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Thursday, July 9, 2020

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Flag exchange brings community together

Nov 14, 2019

By Carol Montana - reporter/photographer

By: Carol Montana | Democrat
Boy Scout Brian Knight handed Eugene Fuller's flag to his wife Fran.
GRAHAMSVILLE -- Twice a year, every year, the residents of the Town of Neversink community gather at the Grahamsville Rural Cemetery on Route 55 to lower a flag honoring one veteran and raise a flag honoring another.
The events are held every Memorial Day and Veterans Day. The tradition continued this past Monday when the flag of U.S. Navy Veteran Eugene Fuller was lowered, and the flag honoring U.S.
Navy Veteran Ted Connolly was raised.
Organized and emceed by Town of Neversink employee Geri Gorton, the ceremony included both an invocation and benediction by Pastor Kenneth J. Ronk of the Grahamsville Reformed Church, and a speech by veteran and Purple Heart recipient James Richardson of Grahamsville.
Eugene Fuller, whose flag has been flying since Memorial Day, joined the Navy while he was still a junior in high school and served on The Perkins - a destroyer in the Asiatic Pacific Ocean - until he was honorably discharged in 1946.
James Connolly spoke to those assembled about his grandfather, Korean War veteran Ted Connolly. Initially called up for the Army, Ted, who had five years of experience on a ship, negotiated a direct commission with the Navy, and was eventually sent to the Pacific on a salvage ship. Ted and his wife Meta purchased property in Grahamsville as a weekend home, but then made it their permanent home because it reminded Ted of where he grew up. “Ted was always proud to attend the Flag Exchange,” said James. “He strongly believed in honoring the service of those in our community that wore our nation's uniform.”
The flags were lowered and raised by Ethan Raykoff, Shane Laforge, William Seward and Brian Knight, all members of Boy Scout Troop 97, which was in attendance along with Cub Scout Pack 87.
Boy Scout Tyler Conjura concluded the event with a performance of “Taps,” the traditional conclusion to military funerals.

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