View Full Version : Military service creates bonds between families

02-27-06, 06:59 AM
Military service creates bonds between families
Monday, February 27, 2006
2006 Republican-American

THOMASTON -- Lisa Durante and Tammie Kennedy didn't become friends until their sons joined the Marines a couple years ago.

Now with both of their sons bound for Iraq, Durante and Kennedy have decided they want to share their common bond with other local residents who have family in the military.

On Sunday afternoon, a ceremony organized by Durante and Kennedy was held in the Lena Morton Art Gallery in Town Hall to honor not only their sons, but also others from town in the military. In all, there are nine servicemen from Thomaston and one from Winsted with local roots who were recognized. Their pictures were hung on the "military wall" near the gallery.

"I'm so proud of these people," Durante said while watching families hang pictures of their relatives on the wall. "It's such a wonderful turnout. I'm so happy."

It was an emotional day for many, and some had trouble holding back tears while talking about their sons.

David Sabol said his 20-year-old son, Steven, is a Marine who was leaving for Iraq Sunday night. He said Steven enjoys the Marines, has been promoted to corporal and is considering re-enlisting.

Mom and Dad, on the other hand, are a bit uneasy.

"I'm a little apprehensive," David Sabol said. "I shouldn't watch the news -- Iraq is not such a great place. There's some positive signs. But him and his crew are really pumped up to go. They're ready."

Joann Deland talked about her husband, Kenneth, a Navy reservist who is in Kuwait for his second tour of active duty since 9/11.

Joann, herself, was in the Navy for four years in the 1980s. The couple has three sons, including an 18-year-old who is attending college. She said she can empathize with the parents who are sending their children off for the first time.

"A lot of them are young kids. I joined when I was 17, but we weren't going to war then," Deland said. "It's very hard to take. I'd like to join them in their support group and help out if I can."

Durante and Kennedy have been meeting at Dunkin' Donuts on South Main Street on Sundays, at 9 a.m. to talk about what they're going through while their sons are away. They have invited other parents and relatives of those serving in the military to join them.

In addition, they put together a contact list of families who participated in Sunday's ceremony to give to Mary Reynolds, who has been compiling a list of her own of local service men and women.

Durante and Kennedy said they know there are many others who did not participate Sunday and are hoping to reach them.

First Selectman Maura E. Martin said she is working with The Rotary Club and Thomaston Savings Bank to procure funding for a permanent display case dedicated to local service men and women.

Anyone interested in having a picture hung on the military wall can call Durante, (860) 283-1169, Kennedy, (860) 283-6940, or the first selectman's office, (860) 283-4421. They can also bring the picture to police headquarters at Town Hall to be hung up.