Honoring Heroes: New Pond Village Pays Tribute to Our Veterans
A Veterans Wall of Honor is a sanctuary of contemplation and gratitude and stands as a tribute to the individuals who have selflessly served our country. At New Pond Village, a collection of 25 vintage photos of smiling young service people are proudly on display on their very own Veterans Wall of Honor. This display showcases the community’s esteemed residents who have honorably served.
On November 11, Veterans Day, New Pond Village hosts a luncheon event to honor our veterans for their service. At the annual event, community leadership thanks each veteran personally and gives them a commemorative pin.
Eileen Quinn is one of the community’s veterans. Now 101 years old, Eileen was in her early 20s when she sat for the now sepia-tone picture in her Coast Guard uniform (pictured here below). She grew up in Chicago with seven siblings and worked at Sears when she joined the service.
“I wanted to do something different,” she says. “I told nobody; I just went into the service. I don’t know why I went into the Coast Guard, really, but I did, and I loved it.”
The Coast Guard was the perfect match for Eileen, who has always followed the motto for the women’s branch of the Coast Guard—Semper Paratus, which means “always ready.” She met her husband—also a Coast Guard officer—through a mutual friend, and in the spring of 1945, just months before World War II ended, the military granted a weekend leave so the two could get married.
You can also spot John Medailleu’s photo on the Wall of Honor. In the picture, John is in front of one of the helicopters he flew during his three years of service in the Army.
Initially, John didn’t plan to fly helicopters. As an ROTC student at Northeastern University, John trained as a pilot to fly planes for the military.
“I didn’t like the idea of helicopters at all,” he recalls. “But now I’m glad I learned. I really enjoyed flying the helicopters. They’re a lot harder to fly!”
He was stationed in Germany from 1963 to 1964. “At that time, the Cold War was at its peak, and (Germany) was supposed to be a dangerous area.” With a wry smile, he adds, “It really wasn’t.”
Campus Program Director Carolyn Roycroft says New Pond Village created the Wall of Honor as a tribute to the community’s veterans and an opportunity for people to connect. She stresses the importance of recognizing the veterans’ service.
“For many of them, this was a major part of their life,” she says. “They like being recognized, and I think it’s a very important part of what we do here.”
The veteran residents provided the photos, and Roycroft and her team created a key of everyone’s name.
“One resident asked to add a flag, and now we’re asking them to add memorabilia,” she says. “People stop to look at it all the time.”