HAMDEN--Veterans were celebrated with special honors on Friday at the Davenport/Dunbar Senior Residence in Hamden.
A resident of the building and a former legislative councilman of Hamden, Henry Candido, arranged for the tribute after learning dozens of his neighbors are veterans. Despite the fact that he is not a veteran himself, Candido felt strongly that a ceremony was necessary because there had been none previously for veterans at their senior facility, and many of them are elderly with disabilities who have a hard time getting around.
"I went to merchants and asked merchants for donations, that's how it all began and it grew to something we never expected today," said Candido.
The ceremony--attended by local leaders and friends and family--honored the service the vets performed. Around 200 people packed a community room in Davenport/Dunbar for the ceremony. Many of the 43 veterans are WW II vets, one whom was also recognized for recently turning 99 years old.
In the three months it took to plan and organize the event, word spread and one resident made eight blankets in red, white and blue that were handed out to some of the veterans during the ceremony.
Many of the vets were grateful to be honored.
The 43 veterans who live at the facility and their photos will decorate a newly created Wall of Honor. "I'm very pleased that people that aren't veterans are concerned about us," said Arne Rosengren, a 92-year-old Navy veteran who served during World War II.
Some of the veterans discovered neighbors that they never knew were fellow vets. "At one point, nobody knew that many were here," said John Morico, 84.
A wreath ceremony outside the building by the flag pole kicked off the ceremony.