HARTFORD - The 15th annual Connecticut Veterans Day parade, the largest in New England, was held Sunday, November 2, in Downtown Hartford. It was a cold and overcast morning, a perfect day for The Salvation Army to be serving coffee, donuts, and hot chocolate to the marchers waiting for the parade to begin. All of the military services were represented, along with veterans from many different conflicts. Soldiers from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan were assembled in groups and proudly participated in the parade, either on foot or in vehicles along the parade route.
The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services canteen was parked in the staging area at the beginning of the parade. Officers, divisional staff, and local volunteers helped to serve the hungry marchers while they waited. The Salvation Army “Red Shield” mascot was also there, waving to and interacting with the crowd, along with the “donut girl” from World War I and II fame. Children from our North End Corps also marched in the parade with officers from divisional headquarters, Salvation Army soldiers, and volunteers, to pay tribute to the men and women who have served our country.
The Salvation Army has a long history of helping veterans, and "donut girls" are an important part of that heritage. Ever since World War I, The Salvation Army, donuts, and donut girls have shared a common bond that has grown throughout the years to encompass many new programs that serve today’s veterans. Whenever new needs arise, The Salvation Army is there to meet them. To learn more about ways we help veterans in Connecticut and Rhode Island, click here.
Captain Janet Gonzalez, Veterans’ Affairs Secretary for The Salvation Army in Southern New England, said, "I was thankful for the opportunity to bring warmth and smiles to the veterans and soldiers that were preparing in the parade, just as we did during times of war. It was so cold and windy that one of the veterans kept coming back for more coffee just to stay warm. His hands were shaking, so I helped to stir in the sugar and place the lid on to keep the coffee warm. His words meant the world to me when he said 'here I am again, and you continue to give me more coffee with such care and smile that I feel good coming back!'"