American Legion Bradley Burton Post 155 is completing the Healing Garden at the Connecticut Veteran’s Home in Rocky Hill, Conn. This project is the brainchild of Commander Harris Bud Neal of the Woodbury American Legion. Bud tenaciously managed the project, despite problems, over a three-year period through changes of administration, relocation rumors and stories of potential construction on the garden site. His dedication to the veterans has kept the project alive. On Wednesday, October 11, 2017, groundbreaking occurred when construction began on the walkway. Members of the Woodbury Legion participated in the construction including plantings, building walls and raising money.
When completed, there will be five Connecticut-native shade trees planted, along with five benches to relax on and several small gardens within the larger garden. Tying these features together is a walkway, about 300 feet long, in a loop and wide enough for two wheelchairs to pass each other.
The garden is being constructed for the veterans recovering at the Veterans Home, and their families. Since many of the vets who make use of the Healthcare Center are disabled, wheelchair access and level ground were a priority. The garden lawn gives way to a slope and a spectacular view down a valley that reaches to the Connecticut River.
The number “5” is significant to this garden. The five benches are connected to the five wars fought since the mid-20th century. The five trees represent the five branches of the service (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard). When mature, the branches of the trees will overlap, providing shade to veterans and their family members. Bud is simply thrilled that a dream is becoming a reality, and deflects all credit back to the spirit of sacrifice among the veterans.