Senator Boucher Joins Citizens, Veterans, Legislators & Government Officials To Dedicate “Fallen Heroes Memorial Highway” In Wilton & Westport

August 28, 2009

State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) said she hopes that everyone travelling along the newly dedicated “Fallen Heroes Memorial Highway” will “be reminded of these fine men and women whose courage and sacrifice have allowed us to have so many peaceful years of liberty and security.”

Senator Boucher made this comment during ceremonies held in Wilton and Westport on Wednesday, August 26th to formally dedicate the newly named “Fallen Heroes Memorial Highway” in honor of the soldiers, police officers and firefighters who have sacrificed their lives to protect others. “Fallen Heroes Memorial Highway” stretches from the Wilton/Ridgefield town line on Route 33 to the junction of Routes 33 & 136 in Westport. The dedication ceremonies were held at the Veterans Of Foreign Wars Post #399 in Westport, and at the Wilton Town Hall.

Among those who attended the ceremonies was Bill Madaras, the father of Army Pfc Nick Madaras of Wilton who died in Iraq in 2006 and was the inspiration for “Fallen Heroes Memorial Highway, and the Westport family of Master Staff Sergeant Philip Jordan, a marine and Silver Star recipient. He was one of the first soldiers from Connecticut to die in Iraq. Ken Dartley of American Legion Post #86 described the Kick for Nick program that was established in honor Nick Madaras to bring soccer balls to the children of Iraq. To date over 23,000 soccer balls have been shipped and distributed. In his remarks, Mr. Dartley observed that the program both keeps alive the memory of Nick Madaras and, hopefully, promotes peace as “A friend of my child can not be my enemy”.

“None of us will ever forget the terror and sorrow of September 11, 2001 – or the bravery and sheer goodness of the men and women who risked everything to respond to the call for help. Since then, so many fine Americans have sacrificed their lives to keep us free and protect our way of life. Nick Madaras is one of those true American heroes, as were so many veterans from America’s other wars . . . The signs not only demonstrate our respect and gratitude for our fallen military men and women, but they will also be a constant reminder of the legions of first responders who have risked their lives so that we can be here today, alive and healthy,” said Senator Boucher.

Senator Boucher, who proposed the legislation designating “Fallen Heroes Memorial Highway”, expressed her gratitude for the support shown by area legislators, state officials, local government, police and fire officials in Wilton and Westport, and veterans. She also thanked Lisa Chubinsky of Wilton and PaulaJeanne Castiglia of Westport who sang “God Bless America”, as well Glen Shattuch and Ralph Nathanson who played bagpipes. Senator Boucher also thanked Representatives John Hetherington (R-125), Peggy Reeves (D-143), and Joseph Mioli (D-136) for their support and participation.

Following are highlights of remarks made by participants at the dedication ceremonies.

* WIlton Program
* Wesport Program

State Veterans’ Affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz, a retired member of the United States Air Force, included in her remarks the lyrics of American Anthem by Gene Scheer, which “says a lot about Americans and it also says a lot about those we honor today, the fallen heroes. No one thinks they will be a hero when they grow up . . . As I read this, think about your heroes and those who are serving today.” The lyrics include the chorus: “Let them say of me I was one who believed in sharing the blessings I received. Let me know in my heart when my days are through, America, America I gave my best to you.”

State Public Safety Commissioner John A. Danaher III:
“My father, a World War II veteran, spent his career in law enforcement, and I, too, have been in the field of law enforcement for nearly 25 years. In my current role, especially, I have become acutely aware of the risks our men and women face, every moment of every day, to protect others. Many of our troopers, in addition to serving as troopers, are also members of the military. More than 80 troopers have been called to active duty and deployed since 9/11 . . . This tangible reminder of their sacrifice will always serve to ensure that all who pass this way will remember those who gave the last full measure so that we can live in peace and safety.”

