Rico Casaletto, the Veteran's Chairman for our council, submits the following report on the Cook-Out for Veterans at the Tilton Home.
On Saturday, July 29, 2017, four vehicles left Salem, NH and a fifth vehicle left Lincoln, NH, all bound for the Veteran’s Home in Tilton. The Knights of Columbus, Council4442, of Salem, NH were hosting their second all you can eat cookout for veterans and their families, at the Veteran’s Home.
Unfortunately, the traffic from Londonderry to Manchester was moving at a snail’s pace. Once we passed the tolls at Hookset the traffic to Concord was all stop and go. The result was that we arrived 30 minutes late. When we finally arrived all the veterans and their families were already seated and had prepared their food requests. While the cake was shown to all the veterans, the watermelon was being served and the grills stacked with hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs and baked beans. All veterans were happy to see that the icing on the cake showed a flag of their branch of service.
We started with the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. One of our volunteers, Donald Simmons, played The National Anthem on his guitar.
Once the food was prepared the volunteers and staff of the Veteran’s Home quickly served the food, which consisted of; hamburgers – cheeseburgers – hot dogs – baked beans – potato salad – bottled water – soda – coffee – watermelon and cake, while being entertained with guitar music.
This year I wore my AMVETS hat, one of the veterans said he was a life member in Massachusetts, but would like to transfer to Post 2, in Salem, NH. Two other veterans asked what the dues were. I told them that their dues would be paid by the post; they both signed up to join Post 2. One of the veterans, Donald Baldonelli, told me the thing he missed most was not having Italian food. I called my wife over, she told him she would cook what he missed most. He said he missed ‘stuffed peppers’. I told him that we would be back next week and would have two types of stuffed peppers for him, and I would prepare the gravy (red not brown). Italians in East Boston and the North End still call it gravy, others call it sauce. One other veteran and I talked about not eating S.O.S for over three years, because of the way it looked and its name (those of you who have served will know what S.O.S stands for) only to find that it really was quite tasty.
There were 11 volunteers who drove 625 miles and donated 75 hours, to serve 80 veterans and guests.
Sir Knight Chanel Simard, third degree Knight Dennis Coleman, Sir Knight Dennis Groulx, Marine Veteran Leo LeMay, Sir Knight Richard Collopy, Sir Knight Don Simmons, AL Aux. Unit 63 Sgt-at-arms, Gail Coleman, AL Aux Dept. VA Hospital Rep., Gloria Morin, AL Aux, Unit 63 President and Dept. Sgt-at-Arms, Patricia Casaletto, Sir Knight Paul St.Amand, and Sir Knight Enrico Casaletto. I believe that those who served enjoyed the cook out as much as those who were served. I would like to thank all the volunteers, the staff of the Tilton Veteran’s Home, and The Knights of Columbus, Council 4442, for sponsoring this cookout.