Posted on February 9, 2023
Newtown— Dozens of people came out to the Newtown Community Center Wednesday night to support Hearts of Hope Newtown and their ‘Paint with a Purpose’ event for active-duty military members. State Representatives Mitch Bolinsky (R-106) and Martin Foncello (R-107) were among the more than 40 people who painted ceramic hearts to send to the 514th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, an Air Force Reserve unit at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey.
“Hearts of Hope is a healing art program formed following the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Newtown chapter was started in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook School in December of 2012, with a mission of resilience, inclusion, and kindness to all,” said Chapter President Diane Sarna.
In past years, Hearts of Hope solicited donations from each person painting a ceramic heart, but this year the American Legion sponsored the Newtown event. Foncello is a member of the Legion, having retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from military intelligence with the Army. He also served in Washington, D.C. immediately following 9/11. Bolisnky is a Son of the American Legion.
“Valentine’s Day is a day of expressing the love you have for someone special in your life, I believe we can all agree each and every one of our veterans deserve to feel the love we have for the sacrifices they and their families have made,” said Rep. Bolinsky. “I want to thank the American Legion for sponsoring this wonderful event and all the volunteers who responded to our invitation to be a part of this awesome evening!”
“I am proud to stand with the American Legion and support Hearts of Hope to foster kindness and send hope to our Troops,” said Foncello.
Captain Gracie Cudney, a member of the 514th, made a visit to the Newtown Community Center to discuss the work of the squadron and their upcoming deployment overseas.
“We are a reserve unit, of about 130 members, but we do a lot of deployments. Our goal is to maintain the status of the patient while on the aircraft. We can treat the patient to bring him or her back to a stable condition if they take a turn for the worse. The unit responds to both medical and aircraft emergencies while evacuating sick or wounded personnel from combat zones,” said Cudney.