Story from the Hudson Litchfield News 5/6/2016
by Jay Hobson
The Hudson Fish and Game Club was the scene of a VFW-sponsored Veterans Appreciation Day last Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.
Event organizer Glenn Della-Monica of the VFW said that although the picnic and activities were to show appreciation to vets, it was also an opportunity to let newer veterans know that the VFW was a place and an organization that they might want to join.
Hudson VFW Post 5791 Commander Mike Dustin said that some newer veterans have the wrong impression of the VFW.
“Some of the younger guys think that the VFW is just a place for older guys to have drinks and share war stories. In reality, the VFW is here for veterans who have fought on foreign soil and is here to help with information and, in some respects, aid veterans in what they may need whether it is helping in a charitable way or giving vets an outlet or yes, have a social time in the canteen,” Dustin said.
“Cootie” Richard Tripp said that his group, the Military Order of the Cootie, is a fund raising and Honor Degree organization of the VFW.
“We wear a little bug pin somewhere on our clothing and if someone touches it, say trying to brush the ‘bug’ off, then it is a dollar donation,” Tripp says with a laugh.
Tripp said that the Cooties visit veterans in the hospital, have blood drives and other charitable activities for vets.
Senator Kelly Ayotte dropped by the picnic and spoke to many of the estimated 150 people in attendance.
“This is a great appreciation day for the VFW and American Legion and I’m honored to support these organizations, our veterans and their families for all that they’ve done for our nation,” Ayotte said.
Ayotte said that she comes from a military family and that her husband is an Iraq War veteran and member of the VFW.
“This morning I was at Manchester talking to the enlisted Guard Association and Officers Association, they’re having a conference there,” Ayotte said.
She said that, “without our veterans we wouldn’t have freedom.”
“We need to continue to fight for them (veterans) when it comes to healthcare and ensuring that they have our support for what they’ve done in defending this nation. That is very important to me, that’s why I’m always fighting to get the VA [Veteran’s Administration] to get the healthcare right and to make sure that we don’t cut benefits,” Ayotte said.
Behind the Fish and Game building at a little pond, children and dads were fishing and catching rainbow trout.
Inside the club house, at an indoor shooting range, kids and adults were having a go at targets at a distance of 50 feet.
One shooter, 4-year-old Jordan Hein, was being taught by his grandfather, Ralph Fairbanks, known to Jordan as “Papa,” and instructor Bill Dutton, on the finer points of shooting a rifle.
“He actually hit the target!” Fairbanks said later.
The picnic included hot dogs, hamburgers, macaroni salad and potato salad.
Della-Monica said that about 150 people came to the event and more than 10 applications to join the VFW were handed out.
“That was double our expectations,” Della-Monica said.
He also said that 40 people used the shooting range from age 4 to 65, 10 people caught fish and there were 11 winners of the $700 in door prizes.
“We want to give a big thanks to all the vets and to those vets that made this event a success,” Della-Monica said.