Dedication of brick Veterans Walk of Honor Saturday in Bradley Pt. Park
WEST HAVEN, May 22, 2017 — Members of the West Haven Veterans Council and city officials will dedicate the 10th phase of the brick Veterans Walk of Honor at 5 p.m. Saturday in Bradley Point Park.
All veterans are invited to participate in the seaside ceremony, which will feature opening and closing prayers, a presentation of the colors and taps, as well as remarks from Mayor Edward M. O’Brien and Veterans Council President Dave Ricci.
City Council Chairman James P. O’Brien, D-6, who is also chief of the West Haven Fire Department, will serve as the master of ceremonies.
In November 2006, the Veterans Council began the first of 10 campaigns selling bricks to memorialize vets on the 100-yard Walk of Honor between the William A. Soderman and Vietnam Veterans memorials.
The bricks, which cost $75, have charcoal lettering for personalized messages.
About 2,600 bricks have been installed so far, including 100 for the 10th phase and 135 for the ninth phase, which was dedicated last May.
In May 2015, the dedication of the eighth phase included the dedication of a granite stone in memory of Lorelee “Lori” Grenfell, longtime president of the Veterans Council, who died Feb. 19, 2015, at age 60. The memorial was crafted by Giordano Bros. Monuments of Derby Avenue.
The Walk of Honor’s first phase and the city’s Korean War Memorial were dedicated in May 2007.
In May 2008, the walkway’s second phase and a memorial in honor of World War II Army Pfc. William A. Soderman were dedicated.
Soderman received the Medal of Honor after he distinguished himself in December 1944 while defending an important road junction near Rocherath, Belgium.
Four years after his death, on July 1, 1984, the flagpole in Bradley Point Park was dedicated in Soderman’s memory.
City Human Resources Commissioner Beth A. Sabo has overseen the construction of all phases of the walkway, which was built by City Point Construction Co. of Fresh Meadow Road.
Sabo has also supervised the design and placement of the granite Korean War and Soderman memorials, which were made by Shelley Bros. Monuments of Guilford.
Also in 2008, 14 grave markers that signify every war in U.S. history and peacetime were dedicated. The markers are mounted on granite posts.
Subsequent dedications have been held amid much fanfare, attracting hundreds of veterans and their families from every corner of the state and beyond.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9422 Cmdr. Freddy Jackson kneels beside the granite U.S. Army insignia marker May 11, 2016, at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Bradley Point Park. Jackson, an Army vet who served in Colorado and Korea in 1963-66, will lead the 2017 Memorial Day parade as grand marshal when it steps off rain or shine at 10:30 a.m. Monday along Campbell Avenue. Jackson was selected to steer last year's parade, but it was canceled by rain. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)
Freddy Jackson tapped to lead Memorial Day parade
WEST HAVEN, May 22, 2017 — Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9422 Cmdr. Freddy Jackson will lead the Memorial Day parade as grand marshal when it steps off at 10:30 a.m. Monday.
Jackson was originally selected to serve at the helm of last year’s parade, but it was canceled by rain.
To prevent a similar unforeseen occurrence, organizers said this year’s parade — and future Memorial Day parades — is being held rain or shine.
Jackson, now a year older at 72, will guide the 50-unit procession of veterans, dignitaries and bands along the 1 ½-mile parade course, which begins at Captain Thomas Boulevard and flows up Campbell Avenue to Center Street.
An Army veteran who served in Colorado and Korea in 1963-66 during the Vietnam War era, he embraced the honor — again — with typical grace and humility.
“To me, it is such an honor to even have been considered to be the grand marshal,” Jackson said. “It will be the highlight of my life, and it is something I will never forget. I am proud to be the grand marshal for the city of West Haven.”
Jackson was tapped by the West Haven Veterans Council, which helps the city organize the annual parade, for his years of service to the Army, his fellow vets and his community, the latter of which is perhaps the cornerstone of the qualifications for grand marshal, council President Dave Ricci said.
Jackson’s contributions to the Veterans Council, the governing body of the city’s veterans organizations, are duly noted.
He is a longtime member of Hughson-Miller Post 71 of the American Legion and served as commander in the early ’90s.
He has also volunteered for years at the West Haven Veterans Affairs Hospital and is a former girls softball coach.
This year’s edition of southern Connecticut’s oldest and largest parade of its kind will feature three marching divisions and a military division, as well as special accommodations for disabled veterans.
The procession will include an eight-seat golf cart carrying former grand marshals that is bedecked with a star gracing the names of those deceased. Other veterans will ride on a float.
