All about the FLAGMAN!




Sempra and "It's Over"

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New Milford Spectrum
New Milford, CT


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from Flagscan no. 56, Christmas 1999

Reproduced by permission of The News-Times


Published 04:38 p.m., Tuesday, June 19, 2012

read the full story HERE

Reproduced by permission of The News-Times

New Milford flag aficionado honors 50-star anniversary

Published: 08:44 p.m., Friday, November 19, 2010

Peter Orenski, of New Milford, holds an American flag he designed to honor the Golden Jubilee of the American flag. The jubilee celebrates the 50th anniversary of the design, which has been flying since July 4, 1960. "I'm a kid from Romania gifting a special flag to his adopted country," said Orenski. Photo: Chris Ware / The News-Times | Buy This Photo

NEW MILFORD --"Flag Man'' Peter Orenski designed a Golden Jubilee American flag to honor the Fourth of July, 50th anniversary of the 50-star flag, one custom-ordered by a New Jersey man to celebrate the occasion in honor of his veteran father.

Orenski, who designs custom and lapel flags of all kinds, crafted his latest design -- "50" is made with 13 gold stars for each numeral in the blue panel, with the 24 white stars lining the border next to the traditional 13 red and white stripes -- for what he thought was a fitting tribute to the symbol most Americans salute with pride and affection.

Orenski expected the half-century anniversary of the current United States flag, one students and teachers across the nation honor with the Pledge of Allegiance, might heighten existing patriotism in the United States.

Yet Fouth of July passed without nary a mention. Then Veterans Day. Still no bow to what Orenski believes is a significant piece of this nation's history.

So he started to ask, why? Why is the 50th anniversary of the current American flag not auspicious enough to draw notice?

He can almost understand complacency by the mainstream public, but not by veterans and government leaders who in their daily pursuits are enveloped by what the flag represents: liberty and justice for all.

"In the morning we Pledge our Allegiance and in the afternoon, we don't care?'' said the 70-year-old native of Romania, a naturalized citizen.

Flags are not only Orenski's current livelihood, but they are his passion. He loves researching the history behind the flags he makes, whether it happens to be for a Native American tribe or for a college. But for him the U.S. flag is something extra special. He remembers that in his homeland an American flag was contraband, and one could be arrested for even gazing too long at the flag waving outside the American embassy.

Whether or not his Jubilee flag becomes a must-buy, Orenski simply does want either fellow experts on flags or those in his home community to forget what the U.S. flag represents.

"I'm puzzled about how we ignore something we care as much about as we do this symbol,'' Orenski said.

Mayor Patricia Murphy said she has not seen Orenski's flag, but is certain it is a fine tribute. As for people overlooking the anniversary, the U.S. Army veteran said people have come to know the flag as it is and can't think of a time when it was not a 50-star flag.

"We probably do take it for granted a little bit,'' Murphy said, noting that does not mean they do not embrace the flag's importance.

She said she respects, and would even expect, that Orenski would care enough to make a commemoration.

"That doesn't surprise me at all," Murphy said. "And it's good, because you need people who have a variety of interests to point these things out. I'm excited to see it.''

Contact Nanci Hutson


or at 860- 354-2274.


Reproduced by permission of The News-Times

New Milford Korean War veterans honored

Published: 11:51 p.m., Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NEW MILFORD -- Lowell Hendrix was just starting his adult life when he answered Uncle Sam's call to serve in Korea.

He was drafted by the U.S. Army and shipped overseas to serve in an artillery unit just north of the 38th Parallel.

For four years, the corporal did "what he had to do, and made the best of it'' in what is known as "The Forgotten War,'' overshadowed by World War II and the agony of Vietnam.

The 80-year-old Gaylordsville man said Wednesday he never had any qualms about being sent to Korea. "I was proud to serve my country.''

In this century, Hendrix was called upon to serve again: by meticulously tracking down the names of New Milford's Korean War veterans, for inscription on a plaque that would join others commemorating veterans dating back to the Civil War.

For years, longtime veteran supporter Peter Orenski, has advocated creating some kind of honor specifically for Korean War veterans.

Orenski, a native of Romania who emigrated to the United States 50 years ago and moved in 1987 to New Milford, is fondly known as the "Flag Man.'' The self-employed businessman, who designs and produces flags and other such memorabilia, needed someone to spearhead the effort. Hendrix agreed.

Hendrix diligently pored over books, calling veterans from as far away as Florida and California, to confirm names and to get correct spellings.

An anonymous donor gave $5,000 to create the bronze plaque that was delivered to Town Hall a few weeks ago. Since the plaque's completion, another 35 names have been uncovered, and those will be added to ribbons that will be affixed to the plaque.

