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Freedom Roundup 2023; Recap

By, Michelle Hazekamp

November 10, 2023


The annual "Freedom Roundup" event was unparalleled as it landed on the same day as Veterans Day this year, lending to a more heart-felt cause for celebrating our freedoms. On Saturday, November 11th, the Muskegon County Republican Executive Committee had the privilege for the first time to host an annual event that solely focused on and honored our brave heroes.



A Focal Point to Behold!

In normal fashion, the event was held at the Barclay Event Center in

Muskegon, along with a delicious BBQ dinner, music by "Three of a Kind," patriotic decor pleasing to the eye, with a focal point centered on a giant American Eagle situated on a 10ft pole, holding a giant copy of the Constitution in its claws with a giant American Flag as a back-drop. This was generously lent to us by from Barry County .GOP, where it is kept in their office. Our guest speakers consisted of some very impressive Veterans, and a very special Doctor from Florida.








Veterans Helping Veterans

Dirk Chilcote, a retired Master Sergeant of the U.S. Air Force, began the evening by initiating the Pledge of Allegiance. Dirk serves his local community Veterans through his business, "Golden Paws Ranch Service Dogs," whereby he trains service dogs and places them with disabled Veterans free of charge. To learn more about Golden Paws Ranch Service Dogs and ways to help, email Dirk at: GoldenPawsRanchServiceDogs@gmail.com and/or find them on Facebook clicking here.






Patriotic Singing Trio

After the Pledge of Allegiance, our musical guest, "Three of a Kind" led us into the National Anthem. This is our first year having live music at our events, and we were pleasantly serenaded with patriotic music and some good oldies. The singing trio consists of;

  1. Melanie Smeltzer, who served in the US Navy as a Petty Officer, Third Class Aviation Mechanist, Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Dept. at the Naval Air Facility Kadena, Okinawa, Japan.

  2. Sam Geer is a USAF Security Police Specialist, Air Base Ground Defense Specialist, M-60 machine gun Specialist and served from 1984-1987 at Tinker Air Force Base, OK.

  3. Tom Ward is a BS Mechanical Engineer, PE 1983. He graduated from the University of Michigan and has worked for Dow Chemical for 37 years and will be retiring at the the end of this year.


Powerful Words of Wisdom

Veterans Day remarks were given by Malinda Pego, our Muskegon County GOP Chair and MIGOP Co-Chair, and read aloud the following: "What is a Veteran";

"A "Veteran" - whether active duty, discharged, retired or reserve - is someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America' for an amount of "up to and including their life."


Are Stem Cells a Possible Cure-All?

Proceeding invocation, given by Army Reservist Benj Spencer, and dinner, we welcomed our special guest speaker and event under-writer, Dr. Cynthia Maule who came all the way from Florida to speak. Dr. Maule is the President of the "Stem Cell Research Institute" in Venice, FL., and focuses on stem cell treatments for Veterans who have war-related injuries. The information she presented to us was mind-blowing, as she showed x-rays of regenerated cartilage and healed organs organs throughout patients bodies. What she showed us was nothing short of miracles.


Dr. Maule uses placental stem cells that are donated to her facility. Unlike stem cells that are specific to an organ or other part of the body, such as heart stem cells which are attracted specifically to heart tissue, stem cells that come from placentas will seek out abnormalities in any part of the body and begin to heal the damaged cells. Although this is a ground breaking discovery, our government and big Pharma is not keen on her research, and therefore Dr. Maule and her research institute have a difficult time in obtaining placentas, thus relying almost solely on donors. Restoring quality of life to an individual by means of "curing & healing" the body eliminates dependency on medical visits and drugs, thus threatening the stronghold over keeping us sick and their livelihood.


It was such an honor to meet Dr. Maule and learn of her amazing work and passion in giving back to our Veterans. Her mission is to give injured Veterans the best quality of life possible, yet her research has given to them much more than was expected.



Veterans for Congress!

Our next speaker was Jason Ickes, a Green Beret and Combat Veteran. Jason played for us President Ronald Reagans "Veterans Day Speech," and a short clip from a World War II Veteran giving "Words of Wisdom." Jason then spoke on the immense importance Veterans are to the sanctity and security of our freedoms, and their sacrifices not only in combat, but what they experience mentally.


Witnessing the destruction of our Nation and State through far-left socialist agenda's, Jason stated that this is not what our Veterans have fought for, and what is happening is a dis-honor and dis-grace to every single Veteran. Jason is a candidate for the 3rd Congressional District in the upcoming 2024 Election, and wants to help change the direction of this country and work towards restoring our conservative, traditional values and freedoms for future generations.



Say "NO!" to the National Popular Vote!

John Crawford, our next speaker, is a previous Muskegon County resident, business owner, Constitutional Conservative and lifelong Republican. He is the founder of "Keep our 50 States; The Defense of our Electoral College against the National Popular Vote," and has been fighting against the National Pop. Jason began by explaining how are Founding Fathers came up with the Electoral College idea, why it worked and how the National Popular Vote will allude to a few highly populated states, such as California, in deciding who would be the President of the United States. Our votes would have no impact. To date, 15 states and the District of Columbia have signed what is called "The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact," and calls for states to award their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. Currently in Lansing, there is a bill to include Michigan in this compact. If legislatures in Michigan pass this bill, Detroit will determine Michigan's popular vote, and Democrats everywhere will pick our future Presidents.


To learn more about John Crawford and "Keep our 50 States" and "The Defense of our Electoral College against the National Popular Vote," click here.

Please contact your Representatives and let them know you oppose a National Popular VoteTo see a list of Michigan Senators & House Representatives and their contact info, click here.


Our Veterans Should Be #1

Our last speaker of the evening, and definitely not least, was Jason Ladd; retired Army Intelligence Collector & Infantryman, and Information Specialist. Jason could not be with us in person, and instead came to us via Zoom. He also gave tribute to our Veterans with a passionate plea to honor and respect all who served and are currently serving. Our Veterans are very special individuals who risk their lives for our country and for us, and afterwards experience trauma in ways we cannot imagine, and deserve our utmost respect and care here at home.



They Bear the Heavy Burden on Behalf of Us

Military veterans are among the most important members of our society. They have committed years of their lives to serving and protecting our country, and bear the heavy burden of their service on behalf of American citizens. Veterans deserve our gratitude and respect as they have sacrificed their time, health, and often even their own lives to preserve our freedom and safeguard our nation, along with protecting our communities and inspiring our younger generations. It is crucial to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of our veterans and honor their service.








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