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Champion for veterans: Waterbury prepares to say goodbye to an American hero

New Haven

In his younger days, Sam Beamon proudly wore the uniform of a U.S. Marine. Later in life, he proudly served as Chairman of Waterbury’s Veterans Memorial Committee. His battles became making sure no Waterbury-area veteran was forgotten.

And that’s just one reason why Sam Beamon is a hero in the eyes of Mary Kight, whose 21 year-old son was killed in Vietnam. His chopper crashed during a rescue mission.

“When Sam found out that Mike had lost his life he came and told me how much he thought of Michael and he was a great comfort to me,” Mary said.

Sam Beamon and his committee members had a special Waterbury Veterans Memorial Park built on Thomaston Avenue. It includes monuments dedicated to America’s wars and on those monuments is listed all of the names of the Waterbury veterans who died in those in those conflicts.

The name of Mary’s son is etched into the Vietnam War monument.

“The citizens of Waterbury have lost a great leader as far as I’m concerned,” said John Sarlo, a veteran of The Korean War and a member of the Veterans Committee.

John spent the day going through old pictures of his buddy Sam speaking to kids in Waterbury schools. John says that’s what Sam loved. He says sam made it his mission to help Waterbury youth develop their own sense of patriotism and pride in getting back to the community.

“His message always started with the American flag,” John said. “He would tell everybody look to your right, look to your left, everyone is different, but they’re all served by the American flag.”

Sam Beamon didn’t only serve his country, he also served in the Waterbury Police Department for 30 years. Later in his life, his passion was leading the Veterans Memorial Committee. News8 had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Beamon in August when the remains of American service members from the Korean war were finally being returned home to American soil. During that interview, we got to sense his passion for looking out for veterans.

“It’s a proud day for everyone that this country would not leave its war dead behind,” he said back in August.

We also got a sense of his duty to fallen veterans’ families when we asked him why they built the Veterans Memorial Park.

“We keep the memory of our veterans alive not only for us but also for the families,” Sam Beamon said in August.

On Sunday, he will lie in state inside Waterbury City Hall from 1-4pm.

His funeral is Monday at Grace Baptist Church on Kingsbury Street at 11am. He will be buried with military honors. 

“I’m gonna miss him,” Mary said. 

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