The Bristol Exchange Club presented the 2015 edition of its annual Proudly We Hail award on Flag Day, June 14, to Tim Gamache. Pictured above are Gamache, at center, with Exchange Club President Don Soucy at right and Club President-Elect Jack Ferraro at left. The Proudly We Hail award, a program of Exchange Clubs nationwide, encourages proper display of and respect for the U.S. flag. Gamache, a longtime member of American Legion Post 2, is being recognized for his work honoring local veterans and their families with a flag presentation when the veteran dies. The presentation is quite moving and is a very special way to salute those who have given so much to our country under the Stars and Stripes.
The Exchange Club of Bristol held its annual Scholarship Banquet recently to present the 2015 Youth and A.C.E. of the Year awards to local high school students. The Exchange Club of Bristol believes that an investment in area students is an investment in our community and the impact of this investment will be realized long after their college degrees are obtained. It is our hope that the recipients will someday come back to Bristol to give back to the community that has given to them.
The 2015 scholarship recipients are as follows:
Filipe Garay-Ortega from Bristol Central High School received the Bill & Lois Wagenknecht A.C.E. of the Year award. Filipe is a senior at Bristol Central High School and plans to attend Tunxis Community College. The A.C.E. award stands for Accepting the Challenge of Excellence and is awarded to a high school student who has made a dramatic change in their attitude and performance during their high school years. In 2011, The Exchange Club of Bristol renamed their award the Bill & Lois Wagenknecht A.C.E. of the Year in honor and memory of two dedicated Bristol Exchange Club members who contributed countless hours and knowledge to the Club for many years. Filipe also volunteers at the Parent Child Center, helping out in their Caring Closet.
Nicholas Savino from Bristol Central High School received the Third Place Youth of the Year award. Nicholas is a senior at Bristol Central High School and will be pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering and is a three-sport athlete, he currently serves as captain of the BCHS tennis team. He has also served as a Student Representative on the Bristol Board of Education.
Michaela Sassu from Bristol Eastern High School received the Second Place Youth of the Year award. The Second Place Youth of the Year award was recently renamed in honor of John Breen, a long-time Bristol Exchange member who was also very involved in the Scholarship Committee. Michaela is a senior at Bristol Eastern High School and will be pursuing a degree in Early Elementary Education at Eastern Connecticut State University. Michaela has served as class treasurer for three years and is captain of the BEHS softball team.
Joseph Strid of Saint Paul Catholic High School received the Youth of the Year award. The Youth of the Year award recognizes hard working high school students who attain high levels of scholastic achievement, community involvement, and leadership. Joseph’s ability to convey wisdom well beyond his years coupled with his desire to help those in need enabled him to become The Exchange Club of Bristol’s Youth of the Year. Joseph will be following his passion to study Criminal Justice at Western New England University. He has served as captain of the SPCHS soccer team and was selected to the National Youth Leadership Forum on Law and Crime Scene Investigation. Joe is a life-long volunteer at Saint Anthony Church and School.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Parent and Child Center at Bristol Hospital is hosting a fundraiser featuring products from Pampered Chef and Tastefully Simple during the month of April. Funds raised will help support the programs and services offered at the Parent and Child Center.
To place an order online for Pampered Chef products to help the cause:
1. Go to http://www.pamperedchef.com/pws/dawn1024/guest-landing/8907739675803 and click on the “Shop Now” button on the right.
2. Email Dawn Nielsen at firstname.lastname@example.org
If total show sales add up to $600 or more, the Parent & Child Center will receive 15 percent of sales. An additional $3 will be contributed for every future show booking from this fundraiser. If you would like to host a Pampered Chef Show, learn more here, then contact Dawn Nielsen at email@example.com to schedule your show.
Thank you for supporting the Parent and Child Center at Bristol Hospital with your order!
In honor of Flag Day, the Bristol Exchange Club has honored Dr. Michael Lantiere for his instrumental role in making a project to install a flag at the A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Leadership Training Center a reality.
Lantiere, a Southington resident with a dental practice in Plainville, is also Assistant Umpire-in-Chief for the Little League East Region. He was nominated for the award because of his work to purchase and maintain the massive flag. Lantiere was presented the award on June 14 at the Little League Center.
The 20-foot by 30-foot poplin flag flies atop an 80-foot flagpole installed just before the start of the 2013 Little League Baseball Tournament. But as Lantiere explains, the story of the flag goes back farther. The idea began as part of a national Little League Baseball initiative called “To Honor Our Hometown Heroes” after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The idea was to initiate a constant reminder of the sacrifices and dedication of all hometown heroes, including first responders and military personnel. After more than a decade — and the generous support of local businesses and individuals — the flag, pole and paved monument at its base became a reality, Lantiere says.
The flag display area also features granite monuments depicting firefighters and police officers with Little Leaguers, positioned on a home plate-shaped platform with granite benches. All 12 teams participating in last year’s East Region Baseball Tournament presented the flag for its inaugural display last summer.
In addition to Lantiere, supporters who helped made the display a reality include Ed D’Amato and D’Amato Construction, Paul Matteo, James Manafort, the Massachusetts District Administrators, England Family Monument Company, Bristol Police Chief Thomas Grimaldi and Bristol Fire Chief Jon Pose.
The Proudly We Hail project is part of an effort by Exchange Clubs nationwide designed to promote and honor those who display the nation’s flag properly and regularly as a sign of patriotism. Promoting Americanism is one of the four programs of service engaged in by Exchange Clubs. This is the third year the award has been presented in the city on Flag Day.
For more information, to join the committee, or to nominate for consideration of the Proudly We Hail award an individual, family, or business that you think ought to be recognized for its patriotic and respectful display of the flag, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On May 5, The Exchange Club of Bristol rededicated and updated the Freedom Shrine at Bristol Eastern High School. The original Freedom Shrine was installed and dedicated shortly after the school opened in 1961.
The Freedom Shrine is an impressive, permanently mounted collection of 20 to 30 of the most important and historic American documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Gettysburg Address. They show our nation’s youth the strength and courage of their forefathers by allowing them to read, with their own eyes, the immortal words of inspired Americans who so decisively changed the course of history.
The club organized this effort so that Americans, especially young Americans, could see for themselves how freedom comes to us. Our freedom was earned at great cost by thousands of people over a span of hundreds of years. The students are encouraged to not only read these documents, but to learn more about the stories – and the people – behind them, and the life that each of these documents has taken on.
The club is particularly proud to have been able to install at the school one new plaque that was not there when the others arrived in 1961. It is the “I Have A Dream” speech by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., from August 1963. King begins the speech by referring to another great American document on this wall, the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed millions of slaves a century earlier. The speech refers to other documents on this wall as well.
The club is proud to have been able to add this plaque to the collection so that students, staff and visitors can see how each of these documents is a living document. Each one brings meaning to what it means to be an American today, whether it was written in 1620, as was the Mayflower Compact; the Constitution, in 1787; the Star-Spangled Banner, 200 years ago this year, in 1814; or during more recent history.