Bridge at Cherry Hill honors heroes during Veterans Day ceremony

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The noted slogan “it’s always special at The Bridge at Cherry Hill” was again upheld – perhaps more than ever – Monday during an emotional ceremony in Johnston.

Many of the assisted living and retirement center’s residents filled the spacious sitting salon and witnessed an impressive salute to veterans, especially 13 former military men and women who reside at the award-winning facility on Cherry Hill Road.

Even Corinne Elwell, who serves as activities director at The Bridge, had a difficult time holding back the tears of joy for the day’s honorees and proclaimed: “I love patriotic events like this, and I love our veterans.”

While a total of 13 residents were honored for “their great service to our country,” as Elwell and others let it be known, one of the late morning’s highlights came when U.S. Army Sgt. Richard Ramirez and Staff Sgt. Mark McGrath put on an impressive demonstration of folding the American flag.

Elwell, meanwhile, had a special script for the ceremony and read what each of the 12 folds of the flag mean, as Ramirez and McGrath folded it.

Elwell then took a folded American flag from a table that featured mini-red, white and blue flags and handed it to Ramirez for a moving and emotional presentation.

Both American flags, she told residents, “would be presented to our two oldest veterans” by our military guests here today.”

Given that, Ramirez took his folded flag and presented it to former U.S. Army soldier George Costa, 99, while McGrath performed the same duty while saluting Nazareth Piccirilli, also 99, who served in the U.S. Navy.

The 11 other veterans received impressive certificates that were nicely placed in a blue folder and read, after the person’s name: “We salute you for you service and commitment to our country. We honor you today – Veterans Day – Nov. 11, 2019.”

Those residents who were honored are Rocco Pototo, Army; John Martino, Army Infantry; Thomas Belcher, Army; Louis Saccoccio, Air Force; Ed Robinson, Air Force; Larry Calo, Army; Vincent Barra, Air Force; Lucian Anderson, army; Louis Boschetti, Air Force, James Sheehan, National Guard; and Pasquelle Vessera, Navy.

A special luncheon, which was prepared by The Bridge’s executive chef, Marvin Carter, followed the ceremony.

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