Darien honors second veteran in sign program
Many may have heard of the term “the Greatest Generation,” which is used to describe those who grew up during the Great Depression or fought in World War II.
According to former Darien resident Dick Costello, his late father Richard is a “card carrying member of that generation.”
“My dad gave to his family, he gave to his friends and neighbors, he gave to his community, he gave to his church, he gave to his country,” said Dick to about 65 people Sunday at the corner of West Avenue and Moore Street in Darien, at a ceremony in his father’s honor.
The name “Costello Way” has just been added to the Moore Street sign in honor of Costello, as part of the Darien Wartime Veteran Street Sign program.
A Darien resident who lived on West Avenue on the corner of Moore Street for 40 years, Costello served as quartermaster second class in the U.S. Navy from 1942-1946 during World War II. He then returned to active duty during the Korean War. He was honorably discharged for the second time in 1951. He died in 1993.
Costello is the second veteran to be honored in the program, whose purpose is to honor Darien wartime veterans by adding their names to existing street signs in town. The added name does not change any street address.
The program was created by Lucy Berry, who teaches eighth grade history classes at Middlesex Middle School in Darien.
The first veteran honored in the program was Charles (Chick) Scribner, who was recognized in May. Two signs on Fairfield Avenue now contain Scribner’s name on them.
“We realize it is a blessing and an honor to have among us those who have served their country and served their town in honorable ways,” Berry said. “These people have taught us what it means to be a good citizen.”
The Wartime Veteran Street Sign program was started as a way to “recognize the sacrifice and service of those who served during times of war and then continued to actively participate in the life of the town,” she said.
At the ceremony, First Selectman Jayme Stevenson read a proclamation and a member of Darien Boy Scout Troop 53 read a poem called “A Sailor You Be” by Noel Payne.
All three of Costello’s children — Dick, Jim Costello and Judy Costello Brinkerhoff, spoke.
When it was her turn to speak, Costello Brinkerhoff recounted the teachers she had at Holmes Elementary School who “always pushed us, always taught us to go for the highest standard,” she said.
Dick said when he was growing up, his father, who was a midshipman in the U.S. Naval Academy, would tell him and his siblings many sea stories.
“He had seven award medals,” Dick said.
Costello’s Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal has seven stars on it, which represent campaigns or specific battles, according to Dick.
Aside from service to his country, Richard Costello also served his town. He was a member of the Saint Thomas More Parish Council, coached Little League teams, and was an officer of the Darien Babe Ruth League.
A family of service
Sunday’s ceremony did not just honor Costello, it also honored Costello’s family. Costello’s wife Gladys served in the U.S. Army as a nurse during World War II, and Costello Brinkerhoff and Dick served in the U.S. Navy.
At the ceremony, Costello Brinkerhoff spoke about her mother Gladys, who had received a letter from President Harry Truman, thanking her mother for her service.
Gladys joined the U.S. Army nurse corps after nurse’s training in 1945 and served as a lieutenant. She was stationed at Santa Ana Army Hospital when World War II ended. Today, she lives at the Army Distaff Hall in Washington, D.C.
“This is our home,” said Costello Brinkerhoff, referring to Darien. “This will always be our home.”