Westport First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff:

“In today’s busy times, we often take for granted our freedoms. In today’s busy times, we may forget the sacrifices others have made to make it possible for us to have those freedoms. So, I welcome this new reminder of them on a busy highway in Westport. But I hope it is also a reminder of the men and women who haven’t fallen . . . the men and women who continue to serve in the dust and heat of Afghanistan and other outposts of the world . . . Let us not forget that every time the radio comes alive in a patrol car, every time there’s a tone out for a fire, accident or EMS call, we have men and women who serve us everyday here in Westport – men and women who out their lives on the line for us everyday.”

Westport Police Chief Alfred Fiore:
“It’s a great day for Westport. We’re honoring the men and women of our military that keep our country safe and that let us live in this great country we’re in. As a police officer, I’m absolutely thrilled that we’re included in this as well. While we don’t go and defend our country overseas from foreign enemies, we are the first line of defense here in the United States.”

Westport Fire Chief Chris Ackley:
“I appreciate the efforts of Senator Boucher and Representative Mioli to keep the memory of our fallen heroes alive. If we do not do that, then their deaths have been in vain. We have an obligation to keep their memory alive. It is our duty as Americans.”

Wilton First Selectman William F. Brennan:
“All of us who live and work in this area are blessed. We are free to live our lives and raise our families in a beautiful section of our country. But many have gone before us who were not so fortunate. They fell in battle, or died protecting us. We must never forget these fallen heroes. This memorial highway will ensure that their sacrifices made on our behalf will always be remembered.”

Wilton Acting Police Chief Michael Lombardo:
“Unfortunately, there are many fallen heroes in the law enforcement, fire and military services that we need to memorialize so that we can properly honor their sacrifices – sacrifices that have protected the life, liberty and freedoms of each of us here today . . . On behalf of the Wilton Police Department, I would like to day thank you, Nick. To the Madaras family, we will keep Nick and all of you in our thoughts and prayers forever for his ultimate sacrifice and for all he did in his young life to brighten and enhance the lives of others.”

Wilton Fire Chief Paul Milositz:
“As both a retired military member and as a member of the emergency services community, I am doubly proud to be part of today’s ceremony dedicated to the memory of our fallen comrades . . . But we are here today to dedicate a portion of a highway in recognition of a special group of heroes – to that special group of heroes who never really set out to be singled our for accolades or medals, but rather say a need to do their duty with honor and gave their last full measure of devotion.”

American Legion Post #86 Commander Donald Hazard:
“As I drove into Wilton from Ridgefield, when I got to the Wilton town line the sign in front of me read “Fallen Heroes Memorial Highway”. I was brought back in time to the year 1968 when I was serving my tour in Vietnam. I was one of the lucky ones; I returned home and without injury. This tribute is for my comrades who did not – not only for them, but for all the servicemen and women and citizens who have given their lives helping others. They will forever be remembered.”

American Legion Post #86 Member Ken Dartley:
“Today, in addition to remembering our fallen heroes, I think we should also rededicate ourselves to all our living heroes – those who are now serving. We can do this by simply saying thank you to our police and firefighters and for our military by saying thank you, or by sending a package of a letter to someone in the service. And, when they come home, make sure they are welcomed back with a hero’s welcome and a thank you.”

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #399 Commander Tom Dubrosky:
“Behind every highway sign commemorating fallen heroes are families and friends grieving the loss of someone they loved. Fallen heroes is a collective term that also applies to the families and friends of these heroes, whether they served in the military, police or fire departments.”

Chaplain Frank Wismer III of American Legion Post #12:
“Finally, we pray that Fallen Heroes Highway may be for us a continual reminder of the gifts we enjoy as citizens of a free and prosperous country. Let the example of our Fallen Heroes reveal in us our highest ideals and noblest aspirations.” (Prayer read at Westport ceremony by American Legion Post #12 Commander Richard Olson)

Press Contact For Senator Boucher: Catherine Sarault, Senate Republican Press Office, 860-240-8818