Veterans Voice: News and events for area veterans

  • Old military helmet used as a shade on this one-of-a-kind lamp by Blue Ocean Traders. (Patricia Sheridan/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS) Patricia Sheridan—TNS

Friday, January 12, 2018

STORYTELLING – Eight local veterans will share their stories as part of StorytellersX, a TED Talks-style event at “The Deuce” (World War II Club), 50 Conz St., Northampton, Wednesday starting at noon.

StorytellersX is a nationwide series of talks where veterans are given the opportunity to share their 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, of the 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.

Starting at 12:30 p.m., the talks will be livestreamed by Northampton Community Television (northamptontv.org) and on the VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System’s Facebook page at facebook.com/VACWMASS, providing an opportunity for a nationwide audience to hear the stories of veterans in the Pioneer Valley.

StorytellersX will provide an opportunity for community members to gain insight into 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 who vote, volunteer and serve in their communities.

“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.

The event 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.

YOGA BENEFIT — “Moving Inside Out” will be held Jan. 27 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Breathing Space Yoga & Mindfulness Studio, 208 Race St. #301, Holyoke. The workshop is open to all, and combines mindfulness practice, gentle yoga postures, and guided movement exercises. No prior yoga or movement experience is required. Fee for this workshop is $20. Registration is open at https://breathingspaceholyoke.com/worskhops.

A percent of proceeds and donations collected during this event will support the Paralyzed Veterans of America.Find out more about this organization at pva.org.

Calling the Roll

Following is a list of local veterans whose obituaries appeared in the Gazette between Dec. 29 and Jan. 11. The information given here about their service is what was provided in each obituary.

Gary A. Milo, 70, Northampton, d. Dec. 26; he was an Army veteran who proudly served with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam.

Samuel Cernak, 97, Easthampton, d.Dec. 27; He was a WWII Army veteran serving in Company A, entering March 17, 1941, the 75th M.E.D. Battalion 5th Armored Division European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign. He received the Good Conduct Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal and Honorable Service Button WWII. He was discharged on Oct.11, 1945, as a Technician 5th grade of the 5th Armored Division.

Ronald G. Perras, 73, New Port Richey, Florida, formerly Easthampton, d. Dec. 28; he was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, having served in Japan.

Joseph Jarzembowski, 95, Northampton, d. Dec. 22; he enlisted in the Navy on April, 29, 1942 and was honorably discharged on Nov. 14, 1945. He was a bostswain’s mate, second class in the Navy and served in the South Pacific.

John F. Doane, 64, Middlefield, d. Dec. 28; he served in the United States Air Force during Vietnam, where he learned his mechanical skills working on jet engines.

Edwin A. Kolodzinski, 68, Florence, d. Jan. 1; he was a member of the National Guard from 1971 to 1977.

Howard F. Wilder, 89, Worcester, d. Dec. 3; he proudly served in the U.S. Navy from 1946 to 1948.

Ronald Harold Fredrickson, 86, Osage City, Kansas, formerly Amherst, d. Jan. 2; for five years he was an active duty officer in the United States Navy. He logged another 16 years in the Naval Reserves, retiring as a captain.

Duane Robinson, 81, Northampton, d. Dec. 21; he enlisted in the Air National Guard, and in October 1961, he was mobilized along with many others by President Kennedy to Phalsbourg Air Base, France.

Joan C. Bresnahan, 85, Easthampton, d. Jan. 3; she was a retired United States Navy Commander, serving during the Vietnam War as a registered nurse.

Joseph C. Mattuski, 92, Tallahassee, Florida, formerly Northampton, d. Jan. 5; at 18, he enlisted in the Army Air Corp and proudly served as a tail gunner on the B-17G. Stationed in Horham, England, he flew 30 combat missions and three supply drops over Europe, including Berlin in 1944, and was credited with one and a half aerial victories. He served in the United States Air Force for 27 years, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

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.