Somers students honor veterans by re-discovering memorials

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Somers - posted Thu., Nov. 15, 2012
Members of Mabelle B. Avery Middle School's SAVE Club created a webpage for the town's veterans memorials. Pictured (back row l-r)  Advisor Mike Szafir, Sean Gay, Jason Bonneau, Allie Casciano, Isabella Rolocut and advisor Diane Jennings, (front row) Timothy Gamble and Mackenzie Willie.
Members of Mabelle B. Avery Middle School's SAVE Club created a webpage for the town's veterans memorials. Pictured (back row l-r) Advisor Mike Szafir, Sean Gay, Jason Bonneau, Allie Casciano, Isabella Rolocut and advisor Diane Jennings, (front row) Timothy Gamble and Mackenzie Willie.

Members of the Mabelle B. Avery Middle School Service and Volunteer Efforts (SAVE) Club in Somers have participated in many volunteer efforts that build a positive school environment and strengthen the community. Over time, the club’s efforts have grown past the school and community level to help support and promote the same ideals in other communities in the area, as well as communities throughout the state. The group’s latest undertaking was a project for Veterans' Day, creating and sending out dozens of cards to the veterans' hospitals in Rocky Hill and West Haven, as well as creating a Somers Veterans' Memorials page which will eventually be included on Connecticut’s Veterans' Memorials Webpage.

“When I was standing at the memorials with my mom, we were fascinated by how many people actually were part of the community and fought and served in Vietnam all the way back to the Civil War,” said SAVE member Jason Bonneau. “It was nice to take some time out to admire the memorials when people usually walk right past them.”

Prior to the project, Somers had no online presence for its memorials, and the group felt that if they could showcase these memorials, it would create some interaction between the community and the memorials again. The process of locating all the towns’ memorials was difficult, and it took six or seven town officials and many members of the historical society to track them down. Once the group located all the memorials, members did research on their purpose and history, transcribed all of the plaques and engravings, while also taking pictures and noting their locations. Information about the memorials can currently be found at www.somersct.gov.

“I think doing the veterans' memorials is something that shows these kids' and this group's character,” said Diane Jennings, SAVE advisor. “The memorials become part of the landscape over time and no one sees them. This really brings them to the forefront and out to the community again.  It was a real hunt and an eye-opener for everyone.”


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