Muskegon man works hard so the city has its own 9/11 commemoration (Norton-Lakeshore Examiner)


 To hear Ike Villalpando tell it, once he decided to throw himself into working on a Grand Haven to Muskegon motorcade and service in memory of the tragic events of 9/11, the event, including funding, just grew and grew.
The result is that there will be a number of motorcycle groups lead­ing a procession from American Legaion Riders Post 28 in Grand haven to the West Michigan Dock and Market, aka the Mart Dock, and almost 20 (brief) speakers on Monday, Sept. 11.
Villalpando, a retired juvenile detention officer and Muskegon resident, was first asked to put together a motorcade by the Grand Haven American Legion Riders, but as a Muskegon resident, he felt strongly that the service should be in the city.

“I have yet to ask anyone for money,” Villalpando says. “When they hear about it, they just offer.”
He especially thanks Mart Dock owner Max McKee for immediate­ly saying that he would give the space for the commemoration free of charge. But many others, includ­ing the ABATE Motorcycle Club, have stepped up to put their money toward such an event.
This will not be the first time that first responders and law enforcement have been honored in the spirit of remembering 9/11 in Muskegon, but it is the first time that there will be an honorary motorcycle ride, which is often a part of other cities’ ceremonies.
In addition to ABATE and the American Legion Riders, Hot Rod Harley - Muskegon, and the C.M.A. Christian Motorcycle Association will participate, and there will be fore trucks and emer­gency vehicles from City of Muskegon and Muskegon Township.
There will be stops at Leppinks Grocery Store in Ferrysburg, Sternberg and Old Grand Haven Road, and Hoyt at Seaway before convening at the Mart Dock for a spoken-word and music service which will name those who have fallen since 9/11 while on active duty.
Main speakers include Mayor Geri McCaleb, Mayor of Grand Haven; Jeff Lohman, educator, coach, Manager of Lakeshore Fitness Center, and former county commissioner; and Tom Schultz of Tyler Sales, who has spearheaded veterans events in the area.
The public is welcome to show up at the Mart Dock or any of the stops. Villalpando suggests bring­ing your own chairs or blankets.