May 12, 2017
On Sunday, May 21, 2017, at 4 p.m., Medal of Honor recipient-in-waiting Jim McCloughan of South Haven, Michigan, will be honored prior to the theatrical performance of Griffin Theatre Company’s Letters Home at The Mendel Center Mainstage. After an introduction by members of the veteran recognition organization Lest We Forget, McCloughan, who is a gifted vocalist, will perform a rendition of “Home” by Michael Bublé. Following the Letters Home performance, McCloughan will participate in a post-show question and answer session.
“The sacrifices Mr. McCloughan has made for our country, for his fellow soldiers, and for the freedoms we all enjoy as Americans are echoed in the underlying themes of Letters Home,” stated Mike Nadolski, executive director of The Mendel Center. “We are delighted and honored to have him be part of our program to share his gift of music and his story during this special afternoon of recognition.”
See more about McCloughan’s story at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmYK-BNIAA4
Tickets for the event start at $25. A portion of the net proceeds from this performance will benefit Lest We Forget. Tickets may be purchased at www.TheMendelCenter.com and through The Mendel Center Box Office at (269) 927-8700, Monday through Friday, 2 to 6 pm.
The Medal of Honor is bestowed upon any member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.” There are 73 living Medal of Honor recipients. Of those, only three reside in Michigan.
McCloughan was drafted into the U.S. Army and served from 1968 to 1970. From 1969 to 1970, he was a combat medic with the Americal Division where he rose to the rank of Specialist Five. In one battle alone Doc McCloughan was credited with saving the lives of ten Americans and one Vietnamese soldier.
Specialist McCloughan was wounded twice and received the Purple Heart Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Medic Badge, The United States Army Valorous Unit Citation, The Bronze Star Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster and “V” device for Valor, and The Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Stars, The Vietnam Campaign Medal, The Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with palms and one Oak Leaf Cluster, and the M-16 Expert Rifle Badge.
Upon return from overseas, Jim taught and coached at South Haven High School for 38 years. In addition, he coached the American Legion Post 49 baseball teams for 35 summers and has been a high school wrestling referee for 25 years. He has been inducted into six Halls of Fame as an athlete and coach and has led the South Haven Memorial Day parade for 47 straight years.
Most recently Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter recommended McCloughan for the Medal of Honor for his heroism in the Vietnam War as a combat medic in the Battle of Nui Yon Hill. The United States Congress passed a bill that President Obama signed in December 2016 authorizing the Medal of Honor to be awarded. He is awaiting the presentation by President Trump. In April, he was recognized as the Warrior Veteran of the Year for 2017 by the Michigan Fitness Foundation at the Governor’s Award Banquet in Detroit.
McCloughan is married to wife, Cherie, and they have four adult children, six grandchildren, and two standard poodles. He is retired and they live in South Haven.
About Letters Home
Letters Home puts the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan front and center by bringing to life actual letters written by troops serving in the Middle East. Since its original run at the Chicago Cultural Center in January 2007, the production has become one of the most sought after national touring shows and has received critical acclaim throughout the United States. The production has been seen by over 50,000 people in 35 major US cities.
The production by Chicago-based Griffin Theatre Company is inspired by the New York Times Op-Ed Article The Things They Wrote and the subsequent HBO documentary Last Letters Home. It additionally uses letters and correspondences from Frank Schaeffer’s books, Voices from the Front, Letters Home from America’s Military Family, Faith of Our Sons, and Keeping Faith. The play, without politicizing, gives audiences a powerful portrait of the soldier experience.
One theme unites the diverse voices portrayed in this production: the belief that the person standing beside you is more important than you are. Those voices also help define for the audience patriotism and what it means to serve our country today through acts of bravery, compassion, social responsibility, sense of community, and brotherhood.
Letters Home is sponsored by Wolverine Mutual Insurance Company, Holiday Inn Express & Suites – St. Joseph, and News Talk 94.9 WSJM.
About Lest We Forget
Lest We Forget is a southwestern Michigan organization established in 2006 with the goal of recognizing patriotism and the service of men and women in the United States military. Membership includes veterans and non-veterans, male and female, whose purpose is “to brighten the future by illuminating the past.” Just a few of the many activities the group has organized include WWII and Vietnam re-enactments, patriotic concerts, video telecasts to schools throughout the country, participation in local parades, college classes on the Civil War, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the “Modern Wars,” trips to patriotic locations, and the publication of four books containing the stories of over 250 local veterans. Membership is open to all individuals interested in learning about our nation’s heritage. The group meets monthly at the Benton Harbor airport. For more information visit www.lestweforgetusa.org