MANSFIELD -- The mood was jubilant Friday in the Waterford dining room, as residents and their families gathered for an early Veteran’s Day celebration. Michael Tyree with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs stood at the podium, waiting for the excited chatter to die down
The event started with the unveiling of the Wall of Honors, where portraits of residents who had served in the Armed Forces hung for all to see.
“We are so pleased to honor our veterans,” said Denise Gray, executive director of the Waterford. “We have been plotting and plotting for weeks. We wanted it just right.”
Gray said the residents were eagerly anticipating the unveiling.
“It has completely changed our residents,” she said. “They’re all wearing their (military) hats, they’ve got a spring in their step. They’re very proud of their service.”
The wall will continue to evolve overtime, and may even encompass multiple generations.
“We're going to expand on that wall to spouses of our residents that are no longer with us,” Gray said. The Waterford staff will also be invited to hang portraits of military family members.
After the unveiling, members of the American Legion Post 535 handed out a certificate of gratitude and ribbon to each Waterford resident who had served in the United States military.
“There’s a scripture that says a man will lay down his life for his friends,” Tyree said during the ceremony. “As Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, that’s what we do. And we do it for the freedoms we have.”
Former military spouses were also honored with an American flag pin.
“Thank you for being there for us during difficult times, going where we didn’t want to go and doing what we didn’t want to do,” said Tyree.