Last Tuesday, former teacher and current Board of Education member Bob Brown inducted a new class of locals onto the Southington High School Wall of Honor. It has been almost a year and a half since the last class was inducted, but it was definitely worth the wait. This year’s ceremony honored Dr. Craig Bogdanski, MD, Barry DePaolo, Dawn D’Onofrio, and Matt Galka, along with seven World War II casualties: John Calvanese, Paul Flynn, Francis Gura, Anthony Pasquale, Stanley Putala, John Ziemba…and Stanley Andrew Folcik.
We’d like to thank our readers for reaching out to Bob Brown after reading Sheridan Roy’s preview article about the induction ceremony. She noted that Brown was having trouble confirming Foclik’s identity. The family name was a common one in Southington. There were inconsistencies in some of the research, and Wall of Honor officials needed to be 100 percent sure about the identity of this valiant Southington hero approximately 75 years after his ultimate sacrifice.
In a last ditch attempt, we reached out to our readers. We’ve been kicking ourselves ever since. Why didn’t we do it sooner? Calls flooded in—to Brown and us. More than one of our readers made the trip to the library to research. More than one Folcik family member reached out. Because of your input, Brown was able to positively identify the final World War II casualty in this year’s induction class.
(If you were as impressed as we were by our readers’ sleuthing abilities, you may want to check out the Southington Genealogical Society. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at The Orchards. Each meeting includes tips for “sleuthing” your own genealogy or ways to research those that passed away—like Stanley Folcik. Thank you for helping our readers develop these skills.)
For the past 16 years the SHS Wall of Honor has recognized former Southington students that have gone on to do remarkable things in the world, acting as ambassadors for the Town of Southington with major contributions to business, medicine, politics, the arts, humanitarian work, military, and more. Southington residents love our athletes, and we should. We love our robotics team, and they have given us much to cheer about. We love our marching band that has collected more titles than anyone. The Wall of Honor offers a chance to honor the rest of Southington’s talented graduates.
That’s what makes this Wall of Honor such a tremendous and unique event. We are glad that folks like Brown help us to support residents that don’t collect ribbons and trophies.
Unlike those other groups, the Wall of Honor doesn’t have the resources provided by booster clubs, selection committees, or tireless mentors and businesses in the community. For a decade and a half, Brown has fought almost single-handedly to champion those honored on the wall. We think it’s time that he gets some help from the community, too.
If you’re wondering why we didn’t profile the inductees beforehand, it’s because Brown has been scrambling to open the curtain on this almost one-man show. We weren’t able to get the word out because he was still scrambling to research and prepare for the event right up until the date of the presentation. Please bear with us. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be catching up, too, with remaining profiles.
We know Brown won’t admit it, but he could use some help to keep the Wall of Honor alive. If you want to lend your sleuthing skills, your time, your effort, or your support, we urge you to get involved with next year’s class and help to grow this worthy cause. If you’re interested, contact Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can help out.
To comment on this story or to contact Southington Observer editor John Goralski, email him at JGoralski@SouthingtonObserver.com.