Every day, when walked to school, he would past (or if it was frozen, through) the duck pond at .
And now, if everything goes right, that pond will be named after him.
Tuesday night, the Recreation and Parks Commission unanimously approved putting naming the Civic Triangle Park duck pond after Holm on their next month’s agenda, calling it “an honor.” The group will vote on the memorial next month after Holm’s longtime friend Bill Cavalieri wrote a letter to the town asking it be done.
“No one individual has brought more honor to the Town of Waterford than Arnold E. Holm Jr,” Cavalieri wrote in the letter. “The story of his character, moral values, leadership and heroism will be talked about for generations to come, just as it will touch and inspire the lives of the youth of Waterford.”
Cavalieri said private donations would pay for signs at the duck pond with the new name, along with a piece at the pond telling Holm's story. Recreation and Parks Commission Chairman Ed Murphy asked for Cavalieri, who lives in Florida, or other people representing the cause to come to next month’s meeting to explain exactly what they wanted the duck pond to be called and the signs they were going to put up, so it could be approved.
Who Was Arnold Holm?
a Waterford High School graduate in the early 1960s who was the captain of the baseball team, basketball team and football team. He then enlisted in the army as a helicopter pilot at the height of the Vietnam War, where he moved to the rank of captain – a rank generally reserved for West Point graduates.
In 1972, Holm’s helicopter was shot down and he was killed. It took 39 years for his body to be recovered and be brought back home, after efforts by his family, Cavalieri, Waterford High School students and former congressman Rob Simmons.
“He represents to our community what a hero truly is,” First Selectman Dan Steward said Tuesday.
Tuesday night, the Recreation and Parks Commission accepted the letter by Cavalieri, but could not act on the decision until next month because of protocol. They also heard speeches from Steward and former Recreation and Parks Director and Holm cohort Ron Bugbee praising Holm and this new push by Cavalieri.
In his letter, Cavalieri said he wanted information about Holm next to the sign at the duck pond so everybody would know his story. He said private donors would pay for the signs and donors would create an endowment fund to maintain the signs associated with the Holm memorial.
Why Not A Field?
At the Recreation and Parks Commission meeting Tuesday night, one member asked Steward why the Board of Education did not name the new baseball or football field after Holm. Cavalieri asked for the same thing during a memorial for Holm , and at the time Board of Education Chairwoman Kathleen McCarty said she would look into it.
“It needs to go through the proper channels,” McCarty said at the time. “But we will bring it into the policy committee.”
Time has passed, and McCarty never brought it to the policy committee or made a public attempt to name the baseball or football field after Holm. When asked Tuesday, she said naming a field after Holm is a good idea, and she would look into it.
“There are many deserving people, I think it is something we need to look into,” McCarty said. “It is something that would have to go through the policy committee.”
Meanwhile, when asked Tuesday night by a member of the Recreation and Parks Commission, Steward said this issue has been around for at least 20 years. He said there are several people in town, like former athletic director , who deserve recognition, he said.
Instead, the high school field is named Alumni Field, when some of the alumni are in jail, Steward said. He said the issue has been brought up again and again to the Board of Education, and nothing gets done.
“That is the challenge,” Steward said.
Editor's Note: The headline now more accurately reflects what the name of the pond at Civic Triangle Park will be, if approved.