At each home varsity football game this season the Coginchaug football team will pay tribute to a local veteran by naming the veteran the team’s “Honorary Captain.”
The veteran will accompany the team captains to midfield for the pregame coin toss, receive a commemorative “Veteran’s 1” tee-shirt and have an account of his/her service record included in the game program.
The Honorary Captain project is intended to provide a personal “Thank You” from the Coginchaug community to those who have served and sacrificed. We’d also like to create an opportunity for those at the game to get a more intimate and individual appreciation of the debt we all owe to members of the military.
Major Valerie Smith of Montville has been selected as Coginchaug’s first “Honorary Captain.” Major Smith retired in 2006 after serving 21 years in the Army National Guard.
In November 2003, she was deployed to Iraq where she spent 16 months with the 118th Medical Support Battalion. Her unit provided immediate medical care to both U.S military personnel and Iraqi civilians. Major Smith was charged with interpreting intelligence reports regarding insurgent attacks and determining the proper level of medical support response needed.
Her duties required 24/7 availability with little down-time during her deployment. Major Smith regularly led her unit on missions which travelled by military convoy where they faced constant threats from ambushes and Improvised Explosive Devises.
Major Smith has been employed for the past 17 years by the Department of Corrections as a state school teacher. She teaches math, English, social studies, reading and science to male inmates at a medium security facility.
Major Smith is the proud mother of three children, Nikkia, 20, a senior basketball player at the University of Hartford, Kianna, 15, a sophomore at Montville High School and Darrius, 12, a seventh grader at Saint Bernard School. She also serves as a board member for Connecticut Adoption and Family Services, an organization that promotes the adoption of Connecticut children in foster care.
Submitted by Coach John Bozzi