Military Appreciation Day Salutes Sacrifices
A tradition started at he Porter and Chester Institute on Saturday.
Saturday, five soldiers visited Westborough and noted their rank, their community and their deployments.
"Thank you for everything that you do for us," Porter and Chester Institute Westborough Director of Education Glenn Hartland told them.
"You are the men and women that help to keep us free."
The institute's first Military Appreciation Day should be a time to "think about the sacrifices that our men and women are making, especially in this state," said Earl Bonett, Massachusetts vice chaiman of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
In Massachusetts, there are 44,000 people in the National Guard and Reserve, "and they're all ready to make that ultimate sacrifice which many of you in your daily lives are not expected to do. They do it, and they do it willingly because they care about their bretheren," Bonett said.
At Bonett's request, Porter and Chester Westborough Assistant Director of Admissions Mike Mello signed a "Statement of Support" for the Guard Reserve.
Bonett summarized the document as stating that "we care about our men and women who serve our country." The document will be posted at the school.
All nine Porter and Chester campuses held Military Appreciation Days on Saturday, supported by students and staff.
"We'll learn from what we did today. And next year, hopefully, you'll join us (and) we'll be much bigger," Hartland said.
State Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury) said that "so many times in society today that we forget that we have two wars going on: Afghanistan and Iraq."
"With technology today, everyone's lives are so busy that we forget that on a daily basis, people are going overseas and they're making sacrifice for us. Not just them, but also their families are," Moore said.
"The families are making financial hardships, career hardships down the road. And I think it's incumbent upon us that we fulfill our responsibility and pay tribute to them."
Denny Drewry, a Westborough selectman, and a representative of U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), presented a letter from Brown and a citation from the board recognizing Saturday's program.
Drewry noted that he served with special forces in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969, and "it was an honor and a privilege to serve that unit."
Entities such as vocational high schools and community colleges are important, he said.
"When I came back from Vietnam, I got accepted to BC. But I had $330 in my checking account. So, that wasn't quite enough back then. I spent two years at Quinsigamond Community College, transferred, and finally got my my bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts," Drewry recalled.
"Organizations like this, where people learn skills that quite frankly are necessary. Everyone can't be a lawyer. Everyone can't be a professor. We need people that do the day to day things."
The Porter and Chester Institute's support of the military extends into the building.
Portraits of staff and students currently or previously serving in the military are displayed.
"As we grow, this wall will grow with them," Hartland said.