When Ron Caron came home from Okinawa after serving in the military during the Vietnam era, he changed from his uniform to civilian clothes. “It was not a good time for U.S. servicemen.
“While I was never called a baby killer or anything like that, it was still a difficult time for veterans. But it was different in this small community where I was born and raised,” he said.
“Everyone seemed to appreciate what we did, especially the other veterans. No sooner did I come back when I was in the corner store and Ray Charest, the Post 135 commander at that time, was working behind the meat counter. He smiled at me and pulled an application out of his pocket to join the post.”
Nearly 40 years later, Caron, the eight-time post commander, does the same when he meets veterans.
“I guess it’s just in the blood. There was a draft when I was still in high school, so like many of my classmates, I enlisted before being drafted. It’s a family tradition. My father was in World War II and was with my uncle, Alphee Caron, when he was killed in the Solomon Islands campaign. He was the first WWII soldier from Sabattus killed in that war.”
Being a member of the post is a lot of work.
“We are a service organization. Members of the Post started the first volunteer fire department. We give out scholarships, Thanksgiving baskets to the needy, help Special Olympics, sponsor youth sports, and support a dozen other programs and organizations. But it’s the support for the veterans that is most important. We look after each other as we share a common bond and are proud of our community, and we show it,” Caron said.
With beads of sweat on his forehead below his service cover, Caron relaxes in the post headquarters after leading Monday’s Memorial Day Parade. Looking up at the photos on the wall of past members who have died, he cites their accomplishments and service to the country, both at home and abroad.