LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — February 25th marks 76 years since the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund was established. Friday night, community leaders gathered for the Veteran Story Project event to celebrate a legacy that has helped many veterans.

Governor Harry Kelly wanted to help veterans returning home to Michigan from WWII, so he established the Michigan Veteran Trust Fund on February 25, 1946. One of his close friends, Frank Schmidt Jr. expressed a desire to be apart of Kelly’s mission to help veterans and their families. As a result, Governor Kelly appointed Schmidt to run the fund.

The Michigan Veterans Trust Fund has helped veterans of every era overcome unexpected expenses like utility bills, home repairs and even mortgage assistance.

Schmidt worked as the director of the fund for over 40 years until he passed away, but not without passing the baton to his wife Alfreda Schmidt. At age 95, she continues to carry on his legacy of serving veterans throughout Michigan.

“When Frank was towards the end he said to me, Alfreda you need to take care of the veterans, I am not going to be here very long, but we need to do it, we ask you to do it. So that’s why I am carrying on this legacy,” Schmidt said.

Veteran advocates Mark Sutton, Lindell Holm and Robert Pena honored Mrs. Schmidt for her leadership and contributions to helping veterans throughout Michigan.

“There isn’t enough thank yous in the world that we could give to her for the work that she has done,” Sutton said.

The Veteran Story Project is a part of a Lansing Cityhood initiative to remember, honor and teach about the lives and experiences of war veterans. This is one of many events taking place this year. Go to the Cityhood Facebook page for more information on upcoming events.