The Connecticut Fallen Heroes Foundation Inc. began with me selling candy bars at work here in Sikorsky. Subsequently I was called on the carpet to HR.
I was able to raise our first $400 in 2005 and had a plaque made and a dozen red roses for our Gold Star Family of our town’s own fallen hero, PV2 Cheyenne Seymour.
The 18-year-old soldier was to be married the following Saturday but instead she was buried that day in Arlington. We presented our gifts to Allen and Mary Jane and her extended family at Seaside Park that summer.
Our Sikorsky president and senior executives have since supported our volunteer efforts to “always remember” our fallen heroes over the years. We are not sponsored by Sikorsky. We are an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization that must fund-raise all year.
We will have personally remembered 45 fallen heroes with colored handmade portraits and other gifts to the families by next September. The past four years, our “Gold Star Mothers and Families Day” was held at Indian Ledge Park in Trumbull. Thanks to former First Selectman Ray Baldwin, First Selectman Tim Herbst, the Trumbull Police, Long Hill Fire, Trumbull EMS, Parks Department, VFW 10059 and American Legion 141, our 90-minute ceremony was called “unmatched” by Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman. I can honestly say no one does what we do on such a personal level.
Recently, however, I have run into roadblocks, hurdles and speed bumps in town. My request to have a Blackhawk helicopter land at Indian Ledge Park was squashed the day before the event due to potential damage to the drainage pipes below the grass. You have no idea how hard it was to get the Pentagon to approve that request.
The foundation also would like to have a white dogwood tree planted with a small plaque at Twin Brooks Park for Cheyenne. That is now going on for five years! My request for an “adopt-a-spot” has been put on hold, all due respect to John Marsillo who was nice enough to e-mail me, “Because of Sandy they are quite busy and it should wait until next year.” I can certainly understand that.
Finally, I would like to start a Miss Trumbull pageant here in town and give the young ladies scholarships as long as they volunteer for a year under Miss Patriot and Miss Teen Liberty. I was told the Trumbull High auditorium is not ready yet, it may have to wait until next year. I reached out to Madison Middle School and was completely ignored even after an official letter on our letterhead.
So I continue to spin my wheels and will keep on trying. I want to work with the Trumbull Rotary, Lions Club and other non-profits in town to make this community the talk of the entire state. We can do it if we all join hands and help each other.