"We don't want to miss anybody,'' said Jeff McBreairty, a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran and commander of the local American Legion post.

The official commemoration ceremony, attended by about 20 veterans and town leaders, was held Wednesday.

Hendrix is clearly proud of the result. "It's done, it's beautiful, and I enjoyed working on it,'' he said. "It was an honor.''

For his fellow veterans, this was a special moment.

"It's a long time coming,'' said World War II veteran Ed Whaley. "This is their day.''

A U.S. Navy navigator in the Korean War, Gil Nelson, 81, agreed.

Although he would prefer an outdoor monument that might attract more public attention, Nelson is pleased to see recognition of those who served with him in what he describes as "the proudest times of my entire life.''

This symbol of gratitude is a reminder to succeeding generations of those who "signed a blank check on his or her life'' to defend the freedom that America holds dear, but as part of everyday life can be overlooked, McBreairty said during the ceremony.

"So, to all the veterans here today, and throughout this great nation, let us say thank you and let us say that when darkness threatened, you kept the `Torch of Liberty' alight," McBreairty said. "You kept the flame burning so others across the world could share it, thus showing the truth inscribed on this plaque, `Defenders Of The Altar Of Freedom.' "


Korean War veteran Lowell Hendrix, left, and fellow New Milford resident Peter Orenski, a longtime supporter of veterans' causes, stand Oct. 21, 2010 in town hall with the new plaque dedicated to many of New Milford's Korean War veterans

Photo: Norm Cummings / The News-Times, Reproduced by Permission of The Greater New Milford Spectrum

A Sunday CHAT: Q & A with Peter Orenski

From an article by Samantha Burkardt

The News-Times, Sunday, August 8, 2009

by permission: click HERE (story in easy to read PDF format)


Read about Flagman's involvement with Henry Abbott Technical High School's Flag Day program:

Merklings are deemed ‘Renaissance caliber’  
Thanks to the New Milford Spectrum

Chamber holds 10th annual gala

Peter "The Flagman" Orenski honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Greater New Milford Chamber of Commerce Crystal Winter Gala - click on link below


Join the team creating history of town’s war veterans

May 19, 2006

by Art Cummings

New Milford sons and daughters have fought for their country in wars going back more than 200 years.
Countless brave individuals with New Milford ties have risked their lives in conflicts ranging all the way back to the Revolutionary War on up to the war in Iraq and the war on terror.
New Milford annually remembers its war heroes — some alive and well, some deceased, some killed in action — at a number of military-related ceremonies throughout the year, including the upcoming Memorial Day parade.
The list of New Milford war veterans is long and distinguished.
Or more precisely, the list would be long and distinguished if it actually existed.
The truth is that there is no official list of all New Milford war veterans and the details of their service.
That is unfortunate for the veterans, for their families, for those who would like to recognize their sacrifices, and for townspeople who care about the history of this community.
And that is why two residents have stepped forward and launched a Veterans Recognition Project whose aim is to identify and honor as many local veterans as possible.

Those two gentlemen want to pull together as much information as they can, and to distribute medals to all veterans — or their survivors or descendants — who would like to receive such a medal.
Right now, you can go into New Milford’s town hall and see an extensive “Roll of Honor” for townspeople who fought in World War II.
You can go to the town clerk’s office and dig through records for a lot of information about war veterans.
You can do the same at New Milford Public Library.
There is an excellent list of veterans of the Revolutionary War.
And there are other sources of information about the local men and women who have proudly worn the uniforms of the United States of America.
But there are gaps. Big gaps, most notably from the Vietnam War era.
There is no one place that provides comprehensive, accessible information about the town’s war veterans of the past two-plus centuries.
There is no official list.
Peter Orenski and Dan Sullivan want to change that state of affairs.
Mr. Orenski, an immigrant from Eastern Europe who is known locally as “Flagman,” and Mr. Sullivan, a Korean War veteran, have launched a campaign to gather as much information as possible about New Milford war veterans over the decades.
The definition of a New Milford war veteran, by the way, is any veteran who lived in this town before, during or after his or her years of service.
Mr. Orenski and Mr. Sullivan comprise a two-man committee that is working with a host of local individuals and organizations to amass names, facts and figures.
It was Mr. Orenski who came up with the idea of creating a pool of knowledge about New Milford veterans. He had been thinking and talking about this project for “four or five years,” he said in an interview this week.
Why take on this project?
For two main reasons, he explains.
“Personally, I cannot forget the veterans who made it possible for me to be here,” he relates with reference to the United States’ role in saving Europe in World War II. “Because of them, I don’t have to speak German or Russian.”
Second, he relates, he has a “bad conscience” since he was never a soldier, and “I want to do something about it at this point in my life.”

