By Shelby Stewart-Soldan
Brandon Twp. — On Sept. 28, there will be two Brandon graduates inducted into the Ed and Diane Donaldson Distinguished Alumni Wall of Fame.
Dennis Hoffman, a 1966 graduate, is being honored for distinguished achievement in providing significant decades of leadership in the Ortonville-Brandon community. Dr. William Tahaney, a 2010 graduate, is being honored for distinguished achievement in breast cancer research.
Hoffman is the current VFW Post 582 commander, and has been since 2014.
“Well I think I was nominated because of all of the community service I do, through the VFW,” said Hoffman. “I’ve been here since I was four years old, and there’s a lot of veterans who can’t help themselves, and it’s just something I feel I have an obligation to. The past commanders were just getting by, and I wanted to make sure that the VFW got more involved in the community and the community got more involved with the VFW.”
Hoffman served in the army for 13 months on the Korean DMZ. He also was an advocate for the Purple Heart Trail on M-15 in the village of Ortonville, which was signed into law in December of 2018.
“It’s quite an honor to be even nominated, but to be placed on the wall with the other graduates, it’s quite an honor,” said Hoffman. “I just want to thank the community for all of the support they give us. The post has been here 38 years and has always been well supported.”
Tahaney has his PhD in cellular and molecular biology and is a biomedical research scientist. He did extensive research and co-authored many papers involving breast cancer research.
“I am still in the research side of things, I’m currently working at a company in Boston working on their discovery biology team,” said Tahaney. “Basically helping try to understand biologically why the drugs we have work the way they do, for the purposes of oncology and other rare diseases..”
Tahaney graduated from Alma college with a degree in biochemistry, then went to Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas for his Ph.D in Molecular and Cellular Biology.
“When I got the call from the school, I assumed it was a miss-call and it was supposed to go to one of my family members with young kids,” he said. “It was a little bit humbling. It was nice to know that people back in Ortonville have followed where I’ve gone after leaving the community, and it’s nice to feel that connection still to the community.”
Both of them will be honored in a ceremony on Sept. 28.
By Shelby Stewart-Soldan