VFW Post 10722 Bestows Annual Loyalty Day Awards

May 8, 2015


by Jay Hobson

The Veterans of Foreign Wars, John Hargreaves Memorial Post 10722 in Pelham held its annual Loyalty Day Awards Dinner on Saturday, May 2, presenting awards to a Girl Scout, Boy Scout, and various recipients who showed patriotism and heroism.

According to a program given to guests at the ceremony, Loyalty Day is observed on May 1 in the United States and is a day set aside for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom.  It was made an official holiday by the U.S. Congress on July 18, 1958.  President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1959, the first official observance of Loyalty Day.  Although a legal holiday, it is not a federal holiday, and many people in the United States remain unaware of it.  This is a great day to honor those who give of themselves within our community and help to support the loyalty of United States veterans.

One of this year’s honorees was Megan Michaud, Girl Scout Gold Award recipient.  Megan created a bookcase and filled it with books for the library at St. Patrick’s School as her project.

“The VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary recognizes girls who earn the highest awards in Girl Scouting.  Traditionally there are three possible levels of award given; they are Bronze, Silver, and Gold.  This year’s honoree is Gold Award recipient  Megan Michaud,” said Post Commander Jim Ehlinger.

Scout of the Year went to Megan Michaud.

Ehlinger said that scouting is important to the VFW.

The Boy Scout Eagle Scout Award went to Ryan Cummings who created signs and a kiosk and bulletin board for the soccer field.

“Some of the VFW’s earliest ties to the community involve youth groups.  Few are stronger, and none more lasting, than the close relationship between the VFW and Boy Scouts of America, dating back to 1915,” Ehlinger said.

Other award recipients were the following:

Patriots Pen Essay Contest

Memorial School:  Tyler Larson, St. Patrick’s School:  Ashley Pelletier

Voice of Democracy  Andrea O’Hearn, Pelham High School

Young American Patriotic Art Contest

Each entry is judged on the originality of concept, presentation, and patriotism expressed.  Jenya Becker, Pelham High School.

Teachers of the Year

“Each year exceptional teachers are recognized by the VFW for their outstanding commitment to teach Americanism and patriotism to their students.  The VFW annually recognizes the nation’s top classroom elementary, junior high and high school teachers who teach citizenship education topics and promote America’s history, traditions and institutions effectively,” Ehlinger said.

Pelham Memorial School:  Steven Gaudreau and Pelham Elementary School:  Kelly Massiello

Firefighter/EMT of the Year Award

“The VFW honors outstanding firefighters or EMTs who not only work as a team member but shines as individuals.  In some cases, a single life-changing event stands out where each member of the team deserves to be recognized,” Ehlinger said.

This year’s honorees were:  Lt. John Ignatowicz, David Johnstone, Daniel Rooney and Erik Fehmel.  Rooney was not in attendance.

The firefighters named entered a structure fire and saved the lives of three people trapped in the building on January 23, one victim, however, succumbed to a heart attack several days later.

National Life Saving Award

The National VFW honors individuals who, in the execution of their assigned duties, have taken action resulting in the saving of another human life.

Honorees were Officer Adam Thistle and Master Patrolman Brian Barbato for their action in saving the life of a suicidal woman who was brandishing a knife during their response to a domestic disturbance.

Police Officer of the Year Award

The VFW honors outstanding police officers who go above and beyond in their community.  This year, two officers were honored:  MPO Brian Barbato for his outstanding service to the community and fellow officers and MPO Brian Kelly for his work with D.A.R.E. and other educational work as well as being the school resource officer.

The Volunteer of the Year Award

This award went to Karen Fournier of Enterprise Bank.  “Karen is a volunteer who is always there for the citizens of this town through the many organizations she volunteers for, but Karen also goes above and beyond to support the veterans and active-duty soldiers no matter what the cause.  She is always there with her individual support simply because she thinks it is the right thing to do for those that have worn the uniform,” said VFW Ladies Auxiliary President Madeline Dreusickle.

The President’s Award went to Lillian “Mickey” Bemish and the Commander’s Award went to VFW Chaplain Al Campbell.

Other honorees honored for volunteer work were Cindy Ronning, Ray Boulet and Barbara Schloner, Phil Blanchette, Donnie Magiera, and John Barrett and Nancy Warden for outstanding service to veterans.