Although she couldn’t spend Mother’s Day with her son Christopher James “C.J.” Martin, 25, a sailor in the U.S. Navy, Lauren Martin was happy to receive a commemorative plaque and Blue Star banners and decals from the Sutter-Terlizzi American Legion Post 16 in Shelton.
“The American Legion is proud of your loved ones,” Commander Dave Gallagher said to the family members gathered at the Blue Star Salute. “We’re here to help you. All you have to do is ask.”
Mike Kellett, a former commander, said American Legion Post 16 regularly honors the Shelton families who have spouses and children serving in the armed forces.
Common sight during WWI and WWII
The Blue Star Service banners were created in 1917 and were a common sight during World War I and World War II, he said. They are traditionally placed in the windows of families who have a child or spouse in active military service.
Along with Martin, servicemen and women honored at ceremony were Spc. Timothy J. Adams Jr., Army; Spc. Danielle Cabrera, Army Reserve, who is on active duty; Capt. Brandon Kennedy, Army; Capt. Joe Simonetti, Air Force; and Sgt. Michael Torres, Marine Corps.
Thinking of family
Martin said her son was currently stationed at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Miss. He enlisted about a year ago and is scheduled to be deployed in January.
Dolores and Joseph Kalakay, grandparents of Timothy Adams, 22, attended the ceremony.
His mother, Theresa Adams, was on her way to see him in Colorado. She was accompanied by his wife, Lexie Miller Adams, and the couple’s newborn daughter, Aria.
Dolores Kalakay said she was surprised when her grandson decided to enlist in the Army. “He had a lot of friends, though, who went into the armed forces,” she said.
Adams graduated from Emmett O’Brien Technical High School.
When Danielle Cabrera, 21, returns to Shelton in two months, she will get ready to attend Penn State University. A member of the MP Brigade 333, she is currently at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan.
Stephen Zampedri, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, accepted the Blue Star decals and plaque on behalf of Danielle’s mother, Susan Kupec. She had read in the Shelton Herald that the veterans organization was searching for enlisted soldiers from Shelton to honor at its Blue Star Salute.
However, she was working when the ceremony took place.
“I’ll be giving the banners and plaque to Susan, and Danielle asked me to take photos and to send them to her, too,” Zampedri said.
‘We’re all in this together’
Mayor Mark A. Lauretti congratulated family members and praised the American Legion’s service in the Shelton community.
“At the end of the day, we’re all in this together,” Lauretti said. “This is our America, and those who serve are our sons and daughters and our relatives and friends. We, as Americans, must recognize those who make sacrifices on our behalf.”
Also in attendance were Alderman Anthony F. Simonetti and Alderman John “Jack” Finn, who is a member of the American Legion Post 16’s honor guard. State Rep. Jason Perillo of Shelton was on hand to meet with families before the ceremony began, said Kellett.
The Sutter-Terlizzi American Legion Post 16 was formed in 1919 by veterans of World War I. There are currently 450 members, 48 Ladies Auxiliary members, and 70 Sons of the American Legion.