“On Memorial Day and every day, we honor the selfless men and women in uniform who defended the promise of America,” Mayor Edward M. O’Brien said. “Upholding the liberties we so profoundly cherish, our nation is grateful for the service and sacrifice of our brave patriots and their invaluable contributions to preserving and protecting the United States. Freddy Jackson’s wholehearted devotion to his country and community embodies the noble qualities of the grand marshal.”
Jackson, the youngest of five siblings, was born and raised in Opp, Alabama, a small town 19 miles from the Florida Panhandle.
He excelled in academics and athletics at Ralph Bunche High School, a county high school in Andalusia, Alabama. A standout linebacker, he played on the school’s undefeated state championship football team in 1960.
In June 1963, less than two weeks after graduation, Jackson joined the Army at age 18 and completed basic training eight weeks later at Fort Gordon, Georgia.
He was assigned to the 5th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado, and served as a supply clerk.
After amphibious and extreme weather training in preparation for Korea, Jackson was stationed at Camp Hovey, South Korea, where he guarded the Demilitarized Zone, which divides North and South Korea.
“We had some scary nights guarding the DMZ, even a scary day when there was gunfire,” said Jackson, who was a radarman in the 7th Infantry Division on the Korean Peninsula.
The North, officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and the South, officially the Republic of Korea, have been in a technical state of war for decades.
Jackson praised his three years in the Army.
“I do not have one regret of not going to college,” said Jackson, who acknowledged that he could have gone, but “we did not have a lot growing up.”
“In the Army,” he said, “I had the opportunity to go to Alaska, Tokyo and Korea and meet many good people who inspired me.”
Jackson was honorably discharged as a specialist E-5 in April 1966.
On Aug. 1, 1966, Jackson and his childhood sweetheart, the former Miriam Silas, were married by a justice of the peace in Samson, Alabama.
The couple came to West Haven in 1968 after Jackson visited his brother, Nathaniel Jackson, who lived in the city at the time.
“I had no intention of staying, but I liked West Haven,” Freddy Jackson said.
Jackson immediately found work as a custodian at the then-headquarters of the New Haven Register on Orange Street in the Elm City.
About a month later, he pursued an employment opportunity at Detroit Steel Co. on State Street in Hamden. For the next 21 years, until the company shuttered in 1989, he worked in shipping and also cleaned steel before it was rolled and cut into sizes.
For the past 28 years, Jackson has held various custodial jobs at the Robert N. Giaimo Federal Building on Court Street in New Haven.
He and his wife live on York Street in West Haven and have two grown daughters, Tiffany and Joya, and eight grandchildren.
Jackson stays active directing the affairs of the city’s VFW post, which was established in 1929 and is headquartered at 233 Spring St.
The parade will commence with a flyover by a World War II AT-6 Texan. Jackson will steer the procession from a convertible flanked by the West Haven Police Color Guard.
The 90-minute event, in memory of the deceased members of the U.S. armed forces of all wars, will showcase the city’s array of veterans groups.
The procession will consist of five marching bands: Bailey Middle School, Carrigan Intermediate School, the New Haven County Firefighters Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, the Stylettes Drill Team and Drum Corps, and West Haven High School.
It will also spotlight the traditional contingent of youth organizations and sports leagues, dance and Scout troupes, fraternal organizations and service clubs, local and state leaders, police officers and firefighters.
Way to Go!
WEST HAVEN, May 22, 2017 — Bailey Middle School guidance counselor Elizabeth Dorsi, right, receives the Way to Go award May 11 from seventh-grader Lance Andriulli, his grandmother, Theresa Andriulli, and city Youth and Family Services Director Robert S. Morton on behalf of the West Haven Interagency Network for Children. Dorsi was nominated by Theresa Andriulli, a member of the West Haven Parent Support Group for children with special needs, who said: “Ms. Dorsi is always available to the students and parents. She goes out of her way to help with any problem, no matter how big or small, and really cares about the students.” The Way to Go program honors teachers, therapists and coaches who go “above and beyond” to help children and establish better relationships with families and providers. (City Photo)
Register for Park-Rec day camps
WEST HAVEN, May 22, 2017 — Registration has opened for residents and nonresidents for the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Tiny Tots Camp (ages 3-4), Junior Day Camp (ages 5-6) and Painter Park Day Camp (ages 6-12).
Director Bill Slater said the department is offering four two-week sessions this summer.
Tiny Tots Camp meets 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. weekdays, starting June 26, in Pagels Elementary School, 26 Benham Hill Road; Junior Day Camp meets 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. weekdays, starting June 26, in Mackrille Elementary School, 806 Jones Hill Road; and Painter Park Day Camp meets 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays, starting June 19, in the park, 190 Kelsey Ave.
For fees and session details, go to www.whparkrec.com or call 203-937-3651.
