SOUTHWICK – Troy Henke, a member of Southwick VFW Post 872 and Joseph Turmel, Principal of Southwick Regional High School, announced to the school committee earlier this week that the Veteran’s Memorial Foyer will be on the wall just outside the main office of the high school.
The foyer will include plaques on the walls to honor and remember veterans who graduated from Southwick, Tolland, Granville, Regional High School and were killed in combat or a hostile attack while serving their country.
Currently, there are three veterans names that will be placed in the memorial foyer:
- William Alamed Jr. (killed while fighting the Vietnam War)
- Steven Wentworth (killed in the Beirut bombings in 1983)
- Travis Fuller (killed in Iraq War in 2005)
On the plaques, there will be an image of each of the three veterans, their years of life, the years they graduated, and any service information.
As Fuller and Turmel have been working together on this project, Fuller originally wanted to have the memorial display at the auxiliary gym in the high school, which is used for some of the high school sports teams and has limited visibility.
After Turmel showed Fuller the foyer right outside the main office, he knew that it was the perfect spot.
“The entrance foyer is really what we’ve been looking for as far as public utilization,” said Henke. “Everybody going in that building has to walk by this.”
The entire process of the Veteran’s Memorial Foyer started once the school committee voted in favor of closing the Granville Village School on February 9. Although the Granville Village School had their gymnasium named after Fuller and other exhibits to honor veterans, the closing of the school would make it difficult to allow people to honor the veterans to the fullest.
Despite the tension between communities about the closing of the school, Henke sees the Veteran’s Memorial Foyer as a positive outcome.
“It really emphasizes all the town’s contributions,” said Henke.
Most importantly, Henke sees the Veteran’s Memorial Foyer as a special way for family and friends of the veterans to remember their loved ones.
“It keeps not just the memory, the image, the idea, it really captures the people that they were,” said Henke. “They really were some of the finest citizens that this school district and these three towns have ever produced.”
It was also noted that while Southwick VFW Post 872 is at the forefront of this project, Southwick American Legion Post 338, Westfield American Legion Post 124, and the Marine Corps League of Westfield will all be involved with the Veteran’s Memorial Foyer moving forward.