Mr. Orenski is quick to admit, however, that the Veterans Recognition Project would never have gotten off the ground without the efforts of Mr. Sullivan.
The Flagman gives Mr. Sullivan the credit for gaining the support of several military and veterans groups for the project and for designing the medal being given to New Milford veterans.
Mr. Orenski provided the funding for the first 100 medals. About 60 of them have been distributed to local veterans or their families so far, and another two dozen will be formally presented during New Milford’s Memorial Day parade ceremony on May 29.
Right now, Mr. Orenski and Mr. Sullivan are shepherding the effort to identify all the local veterans who have ever served their country and to create a concise service record for each.
They have created a data base that includes veterans from the Revolutionary War more than two centuries ago and continues through today’s men and women in uniform.
When they are done — they hope that will be about a year from now — they will compile all they have learned in a book that will be published by November 2007.
That will be in time for the book to go public during the 30-day period the New Milford Tricentennial Commission has officially proclaimed the Tricentennial Salute to New Milford Veterans Month.
Mr. Orenski and Mr. Sullivan are working closely with the Tricentennial Commission as New Milford approaches its 300th anniversary in 2007.
They are also working with several military groups, including the local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars; with local organizations like the Lions Club, Rotary Club, DAR and Knights of Columbus; with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts; with the schools; with the clergy; with town, library and Senior Center officials; and with cemetery officials.
They are hoping that a massive team effort will result in the collection of a tremendous amount of information about the town’s veterans.
And they are asking you to join that team.
What can you do?
First, Mr. Orenski says, if you are a veteran, or a friend or relative of a veteran, you can fill out a Veterans Recognition Project form and return it to him.
The Spectrum has published that form on Page S11 of today’s paper, and we will publish it again periodically over the next few months.
You can clip that out, fill it out, and follow the directions for where to send it.
Second, Mr. Orenski adds, you can encourage your friends and family members to do the same if they are a veteran or know a veteran.
This is a massive project Mr. Orenski and Mr. Sullivan have undertaken, and they know there is no way they can come up with a 100 percent accurate list, or even close to it.
But this is also a very worthy cause, and its success will depend largely on how many townspeople pitch in and help create a valuable history of New Milford’s men and women in uniform.
Hopefully New Milford residents will take this project to heart and make that effort.


By Any Other Name

By Any Other Name

Deborah Rose

Residents pitching in on medals for veterans

It's an ambitious and challenging goal to create such a list, but in the end that information will be a valuable resource for the community.

The goal is to present a medal to every veteran in town, as well as to New Milford family members of deceased veterans — hopefully by Veterans Day of 2007, which is New Milford's tricentennial anniversary.

Mr. Orenski, an immigrant who grew up under communist rule and is now a citizen of the United States, funded the manufacture of an initial 300 medals to be distributed on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Dec. 7 on the Village Green as a way to say "thank you" to the men and women who serve this country.

Thirty veterans were presented medals that day, and more have been given out since then.

Veteran Dan Sullivan designed the commemorative medal, which features the New Milford bandstand, the town's name and six stars representing each branch of the military service on one side and the inscription "Gratias Agimus Tibi" (a Latin phrase meaning "Thank you for thy service) on the flip side.

Mr. Sullivan said the town tax roll from 1932 to present indicates there have been 5,642 veterans in New Milford. However, that number only indicates the veterans who have registered in the town hall.

No one is quite sure how many more veterans have lived in New Milford, or still live in town, but have not identified themselves.

On top of that, imagine how many more veterans lived in New Milford prior to 1932.

Because of the lack of complete information, only veterans on the New Milford rosters of the the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Catholic War Veterans, the Purple Heart Society, the Disabled Veterans of America and the Marine League were presented medals Dec. 7.

The rosters are the most up-to-date lists of veterans in town and served as a starting point for identifying veterans.

But hopefully all that will change in the coming weeks and months.

On a recent visit to the Spectrum office, "Flagman" told me he has contacted the New Milford school system, scout leaders and the presidents of several veteran-related organizations in New Milford to discuss a cooperative research project to identify all New Milford veterans.

So far there seems to be a sincere interest and excitement about it.

In fact, requirements for a new Girl Scout badge are being drafted in the hopes the Girl Scout Council will give it a "thumbs up" so scouts can begin their work on this project.

Researchers, whether they are students, scouts or other volunteers from town, will have to comb books, documents in the town hall and other resources to determine the names of the veterans.

