Advertisements

Local WWII pilot shares stories from the front lines

Walter Hushak of Southington

94-year-old Walter Hushak of Southington has a story to tell.  Hushak always had dreams of flying high so when duty called he was eager to enlist in the Air Force.  He was just 19 years old when he entered the military and it was clear his destination would be across the ocean fighting in World War II.

Walter flew a B24 Liberator Bomber during the war.  He dropped bombs on the Japanese, but was eternally thankful that he never had to witness death up close.

“I had one scary instance where there was 20 minutes of turbulence over the Pacific Ocean and a life raft blew out due to the plane buffeting, however, I got control of it and kept all 14 servicemen safe,” he said.

This is just one of the anecdotes other veterans will have the privilege of hearing at the Veteran’s Coffee House event hosted monthly in Wallingford by Assisted Living Services.   The gathering allows military veterans a chance to connect and reflect on their service.   Of the 16 million Americans who served in WWII, Hushak is among only about a half million veterans still alive.   He will share his story Tuesday, October 24th at 10:00 a.m at the Wallingford Senior Center.

After the war ended, Hushak was just 22 and not ready to walk away from his military service.  He became an active member in the Army Air Corps- now known as the Air Force.  His duties spanned meetings, drills and flying over 29 years.   At age 58, he retired from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel.  Along the way, he and his wife welcomed three children and eventually five grandchildren.

Since leaving the Air Force, Hushak has been committed to giving back to his community.  He was elected to the Southington Town Council and served for four years, was Chairman of the Board of Directors for Southington Savings Bank for eight years and assisted Red Cross blood drives throughout town for six years.

Today, he is passionate about his guest speaking presentations to local organizations, and most notably to the history classes at Southington High School.    “It is so rewarding being a living, breathing piece of history helping them see the value of lessons learned from the past.”

Assisted Living Services (ALS) and Assisted Living Technologies (ALT) share Hushak’s spirit of community outreach.   ALS and ALT the have spent years caring for Connecticut Veterans.  They saw this as a great way to enrich the lives of these heroes and show appreciation for their service.

“To Veterans everywhere simply saying thank you for your service didn’t seem quite good enough.   We wanted to do more,” said Ron D’Aquila RN, co-owner of Assisted Living Services.  “So we partnered up with the Wallingford Senior Center to help create and begin a “once-a-month” meeting where Veterans gather.”

Today the Veteran’s Coffee House of Wallingford averages more than 30 Veterans a month.   They also enlist the help of guest speakers each month.   To date they have hosted Veterans who hail from the wars of WW II, The Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Mark Halliday is the innovator of the popular Veteran’s meetings.  He is the Community Liaison for ALS, in conjunction with the Wallingford Senior Center. Halliday has always had great respect and deep admiration for veterans and wanted to give them a chance to get together on a casual basis.

“These events really are a historic treasure,” said Halliday.  “Each and every meeting sheds light on some new piece of history introduced by those in attendance.”

Beyond this impactful program, ALS & ALT took their commitment to Veterans one step further. In January of this year, ALS & ALT also began another very special campaign that honors Veterans. They created a fund that supports a group of Veterans attending Quinnipiac University on the G.I. bill and regularly support a special Veterans lounge at the school by providing such essential supplies as toothpaste, toothbrushes, toiletries, snacks and coffee.  It’s a place where these students can connect, study and lend support to one another.

“ALS & ALT are all too familiar with the fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of CT Veterans today that are completely unaware of the fact that there are Veteran Benefits available to them right now, but just as important, their spouses too,” said D’Aquila.

Advertisements

The Central Connecticut Roundup is a popular local magazine covering central Connecticut news, Statewide news, National news, local events, commentary, and more.

 

The Roundup currently has over 5,700 subscriptions and a local social media following of over 95,000 readers across multiple social media sites, apps, pages, and groups.

 

The Roundup is also a proud member of WordPress. This affiliation offers readers more news from FOX 61 and CBS Connecticut on The Roundup.

Latest Stories From Roundup Partner : FOX 61

Police: One person injured in slashing attack near New Haven Green

Police: One person injured in slashing attack near New Haven Green

NEW HAVEN — Police are investigating a violent assault that occurred just outside the New Haven Green Thursday afternoon. New Haven Police Department officers are in the early stages of an investigation into the incident, which happened in the area of 195 Church Street near the intersection with Elm Street. The assault was described by witnesses as a “stabbing or slashing.” Police were not aware of the victim’s condition as of Thursday evening. Anyone with information should contact the New […]

Expect More Now: Rich Coppola – The First 30 Years

Expect More Now: Rich Coppola – The First 30 Years

Sports Director Rich Coppola broadcast his first report for FOX61 three decades ago. Named Sportscaster of the Year nine times, Rich has reported on the Whalers leaving and the Yard Goats arriving, the rise of UConn as a basketball powerhouse and told the stories of the Red Sox and the Patriots going from perennial losers to repeat champions. The East Haven native and University of New Haven grad even gets to report on his beloved Yankees. He’s not ready to […]

PD: South Windsor man drugged family, then tried to take his own life

PD: South Windsor man drugged family, then tried to take his own life

SOUTH WINDSOR – Police say a South Windsor man mixed the drug Benadryl into smoothies for a woman and two children, then attempted to kill them and himself by flooding his home with car exhaust. Police were called to a home on Arthur Drive just before 7 a.m. on Sunday March 10th, for a medical issue. When the officer arrived he saw a Saab sedan parked in the attached garage. A tube ran from the the area of the tailpipe […]

Department of Interior approves East Windsor casino

Department of Interior approves East Windsor casino

EAST WINDSOR – The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Chairman says that after repeated delays, the Department of the Interior has approved a casino on non-tribal lands in East Windsor. The project has been stuck in regulatory limbo. The tribal chairmen of MMCT — the joint venture between the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes – have been pushing a bill to bypass the federal approval they need to start construction. It appears that will no longer be necessary. A spokesman for the […]

Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.