Saturday, August 2, 2014

Michigan Gold Star Family Honors Son's Last Wish Helping Others

Couple Channel Grief Into Retreat for Veterans
Associated Press
Aug 1, 2014


Before shipping out for Iraq, Army Sgt. Trevor Blumberg asked his father to do two things if he didn't return: Look after his puppy, Scrappy, and "take care of my guys."

Blumberg, a 22-year-old paratrooper known to his guys in the storied 82nd Airborne as "Blum," was killed days after deploying by a roadside bomb that tore through his Humvee.

In the decade since, Terry and Jan Blumberg have dutifully honored their son's wishes by using Trevor's death benefits and insurance money to build a 3,500-square-foot house on 12 acres in northern Michigan that doubles as their retirement home and a retreat for those who defend the country. For the past two years, veterans who served post-Sept. 11, 2001, have been welcome to stay for free at the three-bedroom Ocqueoc Township home for up to five days.

"We made a promise to Trevor," Terry Blumberg said.

The Blumbergs, church volunteers and veterans' group members toiled for years to build "Blum's Landing," which is tucked back from a dirt road and nestled among trees, with Orchard Lake around back.

Guests eat, rest and play alongside the Blumbergs and Scrappy, who is now a 12-year-old light brown Staffordshire terrier that follows Terry Blumberg around everywhere with tail wagging.

Terry Blumberg, who fought in the Vietnam War, said the loss of their son is "never going to stop hurting," but he and his wife take satisfaction in knowing they are doing what Trevor would have wanted by hosting those who shared his mission.
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