LANSING, Mich. – Retiring Michigan American Legion State Adjutant Patrick W. Lafferty was honored today with the Michigan Distinguished Service Medal for his years of dedicated service on behalf of state veterans.
Lafferty, a Vietnam War veteran and member of the American Legion for 32 years, is retiring after nearly 17 years as the organization’s state adjutant. Known for his innovation and resourcefulness when forging partnerships to benefit Michigan veterans, Lafferty also served as a veteran service officer for 10 years before becoming assistant director for the American Legion’s Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Division.
“Pat has spent more than three decades helping Michigan veterans, and we cannot thank him enough for his service,” said Jeff Barnes, director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA). “Connecting veterans to their benefits can be a complex and challenging process at times, but Michigan veterans always had an ally in Pat Lafferty. His work ethic and knowledge will be missed, but we wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement.”
Lafferty played a pivotal role in the formation of the Michigan Veterans Coalition, which coordinates veteran service assistance around the state. It is comprised of veterans service organizations including the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, Michigan Marine Corps League, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Lafferty also served as a member of MVAA’s strategic planning workgroup, helping MVAA to identify ways to improve service delivery to Michigan veterans.
“Helping veterans get the benefits they have earned has been a lifelong passion of mine, and I have been very fortunate to work with some great people to accomplish that goal,” Lafferty said. “It is a great honor to receive this award, but it has been an even greater honor to work on behalf of Michigan’s veterans for all these years. The American Legion has been my home since 1983, and I can’t describe the appreciation I feel for the opportunities it has given me.”
The Michigan Distinguished Service Medal is the highest honor a civilian can be presented. It is awarded to personnel who have distinguished themselves through exceptionally meritorious achievement or service, benefiting the state military establishment.
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