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 26, 2018

CHILI COOKOFF — Sunday, 2 p.m. at American Legion Post 224, 190 Pleasant St., Easthampton. The winner will be the people’s choice; visitors may buy a book of voting ballots for $4. Proceeds will be donated to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Central Western Massachusetts Health Care Systems in Northampton Chapel.

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. This event was rescheduled from it’s original date due to bad weather.

StorytellersX is a nationwide series of talks where veterans are given the opportunity to share their experiences and foster a deeper 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 and veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; Ed Morrissey, World War II veteran and retired police officer from Northampton; Bill Byrnes, Vietnam veteran and community veteran advocate; Dr. Kelly Coxe, a psychologist with the Springfield Vet Center and veteran of the war in Iraq; Gerry Clark, Vietnam veteran and the director of the Town of Hatfield Veterans’ Services; and Tom Pease, Vietnam veteran and the 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.

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 Saturday 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 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.

FLORENCE VFW FUNDRAISERMarch 9Shindigin the Florence VFW grand ballroom — Club V, 18 Meadow St. will feature In Session of Boston playing lots of old and new Irish tunes to raise money to benefit the VFW..

Included in the $15 ticket price is a corned beef dinner served at 6:30 p.m., followed by music at 7:30 p.m. There will be a raffle, cash bar and possibly some surprise giveaways.

Tickets are on sale now online through the Post’s Facebook page @VFWpost8006Official, the VFW bar, or at the door for $20. The VFW is a cash-only establishment.

The building, home to many community clubs and gatherings beyond veterans is in need of repairs to the foundation, an elevator to enable handicap access and general up keep. Donations are appreciated and enable the VFW to continue to serve the community in a multi-use facility. Please call the Post any day after 2 p.m. at 584-8006 for more information.

Calling the Roll

Following is a list of local veterans whose obituaries appeared in the Gazette between Jan. 12 and 25. The information given here about their service is what was provided in each obituary.

Craton Smith Sheffield, 82, Longmeadow, d. Jan. 7; he joined the U.S. Army reserves with the rank of staff sergeant. He was proud of his qualification as sharpshooter.

Stephen M. Howes, 78, Cummington, d. Jan. 9; he was a Vietnam War veteran, serving in the U.S. Army.

John Anthony Lastowski, 79, d. Jan. 18; he was a U.S. Navy veteran of the Korean War.

John Edward Modestow, 86, d. Jan. 8; he enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

Donald A. “Don” Cotnoir, 85, Bluffton, South Carolina, formerly Northampton, d. Jan. 1; he was a veteran of the United States Army, serving with the JAG Corps while stationed in Germany during the Korean War.

Charles Ognibene, 91, Westfield, formerly Westhampton, d. Jan. 21; he proudly served with the U.S. Navy during World War II and was honorably discharged in 1946.

Raymond J. Equi, 77, South Deerfield, d. Jan. 17; he served in the Air Force.

Norman Arnold, 88, Goshen, d. Jan. 13; he served in the Army during the Korean War.

Donald A. Brodeur Sr., Chicopee, d. Jan. 22; he enlisted into the Coast Guard where he served the next four years.

Leon Costas Papageorge, 83, Northampton, d. Jan. 21; he served on the U.S.S. Northampton as a meteorologist.

Edmund A. Procon, 83, Easthampton, d. Jan. 23; he served in the Massachusetts Army National Guard.

Randall “Willie” E. Broadhurst, 78, Hadley, d. Jan. 19; he was always proud of his service in the Army reserves.

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.