The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

World changed forever on 9/11

Middlefiel­d man died in World Trade Center attacks

- LARRY MCHUGH Larry McHugh is president of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce in Middletown.

MIDDLETOWN — I would like to begin this week’s chamber column with some thoughts on the 20th anniversar­y of the 9/11 attacks on our country, which is Saturday.

It amazes me that it has been two decades since that terrible day. We all remember where we were on that late summer morning when the world changed forever. We were all shocked and deeply saddened, but nothing compares to the pain that has been endured by the family members of those who perished.

It was really inspiratio­nal for me and my team to welcome retired United Airlines flight attendant Paul Veneto, who is pushing a beverage cart from Logan Airport in Boston to ground zero in New York for the 20th anniversar­y.

Paulie’s Push is an amazing story about a man who is honoring the flight attendants who died in the attacks. He calls them “the very first responders.”

Paul pushed the cart through the towns of East Hampton, Portland, Middletown and Durham, and made a stop in front of the chamber last Tuesday for some pictures and cold water for the road. These communitie­s welcomed him with open arms, from the elected leadership, to the police and fire department­s, and much more.

During our conversati­on, he mentioned that this stretch was one of his favorites, because of the outpouring of support he received. Paul is also an inspiratio­n to those who are in recovery from addiction, as he has been since 2015.

We here in this community wish Paul all the best on the rest of his journey, and beyond, and thank him for coming through Middlesex County.

May the families who lost loved ones on that terrible day find peace and comfort, not only on Saturday, but every day.

On a personal level, our thoughts are with the family of Bruce Eagleson, who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center. Bruce was a community leader in Durham and Middlefiel­d and someone who was very well-respected.

One of his sons, Brett, has been a leading voice for the families of 9/11 victims. Brett is a longtime chamber member and a close friend to many of us. We are proud of his efforts, and will hold him and his family in our thoughts and prayers this weekend.

We still remember. Also this week, we celebrate Labor Day in Middlesex County and throughout our great country. A strong workforce is the key to a strong economy, and, as some of the COVID relief measures begin to sunset, the chamber looks forward to being a resource for employers and job seekers alike.

As we move forward, let’s commit to working together to support our fellow citizens who are looking for work, and our outstandin­g employers who are looking to hire them.

We are all in this together.

Upcoming chamber events

This short holiday week is still a busy one for the great chamber team. Two of our divisions are very excited to hold in-person meetings this week, the Durham & Middlefiel­d Division on Wednesday, and the Cromwell Division on Thursday. We look forward to safe networking and the usual comprehens­ive reports from town and business leaders.

On the business developmen­t front, I look forward to joining Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman and other local leaders for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in honor of Alchemi Wealth’s new Connecticu­t location Thursday morning.

Alchemi Wealth offers comprehens­ive financial planning as part of its investment management services for their clients. We appreciate their commitment to Essex and Middlesex County, and look forward to working with Investment Adviser Representa­tive Laurie Tomlinson and the entire local team as they work to grow this important business.

Another busy week is upon us, and the chamber team is ready to roll.

Before closing, I ask that everyone please save Sept. 15 for a special virtual member breakfast featuring Connecticu­t Sun President Jennifer Rizzotti. This exciting event is sponsored by Webster Bank.

Jen is a former UConn Women’s Basketball star and current assistant coach of the USA Women’s Olympic Basketball Team. We look forward to a great event, and I will have a full event preview in next week’s column.

‘Real community champion’

I must close this week’s chamber column on a sad note after the recent passing of William “Bill” Wasch Sr. at 90. Bill Wasch was a real community champion and someone that was well-liked and respected by all who knew him.

He was a graduate of Wesleyan University and a lifelong supporter of the school. Bill served as director of developmen­t and alumni affairs from the late 1960s into the mid 1980s, and supported Wesleyan’s developmen­t efforts well beyond that.

Together with his wife, Susan, he developed the Susan B. and William K. Wasch Center for Retired Faculty, which opened in 2004. In 2012, he was awarded the Baldwin Medal for extraordin­ary service to Wesleyan.

Bill also supported a variety of community organizati­ons along the way, including the Middlesex Chamber. I am very grateful for Bill’s support and friendship, his service in the U.S. Navy, and his leadership in our community for many years.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Bill’s children, their spouses, his grandchild­ren, and his vast network of family and friends at this difficult time. Bill Wasch made quite an impact on Wesleyan, on Middletown, and on Middlesex County, and he will certainly be missed by many.

We were all shocked and deeply saddened, but nothing compares to the pain that has been endured by the family members of those who perished.

 ?? Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce / Contribute­d photo ?? Members of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce and Middletown Health Department thanked former flight attendant Paul “Paulie” Veneto for pushing an airline beverage cart from Boston Logan Internatio­nal Airport to ground zero in New York City. His journey is a tribute to the flight attendants and crew members killed in the 9/11 attacks.
Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce / Contribute­d photo Members of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce and Middletown Health Department thanked former flight attendant Paul “Paulie” Veneto for pushing an airline beverage cart from Boston Logan Internatio­nal Airport to ground zero in New York City. His journey is a tribute to the flight attendants and crew members killed in the 9/11 attacks.
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