Aarol W. “Bud” Irish
The only son of the five children of Damon Lou and Alice Virginia (Reid) Irish, Bud was born in January 1922 and was raised on a dairy farm in Hemlock Michigan. He was 20 years old when he penned his first letter as a soldier of World War II. After serving 38 months in the U.S. and Europe, he returned home a decorated war veteran, having received the Silver Star for Gallantry in Action, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and two ETO Bronze Battle Stars. In 1946 he married Elaine Marie Corbat. Together they raised 10 children, five sons and five daughters, over the course of their 60 year marriage. Bud built a successful career as a general agent in Life, Health and Disability Insurance, and was very civic and service oriented. He was a President of the local Lion’s Club, a Service Officer for the Veterans of Foreign War (VFW), Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, and a dedicated member of Serra International. He was an active supporter of Boysville of Michigan and numerous other charitable organizations, and sat on the Boards of Directors of many professional organizations. Throughout his career, Bud spoke nationally on the power of attitude and positive thinking. A survivor of prostate cancer, he was a pioneer in Intermittent Hormone Therapy (IHT) and an advocate for prostate cancer awareness. He spoke at the International Symposium on Prostate Cancer for Physicians, was profiled in the book “Prostate Cancer: Portraits of Empowerment”, and was active in the prostate cancer support groups Man to Man and PAACT. His passion for life and desire to live served as an inspiration to many others who battled cancer. A member of St. Stephen Catholic Church in Saginaw, MI, and Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, FL, Bud was active in parish and diocesan affairs throughout his life. He loved his faith, his family, his country, the outdoors, and music. Bud passed away in April, 2006 at the age of 84.
Teresa K. Irish
Born in Saginaw, Michigan, Teresa is the third youngest of the ten children of Bud and Elaine Irish. Teresa graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology from Michigan State University in 1984. She worked in higher education administration at Idaho State University from 1984–1990, followed by 10 years with a national staffing company where she was vice president of operations for the central United States. Teresa recently retired from her job as assistant vice-president of operational initiatives for a publicly-held, national home healthcare and hospice company. She now devotes her time to sharing the positive, life-affirming message of the "journey of the letters" through speaking engagements and book events. Teresa is married to LTC Bradley J. Foster, who is currently serving with U.S. Army Forces Command at Ft. Bragg, NC. Teresa resides in Northville, MI.