Restoration of the Sammis/Waterman Memorial
After falling into disrepair, a group of volunteers teamed up to refurbish a memorial to two Rehoboth veterans. In 2011, Rehoboth Pop Warner Football and Little League designated their complex: “Sammis Field and Waterman Diamond".
The memorial, located at the baseball diamond next to Town Hall, commemorates the life and military service of Marine Capt Benjamin W. Sammis and, Lt Craig Waterman.
Sammis, a pilot, was killed when his helicopter crashed in combat in 2003. Sammis was the second solider from Massachusetts to die in Iraq during the Global War on Terrorism. Waterman was a medivac helicopter pilot killed in Vietnam. He was also a United States Marine.
Armand Perreault, a Vietnam Veteran who also served in the Marines, was shocked when he saw tattered flags hanging from the poles. The harsh winter weather had also taken a toll on the memorial.
“It was neglected,” Perreault said. After reaching out to town officials, including Jake Kramer, the Veterans Service officer, Perreault worked with various individuals to obtain the materials to restore the memorial to its former glory.
Perreault acknowledged the work of Kevin Cryan, a Rehoboth resident who owns a landscaping business. “He was jogging around (the memorial) and brought it to my attention,” Perreault noted.
New poles were ordered for the memorial, which has a nautical theme. There are flags representing every branch of the armed forces. A 40 foot mast is in the center. “I respect all veterans and this brought it closer to home,” said Perreault, who recalled the less than warm welcome he received when he returned to the States when the war was over.
Perreault has done restorations on other memorials and feels the men and women who have served in the military deserve a level of respect for their sacrifices. Looking at the Sammis/Waterman memorial gives him a sense of pride. “One thing that I always wanted to make sure of is that any of the veterans who return (from combat) not go unrecognized without help in any shape or form,” Perreault said. “I am honored to have participated in that project.”