Warner to be honored for Vernon volunteerism

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Fri., Feb. 14, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) will be in town to speak at a dinner honoring his father, Bob Warner, on Feb. 22. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

On Feb. 22, a dinner will be held to honor Bob Warner – a longtime community volunteer and former Vernon Town Councilman. Warner is a retired Marine, a deacon at the First Congregational Church, a softball coach, and a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, among his many accomplishments and affiliations. He has also been a part of several efforts to improve downtown Rockville and was a founder of the Vernon Toastmasters Club as well as a member of the Republican Town Committee.

Warner humbly said he isn’t sure he deserves to be honored any more than any other volunteer, and simply chooses to help. “I’ve been very interested in serving and been involved in several committees because I live in the town of Vernon and I like it. I feel that whatever we can do to help or improve it, we should volunteer to do,” he said.

Warner served with the U.S. Marine Corps in Guam and Iwo Jima. “I was one of the lucky ones who survived Iwo Jima,” he said. “I would never want to go through something like it again. Guam was not that bad, but you could still get killed there as easily as someplace else.”

Of his time on the Town Council, Warner said he felt it was an education. “It gave me an understanding of where the Republicans stand and the Democrats stand, and if you know where each one stands, then you can try to work out a way to get both of them together to cooperate,” he said.

Warner said that despite past efforts to improve downtown Rockville that have failed, the town should keep trying. “It just doesn’t seem to progress,” he said, adding that he laments that some past efforts were not approved by the Town Council and saying that he thinks Vernon could do better on many fronts.

“Vernon is a community that should be right up there with the rest of them,” Warner said. “We’re close to the highway and transportation to Hartford. We have the capabilities of doing business. I think our schools – which I always thought were very good – have slipped a bit and need some more attention. We’ve got very good students that we can promote out of there.”

Warner’s son, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), who is also a Rockville High School and Harvard Law School grad, will be guest speaker at the dinner. Warner said he is extremely proud of his son despite the difference in their political affiliations. Apparently, the volunteer fruit does not fall far from the tree.

“I tried to explain to him, as he was growing up, that if you want something changed or improved, you have to be willing to volunteer to do it,” Warner said. “I think he’s followed that rule. That’s one of the things that I’ve felt strongly about.”

The dinner will take place at 6 p.m., on Feb. 22, at the Adams Mill Restaurant in Manchester. Tickets are $60 and include appetizers, dinner and dessert. There will also be a cash bar.

For information and reservations, contact Patty Noblet at 860-875-5847 and pattyn44@aol.com.

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