ABOUT VETS, INC.
This is truly a special place, where you can come to find peace, friends, and to shake off everyday stress. For young and old alike, there is something here for everyone.
It's inspired by people who understand the importance of a sense of community, who have a big heart for helping veterans and healthy doses of military leadership, can do, sacrifice, and humility qualities. We combine the best of bowling sportsmanship culture, military leadership, and community teamwork. We like to say “You Have Family Here” because that’s what everyone that walks in the door becomes.
The journey started In 2017 when five Veterans with a combined service record from 1965 to 2010 totally nearly 100 years and representing every branch of Service founded VETS, Inc. of Northern Michigan as a 501 (c)(3) Nonprofit Veterans Organization. Their stories through Vietnam, Korea, The Gulf Wars, 9/11 Afghanistan, and countless other operations are special in their own right but it's only the grace of God that brought them together here to take on the mission to save the Gaylord Bowling Center from closure and transform it into a true community center.
The center is driven by a Board (side links to separate page with board biographies) involved in numerous local and national Veterans/Military Organizations including the American Legion, VFW Honor Guard, Army Warrant Officer Association, Military Officers Association of America, Marine Corps Officers Association and others. The Board members are active in the Community as business owners, student mentors, leaders of other charitable organizations, and churches.
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Our mission is to strengthen our community and provide on-the-job-training, Internships, business mentorship, entrepreneurship, and jobs for the benefit of veterans, and veteran organizations. We provide a much needed indoor and outdoor recreation venue for veterans to engage with other veterans, and for veterans and non-veterans in the community to appreciate each other and their needs.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY about us
“They were some of the nicest people we've met. They were so accommodating as we figured out shoe sizes. Lanes were in great shape; everything else clean. Definitely will head back there when on the area.” ~Donna
Our vision for the Center is to be a sustainable revenue source for veteran organizations and programs, to become a lab or proving grounds aimed at supporting veteran retraining and reintegration, and to become a year round destination enhancing our community and facilitating charitable fund raising. Everyday we get closer to becoming “The Landing Zone,” your home away from home.
Veterans, our community, and the bowling world have embraced us. Our story gained regional television attention and was featured in the National Bowling Center Magazine in the fall of 2017 (separate link to the story). Since then, many have pitched in by donating thousands of hours or materials toward our long-term plan; from a new roof, HVAC equipment, lighting, and food and beverage equipment, to lane and pinsetter work, lockers and TV displays…and an abundance of demolition work. (separate page link with renovation history and photos).
Through their help and all of our customers, we’ve been able to provide the local VFW an interim post location, host regional American Legion and purple heart meetings, monthly FREE veteran lunches, give grants to many individual veterans, sponsor USO entertainment at a state VA hospital, and paid over $250,000 to transitional veterans in our reintegration work program. At the same time, we’ve hosted community fundraisers for the non-profit organizations, public and private schools, new mother programs, and academic and sports groups, and we support drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, and teambuilding workshops for big and small groups.
We are grateful for all the support and YOU can help write the next chapter of our story. We’ve come a long way but still have a long way to go, including complete bathroom and building face renovations, and making some real headway on veteran mental health issues like PTSD and high suicide rates. You can help us by donating now, by coming and spending time with us, or just by telling your friends about us! Every little bit is valued.