NORWALK, Conn. -- Norwalk has begun reaching out to residents who have the country as it looks to add more names to the Veterans' Plaque outside Norwalk City Hall.
Mayor Harry Rilling and members of the Norwalk Veterans Memorial Committee announced the new initiative Wednesday. The plaques contain the names of hundreds of Norwalk residents who have served in conflicts dating back to World War I. The city is now looking to add more names of people who have served recently or who served in an older conflict but whose names have not yet been included.
"This is something that is the right thing to do, because as we continue with conflicts where people are putting their lives in danger, we want to make sure that they get the recognition to which they're entitled," Rilling said.
For someone's name to be added to the plaque, they must be a native of Norwalk or have been inducted from Norwalk, and served in the military during a time of recognized conflict. They must present their DD-214 or honorable discharge documents to Erin Herring, the veteran liaison at Norwalk City Hall. A family member of a deceased veteran can also present the required documents to the city.
Once the names are submitted, the Veterans Memorial Committee will create a committee of people to go through the documents and verify the information. Rilling said the city would also be reaching out to corporations in the private sector to help sponsor the plaques.
"Hopefully we're going to have some good corporate partners, some good corporate sponsors, that's going to recognize, as the Veterans Committee does, the importance of what we're doing here, that we're reaching out people who have served overseas, people who have entered the military to protect our freedoms, they deserve that recognition and we want to ensure they get it," Rilling said.
The plaques were last updated in 2005, according to Veterans Memorial Committee Chairman Dan Caporale. He said the last update included people who served on expeditionary forces.
"It's basically to recognize the veterans that have served, the veterans that are serving today, and we'd like them to be recognized in some form of a thank you," Caporale said. In addition to recognizing those who have served recently, it's also a good opportunity to add those who may have been missed, he said. "We're trying to find people who have fallen through the cracks."
The deadline for submitting names to be included will likely be at the end of August, Rilling said.