High school hosts Armed Forces Night
Friday, Oct. 4, was not a typical evening at Veteran’s Memorial Field at Kennebunk High School. The early October evening was unusually warm, the blue “K” at the 50 yard line was now camouflage, yellow balloons waved in the light breeze, red, white and blue streamers decorated the bleachers and the varsity football team was decked out in camouflage jerseys and surrounded by a number of well known heroes.
Kennebunk High School’s varsity football team was honoring local veterans before their game against Greely. For the ceremonial coin toss, Kennebunk captains Tyler Elkington,
Nicco DeLorenzo, and Nick Emmons and Greely captains escorted honorary captains Skip Dascanio, Matt Thill, Peter Donaher, William Walker, Clifton Campbell, John DeLorenzo, Todd Gibson, Dr. Greg Taggert, John Leach, and Roger Hansen to midfield.
At halftime, 27 names were read as more members of the armed forces walked out onto the field to a standing ovation that lasted for several minutes.
Nick Parent, assistant coach and organizer of the event, said there were many more men and women in the stands that should be recognized and thanked for their service.
It all started when Parent heard about an opportunity to wear the camouflage uniforms and decided to make this event special and thank the many veterans in the community.
“As a staff, we always tell our kids to be thankful for everything that gets them to where they are, we felt it was only fitting to say thank you to our veterans,” Parent said. “We wanted to make this a community event so we contacted our local American Legions, both Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, to make them aware of the evening and tell them that we wanted to recognize them.”
The team purchased rubber bracelets that read “U.S.A Armed Forces” to sell to students at the high school to heighten awareness of the game and its importance.
The proceeds from the bracelets will be split between the two American Legion Posts.
Bins were placed at the entrance of the gates to collect toiletries that will be donated to the Veterans Administration.
Being the first year of honoring the veterans, Parent hopes to make it an annual event. Due to the government shutdown, the color guard was not able to be there, but Parent hopes that is not the case in the future.
“We are extremely fortunate to have been given this opportunity and we want to thank everyone for their efforts,” Parent said. “It was an unbelievable night all around for a lot of people and we won on top of that, so it made it a little sweeter.”
Community members recognized at halftime for their service to the country:
Skip Dascanio, US Navy
Chief Petty Officer Matt Thill, US Navy
Commander Peter Donaher, US Navy
Tech Sgt. William Walker, US Air Force
Cpl. Clifton Campbell, US Army
Lt. John Delorenzo, US Navy
Sgt. Todd Gibson, US Marines
Major Greg Taggert, MD, US Army
First Sgt. John Leach, US Army
Lt. Roger Hansen, US Navy
Hospital Corpsman Frank Bodreau US Navy
Lieutenant Colonel John Dolan, DO, US Air Force
Petty Officer 1st Class Hans Ruteser
Sgt. Stephan C. Doody, US Marine
Sgt. Bob Pelletier, US Marine
Sgt. Kevin Crimp, US Army
EM 3 Brian McBride, US Navy
Staff Sgt. Ted Axelson, US Air Force
SP5 Mark Willett, US Army
Commander Post 74 Dennis Lamontagne, US Navy
Master Sgt. Marc Lamontagne, US Air Force
PFC Frank Loga, US Navy
Sgt. Greg Morrill, US Army
Lt. John Byrnes, US Army
Sgt. Doug Loutane, US Army,
Sgt. Robert Bally, US Navy
Major Ray Holden, US Air Force