Vets Receive Pins—and Thanks—at Patriots Day in Norwichtown

story and photo by
John Stratton

Jean Wydra, Airman First Class, snaps to attention in her uniform and renders a hand salute to a fellow veteran, awards him a plaque and a certificate, and pins on a Flag honoring his service to the nation “for advancing the hope for freedom and liberty for all” many years ago.
The September 11—Patriots Day—Veterans Pinning Ceremony at Norwichtown Rehab and Care Center honored nine veterans of past wars, including World War II and Korea. Airman Wydra herself served in the Korean War era at Lackland Air Force Base.
The ceremonies followed an a capella rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Norwichtown staff member Melinda Cardoso. The vets’ recognition is part of Center for Hospice Care’s We Honor Veterans program.

Veteran Gerald Guillot is being pinned by PFC Jean Wydra, who is a Center for Hospice Care Air Force Veteran Volunteer.

Veteran Gerald Guillot is being pinned by PFC Jean Wydra, who is a Center for Hospice Care Air Force Veteran Volunteer.

“Honor has always been the reward for service,” said Airman Wydra as she described the “pinning” ceremony. With each pinning, she repeats the citation, “For your service, I salute you.”
It is not a casual moment. “You have to be a veteran to pin another veteran,” she explains, and her appreciation extends to the Norwichtown facility and the Center for Hospice Care in Norwich and its staff. Hospice conducts pinning ceremonies through the year but usually on a one-to-one basis; Norwichtown has many vets, so the facilities worked together for the group presentations on September 11, the anniversary of the World Trade Center attack.
Veterans honored are Robert Pucel, Edward Riordan, Charles Wozniak, Dean Lake, Fred Casavant, John Banker, Robert Bassett, Edward Keegan, and Gerard Guillet. In addition to Airman Wydra, two other veterans who are staff members, Sandra Miller and Frederick Jefferson, were also applauded for their service.
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