Senior Center Stuff


Veterans Always Set One Empty Table

Lemon and salt very significant


by Nancy L. Drawe



September 10, 2008 — Would you eat green eggs and ham?  Maybe, maybe not.  Well then, how about scrambled eggs, homefries, muffins, sausage, ham, bacon, creamed chipped beef on toast, juice and coffee?  That’s the basic menu every first Friday of the month, just for the Veteran’s Breakfast held at the Hopkinton Senior Center.  The monthly Veteran’s Breakfast is a time set aside where the local vets can get together to enjoy a good meal and good conversation.   When the breakfast first started, only a handful of men would attend, but as time went on, it became more popular, with recent attendance up to thirty.  This past Friday, I had the opportunity to sit and watch the interactions between everyone.  I noticed that the talk amongst each man wasn’t about his family, garden, sports, etc, but about the years they spent in the service and.    They had a great time chatting with each other, not to mention the delicious breakfast they all enjoyed.  This month, Mary Brown did the cooking and even made the chipped beef from scratch!   Ronnie Bilodeau and Marilyn Greeno graciously volunteered as servers for the morning. 


There always seems to be extra special touches at these breakfasts, such as the “Empty Table.”   This is a table set to honor all MIA’s and POW’s from all services and all conflicts.  It is set with a white tablecloth, a black napkin and white candle, and a plate with a white lemon and salt.  An empty chair leans up against the table.  The tablecloth represents purity of heart, the black napkin the sorrow of captivity and the white candle, peace.  The lemon represents the missing service member’s bitter fate and the salt, the tears shed by the families of the missing.  The chair represents the service members who are missing.   If you’d like to attend a Veteran’s Breakfast, remember, it’s the first Friday of each month and costs only $3.00.  It’s a great way for the men/women to share camaraderie with each other.


Another huge event for the veterans in town is the Veteran’s Appreciation Dinner held at the Woodville Rod and Gun Club every November.  This dinner is to honor the Hopkinton servicemen/women on Veteran’s Day.  It was at one of these dinners two years ago that Hank Allessio Photo) came up with the idea for a “PHOTO GALLERY.”   Rosemary Lynch had been walking around showing everyone at the dinner an old newspaper with photos of some of the Hopkinton servicemen.    When he saw how much everyone was enjoying this, Hank thought, “Wouldn’t it be nifty for these veterans to see themselves and each other when they were 18-22?”  He figured if he could get all the vets in town to submit a photo of themselves while they were in the service, he would be able to run a slide show at the NEXT Veteran’s Appreciation Dinner.


He started spreading the word around town in places such as the Senior Center.  The Veteran’s breakfasts were a good place to start, as well as the World War II discussions led by Jack McInerney.   Hank knew that he’d also need a “rock,” someone who could help him with all the technology involved in implementing this idea.  He thought of forming a committee, but then realized that probably wouldn’t work.  Hank said of himself, “I’m a terrible committee person, a type A person.  I can’t stand going to committee meetings where everyone agrees, but no one follows through.”  So, he contacted Jim Cozzens at Hopkinton’s HCAM-TV.  Jim loved the idea and offered Hank all the help he needed with technology, HCAM TV airtime and the actual making of the photo discs.  Jim was the “rock” that Hank needed!         


Hank likes this quote from Ronald Reagan, “You’d be surprised what you can get accomplished when you don’t take credit.”  Hank says that Jim did all the work and Jim says, “Hank.”  But, it’s actually the both of them, and it’s absolutely wonderful!   Hank collects the photos, emails them to Jim and Jim transfers them all to disc.  Last year, the first annual Photo Gallery was shown to the vets at the Appreciation Dinner and was very well received—a great success!  Hank would like to continue the Photo Gallery with even more photos to show at this year’s Veteran’s Dinner in November. Click here to see slideshow on Town's website.


Just a thought:  Hank Allessio needs support to get more photographs into the gallery.  There are at least 500-600 REGISTERED vets in town, and right now he has about 250 photos, so he needs help recruiting more of our vets.  If there are any people in town such as members of the American Legion, Veteran’s Celebration Committee, local businesses or  anyone who could possibly help with getting this word spread in town, that would be GREAT!  You could help with mailings—donate the postage, help distribute flyers, etc.  Anything!!   Please call Hank at 508-435-4882.  Let’s get more photos for this year’s Photo Gallery!   Thank you!


Sunday was also this month’s Taps Vigil, held at the Rev. King Flagpole (in front of the Mt. Auburn Cemetery).  This event is held the first Sunday of the month, and it’s a wonderful way to pay tribute to our veterans! 


That’s if for now, so if you have any comments or suggestions, you can email me:  Until next time, have a great week! 


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