Meet Living Legend Finalist Harvey “Bill” Morrison

Nominated by: Beth Morrison, daughter
My dad has been my hero my entire life but I didn’t fully come to appreciate him until I

was much older. As a young 19 year old he was off to WWII and stepped up early on for the tough and dangerous role of a glider paratrooper. He brought his fearlessness and strong work ethic back home to Detroit at the end of the war, his Purple Heart in hand.

Dad, now married to my mom and a new father, worked hard to save funds to work toward his dream of owning his own business. After being sidetracked with being called back to serve again during the Korean War, he and my mom finally made that dream a reality.

With his love for northern Michigan, he brought his growing family of 3 kids to Hillman and bought a small grocery store. Our family grew and so did the business. My dad still found time to attend his now 5 children’s sporting events, serve on the school board, volunteer at church and help the community. One time in an awful snowstorm I recall helping him deliver groceries on a snowmobile to older folks who were snowed in. He was always looking out for his neighbors. Dad hired so many Hillman teens at the store that decades later he still receives phone calls and visits from these now much older adults.

And still at 87 years old you will see Dad ringing the Salvation Army bell for hours in the cold and with his Stormy Kromer on – he has been ringing that bell for over 60 years! His love for family, his community, his friends and his faith have left strong marks on the lives of my siblings and so many others. He is one of a kind and a true living legend.

Charity: Salvation Army

Hometown: Hillman, MI

6400 Miles

In early August, we had an amazing surprise visitor show up at our factory.  Bob Beaubien, the son and nominator of our 2013 Living Legend, Laura Mae Beaubien.

Bob was in the middle of a 6400 mile cross-country tour on his Harley, and we were honored that he chose to stop and see his.  We’re also glad he took so many photos, and kindly shared them with us.  Enjoy!

Of course, the photos have to start with Bob standing next to the wall of tribute we have for his mom (and Dad too).

He couldn’t resist having his picture taken with our 1954 Louisville Slugger that is personalized for George “Stormy” Kromer.

Next he posed with Kirsten, Customer Service Manager, and KJ, Division Manager.

In addition to the factory tour, he had to get some pics to our big hat statue.  (Nice bike!)

Then, when he heard a few of us were working a booth at Loon Day, about 22 miles out of his way, he decided to check out what the event was all about, and get some more photos taken, this time with Gina.

Of course he had to celebrate his arrival into Michigan as well!

And if you’re wondering about the t-shirt he is wearing, check out this family photo with Laura in the middle and her kids surrounding her.  I’d say Laura’s family is pretty darn proud of her.  As they should be.

Nominations for the 2014 Living Legend will be opening in early October.  Start thinking about who you think is worthy of this honor!

A Legendary Team

Just as the voting period for the 2013 Living Legend comes to a close, we received an email from a fan alerting us to a truly legendary story about a small-town football team, just down the road from us.

In the spirit of legendary-ness, we felt compelled to be sure all of you read it too.

Each year, Sports Illustrated does a series called, “Underdogs: Inspiring Stories in High School Football.”  Not only was Ishpeming High School (right here in the Upper Peninsula) named a finalist, they won this year’s prize.

Daniel Mears/AP

Their winning story, which you can read here, centered around Eric Dompierre, a 19-yr old student with Down’s Syndrome.  You see, Eric was the back-up kicker for the team, but because of his age, had to fight the Michigan High School Athletic Association for the right to play his senior year.  A fight he, his father and the entire Ishpeming community took on wholeheartedly, and won.

The amazing thing is, this is only a portion of the inspiring story behind this Ishpeming Hematite Football Team.  If you want to know “the rest of the story,” we encourage you to check out this wonderful blog posted yesterday on SI.com.  Trust us, you won’t regret the time you spend on it.

Are there any other legendary team stories we need to know about?  (And don’t forget to get your Stormy Kromer Living Legend votes in by 12/16.)

Announcing the 2012 Living Legend – Jim Dehlin

When we decided to honor our legendary wool cap by honoring a few living legends, we were pretty sure we’d meet some doozies. We never imagined we’d run into someone like Jim Dehlin.

According to the entry form sent in by Jim’s son, Jesse, Jim is a bona fide American hero. The U.S. Army even says so.  After losing both legs in a land-mine explosion in Vietnam, Jim managed to wrack up an impressive bucket list of accomplishments from the front-row seat of his wheelchair:

He became a pilot.
He raced dirt bikes in Spain.
He ran with the bulls.
He tried downhill skiing, got bored and tried downhill ski racing.
He learned to water ski.
He hunted caribou in Alaska.
He swam with sharks.
He served as a volunteer firefighter.
He backpacked across Europe. Twice.
He ranked nationally in wheelchair basketball.
He appeared in Poison’s “Something to Believe In” video.
He was mentioned in three books by Senators and a Four-Star General.

“It’s not the accomplishments that make my dad a living legend,” said the younger Dehlin, “it is the impact he has had on people throughout his life that make him so. Over the 42 years since his injury, he continues to inspire people to tackle life and to succeed.”

Take, for example, how he used his sense of humor to improve the morale of other patients at Valley Forge Army Hospital—while he was dealing with his own injury. Or how he worked two jobs to put himself through school (he became an aviation maintenance specialist, then an educator) and plowed snow in the winter—for free for those in need. Or how he continues to challenge life by pushing boundaries and inspiring those around him to do the same.

“I am honored to be the recipient of the inaugural Stormy Kromer Living Legend award. To be included in such an elite group of finalists has been a humbling experience. I am blessed in my life to have my family and friends who have always supported me,” said Jim Dehlin, the inaugural Living Legend Award Recipient. “I am especially thankful to my son Jesse, who honored me as his Dad by nominating me. Many thanks to Stormy Kromer and all who voted,” Dehlin added.

As part of his Living Legend status, Dehlin receives a $500 Stormy Kromer gift certificate and a donation to the charity of his choice. Three percent of Stormy Kromer sales between January 9 and January 31, 2012, will be given to Homes for Our Troops, which builds specially adapted homes for disabled veterans.

“We see ourselves as a bit of a legend up here,” said Gina Thorsen, of the company which created its iconic ear-flap cap in 1903 and dozens of hand-stitched outdoor apparel items since that time, “but when we started reviewing the entries into our Living Legends contest, we were humbled to the point of speechlessness. These are incredible people, and Jim Dehlin is truly a hero. On behalf of the Stormy Kromer name, we are honored to recognize him as our inaugural Stormy Kromer Living Legend.”