Oak Bluffs: Veterans Day, 4-H programs, Barn Raisers Ball, and hunger and homelessness

—MV Times

“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” –Jose Narosky

My father was a veteran of World War II. At age 19, he was flying a fighter jet over Germany when he was shot down and captured. He was badly injured, and he spent 10 months in a German POW camp. When he came home, he did not talk about it, nor about any of his experiences in the war. That was thought to be normal — nobody talked about it. The problem is, for many of those veterans, and many since, the trauma would come back to affect them later. Because there is nothing “normal” about war.

My generation went to Vietnam — some by choice, some by draft. They came home to a divided country that did not embrace them as heroes. So they added that onto the trauma of war. Every generation has its veterans — we can’t seem to stop the cycle of war. We will observe the Veteran’s Day holiday on Friday, Nov. 10. We should take this chance to pause, to listen to the stories, and to think about the sacrifices and the lives of our veterans and their families.

Congratulations to Lily Morgan and Drew Belsky, who were married on Saturday, Nov. 4, at Lily’s family home in Chilmark. Among those celebrating were Drew’s family and friends from Wilbraham, including David and Kathleen Leo. Wishing the newlyweds a lifetime of happiness!

After the wedding, a few of the visitors from off-Island got a real taste of off-season Vineyard life by attending the Barn Raisers Ball at the Ag Hall on Saturday night. The hall was sparkling with lights, the foyer was lined with tables packed with fabulous desserts, and everyone started dancing as soon as Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish hit the first note. I don’t think I have ever seen that many people at the ball; it was definitely the place to be.

By the way, the M.V. Agricultural Society sponsors a great 4-H program, with three clubs for different ages (from 8 to 14), and different interests. Registration for the fall has been going on, but if you can’t get in now, there will be registration for the spring in January. These programs are a great way for kids from 8 to 14 to get involved with nature, farming, and animals. Email Lucy Grinnan for more info at 4h@mvagsoc.org.

Nov. 13 starts Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. This is a national program to create awareness of the challenges people face in our society, especially as the holiday season and winter approach. There are many national organizations providing education and ways to get involved. Here at home, we have many resources for those in need, and they are all in need of more help. The Food Pantry (igimv.org), Serving Hands (mvcommunityservices.org), and Harbor Homes Martha’s Vineyard (harborhomesmv.com) are just a few that are working hard to feed and house Island residents.

A sobering statement on the Harbor Homes website describes the homelessness crisis on the Island this way: “Due to lack of supply, any individual or family who is dependent on a rental for housing is at risk of becoming homeless.”

Let’s all include some ways to give or volunteer in our holiday plans, and help keep our community strong!

My deepest condolences to the Barmakian family for the loss of family matriarch Natalie Barmakian on Oct. 16, just shy of her 95th birthday. Wishing Gail and her family comfort in memories of a wonderful life.

My thoughts are also with the family of Michael Brown, who passed away suddenly on Oct. 15, leaving his wife Megan and young sons, and his parents, siblings, in-laws, and his many, many friends shocked and grief-stricken. I hope they know that the Vineyard community is holding them all in our hearts.

Birthday balloons go up on Nov. 9 for Caitlin Sylva and Washington Ledesma. Happy birthday to my favorite son-in-law, Zach Sylvia, on the 10th! Denise Sanfilippo and Lindsay Russo celebrate on the 10th also. The amazing young musician with old-school talent who can honestly say she has been to Hell and back, Delanie Pickering celebrates her day on Nov. 11. Happy birthday to Cassie Walton on Nov. 12, and a birthday shout-out to Oman Frame in Atlanta! We remember Rick Colson, who left us way too soon, on Nov. 12, 2012. Nov. 13 is Katie Davey’s special day. Happy birthday to music man Jim Parr on the 15th. Jim shares his day with “Groovy Sue” Suesan Stovall, Pat Alley, Larissa Bernat, and Jean Neble.

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If you have any Oak Bluffs Town Column suggestions, email Joanne Lambert, joannelamber@gmail.com.