2011-03-04 / Front Page

Leominster families continue to have loved ones in harm’s way

STORY BY
DIANE C. BEAUDOIN


Willie Schofield (pictured) is scheduled to come home on leave this Friday. PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF THE SCHOFIELD FAMILY Willie Schofield (pictured) is scheduled to come home on leave this Friday. PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF THE SCHOFIELD FAMILY As the Johnny Veterans’ Memorial Park nears groundbreaking, other Leominster families that have loved ones serving in the military offer their full support to the Roberge family, and the idea of a park to commemorate their son Jonathan.

Suzanne Schofield Valcourt has a son serving in the U.S. Army, currently stationed in Afghanistan, and worries each and every minute of the day for his safety.

“William is 22 years old, and has six years in the Army. Ever since he was a little boy he knew this is the career he wanted,” Suzanne began.

She said he played Army constantly and when he finished at Leominster High School, he enlisted to serve.

“Willie is also a history buff, and he knew what he wanted. I think he followed in my father’s footsteps. My dad, Roger Bergeron served in the U.S. Navy,” she said.

Suzanne sent her son off to boot camp as a kid, “and he came back as a man.”

As for Willie’s family left here, Suzanne said, “the fear has not stopped. Once he went to Afghanistan, now I know the true meaning of fear. This has to be the scariest time of my life,” she said.

Willie and Suzanne do communicate at times on Skype, and to mom, “it is a relief to see him physically there. But I do see his anxiety and I know there are lots of times he can’t sleep.”

Willie is a very sensitive guy with a huge heart, according to Suzanne, so it came as no surprise to her when he said he wanted to make a career out of the military.

“When I do get to talk to him, he keeps telling me, “I’m just doing my job Ma.”

Another local soldier, Curtis Cook also joined the service right out of high school, and has six years under his belt as a United States Marine. Curtis has close ties to former city councilor David Nault, and is the brother of Stacia Venturri, who works in the city’s Building Department.

“He left last March for Afghanistan, and was there for a big push. He met up with and trained with some British troops, and after being there for only seven days, he lost his best friend in combat,” Nault began.

On April 19, Curt was also involved in a battle that he took a secondary bullet from.

“There was heavy fire going on, his Sergeant got shot, and Curt took the secondary round in his femur. A chopper went in to get the men out, and Curt crawled back to where his sergeant lay wounded and got him to the safety of the chopper,” Nault explained.

Nault said Curt is planning on going back into battle, as “Marines are all brothers. They all stick together, he wants to go back.”

Stacia said Curt contacted her himself to tell her about being shot, and she was able to handle it better after hearing his voice.

“The sacrifices these brave kids make, people really don’t realize it unless they are actually involved. When Curt told me himself, it was easier to handle.”

Both Willie and Curt knew Pvt. Roberge from town, and both soldiers were devastated when they got word he had been killed in combat.

“The Roberge’s are a tremendous family. They have supported me with Curt over there,” Stacia said.

Suzanne said Jonathan used to go to her house when the boys were young kids, and she sees him, “as a true hero.”

Both families are in full support of the park to honor the fallen soldier, and the boy they both knew.

“It’s a great thing to honor Jonathan, and all soldiers who have died in service to their country,” Suzanne said.

Stacia feels the location of the new park could not be any better for the Roberge family.

“It is something they will see every time they leave their street. It is truly fortuitous the group has such a perfect spot.”

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