06.11.2013 Scholarship Night

VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA
Chapter 116
P.O. Box 294, Leominster, MA 01453

SCHOLARSHIP NIGHT

JUNE 11, 2013, 7:00 P.M.
CARTER PARK
You, your family, and guests are cordially invited to join with the Vietnam Veterans of America for the presentation of the year 2010 Vietnam Veterans of America Scholarships. The Ceremony will be followed by an informal reception at the Leominster Veterans Center, 100 West Street. The 2013 raffle winners will be drawn at this time. The Vietnam Veterans of America have presented over $100,000 for higher education to sons and daughters of VVA members.
The Vietnam Veterans of America Scholarship is awarded annually to recognize, encourage, and contribute to the higher education of qualified VVA 116 members and their children. The Scholarship is presented to honor members of VVA who have devoted their energies in effecting positive change on behalf of all Americans. As a tribute to their continued service and to those who have lost their lives, this Scholarship program is in keeping with the spirit of our motto:

IN SERVICE TO AMERICA

Ice, Ice Rocky! v. 2014

The 2014 Dunk! Ice, Ice Rocky!

Rockwell “Rocky” Pond has taken his post on the pond once again this winter. As legend has it, the pond was named after him many years ago.

Ralph Sacramone and Dick Roberge are pictured hanging out with Rocky on Rockwell Pond recently

Ralph Sacramone and Dick Roberge are pictured hanging out with Rocky on Rockwell Pond recently

Ralph Sacramone and Bob Bray assigned Rocky to his post at 2:05 p.m. on Jan. 9, where he is scheduled to remain until he falls through the ice. When that happens the Leominster Emergency Management Volunteers will rescue him and Spring will not be too far away.

This contest is a 50/50 fundraiser to support veteran’s organization programs, which benefit local veterans and their families ~ including scholarship to local students; Boy Scout projects; Boy’s and Girl’s State; the distribution of Christmas meals to home bound veterans and their families; Ginny’s Thrift Shop veterans; Canines for Combat Veterans; Veterans Homestead; Veterans Training and Rehabilitation Center; and more.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, please visit www.letvets.org or stop by the Leominster Veterans Center, 100 West St.

Ice Out Contest Rules for 2014 <—- clicky

ICE OUT Contest Tickets for 2014 <—- clicky  (print your tickets here)

Entry deadline is 3 p.m. Saturday, March 2, or prior to Rocky falling though the ice.

This annual event is sponsored by the Leominster Veterans Memorial Center (LVMC) Inc., a nonprofit organization made up of the Amvets, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The Legend Of Private Rockwell “Rocky” Pond

Private Rockwell “Rocky”  Pond hails from Leominster Ma.

Where he lived on the third floor of 98 West Street, which is now the Leominster Senior Center parking lot. Rocky attended Saxon Trade School and specialized in metal works. Like many lads his age he only made it to the middle of his senior year when he volunteered for service during the Korean War. While in Korea he fought in many battles to include the Chosen Reservoir. Private “Rocky” once spent three long winter months on the ice at Chosen Reservoir fighting the enemy and fighting the bitter cold. During his third month, as spring neared, the ice began to thaw and Private Rockwell Pond fell thru the ice but was saved by his fellow soldiers.

After the war Rocky returned home to Leominster and found employment at Leominster Ice Company where he worked for many years. Rocky’s favorite past time has always been fishing including ice fishing. It was the middle of March 1954 while he was ice fishing on the pond off of West Street and a group of kids were skating near by, when one of them fell thru the ice. Without any hesitation Rocky raced over to where the youngster went down, searched under the ice till he found him and pulled him to safety.

As a result of his heroic action the City of Leominster renamed the pond off of West Street to “Rockwell Pond” in his honor.

Hill Street

By Karen Nugent TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF

LEOMINSTER —  Throughout Helen Hill’s apartment, there are reminders of the handsome young soldier with the sparkling blue eyes.  Framed portraits hang on the wall and sit on tables. A teddy bear on the sofa plays electronic patriotic songs.

There’s the official letter from the Army offering condolences and describing her son as a “courageous soldier in this vast and most cruel of wars,” and Mrs. Hill, 89, has a yellow star designating her a Gold Star Mother — meaning a child was killed in action — on her clothing and in her front window.

Yet when her son, Pfc. David A. Hill, was killed in Vietnam in 1969, she and her husband, now deceased, had to keep their shades drawn to avoid hurtful, insensitive comments about his military service.

“We were getting calls from people saying, ‘Are you happy now that you got your son killed?’ It was so hard,” she said.

Her husband suggested leaving their hometown.

“We were just left to ourselves, but I did not get bitter. I just thought I would try and help the other veterans, and give of ourselves and work with them,” she said.

