The entire community from Bristow Middle School in West Hartford gave their thanks to veterans who reside across the street at Canterbury Retirement Community.
By Ronni Newton
Just across Highland Street from Bristow Middle School is the Canterbury Retirement Community, and over the years the school community has found many ways to connect with residents. While the pandemic has made the relationship a bit more difficult, the school and the retirement community recently shared a bingo event outdoors.
“I noticed that their flag was weather-worn,” Bristow Principal Chad Ellis said, an observation that put into motion an effort leading to the gift of a new flag, and a Veterans Day thank you to three veterans who live at Canterbury from the entire school – that was enjoyed Thursday by the communities of both facilities.
Bristow teachers Liz D’Attilio and Brittany Leghorn organized the effort.
A group of Boy Scouts from Bristow presented the donated flag, and patrol leader Dan Carrero, an eighth-grader, was joined by several other scouts raising it on the Canterbury Retirement Community flagpole.
Sophie Barnes, a seventh-grader at Bristow, sounded Taps on her trumpet.
Canterbury resident Barbara Partner read a poem during the ceremony.
Bristow students also presented gifts and thank you cards to veteran residents David Sadosky, Michael DeMaio – who attended the outdoor ceremony – as well as Louis Hardison, who was not able to be present.
The entire seventh grade stood outside the school, holding up posters during the program. Sixth and eighth graders watched from the windows inside the building.
The program ended with an energetic thank you from all of the students.
Sadosky, who received a Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam, waved to the students from across the street. DeMaio, an Air Force veteran during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, also expressed his thanks to the Bristow community.
Emily Weil, executive director of the Canterbury Retirement Community, said she was extremely touched by the events of the day, and the kindness of the Bristow community. She shared with We-Ha.com the letter below that she sent to the school.
Dear Bristow Middle School Teachers, Students, John Dinardi in Security, Scouts Dan, Ben, Henly, Riley, Kyle and Principal Chad Ellis,
I was so excited for your Veteran’s Day presentation I kept waking up from sleep the night before. It was amazing to drive in to work and see the beautiful hand made decorations you placed on our front gates! That made me feel GREAT, that someone (turns out ALL OF YOU!!) was helping to celebrate our important Canterbury Veterans!
I want you to know, your participation in our lives has been so meaningful to us, and especially to me.
Often times I worry that some of our residents are literally forgotten about, because people are so busy with their jobs, their children, their lives.
I was incredibly moved to see the ENTIRE SCHOOL outside standing in tribute to our Veterans! Thank you for our brand new flag!
You truly make a difference. I had the same chills I had once when your string instruments played for us in our dining room- honestly, I was moved to tears!
Thank you Bristow Middle School, for making a difference in your community!
Canterbury Retirement Community
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A beautiful story of community! Thank you to everyone who created this special event — including Liz D’Attilio (my sister) and Brittany Leghorn. A perfect way to honor Veterans Day.