Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Guy and Kathryne Boissonneault celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary

Congratulations Kathryne and Guy...
Guy and Kathryne Boissonneault celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary on Sunday, June 28, 2015.

Blessing and renewal of wedding vows
officiated by Fr. A. Waine Kargul at
Mary Our Queen Church
Members of the Boissonneault family, friends, a Color Guard representing Guy's 4th Degree Knights of Columbus Isabella Assembly 122 of Southington, CT., and those attending the 11:00 am Mass at Mary Our Queen Church in Plantsville, CT joined the happy couple in a blessing and renewal of wedding vows officiated by Mary Our Queen Pastor, Rev. A. Waine Kargul.  

A long time member of the Knights of Columbus and past Grand  Knight and Faithful Navigator, Guy and his wife Kathryne, long with Fr. A. Waine Kargul are surrounded by fellow Knights of the Southington Isabella Assembly 122 Color Guard.
Guy was born and raised in Biddeford, ME.  Kathryne was born in Bermuda.

Guy served in the U.S. Air Force for four years in the 1950s.  While stationed at Kinney Air Force Base in Bermuda, Guy met Kathy on a blind date arranged by a friend of hers. They were married in Bermuda on June 28, 1955, on his twenty-second birthday, moving in December 20 Connecticut. Guy worked in retail, moving to Southington in 1962 and remained here until his retirement from  Pratt Whitney in 1993. 

They have five children, Daniel, Marie (Westbrook), Michael, Denise Lopez and Robert and have eleven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. 

Asked how they felt after sixty years of marriage, Guy said,
"It feels great. It's been a blessing and a gift."

Kathy said, the Lord's been good to us."

Indeed, a loving marriage of 60 years is a blessing and rare gift. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Strong Elementary School Celebrates Flag Day and Surprises Principal with send off

As published in the Southington Citizen June 26, 2015

Principal Linda Lacker welcomes veterans
Bob Klezun, Walt Hushak, Dick Fortunato
and John DeMello, Sr. at Strong School.
Joining Strong Elementary School in a celebration fo Flag Day were several local veterans who had been invited to the program.  While Flag Day is officially June 14, the school event took place on June 15, with Principal Linda Lackner and her staff holding an assembly of the entire school. Lackner did not know that there would be a jubilant celebration in her honor by the entire school following the patriotic Flag Day ceremonies.  Veterans representing American Legion Post 72 of Southington included those who had served in WWII, Korea and the Vietnam War.

Rain had moved the planned outdoor
event into the school cafeteria where students led the assembly in saluting the flag with the Pledge of Allegiance and the musically accompanied singing a of George M. Cohan’s  “It’s a Grand Ole Flag”. 

Expressing the personal meaning of the flag to him, retired Lt. Col. gathered about his presence and treasured memory of his experience in the WWII Battle of Iwo Jima in the Pacific. This led up to the famous photograph of the moment of the raising of the American flag on Mt. Suribachi, signifying the victory of the Marine invasion of Iwo Jima.  “I can’t tell you how much that sight meant to all of us who saw it.

Five Marines and one Navy man raised the U.S. Flag
at the top of Mt. Surabachi in the WWII Battle of
Iwo Jima - photo by Joe Rosenthal
That one photo, taken by Joe Rosenthal on February 23, 1945 was in newspapers throughout the world the next day. It has also been replicated in the form of a national monument to World War II in Washington DC. The image of the hoisting of the flag by five Marines and one Navy man is, to this day, a great symbol of American patriotism.“  Hushak told students that there is a  smaller version of the Iwo Jima memorial near CCSU in New Britain that they want to visit with their parents.   

Retired school principal Mark Proffitt then told the children how he remembers learning the pledge of allegiance as a boy in elementary school. Proffitt repeated the pledge to the students slowly, phrase by phrase. “To me, that last phrase, ‘with liberty and justice for all’ is the most important“, Proffitt said.”

The assembly then turned to a complete surprise for Lackner as the assembly burst into a special celebration of her retirement before the entire school, including   Board of Education members Terri C. Carmody and Jill Notar-Francesco who entered the room from a side door to proclaim the day as Linda Lackner Day on behalf of the Board and in recognition of her decades of service to Southington education. Students and teachers had prepared songs, presentations and surprises to the delight of all and the especially appreciative joy of Lacker as she was honored by students, faculty, staff, PTO and the B.O.E.   
Strong Elementary School Assembly - June 15, 2015

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Southington Honors Class of 2015 Military service enlistees

A photo segue to the preceding story on Southington Heartbeat, also published in my Appleseed column in the Southington Citizen edition of June 19, 2015  -  erf

BOE Veterans Partnership presents awards to each graduate individually
L to R. Steve McCarty, Commander, American Legion Kiltonic Post 72,
Steve Pintarich, Wayne White and to right of student, Joyce McAloon, Flanders School teacher and committee member and Rachel Wache, past-president and long time member of the American Legion Post 72 Auxiliary

These photos were taken at the Military enlistees luncheon and presentation by the administration and staff of Southington Public Schools with the Board of Education and its Southington Veterans Partnership to honor and recognize fifteen graduate-enlistees in the presence of parents, family, town leaders, Southington veterans and active duty military guests.  See the post prior to this to read more and particularly the unique story of third-generation Navy Submarines enlistee, Eric Minton.
Board of Ed Chair Brian Gorlaski
congratulates and thanks military
enlistee graduates in behalf of Board

Schools Superintendent
Timothy Connellan
welcomes military
 graduates, parents and guests

Military enlistee graduates:  Alphabetically, (not as shown left to right) are:Brandon Christino - Army National Guard; Thomas DelBuono - U.S. Air Force ROTC, Eastern Connecticut State University; Geraint Downey - U.S. Marine Corps Reserve; Matthew Duszac, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis; Michael Fazzino- Army ROTC, UCONN;
Roshane (Shane) Jones - Army National Guard; Collin Litke - Army National Guaard;
Griffin Litke - Army National Guard; Eric Minton - U.S. Navy; Christopher Santoro -
Army National Guard; Connor Sperry - Army National Guard; Preston Testa - U.S. Marine Corps Reserve; and Jake Thayer - U.S. Navy 

Center front, Walter Hushak, Lt Col US Air Force, Ret., WW II veteran, joins Board of Education members: front: l to r. Patricia Johnson and Patricia Queen and back row: Terry Carmody, Colleen Clark, David Derynoski, Brian Goralski, chair,
and Zaya Oshana. Not in photo: Teri Lombardi & Jill Notar-Francesco.

Representing Town of Southington Municipal Government are: l to r: Town Council members; Dr. Stephanie Urillo and Rev. Victoria Triano with Town Manager Garry Brumback (retired US Army Lt. Col.) and Town Attorney and Deputy Town Manager, Mark Sciota, join the recognition and celebration of the fifteen SHS graduates who have enlisted in the service of the armed forces.

Army National Guard enlistees from left:Collin and Griffin Litke, twin brothers who had Army National Guard basic training in the summer of 2014 will now be going to Ft. Leonard, Missouri for more advanced training. At right, Michael Fazzino will be going into the Army ROTC at University of Connecticut. 

Eric Minton Class of 2015 Among 15 Military Enlistees Honorerd by Southington

As published in the Southington
Citizen, June 19, 2015, enhanced for
digital publication
Saluting 15 graduates of the Southington H.S. Class of 15 who have enlisted in the service of our country.

Fifteen students of the Southington High School Class of 2015 were honored at a luncheon-ceremony last week by the School administration, Board of Ed, Town officials and the BOE Veterans’ partnership in the presence of their parents. 

As military enlistees, each received a certificate, military challenge coin, blue star banner, pocket flag and service cord. Each will receive a gift laptop from CSC upon completion of their basic training to help stay in touch with their families.  Each of the 15 has a unique story of his accomplishments, hopes and dreams.

One story came to my attention in the spring through Social Studies Department Chair, Heather Allenbach. Naval enlistee Eric Minton, SHS Class of ‘15, has done some exceptional work as a history student since his sophomore year.  With the approval of his teacher in 10th grade, he prepared his first presentation to his history class on the WWII experiences of his grandfather, USN Lt. Joseph Ardell Minton, who served as a Navy submarine sailor in the Pacific and was later captured and moved to a POW camp. Eric said, “I’d heard my grandfather’s WWII stories from my father since my early childhood, understanding more as I grew older. By sophomore year, I wanted to tell that story including some of the horrific graphic details of his 882 days as a POW.”

Eric’s interest in history grew through his junior and senior years during which he continued to approach his teachers who enabled him to continue the class presentations. Asked about the attention of his fellow students, Eric said, “Knowing how some talks result in student distraction, I watched for their reaction.  But I can remember no time seeing a student turning to his cell phone or looking lost in other thoughts during my presentations.” Students seemed to be open to the genuine reality of the WWII experience presented by Eric, perhaps because they identified with him and understood his personal reality, making history more of a living experience.

This spring, Allenbach stated, Eric gave a series of multi-class 40-minute presentations to World History classes, integrating photos and documents ultimately wearing the Navy uniform of his dad, Steven Minton, a Navy submariner during the early 90’s Desert Storm era. “History teachers raved about Eric’s work”, Allenbach said.  Eric said his focus in high school was history, the telling his grandfather’s story and joining the Navy as a submarine sailor. He and others recognized connections between Joe Minton’s story and that of Louis Zamperini as told in his best-selling book of 2010, “Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival and Resilience.” Eric learned that his grandfather was in one of the same POW labor camps as Zamperini.

Joseph A. Minton grew up on a farm where, at age 10 in 1933, during the lean years of the Great Depression, he took on the responsibility of working the fields, tending the animals and looking after seven younger siblings, attending school through 7th grade.

Shortly before the start of World War II in 1941, Joe Minton joined the Navy at age 18. Volunteering for submarine service, Joe was assigned to the USS Grenadier SS-210, a Tambor Class sub as it sailed from Hawaii to a secret naval base in Australia without convoy support.

In 1943, the Grenadier was attacked by a Japanese dive bomber in the Strait of Malacca where they’d been hunting enemy merchant shipping.  The Grenadier dove to the bottom of the strait suffering multiple damages. The shockwave knocked out diesel engines, deck guns, radio and anti-aircraft weaponry, rendering the vessel unable to use heavy machine guns against air assault. When a Japanese reconnaissance Zero flew overhead, US sailors fired small weapons, hitting the enemy craft, killing the pilot, but not before their position was radioed to the enemy. Within an hour, a Japanese destroyer picked up the sailors of the sinking Grenadier who were brought to Penang, Malaya for interrogation and torture for information. The group was split in two, officers and enlisted. Minton was taken to Yawata, Japan, Fukuoka Camp #3, where POWs were used for factory slave labor. Held more than 2 years, the POWs were brutally and routinely tortured, beaten, starved, deprived of medical treatment and subjected to means of torture beyond humanly credible.

Upon the surrender of the Japanese, American forces liberated the POWS.  Minton was safe and continued his naval service for 23 years. He died in 1991 before his grandson, Eric, was born.

Eric Minton Class of '15 with parents
Laura-Jean and Steve Minton
Eric is grateful to SHS for his education and will follow two courageous generations of Naval submariners when he leaves next month for boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Training Station, then on to “A” (Auxiliary) school for job training and rating before assignment to submarine life.

John B. Durbin,
Lt. Col. US Army &
SHS History Teacher

SHS history teacher, 

John Durbin, said of Eric:

“Eric - A quiet, focused individual who knows exactly what course his life will take. Eric is also caring and willing to help others in any way he can. Humble, yet with a sense of awareness, unusual in someone so young.”

A few post publication comments of Eric Minton's history teachers: 

Mary Tess Tran said:  

"As a student, Eric is hardworking; intelligent; loves history; thoughtful; engaged; empathetic.  As a person, Eric is dedicated; incredibly respectful (one of the most respectful students I have ever, ever encountered); loves his family, friends, and country (as seen in the way he acts, his presentation about his grandfather, and his enlistment in the navy)Eric always asks me how I am and genuinely seems interested; he's a student that students like and teachers like; that shows a lot about him."

Killian Murphy said: 

"Eric is a polite, respectful young man who is very passionate about history, regardless of the area: world, Asia, Middle East, Africa. He first presented about his grandfather during his sophomore year in World History.  Since then, Eric has done extensive research over the past two years to learn more about his grandfather's experiences during WWII.  His love of family and history are what motivated him to acquire as much information about his grandfather.  As a result of his motivation, the presentation on his grandfather has improved dramatically.  I think the best way to explain how much the presentation has grown is to say that he'd make a great history teacher!  So if he finds that a career in the military doesn't suit him, he has options. He  consistently gives his best effort regardless of the rigor or challenge he's confronted with.  He's the type of person who learns from errors or mistakes, academically at least, and works to make modifications to improve his performance in the future. Eric has been motivated to join the navy as far back as his junior year in high school, to my knowledge.  He will represent this nation impeccably."

                Anchors Aweigh, Eric!

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Concert for Valor: Steven Spielberg

An extraordinary video ... not for those without a heart...

The inspiring story of a loving father, two sons, family, country, service and valor.


Thursday, June 4, 2015



The military sector of the STEPS coalition (Southington's Town-wide Efforts to Promote Success) invites the whole town to help in a food drive being sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary and the Southington Army National Guard with STEPS volunteers to fill an Army truck with food for Southington's hungry .
It all happens on Saturday, June 6, 2015 at Southington's Walmart store on Queen Street, from 10 am to 3 pm. 
Auxiliary member, Rachel Wache, (also STEPS military sector representative on the STEPS Advisory Board), stated that the Armory people are offering an Army Truck to be parked in front of Walmart so that shoppers may pick up a few foot items while shopping and bring it to the truck which will deliver all the food collected to Southington Community Services for the local hungry. STEPS youth and adult volunteers will be on hand helping the collection go smoothly.
The Southington Food Pantry stocks food, always needed, to help feed the hungriest of our local families. Janet Mellon, Director of SCS stated that the ten most needed food items are tuna, peanut butter, jelly, kid’s snacks, juice boxes, mac ‘n’ cheese, cereal, canned chicken or stew, pasta sauce, pasta, jello/pudding.
Please help, your contribution big or small will help a hungry family and their children have another meal.