The VFW is first, the organization that provides for our veterans an honored place recognizing their dedication and courage in defending our country and democracies around the world. Veterans are our heroes. Some died in battles, many were injured and many returned home to live and suffer those injuries, physical and emotional, for the rest of their lives. A hall to celebrate in, a table to sit at and a yard to throw horse shoes in with other veterans and friends and neighbors is just one way , and an important way, to honor their service to us.
There was a time, not so long ago, when town organizations serving different interest, the Grange, Odd Fellows, Rotary, Knights of Columbus, the Lions Club, all thrived with membership enjoying fellowship and volunteering valuable services to our community. Participation and membership for these civic groups has diminished over the past decades to the point of constant struggle to keep their doors open. Somehow families no longer have the time to devote to those efforts.
I asked Mr. Walsh, now the VFW post commander, at the Selectboard meeting, what the community could do to help. His immediate answer was, “Join the VFW” explaining more membership will bring financial stability. (I’ve applied to join the VFW auxillary). I sympathize with the lack of membership as the Prescott Grange is suffering the same crisis. An expanded liquor license, perhaps a short term help to staying open, is only a part of their challenge. My question is how does the community help to bring a broader public attendance to the VFW and build a more secure future?
I worry that we have overlooked the nature of a semi-private “club liquor license” . Proposals
that the VFW is like a public restaurant is misleading. Veterans have a special bond through their shared experiences. Alcohol easily secures that fellowship bond and risks over consumption.
A veterans combat memories and the prevalence of PTSD and depression among veterans adds to the risk of substance abuse. A recent report from “Substance Abuse In Veterans” points out a very high rate of insomnia symptoms as well, another potential for self medication with alcohol.
I’d like to know if we can do more to help our veterans with substance abuse struggles through the VFW organization and it’s partners in Veterans services. In trying to understand the three party process of the police department, the Board of Selectman and the VFW staff I believe they all prioritize a concern for safety. A tragedy would harm all equally and all are united in recognizing problems and ensuring public safety. I have seen confusion and errors in the methods of seeking agreements. (An agreement on access to site video recordings) but am confident that with patience and better clarity on the steps to resolution, the VFW will find the support and confidence of their town.
One of the great rewards of farming comes in setting goals and seeing very real results. Filling a wagon with baled straw is as real a measure of success as any one can enjoy. As Selectman, I will work for those projects that give us the same feeling of success and pride that comes with completing clear goals dedicated to the public interests.
When I was younger I was regrettably optimistic that I could drive to my destination with my gas gauge on empty. How long has it been on E, I would wonder. I was falsely reassured that if I got the warning motor stutter I could go ahead and stall, but roll down Main St. and into the Citgo Circle gas station. Saved again! Just a slight delay in my busy farm day.
Now, with my youth behind me, I’d like to start the process of converting the Citgo gas station to a green way shade stop for pedestrians. Purchasing and demolishing the garage and removing the asphalt would give way to trees, grass, flowers, shrubs and benches, completing the green surround of our rotary. The current sale price is $300,000.
Who’s in? I’ve talked with a couple of folks in town, Al Patenaude, George Hayes, Andrew MacLean and Paula Terrasi, about donations and methods, offering a pursuit of grant money to pay a greater part of the bill. It would be beautiful and would will relieve an identified heat island. Paula offered to look at any possible pollution problems that might exist there. All agreed it would be a great improvement. I will be meeting with our Economic Development Committee, and the Selectboard to brainstorm the possibility.
I welcome any messages for or against this project and please follow the project news. I hope other drivers won’t miss the emergency fuel source I used too often I want the pleasure of sitting on a bench there, talking with friends and counting the electric cars going by, on their way to a municipal car charging spot just down the road.