Veterans Day Luncheon

Written by Kristina Bergman | Photos by Sarah Williams and Kristina Bergman |

On November 11th, 2019, at 10 a.m. Morgan had their annual Veterans Day luncheon after the Veterans Day assembly. Every year Consumer Science Teacher Susan Murphy’s food classes prepare an array of soups and desserts. This year there was vegan butternut squash soup, turkey chili and a variety of cookies.

Army veteran Mike Kelley whose official title was an E6 shared his story about working with airplanes. His job was to sit in his car with equipment and talk to the pilots about what they were supposed to be seeing while they were flying for up to 15 minutes. During his service, Mr. Kelley got to fly on the Columbia.

Vietnam Army vet Michael John Valenti talked about his first assignment. When Mr. Valenti found out who he was assigned with, he learned that many of them were men he trained with at Fort Dix in New Jersey. 43 years after they all worked together in this assignment, four of them reunited in Pennsylvania. He expressed how happy he was to see where everyone was now and how and what they were doing.

Marine veteran Derek Torrellas was stationed in Hawaii and flew from Oahu to the main island. At this point, he was in the service for 6 years. While on the island, he was asked by a pilot where he was from, and he answered he was from a little town in Connecticut called Clinton. The pilot told Mr. Torrellas he graduated from Hand High School in Madison. Mr. Torrellas found this interesting how this colleague in Hawaii was not only from Connecticut but graduated from a high school right down the street from him. A few days after this encounter, the pilot was injured in a helicopter accident.

Susan Melchior the partner of a Marine veteran Thomas Walsh shared her favorite memory from her husband’s time in the Marines. Her favorite memory that he has told her is when the drill sergeant would get right in their faces and try to get them to break or smile. She was amused by the different ways they would get them to break and how his friends would smile.

Vietnam veteran Fred Stabell shared his memory about his time in the Navy. Mr. Stabell was living on a ship for his first year in Vietnam. They would shoot at their enemies 24/7. While they were fighting, his buddy Lenny developed a hernia and had to be taken off the ship by a helicopter. The helicopter wasn’t able to fit on the ship as the landing pad was too small, but Lenny didn’t want to be taken up by cable. Mr. Stabell told the helicopter to land. The helicopter didn’t want to land so they hooked Lenny up to the cable. The helicopter thought that Mr. Stabell was messing around so they decided to dunk Lenny into the water.

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