Heroes honored with smiles on Sept. 11

In an effort to honor those who have fallen serving and those who are still serving our country and communities, the Sports Center, located on River Rd., hosted Heroes Day on Sept. 11.

The 15th anniversary of the attack on United States was treated as a time to remember those lost, honor those still serving and celebrate life by partaking in a variety of free games.

The event paid tribute to Sept. 11 by giving back to the men and women who serve community and country by military, police, firefighters, and first responders in the form of free admissions into the center for them and their families. They were provided free access to bowling, mini golf, golf range, batting cages, and ice skating. They were also provided with four tokens to the Game Zone arcade and 50 shots at Target Paintball.

General manager of the Sports Center Liz Sousa said she was impressed with the attendance at the event.

“This is absolutely the busiest year we had,” Sousa said.

There was also a raffle for the families. Prizes ranged from a Family Day activity pass and 100 gallons of heating oil from Economy Fuel.

Sousa said the families who came to the event have attended other Sept. 11 events, so she wanted an event that would allow them to relax and enjoy themselves.

“They give up a lot of their time to others in the community, so to have a special day for their families is nice,” Sousa said.

Kevin Braziel, his wife Julie, and their daughter, Jasmine, and son, Cross, attended the event. Braziel served eight years as a U.S. Marine, Special Forces. He also worked with the U.S State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security Services. He said he had a total of 17 deployments, nine years total in the Middle East between Iraq and Afghanistan.

His wife said the day is significant for the family because her husband was deployed on Sept. 22, 2001.

Braziel said he is grateful he was able to be home for the birth his son on Sept. 11, 2009. He commented on how much it means to military men and women to be honored.

“The event in and of itself is amazing; you can’t ask for anything better for companies to do but get together to support the people who put their lives on the line every day, the people behind the scenes that you don’t get to see their faces every single day,” Braziel said. “You’re giving back to them; you’re showing them appreciation. Even if they don’t come here, they’re hearing it on the radio or seeing it on the television, and they still have that feeling of, OK, I’m not forgotten. I wasn’t just a number. I wasn’t just something put out there to do something.”

Marine Veteran Vinny Ferrucci spent family time with his wife and son at the Sports Center for Heroes Day. He said he thinks it’s a really nice way of showing appreciation for everybody who served and who is serving, along with first responders.

First responders and veterans from many towns in Connecticut attended the Shelton event. Wilton Police Detective Kip Tarrant brought his daughter and her friend to play. He said he was very touched by the event and honored.

“It’s been some tough times for police officers. I heard about this through the newspapers, and it was one of the most benevolent, altruistic things that anybody can ever have done for us,” said Tarrant.