Friday, February 6, 2015

Abington's Veteran's Agent Will Not Be Forgotten

Walk into any room or office at town hall and you'll probably encounter a G.I. Joe action figure. The G.I. Joes belonged to the late Joseph D. Colantoni, Abington's most beloved and longest-serving veterans agent. Colantoni, who lost his battle with cancer in March 2013, was veterans agent for more than 17 years. "Joe just had a presence that is still missing today in town hall," Assistant Town Manager Dori R. Jamieson said. "We miss his laughter. We feel like sometimes we can still see him. He is a hard guy to forget." In November, the town dedicated a wood-and-granite bench outside town hall in his memory. 
Throughout his long career, Colantoni expressed his love for veterans and military personnel in many ways. He staged holiday-season wrapping parties to get gifts ready to be sent to Abington soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also led the charge to establish a Veterans Vietnam Era post in Abington. In honor of Colantoni's "soft side", Jamieson keeps a teddy bear in full Army field uniform on a filing cabinet. A large number of items from his collection went to his son, Joseph Colantoni Jr., a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who lives in Vermont, she said. Jamieson also has a toy infantryman that plays the bugle when you press a button. Colantoni kept these items and dozens of others on custom-made shelves in his office. Those shelves are now empty. His collection took years to build. Veterans he'd helped over the years kept coming back with gifts of toy soldiers and military equipment. "We all have our own piece of Joe," said Elizabeth Shea, administrative assistant to the planning board, who affectionately referred to Colantoni as "Old Sarge". 
Colantoni served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Shea proudly has on display in her office one of Colantoni's favorite action pieces - a G.I. Joe soldier wearing a red beret and carrying an M-16 rifle. Wayne J. Norling, the town's director of information technology, has several of Colantoni's toy M-16 rifles and a carbine. "I took all the guns and stuff. He used to be right next door, so we used to talk all the time," Norling said. Deputy Assessor Jack Pistorino has a toy Army jeep and two of Colantoni's cherished pewter commemorative plates mounted on a wall in his office. "We miss him, big time," Pistorino said. "He was a gentleman who took care of all the veterans. Just a good guy." Board of health chief clerk Mary DeRuschia has a toy medical officer in bandages as her favorite Colantoni memento."I look at it every day and I think of Joe," DeRuschia said. Shea said the miniature reminders of Colantoni will remain on display for years to come, "until none of us is here any more."

From The Patriot Ledger

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Never Forget!

Incredible tragedy struck our country 10 years ago next week. Anyone old enough to remember will never forget September 11, 2001. People all around the country opened their hearts and joined arms. We supported each other in clearing out rubble at Ground Zero, volunteering with the American Red Cross and making donations from $1 to $1 million. We assisted family, friends and even strangers who were impacted by the terror around our country.

The east coast was clobbered by Hurricane Irene one week ago. Homes destroyed, lives lost and hundreds of thousands without power. Some still anxiously await the flicker of light, a home cooked meal, and a hot shower. Local and national support was prevalent and we opened our hearts and homes once again. Often we get caught up in our own lives and our own world until disaster strikes. Why wait?

Support. One of the most incredible opportunities an individual has to make a difference in someone’s life.

A transitive verb defined by Merriam Webster
·         To endure bravely or quietly
·         To promote the interests or cause of
·         Assist or help
·         Provide with substantiation
·         Pay the costs
·         To hold up or serve as a foundation
·         To keep from fainting, yielding, or losing courage
·         To keep (something) going

Support Our Troops! Support Our Country! Support Your Neighbors! WAVE OLD GLORY PROUDLY!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Evacuation Day in Boston Massachusetts

The Grand Union Flag (also the Continental Colors, the Congress Flag, the Cambridge Flag, and the First Navy Ensign) is considered to be the first national flag of the United States. This flag consisted of 13 red and white stripes with the British Union Flag of the time in the canton. The flag was first flown on December 2, 1775 by John Paul Jones (then a Continental Navy lieutenant) on the ship Alfred in Philadelphia. The Alfred flag has been credited to Margaret Manny. It was used by the American Continental forces as a naval ensign and garrison flag in 1776 and early 1777. It is widely believed that the flag was raised by George Washington's army on New Year's Day 1776 at Prospect Hill in Charlestown (now part of Somerville), near his headquarters at Cambridge, Massachusetts, and that the flag was interpreted by British observers as a sign of surrender. Some scholars dispute this traditional account, concluding that the flag raised at Prospect Hill was likely a British union flag. The Flag Act of 1777 authorized as the official national flag a design similar to that of the Grand Union, with thirteen stars (representing the thirteen seceding colonies) on a field of blue replacing the British Union flag in the canton.
     March 17 is Evacuation Day, a holiday observed in Suffolk County (which includes the city of Boston, Massachusetts.) The holiday commemorates the evacuation of British forces from the town of Boston following the Siege of Boston, (April 19, 1775 – March 17, 1776), early in the American Revolutionary War. The Siege of Boston began on April 19 after the battles of Lexington and Concord, when the militia from many Massachusetts communities surrounded Boston and blocked land access to the then-peninsular town, limiting British resupply to naval operations. The Continental Congress chose to adopt the militia and form the Continental Army, and unanimously elected George Washington as its Commander in Chief. In June 1775, the British seized Bunker and Breeds Hills, but the casualties they suffered were so heavy that they could not break the siege. For the rest of the siege, there was little action other than occasional raids, minor skirmishes, and sniper fire. Both sides had to deal with resource supply, illness, and personnel issues over the course of the siege. In November 1775, General Washington sent a 25 year-old bookseller-turned-soldier named Henry Knox to bring heavy artillery that had been captured at Fort Ticonderoga to Boston. In a technically complex and demanding operation, Knox brought many cannons to the Boston area in January 1776. In March 1776, these artillery were used to fortify Dorchester Heights, overlooking Boston and its harbor and threatening the British naval supply lifeline. The British commander William Howe, realizing he could no longer hold the town, chose to evacuate it. He withdrew the British forces, departing on March 17 (celebrated today as Evacuation Day) for Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Some Historical Info from Wikipedia