napoleon.

Guard Forces from around the state of Michigan coordinated efforts with local, state and federal agencies providing security, transportation, media assistance, VIP escorts, and more, in support of the funeral. The Guardsmen reported during the weekend to the Grand Valley Armory to in-process and to receive their assignments.

The former first lady's funeral was augmented by the Michigan Army National Guard because there are no active duty military installations in Michigan.

"The Michigan Army National Guard is proud to support this tasking, paying tribute to the former first lady," a spokesperson said.

Published: Mon, Jul 18, 2011