By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Veterans and community members enjoyed free food and conversation June 21 at the second quarterly Veterans Lunch at the Westborough Senior Center. Veterans, who, many agree, have been historically mistreated, said they were grateful for the service.
The lunch gathered donated food from Chick-fil-A and Cumberland Farms with the donated time of members of the Westborough Connect group to serve lunch to a packed room full of veterans and their friends. Sue Wilkens, the educational director for the International Museum of World War II, located in Natick, then capped the lunch with a presentation to attendees.
“Veterans, up until the last couple of years, have been neglected, especially Vietnam veterans,” said Andy Toorock, a member of the Westborough Veterans Advisory Board and an organizer of the event. “Our job as the advisory board is to make life better for them if we can.”
With its presentation specifically geared toward World War II, the event gathered a sizable contingency of veterans from that war.
They filled a table near the front of the room and mingled with old friends who filed by throughout the event.
One such veteran voiced his particular thanks for the services the Westborough Advisory Board and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts provide in comparison to other organizations.
“The veterans administration in Massachusetts is, by far and away, one of the most outstanding organizations of that type that I’ve ever become familiar with,” said World War II Veteran Terry Rosen. “I’ve been in other states where it just barely exists.”
Near the end of the lunch portion of the program, another veteran, Richard Brault, proudly showed friends a photo he had found of a large howitzer gun like the one he operated in Siapan in the Mariana Islands.
For Rosen, it’s moments like that which make events like the Westborough lunch worth attending.
“There aren’t many of us left so these are exciting events,” he said. “People still think of us and that’s great.”