Post Newsletter, Fall 2021
Recent Post Activity
Our Post reached many milestones and logged many notable achievements:
Robert K. Place, Post Historian Extraordinaire, Receives His 10th Trophy:
Robert K. Place has done it again, earning top honors from the Department of Maine for his work as our post historian. Bob, who served his country in the U.S. Army, first became our post historian not long after he joined the post in 2004 and by 2008, his very first Post Scrapbook earned first place at the state level. Bob placed 2nd at the national level two times and won top honors for the state of Maine ten times!
For those of you who may not know, 2020 was Bob’s final Post Scrapbook entry as our post historian. Bob has held this position for the past 16 +years (and also served as historian for South Berwick’s Veterans of Foreign Wars post!). We are incredibly thankful for Bob’s many years of service to Post #79 and happy that he will finally get to enjoy a meeting and/or event without having to work! The position of post Historian is still open, so if any of you have an interest (or a camera or smartphone) in filling this key position, please let me know.
Post #79 Honor Guard:
Our own post Honor Guard continues to show the way! Under the leadership and guidance of Forrest Davis, they are 9 members strong and hope to add at least one new member this fall. Honor Guard members have had a busy year, attending 25 events as of early September with the majority being veterans’ funerals. Their most recent event was at the opening ceremony of the NOBLE High School Veterans football game on September 10th.
At the September post meeting, members voted to pay the membership dues for Forrest on an annual basis from this day forward, to show their thanks and appreciation for his dedication and hard work. Congrats Forrest, we salute you!
Flag Box Eagle Scout Project:
North Berwick’s Topher Leon completed his Eagle Scout Project this Spring. Topher created and distributed four bright blue flag disposal boxes to provide a convenient way for local residents to dispose of their old flags in a proper and respectful manner. The flags are then collected by our post for appropriate disposal, most notably at our Flag Day Ceremonies.
Our post was thrilled to sponsor Topher’s project, which took six months to complete and made much more difficult due to state and local rules and restrictions imposed during the pandemic. Thanks to Topher’s project, flag boxes are now strategically located at the Berwick Town Hall, the Berwick Public Library, the NOBLE Middle School, and the Berwick United Methodist Church, where Boy and Cub Scout meetings are held.
Summary of Memorial Day Activities:
While it was cool and wet on Memorial Day, God blessed us with a last-minute break in the rain and we “soldiered on” without the benefit of our school bands due to the pandemic. With Miss Ashley Fecteau on drums and Miss Faith Mcintyre on trumpet, we held our own and were even able to include our Vietnam Memorial Wall float in the parade. Special thanks to Mr. Connor Muchmore for towing the float, to our resilient parade commander Tony Cincotta, to BCTV for broadcasting the event, to our post Honor Guard for flawlessly conducting three 21-gun salutes, to our wreath layer Mrs. Ann Urbanski, to Barry Stevens for the loan of a vehicle again this year and to my first vice Paul Amatucci for his patriotic keynote address. Last but not least, thanks to each and every post member who assisted and/or participated in this parade.
On Memorial Day, the men, and women of Charles S. Hatch Post #79, along with members of the local community and family members, gathered to honor and forever recognize an incredibly special woman: Mrs. Brenda Lavigne. Brenda was an active part of the Berwick community of volunteers and many years ago adopted the Berwick Veterans Cemetery, transforming it with the help of others into the gem that it is today. After Brenda lost her life in a traffic accident last year, our post decided to create a lasting tribute to Brenda. By the Prairie Fire crabapple tree planted in her honor, a special plaque was unveiled. The words on the plaque convey the love and appreciation our veterans have for Brenda’s selfless work: “Who, from her own generous and compassionate spirit, helped in transforming these grounds. Then voluntarily tended their appearance for 12 years with affection and dedication drawn from her desire to honor the service of all veterans and the perpetual memory of those who sacrificed all.”
Berwick Car Show:
A record 152 cars, trucks, motorcycles, and customs cruised into Berwick on Sunday, June 6th for the 8th Annual Car Show. Andy Buckman truly outdid himself this year and set a record in both attendance and donations. While we owe our thanks and appreciation to many area auto businesses for their continued sponsorship and support, we are indebted toto Seacoast Printing of South Berwick for donating some $1,700.00 in merchandise to our post. It was a very warm day but the crowd in attendance enjoyed great music and good food thanks to the team that manned the grill. Between registrations, T-shirt sales, and food/beverage sales, Andy and his team of volunteers added $7,089.00 to the post veterans and community support fund.
Flag Day Observance:
In keeping with the unusual weather pattern, we had rain on the 14th of June, but it did not prevent us from holding our annual Flag Day Observance. This year’s event was held indoors in the Berwick Town Hall auditorium. A big thank you to Berwick Community TV for their support in covering this event, with kudo’s also to post Chaplain Paul Lapierre for organizing it and to Lynn Rendell as our head honcho for the outdoor fire and Miss Faith Mcintyre for once again playing taps.
District 1 Meeting:
Thanks, and appreciation to Dennis Ouellette for representing me and our post at the 22 August District 1 meeting in Sanford. At this meeting, district 1 posts cast their vote for the 2021-2022 district officer ballot. John F. Bshara III was reelected as district commander, 1st Vice: Pat Fahy, Finance Officer: Tom Plummer, Service Officer: Dale Midgley, Chaplain: Cleve Stairs, Historian: Don Hands, Judge Advocate: Gordon Kendal.
