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Riverton Grange Successfully Completes First Year Honoring Area Veterans and their families!

By Dave Roberts, Riverton Grange President

  MAY 1, 2022 --

Riverton Grange #169 held their 12th monthly Veterans Salute on May 1st when the American flag was retired in honor of the April Veteran of the Month, USMC Cold War Veteran John Thomas Yacawych, and raised in honor of World War II U.S. Navy Veteran Edward A. Sweeney.  The Riverton American Legion Post #159 Honor Guard presented the retired American flag, shadow box and framed certificate signed by National Grange President Betsy Huber to retired USMC Sergeant Yacawych, who was accompanied by his wife Rose and daughter Alexa, who will be entering the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2026.


Riverton Grange started hosting monthly Veteran Salute ceremonies in July 2021 at the recommendation of American Legion National Committeeman Joe Jackson of New Hartford and the attendance has grown steadily each month.  The ceremonies are hosted in partnership with the Riverton American Legion Post #159 Honor Guard, Town of Barkhamsted and First Selectman Don Stein, singer Lorraine Paul, Barkhamsted Senior Center, and the Barkhamsted and Northwestern CT Cyber Lions Clubs.  Royal Coachman Tavern at the Old Riverton Inn underwrote the costs for the first year of the program.


The May 2022 honoree is U.S. Navy World War II Veteran Edward A. Sweeney, who served from March 1943 to March 1946.  Sweeney served in the Pacific theatre on the USS Alaska CB-1, which was a heavy cruiser, basically a heavily armed combat escort ship.  He spoke eloquently about his service and experiences during World War II.  He was introduced by his son, Timothy Sweeney, a 6-year U.S. Army Veteran.  Tim Sweeney is Commander of American Legion Post #159, that serves Barkhamsted, Riverton and Colebrook.  His sister Robin and her husband were also in attendance and both are U.S. Navy veterans.


Riverton Grange President Dave Roberts said during his remarks that “each month we are hearing true heroic acts of service by men and women who sacrificed all for our freedom.  For April and May, we have seen and met generations of veterans who cherish this nation and want to make sure that no one forgets that sacrifices that the few make for the many.  Community members brought ham, homemade macaroni salad, cookies and other goodies and it was truly a nice opportunity for folks to reminisce and talk about the importance duty, honor and service.  Riverton Grange is so pleased to offer this community building opportunity each month with the support from so many other local groups.”


On the first Sunday of each month, a new local area veteran is selected to be honored by Riverton Grange.  An American flag is flown for one month in honor of the veteran or their family.  The following month, the veteran or their family is presented with the American flag, a shadow box for displaying the flag, and a Certificate of Appreciation signed by the National Grange President.  If you would like to nominate a veteran, living or deceased, please contact Riverton Grange President Dave Roberts at 858-775-9241 or dave@daveroberts.org.

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