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Waterford’s Duck Pond To Be Renamed After Arnold Holm

Waterford Recreation and Parks Department agrees to name the duck pond within Civic Triangle Park the Arnold E. Holm Jr. Memorial Park.

Tuesday evening, the Waterford Recreation and Parks Commission unanimously approved renaming the duck pond within the Arnold E. Holm Jr. Memorial Park.

The meeting began with Jim Cavalieri reading a letter written by his brother and Holm's best friend, Bill Cavalieri, about Holm’s many accomplishments and awards. After, the commission unanimously agreed to rename the duck pond after Holm, and also agreed to waive the standard one-year waiting period for the name change.

“My view is (Holm) has waited 40 years, he shouldn’t have to wait any longer,” Recreation and Parks Commission Chairman Ed Murphy said.

Holm, who grew up in Waterford, while serving as a helicopter pilot in the army. His body was finally identified last year, and was .

Bill Cavalieri and other friends of Holm asked the town to rename the pond after Holm. Cavalieri also said in his letter that the group will pay for all the costs of the new signs and a granite block telling Holm’s story, and the group would also pay for the maintenance associated with the name change.

“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.”

Holm’s Story

According to Cavalieri’s letter, Holm was Waterford High School’s first great athlete, as he was the captain or co-captain of nine different sport teams. In his letter, Cavalieri said Holm was ultra-competitive, was always looking for the next challenge and was far more mature and wiser than other students his age.

After graduating high school, Holm earned a scholarship to Springfield College, according to the letter. But college wasn’t for him, so Holm dropped out and enlisted in the army, according to the letter.

There, he excelled, winning dozens of awards for bravery and courage, according to the letter. He eventually was promoted to Second Lieutenant, a rank almost exclusively given to people who graudate college in a military program or graduates from West Point, according to the letter.

The promotions continued, with Holm eventually being promoted to Captain, according to the letter. He also was trained to become a helicopter pilot, where he consistently volunteered himself for the most dangerous missions, Cavalieri wrote.

In 1972, at the age of 28, Holm’s helicopter was shot down, and he was killed. It would take until 2011, after Waterford High School students joined the charge, that Holm’s body was finally identified.

In November of 2011, his body was , with his daughter – who was 4 when he died, and is now a mother in her forties – and wife in attendance.

Practicalities

The park will still be the Civic Triangle Park, and the Arnold E. Holm Jr. Memorial Park will be the duck pond section within Civic Triangle Park, Recreation and Parks Director Brian Flaherty said. Drawings of what the signs and granite block would look like have not yet been submitted, as the group that supports the name change first wanted to get the town's approval, Jim Cavalieri said.

David Irons August 31, 2012 at 01:08 PM
I don't wish to take anything away from Arnie Holm as he deserves recognition. But where did anyone get the idea that the rank Second Lieutenant is "a rank almost exclusively given to graduates from West Point"? That is the same rank given those who graduate from ROTC or the Officer Candidate Schools as well. There are a great many more who are commissioned 2nd Lt. from OCS and ROTC than from West Point. And now that the Duck Pond has been renamed to honor Arnie, what is going to be done to honor the others from Waterford who lost their lives in Vietnam? Are they any less deserving?
Paul Petrone (Editor) August 31, 2012 at 01:25 PM
The point is Arnie Holm didn't go through any of that - he earned it in the field, which is very rare. Although noted, I can fix that.
Jack Kennedy August 31, 2012 at 07:09 PM
David, The article should have said that Captain Holm was one of 7 who received a direct commission (Often called a battlefield commission) in Vietnam. He was an exceptional soldier looked up to by all and as brave as they come! I served two tours in Vietnam, the second one as Captain Holm's commanding officer. He represented all of us who served in Vietnam with honor and exceptional courage. Honoring him honors ALL who served as he did in Vietnam! Colonel Jack Kennedy Ruidoso, NM
William Terry August 31, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Captain Holm is certainly one of Waterford's many heros. The thing I object to is naming parks and buildings after heros. Waterford has had a long standing policy against memorial names. This will cause lots of disagreements between citizens as to who's name goes on what school, park, town building....We need to place memorials, well placed words throughout the town. I believe we should all continue to honor all our heros without choosing a few. I think we can already find hundreds of Waterford heros that equally deserve the same honor of being named of the Duck Pond.
Maureen Brennan St. Pierre September 01, 2012 at 03:31 AM
It is highly appropriate that the Duck Pond be named the Arnold E. Holm Jr. Memorial Park. Waterford already has ball fields named after deserving citizens. The children who use those fields grow up learning sportsmenship, how to win and lose in life, and respect for one another. What better example for them to emulate than a fellow student who walked the same halls as them, played on those fields and distinguished himself in school and service to his country. Captain Holm gave his life so that we can all enjoy the freedoms we have today. He is a much better example for the youth of Waterford to admire, than the overpaid actors, singers, and professional athletes the media glorifies. I applaude the Parks and Rec. Comm. for their actions.
David Irons September 01, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Col. Jack, thank you for your reply and for your service in Vietnam. I too am a Vietnam vet having served there in the Artillery in '67. As I noted in my original comment, I don't wish to take any credit away from Arnie and, no, I had not been aware that he had received a battle field commission. I am proud of my service as well as that of all veterans. As an added note, I also went on to serve for over 30 more years in the National Guard retiring six years ago.
Harold Hansen September 02, 2012 at 05:55 PM
I knew Arnie and played on the WHS baseball team with him. I didn't know much of his later life until the Waterford High School students' project sparked renewed efforts to find his remains in Vietnam. If one reads Bill Cavalieri's letter about Arnie in its entirety, a picture of an extraordinary human being will emerge - from his youth until his untimely death. To the veterans adding comments here, thank you for your service. To the Vietnam veterans, welcome home. I served 18 months in Vietnam as an interpretor with Radio Research (Army Security Agency in Disquise). I don't consider myself a hero by any definition of the word. Arnie's battleground was outside the perimeter constantly. In his helicopter he was a constant target. He chose to perform those heroic acts. Going to war doesn't make heroes. Individual actions make heroes. The naming of a park for Arnie is recognition of his entire life, not just his heroism and death. It is recognition of that extraordinary person. We should honor Arnie's life - well lived, but too short.
Harold Hansen September 02, 2012 at 06:10 PM
I think that I should address those from Waterford who lost their lives in defense of our country. David, William, let's join together to find a way to honor all those lost in all wars. We need a forum for all ideas. Its not an easy project - probably the reason it hasn't been done - but a workable solution can be found. Want to be on a committee to find the solution? We can be the first three.

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