By JEN CARDINES
World War II veteran and Southington resident Warren Abell was presented with the medals he earned for his service by Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) last week.
Abell served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army from October 26, 1944 to November 24, 1945 and reenlisted on November 25, 1945, where he served until his honorable discharge on May 9, 1947.
The presentation was a fitting kick-off for Veterans Day celebrations, and was just one of Southington’s many events.
Thanks to the American Legion Kiltonic Post 72, various Southington schools, the Southington High School (SHS) music department, and the YMCA, the town continues to focus on those residents who served their country.
This past week, legion members spoke to students at Derynoski, Hatton, South End, DePaolo, JFK, Flanders, Kelley, Strong, and SHS and sat with them during their lunch periods.
“When all is said and done, we will have spoken to 2,250 students,” said Wayne White, Legion coordinator for the partnership with Southington schools. White added that the Legion was asked to speak in other towns as well.
There are still a number of events scheduled as Veterans Day approaches.
On Friday, Derynoski and Flanders schools are holding a drive to collect goods such as socks, gloves, hats, and sweaters for the Rocky Hill Veterans Home.
Derynoski also had a program scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 10 where fifth grade students could invite any veterans that are family or friends.
The SHS music department also has a Veterans benefit concert on Thursday night, at 7 p.m., in the auditorium. Proceeds from the event are being given to Veterans Landing, new affordable apartments on the VA Hospital campus in Newington.
On Nov. 11 (Veterans Day), Post 72 will hold its annual service on the front steps of the legion hall. Two middle school students will be present to read their essays about what it means to be a veteran.
In addition, the marching band will play songs from each branch of service during the halftime show.
The YMCA is also hosting an event on Nov. 11, a free luncheon from noon to 1 p.m. for all Veterans and their families. YMCA marketing director Samantha McCarthy said, “We are also having Miss Connecticut at the event to give out cards from our preschool kids.”
Attendees do not have to be a member of the Y. The Southington Community YMCA also offered all active military and veterans the opportunity to try the YMCA for free the week of Veterans Day (Nov. 7-13).
Finally, all veterans are invited to the SHS football game against East Hartford at 7 p.m. The Blue Knights will dedicate the game to local veterans.
Veterans are invited to gather near the end zone before kickoff and march out on the field during opening ceremonies.