Happy Independence Day, time for family, patriotism

July 2, 2018


By: Larry McHugh


This week, here in Middlesex County and around our great country, we celebrate Independence Day. The Fourth of July holiday is synonymous with patriotism, fireworks, and enjoying the summer weather with family and friends. While we enjoy these celebrations and take pride in our national heritage, we should all take a moment to recognize the servicemen and servicewomen of the United States Armed Forces who protect this independence on a daily basis. I know that Memorial Day and Veterans Day are dedicated to those we lost and to those who have served, but we must also honor them on the day that we celebrate the birth of our nation. The chamber is proud to have an active and engaged Support the Troops and Honor the Veterans Committee under the leadership of Retired Army Colonel, Phil Cacciola. We are also privileged to work so closely with the many Veterans Organizations in Middlesex County and throughout the state. I hope that we all keep our servicemen and servicewomen in our thoughts and prayers, not only today, but every day. I wish everyone in Middlesex County a safe, happy and healthy Independence Day, because America is certainly worth celebrating.


In addition to the Fourth of July holiday, this time of year also brings the start of the annual Middletown Summer Youth Employment Program. The work experience portion of the 2018 program begins next Monday, July 9 at over 30 different host worksites across Middletown from many different industry sectors. The chamber is proud of all of its workforce development initiatives, but this program is especially important because it deals with our youth population. Thanks to the leadership and support of Workforce Alliance, the City of Middletown, and a number of terrific private funders, we are able to put nearly 70 kids to work this summer in constructive employment environments throughout the city. I thank all of them on behalf of the chamber for their unbelievable support of the Middletown Summer Youth Employment Program and the many other community initiatives that they support in our area. Our 2018 team of funding partners is as follows: Workforce Alliance, The City of Middletown, Peach Pit Foundation, Community Foundation of Middlesex County, Liberty Bank Foundation, Jarvis Products Corporation, MiddleOak, Pegasus Manufacturing, Greenwald Industries, Stone Investment Properties, Guilmartin, DiPiro & Sokolowski, and Middlesex United Way. In addition to the team of funders, I also want to take a moment to thank the over 30 businesses and organizations in Middletown that will serve as host worksites this summer. It is critical that we have host worksites stepping up to the plate to provide the work and supervision that is necessary to truly make this an effective workforce development initiative. All of these local supporters are providing a quality work experience to youngsters who need it, and in most cases, it is their very first work experience. As I have noted in the past, this program is truly developing the future of the workforce, and we appreciate everyone’s strong support. I will continue to provide updates on the Middletown Summer Youth Employment Program as the summer progresses.


Next Tuesday, the KeyBank Workshop Series will continue with two sessions of Sexual Harassment Prevention Training at the chamber beginning at 8 a.m., and at 10:15 a.m. Presented by Jackson Lewis, LLP, this critically important session will discuss the definition of sexual harassment, liability (your own and your organization's), and the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace. Attorneys from the law firm will show you and members of your team how to limit your company's exposure to damaging charges of sexual harassment. This session meets the State of Connecticut's requirement for two hours of sexual harassment training for supervisors and managers. For more information on this important chamber workshop, please visit www.middlesexchamber.com.


Looking ahead to next Thursday, the Courtyard by Marriott in Cromwell will host a members-only “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” themed Business After Work networking reception on Thursday, July 12 from 5-7 p.m. We expect a great crowd for what is sure to be a fun night of baseball themed networking and festivities in Cromwell. The Courtyard team, led by General Manager Anthony Covino and Sales Director Dan Miller, always does a terrific job with this annual event which will feature a great spread of food and drinks, and outstanding summer networking for our guests. We look forward to a fun evening and I encourage chamber members that are planning to attend to wear their favorite baseball gear. All teams are welcome!


Switching gears, and in the spirit of Independence Day, the chamber is now accepting applications for the 2018 William J. Pomfret Veteran Community Service Award. This prestigious award is presented annually at the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce’s Support the Troops & Honor the Veterans Member Breakfast Meeting. This year’s event will take place on Monday, November 5, 2018 at the Red Lion Hotel in Cromwell, with guest speaker Kevin Brown “Red Eagle”, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, a Retired United States Army Colonel. Bill Pomfret served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II and was a member of the American Legion for 60 years, holding offices of State Commander, State Treasurer and Commander of Middletown Post 75. He graduated from Middletown High School in 1935 where he served as Class President. Bill served on the Middletown Common Council, was the first President of the Ahern Whalen Baseball League, and was the founder and first President of the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame. He served for years as Administrator of the state’s Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund for Veterans and their dependents.  Bill also served in many other civic, veteran, sports, and youth organizations. The William J. Pomfret Veteran Community Service Award is presented to a Veteran of the United States Armed Forces in recognition of his or her distinguished service to the citizens of Connecticut, and selfless commitment to public service.  The recipient of this award is decided by a committee of its previous winners. Candidates must meet the following criteria to be considered for the award: He or she must live or work in the following Middlesex County towns: Chester, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Middlefield, Middletown, Portland or Westbrook; He or she must have served in a branch of the United States Armed Forces and continue to promote Veterans Affairs; He or she must participate in local and state community organizations and/or initiatives.  To nominate a candidate for this award, please contact Jeff Pugliese at (860) 347- 6924 or [email protected]


In closing, I would like to ask that everyone please save the date on their calendar for a rocking evening that is rapidly approaching in Middletown. It is hard to believe, but the 13th Annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania, presented by Hunter’s Ambulance, Hunter Limousines & the Hunter Family, is only six weeks away. This year’s event will be held on Wednesday, August 15 from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in downtown Middletown. This major summer event is held in memory of Dan M. Hunter, a founding sponsor of Middletown Motorcycle Mania. Over 6,000 bikes are expected to converge on Main Street for the 13th year of the event which will once again showcase custom and vintage motorcycles. All bikes are welcome to come out for the largest one-day summer motorcycle event in New England, an event that is sure to be a fantastic time for everyone involved. I will have more on the 13th Annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania as we get closer, but everyone should save the date of August 15, along with the rain date of August 22.


So, Middlesex County, enjoy your Independence Day. Be safe, and always keep in mind those who serve to keep us safe and free.


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