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News > Pomerleau Dedicates Military Ball To Vermont Guardsman
Pomerleau Dedicates Military Ball To Vermont Guardsman

Posted 1/22/2013   Updated 1/22/2013 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Victoria Greenia
158th Fighter Wing

1/22/2013 - SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -- On the first of December 1,200 Vermont Air and Army National Guard members filed into the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Burlington, Vt. Hosted by Mr. Antonio Pomerleau, a local philanthropist, each service member was able to enjoy dinner and dancing at the 2012 military ball in appreciation of their service.

Dim chandelier lights casted a comforting glow over tables and chairs that were swathed in luxurious burgundy and gold cloth. Visual and mouth-watering treats adorned each table; a large vase was a centerpiece on each, brimming with white delicate flowers. A plate with a generous slice of multi-layered chocolate cake lay in front of each seat, challenging even the most strong-willed to wait until dinner was done. Such sharp contrast to the training lines and hangers of drill weekend, no detail was overlooked to ensure every attendee felt Mr. Pomerleau's generosity.

The turnout was so successful that hotel rooms spilled over to at least two other hotels. This was the largest military ball Vermont has ever had.

The benefactor wrote in an email that it was his understanding that his contributions for the lavish event were "the first time in history that an individual has thrown such a large party including all levels of the service." In fact, he wrote that he had insisted that everyone, regardless of rank, was invited. This was a way for him to express his appreciation of the men and women, and their families, in Vermont who serve their state and country.

As a token of thanks, Maj. General Thomas Drew, the Vermont Adjutant General, made Pomerleau an Honorary Green Mountain Boy for "meritorious service and support to the Soldiers, Airmen, and Families of the Vermont National Guard."

This isn't the first time Pomerleau has dedicated his time and money in showing support of Vermont's military men and women. For several years he's been putting on Christmas parties for their families. He wrote, "I have given many family and children parties in years past for families of those serving. At my first party there were 600 children and parents, the second year it grew to 1,200 and the third year I had space for 1,800 and 2,200 showed up!"

He wrote it was the least he could do for the people serving their country.

Pomerleau never had the opportunity to serve his country in a military capacity due to lingering injuries from a childhood accident. In World World II he tried to "sneak through" enlistment, but was turned away by doctors. He did the next best thing: Auxiliary patrol and night posts where he would "report any planes flying in the area." Now he serves by sponsoring events for service members and their families.

"I think soldiers and their [spouses] are appreciative to have someone besides the Army doing something for them," Pomerleau wrote. "That, to me, is very important!"

During the open commencement of the ball, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin summed it up when he said, "Everytime Pomerleau puts on an event like this for the Vermont military, he is saying thank you on behalf of the state of Vermont."

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