L to R: Past Legion Post 59 Commander Mike Preedom, Treasurer Scott Woodard, SAL Commander Clement “Topo” Despault, Adjutant and past Commander Tom Burrows, and Treasurer and Historian Mike Woodard from Post 59 in Waterbury.
The Waterbury Sons of the American Legion Squadron 59 brought to fruition an idea created from SAL Commander Clement “Topo” Despault and Adjutant Tom Burrows, to recognize and appreciate our living WWII veterans from Post 59 of Waterbury, Post 91 of Colchester and Post 10 of Barre. On Friday January 24th, 2020 the Sons of American Legion Post 59 in Waterbury, Vermont hosted a ceremony to honor living WWII veterans from our three area legion posts at the Commodores Inn at Stowe, Vermont There were ten veterans and the grandson of a living veteran at the ceremony. Each veteran received a signed letter from President Donald Trump, a signed certificate from Governor Phil Scott, recognition certificates from their Posts, and a star from retired service flags.
Three Post Commanders greeted their individual post veterans and spoke of their service. SAL Commander Clement “Topo” Despault then read a letter that President Donald Trump sent to the veterans thanking them for their service to the United States of America. Governor Scott greeted each veteran including the oldest living veteran in Vermont at 105 years young. He too greeted the last female veteran of Vermont also in attendance.
Governor Scott spoke to the crowd and thanked all the veterans there for service to their country and told the story of how his father was seriously wounded in WWII losing both legs. M.C. Adjutant Tom Burrows of Post 59 closed with appreciation of these veterans, their comrades – past, present, future – but specifically their generation. Emphasizing service from all of that great generation and the continued hope they bring and will always bring to all American generations. Many of the veterans spoke to the crowd openly and sincerely moving all “in the house.” Our veterans were overwhelmingly appreciative and thanked the Sons of Post 59 in Waterbury for organizing the event, and a heartfelt thanks to The American Legion. A light lunch was served after the ceremony where comradery and fellowship took place.