Chief Ed Garone gives a warm speech, where he gives thanks to his wife, Sunday as he holds the awards for community service he was presented with during the Loyalty Day celebrations at VFW Derry Memorial Post 1617.

DERRY | Richard Tripp said it's a special day when he can join with friends and community leaders to help celebrate the people who mean the most.

As commander of Derry's Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1617, Tripp told guests at Sunday's Loyalty Day ceremony that this is one day he really enjoys.

Civic leaders, teachers, students, and families were honored at the annual event, hosted by the VFW Post, along with Derry Memorial Ladies and Men's auxiliaries and Pup Tent 7, Military Order of the Cootie.

Loyalty Day is an annual event where outstanding people are honored by the local Post for their efforts. This year's honorees included emergency personnel, firefighters, teachers, police, VFW supporters and students. All of the award winners were celebrated for contributions to their community.

Commander Tripp led the ceremony, handing out plaques, certificates and flags to the award winners at the Post Home on Railroad Avenue.

"I really enjoy having a chance to honor the people in the community who make it function," Tripp said.

Among the honorees on Sunday were Derry police Chief Ed Garone, taking home the Post's honor as top law enforcement officer. Dorothea "Dot" Mattson, president of the Derry Memorial Ladies Auxiliary, presented Garone with his honor.

"I remember when Chief Garone came into this town," Mattson said. "He's earned respect in this town and this is well deserved."

Garone said the award was particularly meaningful for him, as he is also a veteran.

"Derry has been good to myself and my family," he said, adding that the award should be shared with the entire Derry Police Department. He also credited his wife of 42 years, Blanche.

Derry firefighter Ed Gannon took the Post's recognition award for his service to the town. His quick thinking during a duplex fire in 2005, when he helped rescue an elderly occupant, was part of his nomination letter.

Gannon said it's all about teamwork when part of the firefighter world, and he said his mates on the force should share his award with him.

"This award is for all of them as much as it is for me," he said.

Community service awards went to Bernie Resnick, and to the Magical Beginnings Child Care Center in Windham.

Resnick, a longtime civic leader and volunteer, was honored for his community service, which has included serving on many boards, being part of the Derry Village Rotary, president of the Marion Gerrish Community Center board, and now a viable member of the committee working to bring a first-in-the-nation Iraq/Afghanistan monument to MacGregor Park.

Resnick, a veteran of the Korean War, said he was especially happy with his work on the new monument for those who served, or are serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It's very important for the boys to come home and see this honor," he said, adding that the monument committee hopes to have the new stone in by the fall.

The Windham child care center took honors for its work sending supplies to the soldiers overseas, as part of an "adopt-a-unit" program. The children collected more than $2,800 in supplies to send.

Pinkerton Academy math department head Linda Greenwood took honors as the high school teacher of the year recipient, with Gilbert H. Hood Middle School educator Laurie Paolino taking middle school honors, and Barbara Nelson, a longtime teacher at South Range Elementary School, earning elementary teacher honors.

Derry's Post 1617 also awarded special honors to some of its own, including a Buddy Poppy Award, President's Appreciation, and Commander's Appreciation awards.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars began observing Loyalty Day in the 1930s in an effort to counteract anti-American messages provoked by Communism and to celebrate America and its patriotism. Congress officially recognized Loyalty Day in 1958.

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