Veterans Walkway of Honor Brick Fundraiser
John Pirro Danbury Newstimes (7/14/13)
DANBURY - The bricks come in two sizes, and their inscriptions range from a name and a branch of military service to elaborate engravings that include military emblems, unit designations and the medals awarded.
But according to Lee Teicholz, a retired Danbury police officer who came up with the idea for the Veterans Walkway of Honor, untold stories are behind each of the 255 bricks -- stories of honor, courage and sacrifice.
On Sunday afternoon, the Veterans Walk of Honor was dedicated outside the Danbury War Memorial.
Together, the 255 bricks that comprise the walkway, and those added in the future, will serve as a "permanent reminder that freedom is not really free, that it comes with a heavy price," Teicholz said.
Several hundred current and former Danbury residents -- some whose names are inscribed on the 4-inch by 8-inch or 8-inch square bricks, others who bought them to memorialize loved ones who had served in times of war and in times of peace -- attended the ceremony.
"This is a permanent, commemorative walkway to those men and women who answered the call of duty," said state Rep. Jan Geigler, R-Danbury. "Their sacrifice has earned them our lasting gratitude."
Among those honored with bricks were brothers James and Taffy Jowdy, both World War II veterans.
James Jowdy, 89, was a Navy airman in the Pacific theater who survived two plane crashes, while his brother was a sailor whose ship took part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy in 1944 and Iwo Jima in the Pacific a year later.
"It's great to be alive to see it," James Jowdy said as he posed for a photo with his brother.
Eventually, the walkway will feature as many as 2,000 bricks and will be completed in three phases, according to Dan Hayes, director of the War Memorial.
Phil Colla, formerly of Danbury, purchased a brick honoring his grandfather, Phillip J. Colla, who served during World War II.
Colla brought his son, also named Phillip, to the dedication.
"I wanted him to see who he was named after," Colla said.
Brookfield's Amy Fagnani, a former Danbury resident, bought a brick bearing the name of her husband, Vincent, an Army veteran of Operation Desert Storm. His brick was installed adjacent to bricks memorializing her grandfathers, David Abraham and Francis Damici, both of who served in the Army during World War II.
A number of families with several veterans asked that the bricks memorializing their loved ones be grouped together, Teicholz said.
"That was a big job to figure out, but it was fun," he said.
The prices of the bricks range from $100 to $250, depending on the size and the inscription, officials said.
On Sunday, organizers presented checks to several veterans' organizations, including the Wounded Warrior Project, Operation Vet Fit and Help Our Military Heroes.
"These men and women are gifts to us," said Mary Teicholz, who was master of ceremonies.
Please visit www.veteranswalkwayofhonor.org
for pricing, order form, brick logo choices, and other valuable
information or contact Lee Teicholz at (203) 748-0723 or by email at
or Dan Hayes at (203) 743-3932 or by email at email@example.com
for any additional questions.
to watch the dedication ceremony on YouTube.