By SHERIDAN CYR
The Town of Southington takes great pride in its many military service men and women, both those in active duty and those who have served in the past. In an effort to keep them close in the minds of residents, a Hall of Honor showcases active duty and veteran men and women right in the entrance of the Town Hall.
Not to be confused with the Southington High School’s Wall of Honor—which showcases SHS graduates along with former students that lost their lives in service of the country—the Hall of Honor is a bold and prominent feature at Town Hall, and it greets many passersby on a day to day basis.
Lately officials have noticed there has been a decline in applications to be featured on the display.
Since it is difficult for the Town Clerk’s office or the veterans committee to keep track of residents in and out of the military, the office offers applications for the display to anyone who requests one. Then they will assist in getting the military member’s photo and information onto the exhibit.
“We just want to get the word out that this is here, and that military men and women can submit their information to be featured here,” said veterans’ committee member John DeMello. “It’s a really great thing, but I think people just aren’t aware of it.”
Though the veterans committee does not play an official role in organizing the wall, they try to help out the Town Clerk’s office as much as they can by directing active duty military and veterans to the clerk’s office. The Town Hall’s wall prominently showcases a photo of all active duty members, and has a plaque to the side of those who have returned home, so their commitment is not forgotten.
“It really is an honor to be able to do this,” said deputy town clerk Sandra Brunoli. “Any military member or their family can come down and fill out an application to be on the wall.”
Veterans’ committee member Rachael Wache said the whole concept began years ago by a small group of Southington High School military mothers, nicknamed “the MOMS (mothers of military service members) group.” The MOMS group wanted to be sure that the young military members would be honored and taken care of.
“They were looking for a place to do this, and the Town Hall was very receptive to the idea,” said Wache. The MOMS group has since fizzled out, and now the [display] doesn’t see too many entries. “It’s difficult to track down names on our own. We hope to remind everyone about it and encourage military members or their families to reach out.”
The Southington Board of Education has a veterans committee, as well, where Wache also has been a member in the past. There is a similar exhibit near the main office, managed by Karen Cavanaugh, a special education teacher.
Cavanaugh said that although the school sees a fair amount of submissions, they, too have trouble staying in touch and knowing when military members return from their duty.
Both the town and school’s honor walls have a similar goal: to showcase Southington residents who make the sacrifice and enter the military.
Contact the Town Clerk at (860) 276-6211 or stop in for more information about the town hall display.
Call the main office at the high school for information on their exhibit at (860) 628-3229.