It's a time-consuming and daunting task but one that upon completion will be a tremendous asset to this community for future generations.

I encourage anyone who has an interest in doing research or who is looking for a way to get involved in town to get involved with this project, which started with just one man's vision.

Anyone wishing to make a tax-deductible contribution toward the purchase of medals may do so by sending a check, earmarked with a memo "commemorative medal," to the New Milford Veterans Medal Fund, American Legion Ezra Woods Post 31, Attention: Commander, 45 Fort Hill Road, New Milford, CT 06776.

For more information or to submit information about a veteran, call Dr. Orenski at (860) 354-0686 or Mr. Sullivan at (860) 354-4913.


Thanks to the New Milford Spectrum

Veterans moved by medal presentations

December 09, 2005

Deborah Rose/Spectrum 
New Milford veteran Frank Morris is congratulated Wednesday morning on the Village Green 
by State Representative Clark Chapin (R-67th) after receiving a commemorative medal 
(see photograph at left) designed by veteran Dan Sullivan and paid for by Peter “Flagman” 
Orenski. Following the presentation of medals, veterans gathered at the south end of the Green 
for a special Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony

On the day commemorating the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, New Milford veterans – whether they served in peace or war time, recently or long ago – were feted with a commemorative medal specifically created to honor them.
At 7 a.m., a group of chilly veteran organization leaders stood near the bandstand on the Village Green to hand out the gold medallions embossed with the town landmark to any and all veterans who might stop by.
Several veterans had tears in their eyes as they opened their blue velvet box.
Wearing his father’s World War II Purple Heart medal on his jacket lapel, former Marine Brooks Temple related that his father, his namesake, had died in the Philippines during World War II.
Mr. Temple was clearly moved by Wednesday’s remembrance.
“I think it’s just wonderful,’’ said Mr. Temple, who was unable to speak more.

One of the first arrivals Wednesday morning was Catholic War veteran Walter Bayer, who served in the Army from 1961 to 1964. He stopped to get his medal as he headed to teach social studies to students at Brookfield High School.
Another early arrival was Mayor Pat Murphy, who was honored for her 8˝ years in the mid-1970s in the Army Signal Corp.
“I felt it was my duty back in the ’60s to serve my country,” Mr. Bayer remarked, “and I never expected anything like this from a local citizen who came to America and was so grateful to the people who willingly served the country for his freedom.”

Mr. Bayer was speaking of the man who was behind the medal, Romanian immigrant Peter Orenski, known locally as “Flagman.’’

 Dr. Orenski worked with local Korean Air Force veteran Daniel Sullivan on a design for a medal to honor all of New Milford’s military servicemen.
Dr. Orenski donated 300 medals – valued at about $3,000 – and hopes that over time every one of the town’s more than 5,000 veterans dating back to 1932, or their surviving family members, can be awarded one. At yesterday’s ceremony, more than 30 medals were awarded.
“This is just the start,’’ Dr. Orenski said.
The local commemorative model, a first of its kind, is engraved with the bandstand in the center, surrounded by six stars representing the various branches of the military. On the back side is the Latin inscription, “Gratias Agimus Tibi,&rsqu o;’ a phrase that translated in English means, “Thank you for thy service.’’
The medal hangs on a white and green ribbon and can be worn either around the neck or as a chest pin.
State Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Linda Schwartz attended the informal, early-morning festivities. She offered her thanks to Dr. Orenski for his recognition of these veterans, and the veterans’ groups for arranging to distribute the medals.
“What a nice idea,’’ Ms. Schwartz concluded.
Anyone wishing to make a tax-deductible contribution to obtain medals that can be presented annually to veterans can do so by sending a check to the New Milford Veterans Medal Fund: American Legion Ezra Woods Post 31, Attn: Commander, 45 Fort Hill Road, New Milford, Ct. 06776.

'Flagman' pays tribute to vets



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Library Director Jeanne Merrill presents Jiles Pourier '04 with the flag of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, given to him as a gift by flag-maker Peter Orenski.

Berkshire School
245 North Undermountain Road
Sheffield, MA 01257

(413) 229-8511


Cheyenne River Sioux flag flies high at Berkshire

The flags hanging from the rafters of Benson Commons represent the many nations of the world Berkshire students call home. Jiles Pourier '04 came to Berkshire from a place within the borders of the United States, but from a separate nation whose flag did not hang above his head as he ate in the dining hall. Ever since his sophomore year, Jiles has been trying to change that.

Jiles displays the flag in front of the Berkshire community at all-school meeting.

