Pictures courtesy of POW/MIA Chair Founder George ‘Blue’ Kelloway – first chair New Hampshire Motor Speedway, New England.
After witnessing a seat left purposely empty in Bristol, Tennessee for American troops who were POW/MIA, the President of Rolling Thunder Massachusetts Chapter, Joe D’Entremont was determined that Massachusetts would become the first state in the country to have POW/MIA chairs in all their professional sports venues. Joe contacted George ‘Blue’ Kelloway, the veteran behind the POW/MIA Chair founder and he was off and running with it.
Through Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, Joe was introduced to executives at Hussey Seating. A company that had already supplied Gillette Stadium with over 68,000 seats. Joe asked if they would be willing to donate one more, and on Veteran’s Day 2012, a POW/MIA Chair of Honor was presented to a professional sports venue in Massachusetts.
Joe’s next target was Boston’s TD Garden, home of the Celtics and the Bruins. On the evening of the dedication, two Hussey team members joined Joe, and met later for a brainstorming session. Inspired by that meeting and fueled by Joe’s passion for the cause, the Hussey-Rolling Thunder collaboration came to pass.
Rolling Thunder®, INC National asked Joe and representatives from Hussey to make a presentation of their collaborative efforts at the annual conference in Washington, D.C., November 2013. Team members at Hussey assembled two samples, one of which was a portable chair. The portable chairs would be perfect for other placement locations and for Rolling Thunder chapters across the nation to use in their local activities.
Before the presentation could even be made at the annual Rolling Thunder conference, Joe received a call from Lt. Ghanbari, a Military Liaison officer from the University of Toledo. Lt. Ghanbari wanted a POW/MIA chair for their football stadium, to be dedicated at their October 19 game versus Navy. ESPN broadcast the game and covered the ceremony, local TV stations conducted interviews, and the coverage went viral on social media.
Later, at the national conference, Lt. Ghanbari joined Joe and Hussey for the presentation of the POW/MIA Chair of Honor program, where it received an overwhelming response.
The latest POW/MIA Chair Dedication in MA will take place in Freetown, MA, who just recently approved the purchase of a POW/MIA Chair of Honor, which will be the first in a municipality and displayed at the town hall. The local VFW chapter will finance the purchase which also includes an American flag, a POW/MIA flag and a rope barrier. Freetown’s Veteran’s Agent, Dan LeBlanc, hopes to have the chair dedicated this year on Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day.
To find out more about the POW/MIA Chair of Honor head to the POW/MIA Chair’s Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/
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