By LINDSAY CAREY
The Southington YMCA will honor a World War II veteran and active community volunteer for his lifetime of service with the Compass Award at the 12th annual Forever in Blue Jeans gala on Friday, Nov. 21, at the Aqua Turf Club.
“Our Forever in Blue Jeans committee nominates people that they feel meet the criteria of the award as someone who sets a course for others to follow in the community,” said Community Development Director Donna Ayer.
This year, the committee decided that the best candidate for the award for many reasons is lifelong Southington resident Walter Hushak. His service began, but does not end, with his active duty during World War II as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force.
According to a press release from the YMCA, he survived battles at Iwo Jima, Pagan, and Marcus Island. Hushak also served in the Air Force Reserves for several years, before retiring as a lieutenant general and going on to share his hand in American History with students in local schools.
“We chose Walter because of his dedication to our community and our country,” said Ayer. “His whole life has been about service to others and that’s why he is so special and so deserving of this award.”
Long after his time in the Air Force came to an end, Hushak served his community in Southington by being a business leader and a willing volunteer.
As a business leader, Hushak was the vice president of tool manufacturing company Peck, Stow and Wilcox (PEXTO), which during its time was one of the largest employers in the area. He also served as chairman of the board at Southington Savings Bank.
As a voluntary leader, Hushak served in various positions for organizations like the Southington Chamber of Commerce, United Way, YMCA, Rotary Club, Red Cross, American Legion Post 72, Saint Aloysius Church, Bradley Memorial Hospital and the Town Council, according to a press release.
Hushak has been honored with several awards in the past from different civic groups for his dedication to bettering the Southington community.
“Walter Hushak has dedicated his life to improve the lives of Southington citizens and for this reason the Y is grateful to Walter for his commitment to our community,” says the press release.
Hushak has also dedicated his life to his family. He raised his three children Mark, Maureen and Dana with wife Ruth in Southington and now has five grandchildren, according to the YMCA release.
By LINDSAY CAREY