Veterans Day 2021

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veterans day A Special Advertising Section by The Bangor Daily News | November 11, 2021

2 VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2021

A Columbia Falls Home has Extended its Mission BY ANNE GABBIANELLI

An 1820’s Federal-style home nestled in the small community of Columbia Falls has over 200 years of history — and thanks to Wreaths Across America (WAA) it continues to offer historical narratives today. The five bedroom, three story home is now WAA’s Gold Star Hospitality House and Museum, boasting the organization’s mission to Remember, Honor, Teach — room by room. If the stained glass window above the front door is not captivating enough, the themed rooms within certainly are. Over time, each room is being decorated to represent a period in United States history associated with a military conflict. For example, the dining room is designed to honor all who served in World War II and another room is called the Colonel Roger Donlon Vietnam War ‘Welcome Home’ Room. “It allows us to not only teach through the details of the time period and conflict that each room highlights, but also presents a great opportunity to honor so many of the veterans and Gold Star Families who have left an imprint on our lives,” said Karen Worcester, WAA’s executive director. One such family was recently honored at the house with the dedication of an accessible wing. The wing is dedicated

to the Brodeur family — Jeff Brodeur, United States Army; his wife Maura Brodeur, United States Navy; and their son Vincent Mannion-Brodeur, United States Army, and recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. The family was recognized for their service, sacrifice and their commitment to the values of family and country. Vincent’s tour of duty turned into the unexpected when he was critically injured in Iraq, setting him on a journey enduring 48 operations and 29 hospital stays. Originally from Massachusetts, the Brodeurs now live in Florida for Vincent’s care at a Polytrauma Center. The caregiving role his parents found themselves in is what brought about the accessible wing dedication at WAA’s Gold Star Hospitality House and Museum. “It’s outstanding because it brings awareness to caregivers who really don’t get any type of recognition,” shared Jeff, who is National President of the Korean War Veterans Association. “Just as we brought attention to private care for active duty soldiers, we hope what the Worcesters (founders of WAA) have bestowed on my family brings attention to our nations’ caregivers.” “[The Brodeurs] steadfast determination in assuring the best possible care for veterans and support for their

caregivers continues to inspire our nation’s Gold Star families, veterans and fellow Americans,” said Worcester. In keeping with the Hospitality House’s themed rooms, another dedication is on the horizon. A second floor bedroom will reflect the Iraq war. Gold Star mothers Lorna Harris and Dolly Sullivan are working on that project in remembrance of their sons, SPC Dustin Harris and CPT Christopher Sullivan. “Karen wanted it to look like what the boys’ bedrooms looked like while seniors in high school. We have been given free reign and we are both happy with it,” said Harris. The bedroom will not only have graduation pictures of the soldiers and sports memorabilia, but it will house a book shelf that was in Christopher’s bedroom. Harris admitted this project has stirred emotions. “It’s been bittersweet, but I was quite excited when Karen asked us to do this. Wreaths Across America has truly healed our hearts with the love and support we’ve been given.” The Brodeurs share that sentiment. “WAA is a great and well respected organization in America so being tied into it is wonderful. Everyone knows our family has a 10-year relationship with WAA and the Korean War Veterans Association is a big supporter of WAA,” said Jeff.

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VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2021


4 VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2021

A Living Legacy of Women in the Military BY ANNE GABBIANELLI

Just as the soldiers are often called to stand at attention, so do the acres of trees in Jonesboro that were recently dedicated to honor military women in service. The crisp morning fall air greeted all who joined in the Military Women’s Memorial Grove Dedication. Wreaths Across America (WAA), located in neighboring Columbia Falls, donated a 10-acre stretch of the balsam tip lands to Women in Military Service in honor and memory of all women who have served our nation. As part of the Remembrance Tree Program, the ceremony included the reading of names of veterans from replica dog tags that were placed among the trees in the grove. Phyllis Wilson, President of the Women in Military Service for America (WiMSA) Memorial Foundation located at Arlington National Cemetery, was in Maine for the grove dedication. Wilson, who retired after 37 years in the Army, worked in military intelligence around the globe. “When people think of a veteran, they might not always think of a woman, however, women have served in and with the military since the revolutionary war,” Wilson said. “To hang dog tags on these trees to honor women who have served in the military is a great way for families to know there’s a place up here in Maine where they’re remembered. To come back and tip these trees to make

wreaths is even more special.” Joining Wilson was Joy Asuncion of Belfast, a retired Navy veteran of 20 years. “I am excited and so thrilled for all the women and families who could actually place dog tags on trees. This is a living remembrance and honor of those who have served past and present.” Asuncion is Maine’s Ambassador to WiMSA and an active part of the WAA family. “It makes me so proud to live in the same state as WAA. Without this organization, I am not sure our youth and others would be reminded of how important the mission is to Remember, Honor, Teach.” People came from as far away as Texas and Florida for the dedication, and the most senior visitor was 98-year-old Helen Siragusa of Winthrop. This Navy nurse recently published a memoir of her service. Now she and 84 other women soldiers have their specially made dog tags affixed to a balsam fir. Morrill Worcester, the founder of WAA, told the gathering about the inception of the Remembrance Tree Program. “About eight years ago the tagging started with having dog tags made for some friends. Today there are 15,000 across the tip lands.” Executive Director of WAA Karen Worcester added, “I have been so impressed talking with women veterans, and I look forward to sharing more stories of the courage, character, commitment and personal responsibility — these women have just opened my heart.” In keeping with WAA’s mission, Karen said, “The most important reason [for events like the grove dedication] is to introduce our children to these stories because the stories are the best building block to have a solid future.”

VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2021


Wilma Vaught’s tag was placed by current President Phyllis WIlson. Brigadier General Vaught was the driving force that built the Women’s Memorial at the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery. She was the first woman to deploy with an Air Force Bomber unit, and the first woman to reach the rank of Brigadier General from the comptroller field. PHOTO COURTESY OF WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA

Joy Asuncion (left) with Navy Nurse Helen Barry Siragusa, a WWII veteran and author. PHOTO COURTESY OF WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA.

Wreaths Across America (WAA) donated a 10-acre stretch of the balsam tip lands to Women in Military Service in honor and memory of all women who have served our nation. PHOTO COURTESY OF WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA.

To learn more about Wreaths Across America’s Remembrance Tree Program, call 1-877-385-9504 or visit To learn more about Women in Military Service for America, call Joy Asuncion at 207-930-5640 or visit

6 VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2021

IIn Honor Of


We thank you for dedicating 22 years of your life to the USAF in service of our country. You make us feel proud & safe EVERY DAY. Love, April, Hannah and all of your family & friends

In Loving Memory Of


In Loving Memory Of


2nd Lieutenant, United States Army Air Force, 1945

Remembering you every day and especially on this Veterans Day. Gloria and children

LARRY W . LEIGHTON Who served our country in the U.S. Marines in the Vietnam War


Love, miss and proud of you. Forever in our hearts. Ellen, Chris, Cory, Crystal, Delina, Alison

Who served our country as a Major in the Army Nurse Corps

Three Generations of Military Service Proud Grandfather 1LT Peter Duston - Ret. congratulates his newly minted grandson, Stowe Duston, as a 2nd LT in the U.S. Army with Stowe’s dad and former Navy Submariner, Seth Duston, standing proudly by.

Wife, Pat; daughter, Laura, son-in-law, Stephen, and grandson, Bensyn


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In Loving Memory Of LOWELL W. VOSE JR.

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Who served 20 years in the USAF stationed at Dow AFB, serving in Japan, Korea & Newfoundland.

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In Loving Memory Of KEITH B. ROBERTS

Who served on the USS Franklin CV13 during World War II

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In Loving Memory Of MSgt. RYAN LOVE

March 7, 1978 - July 19, 2012


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Who was killed in action in the Battle of the Bulge, Dec. 20, 1944. Love and missed by daughter, L r, Mayre (Smart) Veilleux

Who proudly served in the U.S. Air Force flying jet fighter planes over Korea and Vietnam. Wife, Doris; and children, Susan, Jeffrey and Sally

Love and missed by his wife, Faith; and daughters, Kathi and Karen

From your Maine family Rhonda & Bert, Dennis & Regina, Raye & Luther, Rachael & Dan

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VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2021

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2 Tours Vietnam; Desert Storm; Maine National Guard

May 31, 1918 - Oct. 22, 2005 Lt. in the U.S. Army

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In Loving Memory oryy of WALLY SAWYER YER R

Who proudly served our nation while serving in the US Navy during WWII.

In Loving Memory Of EDMOND M. COX








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1ST LT. GUY F. HUNTER 1S ER U.S. Army - Yankee Div. Field Artillery

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8 VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2021

VA Programs Help Veterans Connect to Benefits and Resources BY WANDA CURTIS

Each year more than 200,000 military personnel separate from the service and transition back to civilian life. The transition period can be a very stressful time for many veterans as they look for work and settle back into family life. Some are dealing not only with transition issues but also struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. In an October 2018 press release, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported that transitioning service members experience suicide rates approximately twice as high as veterans overall. Veterans should know that a wide range of programs are available to help — here are just a few of the services available through the VA and more for those who have served our country.

Helping Veterans Transition to Civilian Life The Veterans Administration initiated the program “Solid Start” to assist transitioning service members with adjustments they face when separating from the service. VA representatives reach out to transitioning service members at 90 days, 180 days and 365 days post-separation to inquire how things are going and to help connect them to resources and benefits. They also make veterans aware of mental health services available to them after their separation from service. The representatives making the contacts for Solid Start are veterans or dependents of veterans who are familiar with the challenges that transitioning can involve. For more information, see www.bene- or call (800) 827-0611 and ask for a VA Solid Start representative. In addition to Solid Start, transitioning service members can access information about benefits and resources at sites like and

Veterans’ Crisis Line According to Tracy Charette, the Suicide Prevention Coordinator at Togus VA Medical Center, the Veterans Crisis Line is a helpful resource for veterans dealing with crisis situations at any time, not just when they’re transitioning. She said the VA wants veterans to know that they’re there to help. That might mean offering a listening ear or directing them to a resource that can help meet a need. The number of the Veterans Crisis Line is (800) 273-8255. Any veteran in crisis can call that number 24/7 or text 838255. A 24/7 chat line can also be accessed every day at These services are available to veterans 365 days a year.

