Patriot Guard Riders
The Connecticut Patriot Guard Riders started off this issue with a Welcome Home in Colchester for Marine Cpl. Jacob Kvasnik returning from an Afghanistan deployment. The town of Colchester has a yellow ribbon around a tree on the town green, and they have a ceremony when the hero returns, and he or she removes their ribbon from the tree. The CT PGR has stood a flag line at multiple of these in the past, and will stand at multiple more in the future. Coincidently, one of the CT PGR at this ceremony happened to be one of Jacob’s teachers at Windham Tech years ago.
On Dec 11th and 12th, several members participated in the “Wreaths Across America” ceremonies in CT and provided an escort between the stops. The tractor trailer loaded with 5,000 wreaths made stops in Enfield, Portland, Higganum, Old Saybrook, Groton, and the Coast Guard Academy in New London. The locations of the stops in CT vary by year, and they usually include a few at schools to help instill patriotism and respect in the students. The PGR also stood a flag line at Enfield’s Wreath laying ceremony on Dec 15th. Also on Dec 15th, the PGR provided a dessert table at the Hartford Armory for “Operation ELF” which stands for “Embracing Lonely Families” and provides a holiday experience for the children of deployed servicemen and women.
Dec 15th brought our first Honor Mission, this one in Stratford for Frank Waugh, who served in the Air Force in Vietnam. On Dec 20th we had a Welcome Home in Greenwich for deployed servicemen (Army,Marine,Navy) who were returning home for the holidays from deployment. Two days later, Dec 22nd, we had another Welcome Home in Marlborough for Alan Schachtner (Army), Dan O’Connell (Army National Guard), and Cody Bernaiche (Navy). Welcome Homes are always gratifying, especially during this time of the year, when these heroes have the chance to spend the holidays home with family and friends. On Dec 30th, we had another Welcome Home for Air Force SSgt. Vincent Marcolini returning from his 4th deployment.
Jan 4th brought our first Honor Mission of 2013, this one in Meriden and Middletown for Gregory Price, an Army veteran. Jan 5th brought a pair of Honor Missions. One in Newington & Bloomfield for Alan Percoski, who served in the Navy at the Norfolk Naval Base. The other in Stamford and Greenwich for John Carlson, a Navy veteran of WWII, serving on the USS Grundy(APA-111) an Amphibious Attack Transport and the USS Tripoli(CVE-64) a Casablanca class Escort Carrier.
That’s it for the missions since the last CT Cruise News issue deadline. We hope we provided some peace to the families of the heroes we paid our final respects to. As always, we invite you to come out and join us in our mission to honor this country’s veterans at their funeral services. Come out to one, grab a Flag and stand alongside us, experience the same satisfaction the rest of us do. You’ll be back.
Go to our website www.ctpatriotguard.org to check it out or to join up. (Article by Jay D Koonz)