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ABOUT TOWN: Olive Garden Honors Disabled Veteran Volunteers (Plus Weekend Fun in Stoughton)

Welcome to "About Town with Mark Snyder," a column that will keep you up to the minute with what's what, who's who and what's going on around town. If you see or hear something we could use here, let us know by sending an e

OLIVE GARDEN PAYS HOMAGE TO DISABLED VETERAN VOLUNTEERSEric Watson who came back in March from serving 13 months for the Army National Guard in Afghanistan, is a manager of Olive Garden in Stoughton. Watson, himself a disabled veteran, wanted to do something to help recognize the sacrifice of volunteers who donate their time to help disabled veterans.

Watson, who suffers from PTSD and heart valve issues from his service to our country, spoke with his general manager, Steven Brodher, and got approval to hold a dinner for volunteers who help disabled veterans on Oct. 11. Olive Garden's parent company has run disability nentor days for volunteers from organizations for the disabled.

Volunteers from Stoughton, Randolph, and Weymouth enjoyed the delicious Italian food, and the Olive Garden hospitality.

Bernie Planeta, Commander of District 6 of the Amvets, was especially happy to see those who volunteer be recognized. He told About Town, "The sacrifice of so many people's time is very gratifying. The disabled veterans deserve no less."

Planeta said that District 6 holds ice cream parties twice a month at the V.A. Hospital in Brockton. Recently, they hosted their Annual Summer Cookout for 100 patients and staff at the Brockton medical facility. Planeta says that his District also buses 40 patients to the Randolph Amvets from the Brockton V.A. Hospital three times each year.

"It makes them happy. It gets them out of the hospital and into a community social setting," Planeta said. "They also do a big Christmas party every year for 50 patients, and give each of them a holiday gift."

Watson said, "It meant the world to me to know that my company supports my decision to honor disabled veterans like myself. Those who step forward to help disabled veterans deserve our gratitude."

More volunteers - and monetary donations - are needed to keep up this wonderful work. Donations of time or money are welcome. Contact Mike Pazyra, Stoughton's Veterans Agent, at 781-341-1300 x9220.

Pazyra organized this event, as he does the myriad of activities for Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. Volunteers honored included Stoughton residents Cindy Pazyra, Dennis and Joanne Gada, Peter Niosi, and retired Stoughton Deputy Fire Chief Bob Devine.

Also honored were Sally Gorman, Beverly LaFleur, Paul Nimeskern, Ray Pike and Floyd Francis (a Randolph Police Officer), all from Randolph; and Patty and Rob Miszkin of Weymouth. Our waitress, Angela Williams, was superb (she's pictured with manager Eric Watson.)

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WEEKEND FUN:

  • PUMPKIN PATCH FALL FESTIVAL: The South Elementary School presents a Pumpkin Patch Fall Festival on Sunday, Oct. 14, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be a FREE horse-drawn hayride, sponsored by Kiddie Academy.  There will also be a haunted house, baked goods, burgers, hot dogs, pizza, cake walk, raffles, silent auctions, kids games and activities, pumpkin decorating, a STOUGHTON PATCH photo booth, interesting vendors and car seat safety checks. Stop on by, rain or shine.
  • FALL FUN OPEN HOUSE: The Old Colony Y Branch in Stoughton is holding an Open House on Saturday, Oct. 13, from noon-3 p.m. There will be games, crafts, activities and entertainment, featuring the Mix 104.1 FM Event Crew.  The Open House will also have vendor booths, facility tours, and a barbecue lunch available, at additional charge. Try the Y for FREE, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday. Oct. 13 is also the day of the Y Ride, which is an outdoor cycling event to benefit local families. Click here for more information.
  • DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC? The Stoughton Public Library is bringing Magician Scott Jameson to town on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 11 a.m. It promises to be a fun time for the entire family. The event is sponsored by Stoughton Public Library, and the Stoughton Cultural Council (which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.). Assistance for the disabled is available upon request with advance notice. For more information, call 781-344-2711.
  • RUMMAGING FOR A BARGAIN! It's that time again for the Ahavath Torah Congregation's Semi-Annual Indoor Yard and Rummage Sale.  It's happening at the Temple (1179 Central Street) on Sunday, Oct. 14, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. FREE ADMISSION.  There's a huge selection of clothing, bedding, shoes, jewelry, books and household items.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To my neighbor and friend, Larry Johnson, a nationally-acclaimed artist and author. Larry may be best known as half of the Mustard & Johnson Show on WEEI Sports Radio 93.7 FM.

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