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Veterans advocates look to update monument names

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SOUTHINGTON — Veterans advocates are looking for funding to update the memorial on the Town Green, a request that received support from Town Council members this week.

Members of the veterans committee say the plaques commemorating local residents who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam have misspellings and omissions.  They’re looking for new, corrected plaques that could cost about $30,000.

“There are some veterans whose names were not included on that monument who are Southington residents,” said Joe Woloszyn, a committee member. “We would certainly like to include those individuals and honor them.”

Rachel Wache, veterans committee chairwoman, said the pandemic and the passing of former veterans advocate John DeMello stalled plans to update the monument on the town green.

"Now we're ready to move forward," she said.

While the five stones that make up the monument are sound, updating the names list means removing the existing bronze plaques and casting new ones.

“At first we thought we could do it with fundraising. But it’s a big price,” Wache said.

Since it’s on town property, Wache asked the town to put money into its budget for next year to correct the plaques.

“The consensus of the committee is that the town of Southington should be responsible financially to fund this project," she said to council members Monday night.

Town councilors from both parties supported the idea.

“I'm all for it, whatever I need to do. I'll go out and fundraise for it with you," said Michael DelSanto, a council Republican.

"I'm absolutely on board with it," said Val DePaolo, a Democratic councilor.

She asked about the possibility of grant funding, an idea that veterans committee members said they’d explore. Wache also said veterans groups could contribute to the effort.

Checking names

Wache said it’d be a long process to advertise the project to locals and encourage them to make sure the names of family members who’ve served are spelled correctly. There’s also an effort to include any World War II, Korean or Vietnam veterans that were left off the original plaques.

“It’s going to take a lot of time and effort,” she said.

DeMello had started this work and Wache said there’s a folder of names that he collected before his death.

Wache wasn’t sure how old the monument was, but said it’s been up for as long as she could remember.

jbuchanan@record-journal.com203-317-2230Twitter: @JBuchananRJ


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