When you visit the Michigan Heroes Museum, you might be greeted by past President Dave Johnston, who has a special passion for the stories of those it exists to honor. A one-of-a-kind institution, the museum commemorates the military service of Michigan residents who served in wartime. It also honors the 16 astronauts who hailed from Michigan.
During his time as president of the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce, Dave was invited by Stan Bovich, the museum’s founder, to join the museum’s board of directors. Under Stan’s leadership, the Michigan Heroes Museum developed the largest Medal of Honor collection in the country. In most cases, the museum even has a uniform from the Medal of Honor recipient. Dave agreed to Stan’s request to join the board and in time became the museum’s president.
Dave is inspired by the lives of the brave men and women from Michigan who fought and, in many cases, died in the line of duty. An admirer of both President Dwight Eisenhower and President Ronald Reagan, he firmly believes that while we sometimes need to compromise in life, we should never compromise in our principles.
Those principles were one thing that drew him to become a supporter of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Yet it was another individual with a passion for honoring veterans who truly inspired him to support the Mackinac Center: Frank Beckmann.
Like Dave, Frank was a staunch supporter of the Michigan Heroes Museum. He was also a board member. From time to time, Frank would broadcast his show from the museum, and he always made certain to have lunch at the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, where the buttered noodles were a favorite.
When Frank partnered with the Mackinac Center to launch the Frank Beckmann Center for Journalism, Dave supported the project enthusiastically. He had always been impressed with the Mackinac Center’s work, especially in keeping the public informed on government activity, and he is pleased that the Beckmann Center amplifies this focus even further.
Next time you find yourself in Frankenmuth, be sure to pay a visit to the Michigan Heroes Museum. You can ask for a guided tour or simply explore at your own pace. Don’t forget to ask for Dave Johnston, and plan to listen in awe while he recounts the true, courageous acts of valor of Michigan’s heroes.