It’s been a busy week for Maine veterans and those who support them, with events at the University of Maine at Augusta and VA Maine Healthcare Systems-Togus.

Thursday marked the 150th birthday of the U.S. veterans hospital near Chelsea – the first of its kind in the nation.

State and federal officials celebrated the occasion in September, but a smaller party was held Thursday on the actual birthday of the Togus hospital.

Pieces of commemorative artwork were dedicated at the celebration, while writers with unique connections to Togus spoke during a ceremony in the hospital’s theater.

The speakers included Allen Breed and Robin White, who are both related to Bowman Bigelow Breed, a surgeon who was in charge of Togus during its early days. Breed and White recently published a book, “My Own Dear Wife,” using letters exchanged between Bowman Bigelow Breed and his wife, Hannah.

Among the artworks dedicated at the Thursday ceremony was a large eagle carved out of wood by George Gunning, a Navy veteran who makes and donates eagle-headed canes to Maine veterans. Gunning was joined at the ceremony by his wife, Donna Gunning, and military veteran Burt Truman, who have helped him produce more than 3,000 canes.

The University of Maine at Augusta also has been honoring veterans. The school has a large nontraditional student population, including several hundred veterans, so the week has been meaningful, said Amy Line, coordinator of military and veterans affairs at the school.

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Jason Pafundi contributed to this report.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: