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Veterans Voice

Daily Hampshire Gazette - 12/30/2017

Announcements

STORYTELLERS X EVENT – Eight local veterans will share their stories as part of StorytellersX, a TED Talks-style event at “The Deuce” (World War II Club) in Northampton on Jan. 17 starting at noon.

StorytellersX is a nationwide series of talks where veterans are given the opportunity to share their unique stories and foster a deeper level of understanding between veterans and the community. Veterans share their personal stories of inspiration and success about life after their military service.

Veterans speaking include: Tony Boido, owner of TNT Tent & Table & Freedom Movers; Dennis Bolduc, owner of Indian Motorcycle of Springfield; Ben Cluff, Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health; Dr. Kelly Coxe, a psychologist with the Springfield Vet Center; Gerry Clark, the director of the Town of Hatfield Veterans’ Services; Rob McAllister, EMT student; Joanna Montalvo, a graduate of the Holyoke Veterans Treatment Court, and Tom Pease, owner and founder of 1812 Paint & Body and VFW post commander.

The talks will be livestreamed on the VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System’s Facebook page at www.facebook .com/VACWMASS, providing an opportunity for a nationwide audience to hear the stories of local veterans in the Pioneer Valley.

StorytellersX will provide an opportunity for community members to gain an understanding of the veteran experience, build relationships and connections, and inspire local leaders to empower veterans.

Organizers of the event say that the majority of Americans view veterans as either broken or heroic; in reality, veterans are American citizens who have a diverse set of experiences and stories to share. Veterans are actually more civically engaged — they vote, volunteer and serve in their communities — at higher rates than their civilian counterparts.

“We’re inviting the community to hear our veterans tell their stories and to be part of a national narrative that helps Americans become less likely to relate homelessness, unemployment and PTSD to Veteran status,” said Steven J. Connor, director of Central Hampshire Veterans’ Services and co-chair of the Massachusetts Community Veterans Engagement Board. “Come meet your veteran neighbors and hear their stories.”

Attendance is free and lunch will be provided by Building Bridges, a local initiative that meets each week at several locations in the Pioneer Valley to provide free luncheons for veterans.

Following the talks with veterans, John P. Collins, the director of the VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System will provide an update on VA services in the region, and there will be an opportunity for veterans to determine their eligibility for VA health care and to enroll with the VA medical center in Leeds.

For more information, contact Connor at 587-1299 or Ben Kaler with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at benjamin.kaler@va.gov or at (603) 722-5843. Calling the Roll

Following is a list of local veterans whose obituaries appeared in the Gazette between Dec. 15 and 28. The information given here about their service is what was provided in each obituary.

Charles Bohonowicz, 89, South Deerfield, d. Dec. 12; he served in the Army and was discharged in 1955.

Martin A. Joy, Ware, d. Dec. 11; he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Kevin Favaro, 70, Northampton, d. Dec. 14; he enlisted in the Army.

John F. Dignam, 92, Easthampton, d. Nov. 6; he served our nation in the Air Force.

Leonard F. “Len” Von Flatern Jr., Hatfield, d. Dec. 24; he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard during the Korean War. He served aboard the cutter Barataria and on lighthouse duty and lifeboat station duty around Bar Harbor, Maine.

Ronald Perrault, 76, Southampton, d. Dec. 21; he was a 34-year veteran of the United States Air Force. He retired in 2001 from Westover Air Reserve Base as a chief master sergeant.

John Pietras Jr., 85, Easthampton, d. Dec. 22; he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard and was stationed in Boston and served on the Coast Guard cutter Castle Rock. He sailed the Atlantic waters from Greenland to Bermuda during his enlistment.

Mary Byrne Fawkner Chase, 67, Dracut, formerly South Amherst, d. Dec. 21; in 1979 she joined the Navy, serving as a yeoman. She was among the first women to serve on an aircraft carrier. In 1993, where was stationed aboard the aircraft carrier CV-67 John F. Kennedy. She and four women slept in the Mass Casualty section of the Medical Department because at that time the US Navy did not have rooms for women. She later served in the Naval Reserves stationed at South Weymouth Naval Air Station through 1996.

Veterans Voice appears twice each month. Send submissions to Veterans Voice, c/o Brenda Nelson, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Box 299, Northampton, MA 01061; or email bnelson@gazettenet.com.

 
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