February Veteran of the Month Honored

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The District continued to honor its veterans by recognizing John Wourgola as the February Veteran of the Month during a flag ceremony at the elementary school on Feb. 7.
    
The former Bayman was an airplane power plant mechanic in the Army during World War II. During his service, he worked on the Boeing B-29 Super Fortress, the most advanced bomber of the time. The Army Air Corps sergeant was drafted in 1942 and was honorably discharged in 1946, at which time he returned to his home in Hampton Bays. Now 91, he is still an active member of the Hampton Bays Fire Department as part of the fire police.
    
Mr. Wourgola married his love, Millie, in 1947 and raised four daughters and one son in the hamlet. The widower now has 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
    
During the flag ceremony, Hampton Bays District Superintendent Lars Clemensen spoke of Mr. Wourgola's commitment to serving his country, especially as he suffered a debilitating injury during his training.
    
"Even in his new role, the injury didn't stop the impact he made," Mr. Clemensen said. He added that the monthly veteran ceremonies are a way to "learn the tremendous stories about our neighbors that we might not otherwise know."
    
As part of the event, eighth-grader Melissa Carranza read her Patriot's Pen essay on the topic "What Patriotism Means to Me," and fifth-grader Wilson Martinez read his classmate Aiden Hosa's essay on "What Does Veterans Day Mean to Me?" Additionally, seventh-graders Jack Henry, Amelia Kozuchowski, Robert Mac Alpine and Nicole Roman read Mr. Wourgola's biography and eighth-grader Meghan Long sang the national anthem.
    
The ceremony was attended by the December veteran honoree, Jack Capone, as well as members of the American Legion Hand-Aldrich Post 924 and VFW Post 5350. Suffolk County Legislator Schneiderman, Southampton Town Trustee Stan Glinka and Southampton Town Highway Supervisor Alex Gregor also came to pay their respects.