Commentary: A $1,000 gift for Veterans Day

John DeMello, Southington Veterans Committee
John DeMello, Southington Veterans Committee
Phone: (860) 276-6299

As we approach Veterans Day, the Southington Veterans Committee would like to thank those who are serving or have served, and are still with us, a very happy Veterans Day. The service you gave to your community, state and nation in the world’s greatest armed forces is appreciated for the freedoms that we enjoy every day.

Thinking of the many men and women serving our country, we think of the battlefield and physical sacrifice. We do not realize that to “put one’s life on the line” also means to give up many different aspects of their life. Those of us in the civilian world don’t begin to grasp just how much the men and women serving our country put aside to keep us safe. Or how difficult it becomes to weave all the loose ends back together again when they transition out of service and back into the civilian world.

There are bonds that need to be reformed, relationships that need to be nurtured, and a different sort of work and life balance to adjust to.

There are numerous resources that are available for veterans and their family. The Town of Southington is an amazing community that has an array of resources that are available which complement those other local, state and federal resources available to veterans.

The Southington Veterans Committee was recently honored at a Calvanese Foundation luncheon as one of the 50 recipients to receive a $1,000 donation during their 50th anniversary celebration. We are so honored and grateful to the Calvanese family.

When accepting the check, I thought about the late Joseph Calvanese Sr. He was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II. He worked for years with his late father, paving driveways before branching out into landscaping and founding a Mulberry Street swim club that eventually became the Aqua Turf Club, one of Connecticut’s premier banquet and function halls.

I thought about how that $1,000 donation came about, the work that it entailed by the late Joe Calvanese Sr.and his wife, Kathryn. The blood, sweat and tears that it took, working for years to make the Aqua Turf what it is today.

I can picture him working on his hands and knees with the soil, the excavating of the swim hole, the many changes that happened before the land transformed into the look and design of today.

I thought about how much that $1,000 meant to Calvanese when he was working to make the Aqua Turf Club become a reality.

The check that we accepted with heartfelt thanks will be used with other donations to make another reality come true, the upgrading of the veterans memorial on the town green.

A name on the monument that will be added will be that of Eddie Reinhard, a veteran of the Iraq War and grandson of Joseph Calvanese Sr.

Happy Veterans Day from the Southington Veterans Committee.

John DeMello is a member of the Southington Veterans Committee. The committee can be reached at Town Hall, 75 Main St., by phone at (860) 276-6299, or by email at