Harold “Harry” Fillmore was honored as Ottawa County Veteran of the Year for 2011 at a celebration in his honor last week at the VFW Post 8732, Oak Harbor. Fillmore is the first veteran in Ottawa County to receive this honor. The Ottawa County Veterans Service Commission selected Fillmore after reviewing several nominations. His commitment to the veterans in Ottawa County speaks volumes through his 58 years selfless service as a veterans advocate.
“Harry served our country with honor when our country needed him. Upon discharge, he continued to faithfully serve in the civilian sector. He inspired, mentored and befriended many veterans, to include myself,” said De Ann M. Louk, Executive Director, Ottawa County Veterans Service Office. “He has stood the watch for almost 60 years for our veterans. As the first veteran to receive this award, he certainly set the bar high for those to follow.”
Fillmore joined the United States Navy on Sept. 4, 1943. He was honorably discharged on March 2, 1946, after successfully attaining the rank of Seaman First Class and awarded the Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Medal and American Area Medal. A few years after settling into the civilian sector, Fillmore joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8732 and held many prominent positions for over a period of 58 years. He served as Junior Vice-Commander; Senior Vice-Commander; Commander from 1953-1954, 1984-1987; Aide de Camp 1953, 1954, 1984, 1986, 1987; Americanism Chairman from 1984 to present; and Post Service Officer from 2007 to present.
Fillmore received recognition of his selection by several community organizations. De Ann Louk, was the master of ceremonies and presented Fillmore with a U.S. flag and certificate authenticating that it flew above the Ottawa County Veterans Service Office on the day of the ceremony. David McDougall, President, Ottawa County Veterans Service Commission, presented Fillmore with a plaque. VFW State Commander Gerald J. (Mort) Ward presented Fillmore with a lifetime achievement pin set and complimented him on his lifetime service to the VFW. VFW Post 8732 Commander Gary Cagle, who nominated Fillmore, thanked him for his service in the VFW. The Board of County Commissioners of Ottawa County commended Harold J. Fillmore for his service to our country, dedication to our county veterans and his selection as Ottawa County Veteran of the Year for 2011 and proclaimed April 16, 2012, as “Harold J. Fillmore Day” throughout all of Ottawa County.
Fillmore’s son, Lauren Fillmore, came from Texas for the ceremony and spoke of his memories growing up with the VFW and his father’s dedication throughout the years. He was joined by Fillmore’s daughters, Diane Meckfessel and Janet Schmidt, and granddaughter, Melissa Losie.