By SHERIDAN ROY
Plainville’s town hall is home to a special keepsake which memorializes the town’s veterans who once served in the military and have since passed away. The Veterans Memorial Wall sits proudly on the wall in the front entrance of the building with more than 150 names of deceased veterans on it—a number that continues to grow.
The wall is maintained by the Plainville veterans council, a three-man group including Will Brayne, Dave Dudek and Dan Kulas. However, that wasn’t always the case.
Pam Christiansen and her daughters, along with the help of former Town Councilor Scott Saunders, brought the idea to life after Pam’s husband Frank Christiansen passed away. He had served in the military and in the Gulf War for several years, and when he came home, he came down with a fatal illness.
“When he came home from the war, he became sick very fast, and he wasn’t able to work,” said Pam. “He did volunteer a lot, and even before that, we felt that the youth really didn’t know what Memorial Day was about.”
After Frank passed, Pam worked with the organizers of the Memorial Day parade to ensure that youth were still being reached and educated on what veterans sacrifice for their country. The Veterans Memorial Wall made its first debut at the parade.
“The wall was a way to let people know that there are still people who need to say goodbye to their loved ones somehow,” said Pam. “It’s not really in memory of Frank, but it’s because of him, and because of my kids.”
Pam was in charge of maintaining the wall for several years, but said she found difficulty in getting the word out. The veterans council approached the Town Council and ultimately took the reins of managing the wall.
“We thought it would be best to be handled by the veterans council because this way, no matter what happens of any of us, the council lives on,” said Kulas. “There would always be somebody here who would be able to keep up with it.”
Dudek explained forms can be found at the town hall, senior center, or from the veterans council during their weekly meetings. Once a form is filled out, it can be sent to the town hall with a check for eight dollars. The council will then give the names to the engraver, pick up the name plate, and place the new addition on the wall.
“The wall is a remembrance of the people who served our country,” said Dudek. “Like any monument, the names are memories.”
The council meets every Monday at 6:30 p.m. in room 306 of the town hall. If a holiday falls on a Monday, and the town hall is open the following Tuesday, the meeting will be held that Tuesday. They are available to assist veterans through the American Legions’ Connecticut Soldier Sailors and Marines Fund to assist qualified veterans to obtain limited financial assistance on a one-time basis.
SS&MF offers financial aid for dental, food, clothing, mortgage interest, rent, utilities, water, natural gas, fuel oil, propone, kerosene and more.
To learn more about the veterans council, visit plainvillect.com/veterans-council.
To comment on this story or to contact Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.