The U.P. Veteran of the Year Committee chose Jim Provost as the 2023 honoree. Below is the release the committee sent about Provost’s service
The Upper Peninsula Veteran of the Year Committee is proud to announce James A. Provost of Marquette, Michigan as our 2023 UP Veteran of the Year. Jim and his family will be honored on Thursday August 17, 2023, at 11:00 AM. The ceremony will take place at the UP-State Fairgrounds in Escanaba at the Embers/Meijer Stage
Jim has been an instrumental figure in support of Marquette County veterans and veteran advocacy for many years. He has been helping veterans since his return from service in Vietnam. Jim proudly served in the USMC from 1965 to 1969 with service in Vietnam in 1966.
Jim has served as the Chairman of the Marquette County Veterans Alliance for the past 9-years. His leadership and selfless service have benefited countless veterans and their family across Marquette County and the UP.
Jim has faithfully served on the Marquette County Veterans Affairs Committee for the for the past 9-years. As a committee member he also served as a member of the veteran’s crisis team. Jim was directly responsible for helping displaced and homeless veterans move into new housing, finding solutions to clean unhealthy veteran living accommodations, and spending time with geographically isolated veterans near their end of life. He helped transport at risk veterans to the Tohma, Wisconsin VA Medical Center in support of alcohol and drug related rehabilitation. He has provided guidance and mentorship to countless veterans in support of working on service-connected disability claims and access to VA healthcare.
Jim helped bring together veteran leaders and volunteers to campaign for the county veteran milage resulting in an overwhelming success in November 2014. This resulted in the establishment of the county veteran’s office and the provision of services local veterans rightfully deserved. The veteran was a driving force driving force behind Marquette County Veterans Alliance. He led complicated organizational efforts to include establishing non-profit status, bylaws, advertising, and filling the membership ranks to make our veteran community a better place to live. Jim has served as the organization’s chairman for the past 9-years.
Jim led fundraising efforts in 2013 and 2014 to purchase a new vehicle for the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 22 transportation program. The chapter raised over $18,000 which help fund a new Ford Flex and Ford Transit. Not only was the veteran a prolific fundraiser based on this long-term history and friendship in Marquette, but he also logged hundreds of miles as a volunteer driver for a program. He was always available to drive, with a smile and respectful demeanor to all veterans who required assistance.
Most notably, Jim’s vision, leadership, and SISU spirt led to the planning, resourcing, and execution of the highly successful AVTT Traveling Vietnam Wall in Marquette in 2016. He
led efforts to synchronize four days of veteran events including a veteran motorcycle ride from Champion to Marquette, veteran parade, veteran open house at the American Legion Post 44, and four full days of tribute to our Vietnam Veterans on the campus of Northern Michigan University. This was a source of pride and healing for the community, Vietnam veterans, and the many veterans who served honorably during peacetime.
Jim’s well known networking abilities resulted in the donation of thousands of dollars of both gas and grocery gift cards for veterans in need. These cards were used to support both veterans and surviving spouses who did not qualify (war period service) for the county’s Soldier and Sailor Relief Fund. This innovative idea helped hundreds of veterans have something to eat and put gas in their vehicles in tough times.
Jim has equally been committed to civil endeavors in the Marquette area. He has been an incredible coach, teacher, or mentor for young men and women involved in youth sports. In 1990, he secured a loan for $8,000 to start the Marquette County Youth Football League. Jim served as league commissioner for 20 years. He made the sport available to community members and this served as a feeder program for our high school programs. Jim’s passion for youth hockey was evidenced by his leadership of the sport as well. He coached Marquette Junior Hockey for 12-years and served as the Vice President for two of those years. Jim started the Central Upper Peninsula Hockey League and served as the Marquette Senior High School and Northern Michigan University Goal Judge for over 20-years, respectively. The number of children who turned into well socialized adults based on the veterans teaching and coaching is innumerable but the lesson’s learned have stayed in their hearts and minds for years.
In summary, Jim has dedicated his entire adult lift to his family, friends, youth, and veterans. This veteran is the one who has given someone in need the shirt off his back. He has our backs and when faced with adversity he stands his ground in defense of our county, our community, and the veterans he so dearly loves.
Jim’s military awards include the Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Civil Actions w/Palm), Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross w/Palm), National Defense Service Medal, Vietnamese Service Medal (2*), Vietnamese Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal. He is a proud member of the Marquette County Veterans Alliance (Life Member), American Legion, Disabled American Veterans (Life Member), Veterans of Foreign Wars, AMVETS, Vietnam Veterans of America, Marine Corps League, 40 & 8.