Now I have to call him “Commander, Commander.” Larry is officially the commander of two veterans’ organizations: the Veterans of the Vietnam War and the Council of Veterans, which is the umbrella organization for all the groups.

He’s been in charge of the Vietnam veterans for a couple of months, and last night the Council held its installation. He and the other officers received their oath of office from William Pomfret, age 93. Bill is just as sharp and as steady on his feet as he has ever been and conducted the proceedings with dignity and panache. About 60 people, mostly local veterans but a few from area towns, attended, accompanied by wives and other family members.

In relinquishing the reins, Commander Morty Pear grew emotional when he talked about how nervous he was when he assumed the post last year and how amazed he was at the outpouring of support from all the members. Larry, in turn, said that he was honored to assume the commander’s post and would make every effort to continue the successes achieved by Morty and other past commanders.

A highlight of the evening was the award the Council gave to Andrew Avalone. He is an Eagle Scout who singlehandedly raised money for an elegant gazebo that has been erected on the South Green to honor the veterans. Andrew and his proud parents were in attendance. His mom, Cathy, who is a dear friend of mine from years ago, performed double duty as she photographed the event for the Middletown Press. Another community service award went to Middlesex Health Care Center for its support of veterans. In another of the continuing small-world events, one of the women from the center was a student of Larry’s sister and played softball with her, too.

After the meeting concluded, Larry issued his first order, “Let’s eat!” The food received uniform raves and could have fed twice number of guests. We munched away on large platters of chicken, sausage and peppers, pasta penne, eggplant Parmesan, salad, bread, and a huge cake.

I was also pleased to see Phil Cacciola, who performed duties as sergeant-at-arms for the Council. He has been active in local affairs for years and we’ve known each other almost that long, though neither of us could remember how we first met. I had not seen him recently, so it was great to reconnect.

The Council of Veterans organizes the Memorial Day parade and local participation in the Veterans Day parade in Hartford. It consists of three representatives from each veterans group.

For the unbiased view check out the Middletown Eye.


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