Training for Friends and Family Members For veterans who are struggling with mental health issues or substance use but decline to seek help, Charette said the VA offers a Coaching into Care program. Licensed social workers and psychologists help train friends and family members on how to recognize the signs of a problem, communicate effectively and find help for their loved one. The phone number for

Coaching into Care is 1 (888) 823-7458. The line is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Help for Homeless Veterans According to, almost 40,000 veterans in the U.S. are homeless on any given night. Veterans who are unsheltered sometimes sleep in their vehicles or in a tent. Veterans facing homelessness can access resources through the VA National Homeless Hotline at (877) 424-3838. Preble Street Veterans Housing Services offers emergency housing assistance and ongoing case management for homeless veterans in Maine; call (800) 377-5708. Pine Tree Legal Services may be able to assist veterans with evictions and/or other legal issues related to homelessness. Visit ptla. org for information. The Maine Bureau of Veterans Services offers case management for homeless veterans and often distributes coats in the colder months; call (207) 430-6036. Veterans may also find assistance in locating the nearest homeless shelters, food pantries, soup kitchens and other resources by dialing 211 Maine.

Education Benefits The VA GI Bill offers a variety of education benefit programs. For information, visit There may also be other benefits available for persons who qualify for vocational rehabilitation. Local Career Center representatives are available to help guide veterans through the system and access benefits as well. A Live Chat feature can be found at

VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2021

Quilts of Valor Bring Comfort to Active and Retired Military Personnel BY WANDA CURTIS

Quilts are a source of comfort. From the cradle to the grave, wrapping oneself in a quilt can have a calming effect. The founder of the nonprofit Quilts of Valor® Catherine Roberts thought that quilts can also be healing. Roberts initiated the idea of awarding handmade quilts, referred to as Quilts of Valor, to service men and women touched by war, as a gesture of gratitude for their service, sacrifice and valor in defending our nation during wartime. According to their website, the QOV Foundation originated in 2003 after Roberts had a dream while her son Nat was deployed in Iraq. She dreamed about a young man sitting on the side of his bed, hunched over in the middle of the night, in a state of despair. She said then, as if viewing a movie, she saw him in the next scene wrapped in a quilt. She said that his whole demeanor had changed from one of despair to hope. Suddenly, Roberts had an idea. She thought of how a volunteer team could donate their time and materials to make quilts for active and retired military personnel. Some volunteers could make quilt pieces for the top and others could quilt it. Each quilt would be called a “Quilt of Valor.” These quilts would be awarded to express gratitude for service rendered to our nation and for the sacrifice and valor with which the service was rendered. The first Quilt of Valor was awarded in November 2003, according to, to a young soldier at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who lost his leg in Iraq. Chaplain John Kallerson opened the door to the quilters because his wife was a quilter. Kallerson thought the act of awarding quilts to the wounded would convey the message that someone cared. The movement spread across the nation.

Many Maine Quilters Participate State of Maine coordinator for the QOV Foundation Donna Brookings said that quilters all across the U.S. donate quilt blocks or completed quilts. She said many quilters throughout Maine are involved in the movement. Some make blocks, some join the blocks together and others complete the backing. “We have groups in Chelsea, Fort Kent, Houlton, Bangor, Litchfield, Norway, Gorham, Portland, Yarmouth, Saco, Sanford and Bridgton that all help make quilts,” said Brookings. “We have many individuals all over the state, as well, that help make quilts.”

Special Award Ceremony

Carol Ann Subjoc made quilts that were awarded to her son Scott and husband Gary, According to Brookings, approximately 900 Quilts of Valor have been distributed in both of whom are veterans. The quilts were awarded to them in a ceremony at Jeff’s Maine since 2017. She said the quilts are awarded in a special ceremony at private homes, Catering & Event Center in Brewer. in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and even hospitals. One veteran, awarded a quilt at Togus VA Hospice, shared that he’d never been thanked for his service before and receiving the quilt made his service worthwhile. Other veterans have shared how they wrapped their quilt around themselves when they felt upset and it calmed them, said Brookings. Each quilt has the recipient’s name inscribed on the back.

Donations Needed It’s difficult to keep up with all the requests for quilts, said Brookings. Donations are always welcome. Quilts of Valor must be quilted rather than tied, she said. Patriotic colors are preferred but other colors are also acceptable. Fabric and size requirements can be viewed at In addition to donations of completed quilts, Brookings said they need more volunteers to help assemble and quilt individual blocks that are donated. The QOV foundation accepts donations of money and/or materials as well. For more information about donating quilts, materials or money and/or to refer active service members or veterans for a quilt, call Donna Brookings at (207) 523-9322 or email donna.brookings@QOVF. org. Active and retired service members touched by war QOV representative Nancy Small (right) awarded a Quilt of Valor to this Bangor veteran in his home. may also request a quilt for themselves.


10 VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2021

VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2021


12 VETERANS DAY • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • November 11, 2021

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