Nearly a dozen residents of a senior living community in Watertown received United State flag pins in honor of their military service in a ceremony held just days before Veteran’s Day.
The Residence at Watertown Square wanted to do something to honor those who had served their country, and they found that there are 11 people in their community who served in the military or helped the war effort.
Four branches of the military and the U.S. Red Cross were represented at the event on Thursday. The honorees were presented pins by two members of the Watertown Police Department who are themselves veterans.
The ceremony came as a surprise. Dom Luppino, who served in the U.S. Army at the end of World War II, enjoyed the event and said it was timely, coming just two days before the holiday.
Luppino went to Japan soon after the treaty to end the war was signed in Tokyo. One memory of his time overseas was playing baseball.
“I played baseball for the Army team, and I also played for Watertown High School, too,” Luppino said.
Among the honorees was one woman, Martha Cotton, who was in her early 20s and living in Europe with her family when war broke out. She helped the war effort as part of the Red Cross.
“My work was all in England,” Cotton said. “During the War I joined as a volunteer with the British.”
Peter Antonucci, a Navy vet who served on a destroyer during the Korean War, said the ceremony helped him get to know some folks who live in the building on Summer Street.
“I never met Vasken (Aposhian),” Antonucci said. “I didn’t know what his name was. We never sat at the same table (for meals).”
Samantha Bergeron, resident engagement director for The Residence, organized the event and also set up a table of photos of the veterans from their time in the service.
“The first to see it was Dom (Luppino),” Bergeron said. “He had tears in his eyes.”
Watertown Police officers Rick Munger and Emily Doss presented the pins to the veterans. Munger served in the Army and after Sept. 11, 2001, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard in a special program for police officers. Doss joined the Marines, and served from 1999-2003.
“(The Residence) called us to see if any vets wanted to come down to do the ceremony,” Munger said. “It is always and honor to meet another vet and be recognized.”
The honorees at The Residence are: Peter Antonucci – U.S. Navy, Richard Fryberger – U.S. Army, Dominic Luppino – U.S. Army, Fred Roberts – U.S. Air Force, Edward Tolan – U.S. Navy Air Corps, Edward Kenney – U.S. Marine Corps, John Atwood – U.S. Army, Vasken Aposhian – U.S. Navy, Martha Cotton – U.S. Red Cross, Frank Leblanc – U.S. Navy, and Richard Campbell – U.S. Army