FAYETTEVILLE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s a symbol of freedom. “The flag is very important to us,” said Rick Betres, Community Manager at Towne Center Retirement Community. “It means a lot to us veterans.”
Many were placed outside on Memorial Day to ensure we never forget.
“All the good folks who have served this country and given the ultimate sacrifice. And please remember our POW MIAs. It’s so important. Say a prayer for them tonight,” said Betres.
Betres, a Navy Veteran, helped organize the Memorial Day ceremony at the Towne Center Retirement Community. Each year they retire the flag and give it to the oldest veteran resident. A new one is then dedicated.
This year they decided to do something new.
“We honor those who are going forward,” Betres explained. He’s talking about Maria Polinsky. She is a senior at Lafayette High School and has worked as a food server at Town Center Retirement Community.
“She has a sense of duty and responsibility to her fellow people,” said Eva Lawrence, Dining Room Supervisor.
Polinsky who is 17-years-old is enlisting in the Navy and was accepted into the prestigious Nuclear Engineering program for training in Goose Creek, South Carolina.
“I want to do something that’s bigger than myself,” said Polinsky.
That desire was inspired by the military tradition in her family and from conversations with veterans here. To honor her hard work, multiple veterans presented the retired flag to her – which was a surprise.
“I was in tears over there. I’m so proud. I’m so honored that they thought of me like that,” said Polinsky.
The bond between Polinsky and the veterans at Towne Center Retirement Center stronger and even more special now.