Red Cross Blood Drives:
On August 28th, we hosted another very successful Blood Drive at the Berwick United Methodist Church. Thanks to our Chairman Paul Haberzettle and to all the volunteers who helped make it a success. Some 44 donors signed up to give the gift of life. Next drive will be on 30 October, so please help us as the Red Cross continues to experience a severe blood shortage. Please let us know if you are interested in donating or taking a shift at an upcoming Blood Drive, as volunteers are always needed. Please contact Paul at 207-698-4765.
American Legion Riders (ALR) Chapter 79:
Our chapter riders continue to do us proud. Their latest fundraiser is being held on Saturday, September 25th at the House of Hope. This combined yard sale and BBQ will benefit Berwick’s House of Hope Youth building fund, while donations for table rentals and food sales will allow our ALR to continue to support ongoing activities.
The Post website (https://berwickmelegionpost79.org ) was upgraded in July by the folks at www.legionsites.com (Mr. Frank Picchi) and is not only a secure website now - it can now be viewed/accessed using your smartphone. The updated website also contains links to commonly used social media sites (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook) and to legion.org.
Members and Membership
New Members: If you know anyone who qualifies for membership and might be interested in joining the Legion, bring them to one or more of our upcoming activities so they can see what we do. Use the rest of the summer to recruit new members.
Sick Call: If you know of a member (or any veteran) who is ill or in need, contact Chaplain Lapierre (698-1762) or Service Officer Stevens (698-7400) and make them aware of the situation.
Taps: Thanks to our Post Honor guard for rendering honors this summer at the funeral service of long-time post member James “Jimmy” R. Jones. The family was very appreciative. Thanks also go out to all who made time to attend and to Chaplain Paul R. Lapierre for organizing Post details.
Toll Booth/Poppy Drive Fundraiser:
Thanks to the team of Tony Cincotta and Police Captain Jerry Locke, the Toll Booth fundraiser that the post initiated in coordination with the Berwick Police Department in 2019 is scheduled for Saturday, 25 September. If the 2019 event was an indicator of success, this year’s drive should be one for the record books.
Berwick Citizen of the Year (COY)/Business of the Year (BOY):
In preparation for the Spring 2022 Awards banquet, our committee will hold their first meeting at the Berwick Town Hall auditorium just prior to our October meeting (5:30 p.m.). In addition to soliciting COY/BOY nominations from our members and the community, we will also recognize the Firefighter, Policeman and Student Volunteer of the Year, choose the new recipient of the Boston Cane award, and present the post Americanism Award and various Certificates of Appreciation (specific Awards Banquet date and location are TBD at this time).
- Monthly Post Meeting (1st Tuesday of the month), October 5th
- Quarterly Blood Drive, Saturday, 30 October
- Tuesday, November 2nd, Town Voting Day
- Monthly Post Meeting – Date to Be Determined (we will hold a meeting, but it will not be November 2nd)
- Veteran’s Day Observance, Thursday, 11 November, 11:00 a.m.
- Monthly Post Meeting (1st Tuesday of the month), December 7th
- Christmas Cards to Local Active-Duty Service Personnel
Next Post Meeting: Tuesday, October 5th at 7:00 at the Berwick Town Hall. Come early for coffee and fellowship.
The Last Words
2022 Dues: Thanks to those of you who paid your annual dues ($31.00 this year). We greatly appreciate the hard work of Phil Jenks, our new post adjutant. Please do your best to support Phil and send in your payment if you haven’t already.
Active-Duty Members: The Post will pay your dues. If you have not done so already notify the Adjutant and you’ll get a refund.
Address, Email and Phone Changes: Please keep us up to date with changes. Send or tell them to the Adjutant, any Post Officer and we’ll get them updated here and nationally.
Transportation to Meetings and Events: If you do not attend our regular meetings because you do not want to drive at night, or in bad weather, or just do not drive at all, but would really like to attend, call me (1-207-988-4388) or Paul Lapierre (698-1762) and we will see if we can arrange transportation for you.
As the summer begins to fade and leaves begin to show their brilliance, the Charles S. Hatch American Legion Post 79 begins the new fiscal year with many changes and challenges. I am humbled by the trust placed in me by the Post and look forward to seeing the continuance of our Post in service to our community, state, and nation. I was proud at our first meeting, that our Department First Vice saw a vibrant and active Post; in excellent fiscal condition and continuing as an example of an outstanding Post.
Our country currently faces many challenges. We continue to fight a pandemic that has damaged lives, our economy and threatens to exacerbate divisions in America that if not mitigated have the potential to rip us apart. Political differences seem to no longer be differences of opinion and thought but have sadly become so divisive that it seems no longer can we “agree to disagree”. Our nation was built on a constitution that laid down principles that were common to us all while allowing for differences with civility. As Veterans, we swore an oath to “Support and defend” this Constitution. It is my impression that this duty remains our continuing obligation.
May we as a Post uphold these principles, allow for our differences with civility and continue to serve the community of veterans who are our brothers and sisters.
God bless each of you and God Bless America.
Bryan English, Commander
Charles S. Hatch Post 79