MMA Family Helping Veterans


(L-R) Cadets Lauren Feeney, Kerri O’Malley, Nick Pierotti, Ally Reddish, Lodge Chair Melissa Ledger, Cadet Richard Tenore

Massachusetts Maritime Academy Cadets recently helped the Wareham-New Bedford Elks Lodge 73 with the distribution of food packages to veterans and others in need. With ongoing support from Massachusetts Maritime Academy, coordinated by Lodge Trustee Jim Callan and the Food 4 Veterans Program, more than 185 boxes were distributed. With a scheduled event to start at 9:00 AM, the line of vehicles began forming around 7:30. Since the workers were set up early, they began shortly after 8:00 and remained as promised until noon. When the event was completed, there were several boxes left that were distributed through a combined effort of MMA’s Deputy Commandant of Cadets Steve Kelleher, and the Lodge. They were dropped off at the Bourne, Wareham, and Onset Fire Departments and the homes of Elks and veterans in need. Lodge Veterans Chairman Mike Ward also coordinated with his veteran contacts and residences to aid them, as well. Organizers added, “With much gratitude and appreciation to the cadets and all who help this program for the greater good, the Lodge says thank you! Also, many thanks to our veterans for their endless and tireless dedication to the preservation and safety of our beloved country.”

Honoring Marlborough's Heroes

The graves of over a thousand veterans sit in silence in Marlborough’s cemeteries. Matthew Sargent, 34 — a Navy reservist who grew up in the city – is on a mission to memorialize the lives of these brave souls. Sargent has always had an interest in history. A 2005 graduate of Hudson Catholic and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, he spent nine years sailing with the Merchant Marines and has been a reservist since 2009. So far, Sargent has marked over 200 graves. Acknowledging the over 340 Marlborough men and women who died or were killed while in service, he is also developing an honor roll.

When Sargent returned to the states two years ago, he attended a Memorial Day celebration in Worcester. “I saw graves marked with little tags. I thought about my great uncle, and about my grandfather, who died when I was young. They were both veterans and I decided to make tags for their graves,” he said. “Someone posted a photo of the tags on Facebook. There was a comment asking whether the town could make one for their relative. I said this isn’t a city thing. I can help you make one if you like,” he added. He has received generous donations from the Veterans Council in Marlborough and Marlborough Historical Society, of which he is now a member and trustee. Marlborough’s current director of veterans’ services, Michael Hennessy said, “It’s very meaningful because it tells the story of the veterans’ life that many would otherwise not have known if it wasn’t for Matt’s work.”

Photos/Jane Keller Gordon

New Tradition is Born