Military Letter

June 15, 2006

Thanks for the memories!

The Naval War College families are getting ready to move on to new assignments around the world, but we want to say thank-you for the great experience we've had in our short time on Conanicut Island.

It's hard to believe our time in Jamestown is over. Several of us got a jump-start on our time in the village, visiting the island while staying elsewhere as we waited for our rental homes after the summer season ended in early September. All of us were excited to spend our year at the Naval War College living on this beautiful island.

We enjoyed the autumn in Jamestown, starting with fall school sports and the hay ride to the Pumpkin Patch. Touring Watson Farm, keeping an eye out for the Oreo cows as we traveled on North Main, and visiting the wildlife sanctuary were great outdoor trips, along with the historic Conanicut Battery. Speaking of outdoors, nothing beats Beavertail Lighthouse and Museum for views. We held our farewell picnic at the Beavertail State Park and appreciated the personal tour from the lighthouse tour guides under the direction of Association President George Warner.

We loved all the dining and shopping opportunities so close to home. It's nice to be able to enjoy a nice meal and never leave the island! Several of us became regulars at Freddie's House of Pizza, Ace's Pizza, Slice of Heaven, the Theatre Family Restaurant, East Ferry Deli, the PAC Club, the Conanicut Oyster Bar, Tricia's Tropi-Grille, and Chopmist Charlie's.

Many of us got to know and love Paws & Claws' Barbara Szepatowski, who took such great care of our pets as we ran all over New England. She has a big heart and her cause, homeless animals, is an important one. The staff at the library is terrific. Miss Rowena's kids' programs were a big hit. The Jamestown Community Playground is a gem, too. A few of us participated in the Jamestown Community Chorus, under the direction of B. J. Whitehouse, whose selfless message and mission is to help everyone, regardless of musical experience, understand and enjoy the importance of having (and making) music in life. We met lots of incredible people in the chorus, sharing the spirit of community that is so strong in Jamestown.

The community has opened its arms to us, and we will always remember your welcoming spirit. Thanks for the safe and fun Halloween at the fire department and on the town streets. Thanks, Conanicut Marine Services, for the pictures with Santa. Thanks for the Christmas tree lighting and the community wide luminaries in December. Thanks for the holiday bazaars at all the churches!

We'll be taking other memories with us, of the Empty Bowls supper, Hunger Awareness Week, old Jamestown Bridge demolitions, the Jamestown Press, and the town's many churches. Thanks for the fabulous presentation of "Honk!," the Veterans Day ceremony, the Penguin Plunge, the Easter egg hunt, and the Memorial Day parade. Thanks to Tony Rafannelli and the Little League crew for allowing a member from each of the military families to throw out the first pitches of the baseball season. Thanks for the special opening-day festivities, including the parade through town. Thanks for the Scouts programs, the team sports, and the great teachers at Melrose and Lawn schools and North Kingstown High School.

We've come to Jamestown from all over the nation, with tours of duty around the world. With all that moving around comes experiences in all types of communities. We've used the term paradise when speaking to each other of our time in Jamestown - natural beauty, a safe, small-town atmosphere, wonderful citizens and resources. Jamestown's Realtors can attest to our high recommendations of Conanicut Island to the 2007 Class at Naval War College.

We've had a great time in your beautiful town and hope you all realize what a special community you have made. Thanks for all the memories you've given our families, and we hope we have left behind some positive memories for your families as well. We salute you, Jamestown!

Penny Heiniger, lieutenant colonel, U.S. Air Force for the military families