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Readsboro soldier’s legacy honored with gift

READSBORO- On August 18, 1952, Cpl. Richard L. Bolognani and 30 other men were crossing a river during the Korean War. The remote area near Inje, in what’s now South Korea, had recently experienced a typhoon with heavy rains.  As the soldiers were crossing the waist-deep river, flash flooding from nearby mountains released a sudden wave of water downstream.  The men were washed downstream and drowned. There were no survivors. 

Bolognani grew up in Readsboro.  His brother Mario and his wife Rosie still live there. The 6.25 Foundation, a Vermont-based organization dedicated to Korean War education, wanted to honor his legacy. They partnered with the Readsboro Community Library to do so. The foundation donated $5,000 to the library in Richard L. Bolognani’s name.

“We’re honored,” said Mario Bolognani. “I’d like to thank these people very much.”
Richard L. Bolognani was a decorated soldier with many honors and medals to his name. He received the Korean Service Medal, the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, the United Nations Service Medal, the Republic of Korea Service War Medal, and a Combat Infantry Badge.

When the 6.25 Foundation chose to recognize Bolognani, they reached out to Cyndi Candiloro, the Readsboro Community Library’s director. “The foundation honors Korean War veterans. We have a veteran from Readsboro, that’s where Richard L. Bolognani comes into it,” said Candiloro. The foundation seeks out people and places to donate to. There is no application process for their gifts. The library was selected when the founders saw low reading scores for Readsboro. By partnering with the library, they hope to bring the scores up. 

hope to bring the scores up.
While it is still being decided what the money will go toward, a few ideas are floating around. Some of the money will likely be used to replace some children’s books. As the goal for the funds is to see the reading scores go up, some new books are an appropriate use of this money. 

The library has been closed since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. Even when Gov. Phil Scott gave the go-ahead for libraries to reopen, the Readsboro Community Library remained closed. The library can only be accessed through the Readsboro Central School. With the strong desire to keep schools in-person, having the library and therefore the school open to the public isn’t currently possible. The possibility of adding their own private door is being considered with this memorial gift. It would allow the library to reopen, even during the pandemic.  

Putting the money toward STEM programming is also being considered. The library could purchase STEM kits for students at all grade levels. “It would encourage reluctant readers with hands-on activities,” said Candiloro.
The money will not offset or replace the current budget. One of the stipulations for receiving the grant was that it be put toward special programming and projects for the library.

“I was shocked,” said Candiloro. “Nobody just comes and contacts us and says ‘Hi, we want to donate $5,000 to you.’ The most we’ve ever had donated at one point in time is $100. We’re a small town, this just doesn’t usually happen.”

The 6.25 Foundation raises money through their Liberty Walk. Participants get sponsors to pledge money for the miles they walk and the foundation matches the money raised. The 2020 Liberty Walk raised $2,500 for the Richard L. Bolognani Memorial, which the foundation then matched in their donation to the Readsboro Community Library. Bolognani was one of two veterans honored at the Liberty Walk this year. 

The 6.25 Foundation holds the Liberty Walk on June 25 each year. This is the date for which the foundation is named, the start of the Korean War. This year, due to the pandemic, all the participants completed their walks separately. The next walk will be held June 25, 2021. The 6.25 Foundation’s goal is to walk 1,000 miles collectively next year.

As Candiloro said, “Even though COVID-19 came in 2020, there are still some good things.”

 

Amelia Nick