Despite the turmoil surrounding that war, Mrs. Hill at the time attempted to get city officials to name a street near where they lived in his honor. It wouldn’t have been much of a change: from Hill Street to David A. Hill Street. The earlier “Hill” name has no connection to the family.

They were refused, Mrs. Hill said.

“They called it a conflict not a war,” she said.

A renewed effort is under way, with the help of City Councilor Claire M. Freda, whose late husband also served in Vietnam.

Mrs. Hill

Helen Hill, 89, holds a photograph of her late son, Pfc. David A. Hill, as she stands on Hill Street. (T&G Staff/TOM RETTIG)

Mrs. Freda recently submitted a petition to the council to change the name of the street, near Pleasant Street, to David A. Hill Street. So far, it has not been acted on.

“It is simply a step to start the process, not to cause any hardships,” she said.

Mrs. Freda said some residents have already questioned if a name change would cause problems with mail delivery and property deeds.

“If a legal opinion says it would be difficult then I would ask that the street be dedicated with a sign on the street sign itself in David’s memory,” she said.

The street naming request was partially prompted by the recent naming of a park and a bridge in memory of Pfc. Jonathan Roberge, a Leominster native killed in Iraq in 2009 at age 22. Ceremonies and fundraisers for Pfc. Roberge have drawn hundreds, including state and local officials.

“That made me live my own heartache all over again, since it was the first military death in a long time,” Mrs. Hill said. “I am not envious — my heart goes out to the family — but I thought ‘shame on me for not doing something sooner for my son.’ I find some people still resent Vietnam veterans.”

According to the Leominster Veterans Services agency, Pfc. Hill, a Leominster High School graduate, was killed in action on Feb. 13, 1969, near Duc Pho, Vietnam. He was 21, and served with the Army Company C, 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade. He was one of nine Leominster soldiers killed in action in Vietnam.

Richard N. Voutour, director of veterans services, said that besides Pfc. Roberge and the 10 fallen Vietnam War soldiers, one died in service in 1969 on a training mission in Virginia, and two men died while on active duty in the Gulf War in 2001.

Mrs. Hill said her son had just finished broadcasting school when he was drafted in June 1968. He went to Army training for a few months, came home in December and was sent to Vietnam in January 1969. He was shot in the arm a few weeks later, and the family thought he would be discharged.

He was sent back into combat and killed three weeks later.

“We got the news at 7 a.m. on Valentine’s Day,” Mrs. Hill said. “A very young minister who said it was his first time informing a family of a military death came with the Army car.”

Mrs. Freda said she wants to raise awareness of how Vietnam War veterans were treated.

“Other veterans did not acknowledge them. The support mechanisms are so much different now, maybe because 9-11 brought patriotism back. I had thought about getting that street name changed for a long time, and I watched Helen’s pain come back through the Roberge’s suffering.”

Google “Site” Search and Maps

Hello firebase116 members and guests.

I wanted to take a second to let you all know that I added “Google Site Search” to the webpage.  It’s on the top of the sidebar on the right.

Just put in your query and click the Google Search button.  It will open a ‘regular’ Google page with the results.  You’ll know the familiar Google interface.  One thing I really liked was that on the left side of the Google result page is Images that basically pull up every image on firebase116.

Also, from now on, whenever there is an address in a post or a page, I will embed Google Maps into the post or page.  Like this:


Vietnam Veteran’s of America Chapter 116
The Leominster Veteran’s Center
100 West Street  
Leominster, MA 01453

Clicking on the red balloon will produce a popup box telling about the location and will offer “Directions“, clicking on the highlighted “Directions” will extend an “A” to “B” location your just need to fill in “A” and click the “Get Directions” button.  You’ll also see an offer to “Print Directions“.

Feel free to email me if you have any problems, comments or suggestions about firebase116.org.

-J. Barry

Finding the Calm in the Storm

As part of our ministry to veterans and their families we invite you on Sunday morning worship, July 22, 2012, at 9:30 a.m. to meet National Guard Chaplain Jeremy Pickens during our Sunday service and afterwards in a time for coffee and conversation at the Congregational Church of Christ, United Church of Christ, 583 Main Street, Leominster.

For more information call 979-537-7054.

CHAPLAIN (CPT) JEREMY T. PICKENS is currently assigned as the Battalion Chaplain of the 101st Engineer Battalion in Massachusetts National Guard and is currently serving as the Deployment Cycle Support Chaplain at the Military and Family Support Center in Wellesley MA. Prior to his current assignment he served as the 211th Military Police Battalion Chaplain for 29 months.

This assignment took him on a deployment to Iraq for 9 months. Upon his return from Iraq he started the Massachusetts Military Spiritual Strength Network, implemented resiliency weekends throughout the battalion and helped build the Massachusetts Risk Reduction Suicide Prevention Campaign.

Click the Red Balloon on the map for directions.