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Melrose Veterans Quarterly

A Quarterly Newsletter Produced by the Melrose Veterans Memory Project
Volume 1 Number 1

Winter/January 2015

Board of Directors

Lisa Lord
President and Founder
Robert Driscoll
Treasurer
Diane Carpenter
Clerk/Secretary
Laura Paladino
William Forbes

Upcoming Events
January
11 – VFW District banquet
February
22 - Chowder Fest

MVMP student group officers Melissa and Gianna (Co-Presidents),
and Jenna (Artistic Director), display the banner Jenna created as
they prepare to march in the “Parade of Clubs and Organizations”
at the Thanksgiving Day Pep Rally.

Spring
TBD – Veterans Town
Hall Meeting

From the Board President

May
7-9 – Operation Remember
trip to Washington, DC

As I look back at 2014, I am so proud of everything that the
Melrose Veterans Memory Project has accomplished!

TBD – MVMMS
Memorial Day Assembly
25 - Memorial Day events

Hello, friends!

Winter/Spring 2014
Many of our events in the first half of the year were events shared
with Operation Gettysburg, the middle school project to send
eighth grade students and veterans to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to
honor the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. In January, we were
on hand to support Operation Gettysburg at the first-ever Chowder
Fest fundraiser.

We
joined
Operation
Gettysburg at Wyoming
Cemetery in April, to learn
more about the role of
Melrose residents in the Civil
War. We visited the Civil
War Memorial, which would
be restored in part as a result
of Operation Gettysburg
fundraising efforts. We also
laid wreaths at the graves of
Francis Snow Hesseltine, a
Civil War Medal of Honor
recipient from Maine who
settled in Melrose after the
war, and Clark B. Baldwin,
who led the 1st Massachusetts
Infantry at Gettysburg. At
both
graves,
Melrose
Veterans Memory Project
students read summaries
from the information we had
researched.

Members of Operation Gettysburg and the Melrose Veterans Memory
Project gather at Wyoming Cemetery to honor Melrose’s role in the Civil
War.

Members of Operation Gettysburg and the Melrose Veterans Memory Project with MVMMS principal Tom
Brow and Veteran Services Director Ryan McLane at the grave of Lt. Col. Clark B. Baldwin, who led the 1 st
Massachusetts Infantry at Gettysburg.
In May, we joined community volunteers including Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts at Wyoming Cemetery for the
decoration of graves and flag retirement ceremony in preparation for Memorial Day. The culmination of our
Civil War research and support of Operation Gettysburg came on Memorial Day, when MVMP and Op G
students marched together with our veterans in the Memorial Day parade. This marked the first year that
MVMP was officially represented in the parade.

World War II veteran Russell Priestley sits for an interview at the
MMTV studio in August 2014. Russ’s interview was the first in a
series of veterans interviews being produced by Kristin Foote.

Summer 2014
Summer was a time of planning and
organizing in preparation for what
would become our busiest fall to
date. We met with Kristin Foote
from MMTV to discuss a veteran
interview series, which launched in
August. To date, we have filmed
two interviews, both with World War
II veterans, and we are planning
more interviews for the new year.
Once edited, these interviews will be
aired on MMTV, uploaded to the
Melrose Veterans Memory Project
YouTube channel and website, and
shared with the Library of Congress
for their Veterans History Project.
Each veteran’s family will also
receive a DVD of the interview.

(Any veteran who is interested in being interviewed as part of this project should email us at
melroseveteransmemoryproject@yahoo.com.)
In addition to our project
with MMTV, we met with
Lisa Tulipani, President of
the Melrose Dog Society, to
discuss a joint fundraising
project.
Together, our
organizations have been
working to raise money for
two
veteran-related
organizations,
Dogs
on
Deployment and the Canines
for
Combat
Veterans
program of NEADS (Dogs
for Deaf and Disabled
Americans).
Our joint
fundraising efforts kicked off
in September at the Dog
Festival, when we announced
our intention to raffle off a
snow blower and a vacuum
cleaner. These raffles netted
$500, which was split
between
the
two
organizations.

MVMP students Melissa and Lauren staff the Melrose Veterans Memory
Project table at the Dog Festival, answering questions about the
organization and selling raffle tickets to benefit NEADS and Dogs on
Deployment.

Perhaps the most important developments of the summer and early fall were also the least visible. During that
time period, we appointed our first Board of Directors, filed our Articles of Incorporation with the state, and
were officially registered as a charitable non-profit. This change in status – from community organization to
registered non-profit – allows us to begin fundraising efforts to sustain and expand the activities that we offer to
support veterans and bring veterans and students together. The next step in this process, which we hope to
accomplish by summer 2015, is to apply for tax-exempt status.
Fall 2014
The return of students in the fall saw the implementation of weekly meetings, and an ever-increasing number of
new members. It is not unusual now to have 15-20 students at a meeting, and another 10-15 checking in
electronically or in person on a non-meeting day due to schedule conflicts.
September touched off an
incredible series of events.
Our first veteran-student
event of the fall was a trip to
Boston to see Spirit of
America, a performance by
the United States Army.
Approximately 40 students,
veterans and community
members hopped on a school
bus for the ride into the city.
After an amazing show which
included performances by the
US Army Drill Team, the US
Army Bold Guard Fife and
Drum Corps, and the US
Army Band “Pershing’s
Own”
(among
others),
participants enjoyed lunch
together at Prince Pizzeria.

