When John DeMello Sr. died in March last year it was noted by the Record-Journal that he was “terrible” at retiring. “He could not sit still,” said his son, John DeMello Jr.
DeMello Sr., a Southington native, retired as a Cheshire police officer in 1997. He found work again as a Hartford County Sherif and an in-house investigator for ESPN before retiring, again, in 2007. That’s when he became even more involved when it came to helping veterans.
“Every day of his life he fought for veterans,” said Rachel Wache, chairwoman of the veterans committee in Southington.
Wache is looking to continue DeMello’s efforts when it comes to updating the memorial on the Town Green. Members of the veterans committee are looking to correct and repair plaques that commemorate residents who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. There are omissions and misspellings, plus “there are some veterans whose names were not included on that monument who are Southington residents,” said Joe Woloszyn, as quoted in a recent R-J story.
DeMello’s passing and the coronavirus pandemic had delayed upgrading the monument, but “now we’re ready to move forward,” said Wache. Committee members are looking to raise funding for correcting the plaques, estimated to cost about $30,000, and were looking to the Southington Town Council for help by putting money into the budget for next year.
There was a lot of support. “I’m all for it, whatever I need to do,” said Republican Councilor Michael DelSanto. “I’ll go out and fundraise for it with you.”
“I’m absolutely on board with it,” said Democratic Councilor Val DePaolo.
It’s good to see support for the project, and continuing DeMello’s work. It might seem a detail to fix up a monument, but when you consider the contributions and sacrifice of veterans it seems much more important. The committee’s efforts deserved council support, and also the support of the entire town.