Veterans honored at senior center

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Nov. 9, 2012
Retired Army serviceman Vincent Lawlor carries in the American flag during the presentation of colors at the Glastonbury Senior Center's Veterans' Day remembrance on Nov 8. Photos by Steve Smith.
Retired Army serviceman Vincent Lawlor carries in the American flag during the presentation of colors at the Glastonbury Senior Center's Veterans' Day remembrance on Nov 8. Photos by Steve Smith.

In 1940, the population of Glastonbury was 6,632, and 930 of those residents were serving in the military. On Nov. 8, local veterans at the Glastonbury Senior Center were honored with a special luncheon. As a slideshow of Glastonbury's own veterans played in the background, including facts like the one above about local veterans, servicemen and women were honored with a program beginning with the presentation of colors by members of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Marine Corps and Glastonbury's Veterans Service Commission Color Guard.

Glastonbury's Eunice Cobb Stocking Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution presented a Community Service Award to Frank Forrest. “This award is given to a person who has made a contribution to his community in an outstanding manner, through benevolent services by organizing community activity,” said Jean Greene, registrar of the Glastonbury DAR. Greene said the award fit Forrest's activity perfectly, as he has organized the collection and shipping of needed items for members of the military serving overseas.

Deborah Finn and Carolyn Birch of the Glastonbury VFW Ladies Auxiliary wrote a recommendation for Forrest, which was read by Greene. “Frank started sending packages to our troops about six or seven years ago, and doing it about 10 times a year,” the letter read. “In those packings, we kind of go overboard with not only stuff for the troops, but also for the local children.”

“Frank has taken the responsibility of making sure that our armed services personnel serving overseas have not been forgotten,” said Maryleah Skoronski, Glastonbury Senior Center coordinator.

Greene said that over the years, Forrest's efforts have shipped more than 500,000 Girl Scout cookies, 25 tons of homemade cookies, 1.5 million Peeps (which were actually counted) and 75 million donated toiletries. Greene said more than 100 cartons were shipped per month initially, and there are still more than 30 cartons shipped per month.

“It's a great honor for us to recognize you today,” said Jennifer Giantonio, DAR regent. “Your selflessness and generosity reaches around the world, showing the enlisted men and women that we care about them.”

Forrest said he is preparing a large donation of candy to be shipped to soldiers overseas, including three from Glastonbury. He added that he was “blushing and tearing at the same time” as he accepted his award.

After a patriotic sing-along led by husband-and-wife duo Rob Iovanna and Karen Wagner, which included “God Bless the USA” and other salutes to the military, Skoronski spoke about what Veterans' Day means to the seniors. “When we think of Veterans' Day, we think of the sacrifices that the many women and men have made to allow others to live in peace and freedom,” Skoronski said.

“Veterans' Day is a day to never forget the many servicemen who have died, or who were wounded during war times. On this day, we the people honor the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom. From senior centers to workplaces to places of worship, freedom allows us to become the unique individuals who make unforgettable marks on American society, yet such freedom is not without cost. The men and women who have served, and are currently serving in the military, dedicate their lives so that freedom endures in our nation.”

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