Peterborough Senior Program offers ‘Vet to Vet’ Tuesdays

From left, Gloria Schultz of the Peterborough Senior Program, Anna Annelli of Washington, Al Jenks of New Ipswich and Lance dePlante of New Ipswich gather for “Vet to Vet” on Tuesday.

From left, Gloria Schultz of the Peterborough Senior Program, Anna Annelli of Washington, Al Jenks of New Ipswich and Lance dePlante of New Ipswich gather for “Vet to Vet” on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FONDA

By ISABELLA MESSA

For the Ledger-Transcript

Published: 05-02-2024 8:15 AM

Gloria Schultz, senior program specialist for the Peterborough Recreation Department, has launched a new group for veterans in the Monadnock region.

It is called “Vet to Vet,” and is an opportunity for veterans to socialize over coffee and share stories and memories together. The group started about month ago, and meets Tuesdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Peterborough Community Center, 25 Elm St.

“I encourage people to come,” Schultz said. “When you first walk in it’s quiet, and it eventually becomes a full conversation where they are sharing memories and remembering past times.”

Being with the Peterborough Senior Program for 8 1/2 years, Schultz works to make groups that appeal to all kinds of people and interests,  including cribbage, bingo, mahjong and crafts. She explained that there are many groups for women and other people who share similar interests to talk and share experiences,  but was asked why there were none for men, as well. With that, Schultz decided to take that idea and reframe it into a group that caters to veterans.

“We have all these wonderful veterans that should be able to talk in a clean and comfortable place,” she said.

On Tuesday, Army veterans Anna Annelli of Washington, Al Jenks of New Ipswich and Lance dePlante of New Ipswich gathered at the community center. Annelli said she enjoyed the talking and camaraderie.

“It’s all because of her and her coffee,” she said, referring to Schultz.

Jenks cited “curiosity” and seeing “what other vets are up to,” while dePlante noted “being able to sit around and tell stories.”

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Youth killed in Jaffrey crash
Josiah Hakala of New Ipswich wins national invitational golf championship
BUSINESS – Family is at the heart of Well Within in Lyndeborough
THEATER REVIEW – ‘Deathtrap’ is a wild mystery
Monadnock Underground offers a place for writers
Finding A Home: Elizabeth Goodhue – Lots of jobs, but little affordable housing

DePlante and Jenks both served in Vietnam, with dePlante remembering flying a plane called “the Flying Banana,” and Jenks talking about how soldiers were paid in “military payment certificates” instead of cash.

“It was funny money,” he said. “Lots of times, guys would use it in  a poker game.”

Annelli served in Iraq, and when asked a particular memory, first said, “It was hot.” She then told a story about how she was in charge of eight Iraqi men who would come to the post to work. One day, a mortar went off, and part of her job was to get the men to a bunker.

“They brought out their teapot, and we had tea together,” she said.

Schultz plans to promote Vet to Vet at the upcoming Town Meeting, although the group will not meet May 14, as the ballot session of Town Meeting takes place that day in the community center. Among her goals for the group is to remove the fee it currently costs to participate.

“The current fee is $3 for Peterborough residents and $3.50 for non-Peterborough residents,” she said. “However, we hope to work at removing the fee, eventually, in order to access all veterans in our community.” 

Schultz hopes that this group blossoms in order for people to “start a conversation with other veterans and be with people who share similar experiences while also being able to look back on fond memories with cake and coffee.”

Bill Fonda contributed to this story.