Some of the groups and individuals who participated in the Spirit of
America performance

MVMP students, veterans and community members settle in to enjoy Spirit of America at the TD Garden.
In addition to the Spirit of America trip and the Melrose Dog Festival, MVMP students volunteered at the
Melrose Veterans Advisory Board food drive, collecting non-perishable items to benefit the food pantry at
the First Baptist Church and A Servant’s Heart food pantry at Faith Evangelical, and staffed an informational
table at the Melrose High School Activity Fair. We also had the privilege of having a Melrose High School

senior who completed Army basic training over the summer speak to the group about her experiences during
our last September meeting.
October was more of an organizational month. We worked on planning out November events. We did some
long-overdue archiving, cutting veteran-related stories out of newspapers to add to our files, and held our firstever election of student officers, something that the students felt was necessary given the size of the group.
We also packed donations of toiletries into boxes to be sent as care packages to local troops deployed overseas,
and our students served as guest judges for the Melrose Dog Society’s Howl-o-ween Costume Contest.

MVMP students served as guest judges for the Melrose Dog Society Howl-o-ween Costume Contest.

Vietnam Veteran Paul Rossi shares his story with students at Veterans in
the Classroom.

November
Our busiest single month to
date
was
November.
November kicked off with
our annual Veterans in the
Classroom event, which this
year included 30 veterans, the
largest group of veterans we
have ever had! Participants
included combat veterans and
veterans who served in times
of relative peace; they served
during World War II, Korea,
Vietnam, the Cold War,
Desert Storm, and the current
conflicts
in
Iraq
and
Afghanistan. Some of these
veterans have been joining us
for the event for years, and
others were sharing their

stories publically for the first time this year. It was a great honor and privilege to have each of these veterans
with us!
We sponsored our first official community event in
November as well, a free public showing of the
documentary Unsung Heroes: the Story of
America’s Female Patriots. Approximately 50
people came out to see the documentary, and
participate in our fundraising raffles. One lucky
winner went home with a beautiful handmade
patriotic quilt!

Co-President Melissa, Secretary Lauren and
Publicity Director Courtney welcome community
members to our showing of Unsng Heroes.

MVMP student Secretary Lauren helps raffle
winner Susan Nerden check out her new quilt!

The highlight of November, of course, was the series of Veterans Day activities – the Veterans Breakfast, the
Women’s Service Tree Dedication, and the Tour of Monuments. We were present for all of those events, and
student members were happy to catch up with veterans they hadn’t seen in a while. One of our newest members
actually attended with her grandfather, who is a veteran!

MVMP students join community members in
honoring our veterans at the World War I Memorial
at the Knoll during the Veterans Day “Tour of
Monuments”

Corporal Bridget Corso, USMC (MHS Class of
2011) shares her experiences with MVMP students.

Our November activities did not conclude with Veterans Day, however. In mid-November, a group of MVMP
students volunteered to serve as “runners” for the annual Sgt. Harold O. Young VFW Post 2394 Turkey Shoot
fundraiser; I gave a PowerPoint presentation of our activities at the Veterans Town Hall Meeting; several of
our officers marched in the “Parade of Clubs and Activities” at the beginning of the Thanksgiving Pep Rally,
carrying our new banner; and we had the privilege of a visit from Corporal Bridget Corso, USMC, who
graduated from Melrose High School in 2011 and recently returned from a deployment in Afghanistan.
Corporal Corso, who is currently stationed in San Diego, California, was home on leave for several days, and
decided to stop in to share her experiences with our MVMP students.
December and Beyond
Compared to November, our
December activities have
been rather low-key. We
have spent several meetings
working on plans for the
second half of the (academic)
year, discussing and pricing
T-shirt designs, fundraising
ideas,
and
outreach
opportunities. In the midst of
that planning, though, we still
managed to collect over 200
holiday cards, which were
included
with
“holiday
cheer” packages sent to the
VA Hospital in Bedford and
the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home.
Several of our students and
veterans also attended the
Highland Glee Club concert
in Needham, which featured
music of the Civil War as
well as holiday music.

MVMP students and veterans await the start of the Highland Glee Club
concert.

We have many wonderful ideas that we are working on for 2015, including a community trip to see Unbroken,
supporting the Operation Remember group at their Chowder Fest fundraiser in February, and hosting a
fundraising dinner in the spring. Our success in 2014, and our continued successes in 2015, are only possible
because of the support and participation of our veterans and community members in and around Melrose. We
thank you for your service, your support, and your participation, and we look forward to seeing you in the New
Year!
Happy New Year!

Check us out on the internet and social media!

Lisa Lord

Websites:
www.melroseveteransmemoryproject.shutterfly.com
www.melrose-veterans-memory-project.org
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Melrose-VeteransMemory-Project/569958773039337
Twitter:
@MelroseVetsProj

What is the Melrose Veterans Memory Project?
Mission Statement:
The Melrose Veterans Memory Project is a group dedicated to raising awareness about and appreciation of the
role of Melrose residents in history, especially in the military; documenting and preserving Melrose/local
history, especially as it relates to military services and times of military conflict; increasing community
involvement in recording and preserving local history; and supporting local veterans organizations in their
efforts to honor those who have served.
Brief History
The Melrose Veterans Memory Project came into existence in the spring of 2007, when we held our first event
bringing students together with veterans, for veterans to share their stories. This event – later named Veterans
in the Classroom – remains the cornerstone of our annual activities.
Over the years, we began to work with the veteran community to support events hosted by other veterans
organizations, as well as hosting additional events of our own. Simply put, we have three objectives:
education, preservation, and outreach.

Melrose Veterans Memory Project
c/o Melrose High School
360 Lynn Fells Pkwy
Melrose, MA 02176

www.melrose-veterans-memory-project.org

www.melroseveteransmemoryproject.shutterfly.com

You are receiving this newsletter because you have participated in, supported, or expressed interest in Melrose
Veterans Memory Project events. If you would like to be removed from our mailing list, please email us at
melroseveteransmemoryproject@yahoo.com or send a written request to the address above.