Girl Scouts pledge to do their best to do their duty to their country, often through community service projects. As part of Earth Week, several such projects were planned for Saturday, April 24, including one to beautify the Richard M. Kemper Park, a World War II memorial at Mamaroneck High School.
At 8:30 on Saturday morning, several members of the Kemper Memorial Park Preservation Fund attended a breakfast meeting at the Girl Scout House in Larchmont, where girls from several local troops had assembled to receive instructions for the day. Accompanying the group was ninety-five-year-old John A. Esposito.
Mr. Esposito, a World War II veteran, was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals while serving as a technical sergeant with the 4th Infantry Division during the Battle of the Bulge in 1945. He was anxious to help with the Kemper Park project, but said that he also wanted to let the Girl Scouts know how much he appreciated the letters and cookies they deliver to the homes of veterans each year.
Volunteer Community Chairs Pat Allen and Cathy Bennett introduced the KMPPF guests. Preservation Fund President Jan Northrup explained the history of Kemper Memorial Park and the goals of the beautification project. Then the cadre of Scouts, armed with an array of garden tools and sporting brightly-colored gardening gloves donated by Foley’s Hardware store, departed for Mamaroneck High School.
At the park, the girls learned their mission for the day. Assignments included: clearing debris; removing weeds and planting Girl Scout donated pansies in the stone planters; tilling the soil around the perimeter of the monument in preparation for the red, white and blue petunias that will be planted prior to Memorial Day; and watering the day’s plantings. Within minutes, Joann DiBuono, Sabine Ginsberg, Christine Perciasepe, Gabriella Carcano, Rachel Primavera, Victoria Micalizzi, Mia Sheindlin and Alexandra Micalizzi were engaged in their specific tasks. Also wielding rakes, shovels and brooms were adult Girl Scout volunteers Sue Perciasepe, Rosa Micalizzi and Susanne Vasquez.
During a short break, MHS freshmen Christine Perciasepe and Sabine Ginsberg joined Mr. Esposito to peruse some of the names on the monument. Christine attempted to estimate Mr. Esposito’s age by assuming that he was approximately 18 in 1942. She concluded that he was about 85. When he told her that he had been drafted a few months before Pear Harbor in 1941 and was actually 26 when he entered the army, she and Sabine began recalculating. Mr. Esposito was thoroughly amused when Christine finally stated: “You can’t possibly be that old!”
A timely delivery of top soil and the water truck by MHS groundskeepers brought the day to a successful conclusion. Thanks to the Girl Scouts, it was: Mission Accomplished!
John Esposito is a member of the Kemper Memorial Park Preservation Fund and the son of John A. Esposito.