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20-year Navy veteran has a unique retirement ceremony

William Goetz III has a parade to commemorate his retirement
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 7:22 PM EDT
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GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJRT) - After 20 years of serving in the U.S. Navy, William Goetz III had a retirement parade Thursday in Grand Blanc Township.

Goetz was not able to have the traditional Naval send-off because of COVID-19. So his dad, William Goetz II, made sure he got something extra special.

“No, I did not expect this. I did know something was gong on. I assumed it was a BBQ with my family... But, I was completely astounded when I turned that corner,” said Goetz III.

Goetz II added, “There is a phrase in the Navy that says, ‘Loose lips sinks ships.‘ Well everyone was spot on expect one guy, me. I was slipping every since he got here.”

It was a hard secret to keep.

Aside from the his navy awards and a parade, Goetz III also received a proclamation for his service from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer presented by State Rep. Tim Sneller and Grand Blanc Township Police Chief Ron Wiles declared Aug. 6, 2020, as William J. Goetz III day for the township.

Goetz III was originally in Washington state and made the over 2,300-mile trip to get to the Grand Blanc area in three days. He couldn’t have a minute later.

“Unfortunately, my step-mom’s health was plummeting very fast,” said Goetz III. “We pulled into Grand Blanc, Mich., at 11:30 Monday night just to get a chance to see her.”

Katherine Goetz died from cancer on Tuesday, but she made a dying wish before she passed.

“She told me probably about two nights before she passed, ‘Make sure that happens on Thursday. Make sure that parade happens,’ as she smiled,” said Goetz II.

Trevor Goetz, William Goetz III’s brother, added, ”She would’ve loved it. She would’ve been amazed.”

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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