Kickoff fundraiser tapped for Columbus Day parade
WEST HAVEN, May 10, 2017 — The Columbus Day Committee of Greater New Haven will hold a kickoff event from 6-9 p.m. June 28 at the Cielo Banquet Ballroom, 85 Chase Lane, to launch its fundraising campaign for the 2017 Columbus Day parade in West Haven.
The benefit will include a buffet of Italian foods donated by city restaurants, along with beer, wine, soda, coffee and dessert. It will also include entertainment by crooners Earl Benedetto and Mike Negretti.
Tickets, which cost $25, are on sale in the mayor’s office, 355 Main St., and the West Haven Italian-American Civic Association, 85 Chase Lane. Checks are payable to the Columbus Day Committee.
For tickets and reservations or for information, contact Cathy Sherman, executive administrative assistant to Mayor Edward M. O’Brien, at email@example.com or 203-937-3510. Tickets are also available by calling Frank Consorte, former president of the Italian-American Club, at 203-676-6379.
Proceeds will go to the Greater New Haven Columbus Day Parade, which steps off at 1 p.m. Oct. 8.
O’Brien has tapped residents Natalie Guiliano DeRosa, Grace Iannucci Hendricks and Marie D. Lacobelle to lead the procession as grand marshals.
Guiliano DeRosa and Lacobelle are former recipients of the West Haven Columbus Day Committee’s Italian-American of the Year award, with Guiliano DeRosa receiving the civic honor in 2014 and Lacobelle in 2015.
Iannucci Hendricks is a longtime member of the West Haven Italian-American Ladies Auxiliary.
The two-hour parade, which rotates among six municipalities, was previously held in the city in 2011 and 2006.
To march in the parade, click on Reservation Form.
For parade information, go to www.columbusdaynewhaven.org.
West Haven announces summer concert series lineup
WEST HAVEN, May 10, 2017 — The city’s summer concert series will kick off June 16 on the Green with ’60s rock music performed by Sixties Satisfaction, sponsored by West Haven Vietnam Veterans Inc.
The free concerts are scheduled from 7-9 p.m.
The annual Friday night concert series will follow June 23 with the Sounds of Frank Sinatra, sponsored by the Columbus Day Committee of Greater New Haven, and oldies by the Vinnie Carr Band June 30, both on the Green.
New York City Swing Band will play Motown standards July 7, followed by rhythm and blues classics by Latanya Farrell July 14, Top 40 gems by Timmy Maia Experience July 21 and country favorites by Midnight Rodeo Aug. 4, all in Old Grove Park.
The eclectic lineup will continue with ’60s, ’70s and ’80s rock anthems by Cover2Cover Aug. 11 and R&B hits by Shaded Soul Aug. 18, both in the Grove.
Concerts postponed by rain will move to the same time and venue the following Monday, except the Vinnie Carr Band, which has no rain date.
For rescheduling information, go to the Department of Parks and Recreation website, www.whparkrec.com, or call 203-937-3677 after 4 p.m. the day of the concert.
Beautification Committee seeks volunteers, schedules meeting
WEST HAVEN, April 18, 2017 — The West Haven Beautification Committee is seeking volunteers to help with planting and organizing community cleanups.
Committee Chairwoman Marilyn Wilkes will hold a meeting for new and current members from 7-8 p.m. May 18 in the basement conference room of City Hall, 355 Main St.
Those unable to make the meeting can join the committee by calling Wilkes at 203-415-4712.
The committee is composed of volunteers who plant flowers and care for designated locations across the city, including litter cleanups, during the spring and summer months.
“I believe that everyone can make a difference and everyone has a role to play in environmental stewardship,” said Wilkes, founder and president of the West Haven Community Garden, which is behind the former Molloy Elementary School at 255 Meloy Road. “From picking up a piece of trash you see on the street to caring for your home to planting gardens throughout the city to recycling — it all builds our sense of community and helps our city.”
Wilkes said several Saturday cleanups around the city in April, May and June have been organized and need volunteers:
—April 29, 9-10 a.m., Colonial Boulevard brook.
—May 13, 9-11 a.m., Savin Rock Beach and walkway, with Land Trust of West Haven.
—May 20, 9-10 a.m., Jones Hill Road.
—June 10, all day, “Keep Your Street Neat” Campbell Avenue event.
—June 17, 9-10 a.m., Minor Park area, Allingtown.
To sign up for a cleanup or for information, contact Stacey Giaquinto at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-494-5190.
Student participants will receive community service credit, said Wilkes, who sits on the Land Trust board of directors.
The committee welcomes input from residents about other areas needing attention, she said.
The committee can also help publicize resident-organized litter cleanups, Wilkes said.