At a recent all-school meeting, Library Director Jeanne Merrill presented Jiles with a flag of the Cheyenne River Sioux of Lakota nation, the Native American tribe of which Jiles is a member. Unbeknownst to Jiles, Mrs. Merrill had obtained two flags: one to hang in the dining hall and one to give to Jiles as a gift. Jiles was surprised and confused at first, when the flag was presented to him. "I brought it down to the dining hall," he said. "But they said, 'no, that one's for you.' So I went back and hung it in my room."

Both flags were made by Peter Orenski of TME Co., Inc. in New Milford, Connecticut. Mr. Orenski established the company to continue his family's business of enameling. He makes enameled lapel pins in the shapes of flags and Ambassador flag watches among other enameled products; he has illustrated a book about Native American flags as well.

When Mrs. Merrill contacted Mr. Orenski about ordering a flag for the dining hall, he asked why the school wanted one. When he learned about Jiles's desire to spread information about his heritage and his efforts in the past few years to do so, Mr. Orenski was so impressed that he donated the additional flag as a gift to Jiles.

This year, Jiles visited a local elementary school to give a presentation on the Lakota Indians. He performed a traditional Lakota dance at an all-school assembly during International Day last year, a performance he will give again next week at this year's event. Mr. Orenski was moved also by the courage demonstrated by Jiles's first cousin, Sheldon Hawk Eagle, who was killed in a helicopter crash while serving in Iraq.

In order to gain further recognition for his tribe, Jiles had tried over the past two years to procure a flag for the dining hall but was never able to get one. At first his tribe promised to give him one, but when members of the tribe began to leave the Pine Ridge Reservation, where Jiles lives, to fight in the Middle East, the flags were given to them. "There were a lot of people going to war," Jiles said, "almost 200 from my reservation." The cost of the flag (about $90) prohibited Jiles's family from buying one for the school. It wasn't until this year that an anonymous donor stepped up to donate the money to purchase the flag for the dining hall.

The middle of the flag bears the name of the tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, to which Jiles belongs. In the four corners are the names of the Cheyenne River Sioux sub-tribes, the Minnicoujou, the Itazipco, the Siha Sapa, and the Oohenumpa. The symbols at the center of the flag represent certain ideas that are important to the tribe. There are two pipes pointing toward each other, one representing his tribe and the other representing other Native peoples. The blue cloud-like design represents mother earth, and the bands of color arching across the flag stand for the many races of people that live in this world.

When Jiles graduates this spring, he will take the flag he received as a gift with him, pulling it from the wall in his dorm room at Berkshire to hang in his new dorm room at Dartmouth, where he will no doubt continue teaching others about his heritage. After he leaves, however, the first of the two Cheyenne River Sioux flags will continue to hang among those of other nations in Benson Commons, reminding all who eat beneath them of just how international the Berkshire community really is. (DC)

Tricentennial logo contest attracts 200 entries in first phase

New Milford students are the biggest contributors of entries in the contest to pick a logo for the town’s Tricentennial in 2007.

The logo contest, which is being sponsored by NewMil Bank, runs through the end of March, so it’s not too late to send in an entry.

“We are off to a great start in our logo contest,” said Peter Orenski, who chairs the logo selection committee.

Fellow judges include Wallie Jahn, Robert Burkhart, Pat Hembrook, Joy Gaiser, Pat Maguire and Jennifer Cox.





Mr. Orenski, known in town as “Flagman,” said students from Hill and Plain Elementary School and Sarah Noble Intermediate School “did themselves and their teachers very proud: They submitted over 80 percent of the entries, showing great imagination, plenty of dedication and often a wonderful sense of humor.”

Adults, including a professional artist, also provided excellent proposals, according to Mr. Orenski.

“The 300th anniversary is a very exciting event,” said Lou Okell, who has two logos among the 18 chosen as finalists in the first phase of the contest. “It’s a great way to launch the 300th anniversary.”

Ms. Okell, a Girl Scout leader and artist who does abstract paintings, said entering the contest was a matter of town spirit and a way to challenge friends and fellow Girl Scouts.

“It’s a great way to celebrate our past and look forward to what we envision our future to be,” she said. “The idea is to participate. That’s what’s important.”

Ms. Okell chose the gazebo for one logo since it’s a focal point where residents meet socially. Her entry shows the top of a gazebo and the dates 1707-2007.

Her second logo depicts the number 300 with John and Sarah Noble from 1707 in one zero facing a modern John and Sarah Noble dressed to go to a ballgame in the second zero.

She said she wanted some humor in the logo.

The committee is encouraging residents to continue sending in their ideas. The volunteer judges met Jan. 7 and again on Feb. 4, spending hours poring over what Mr. Orenski called “a vast display of talent” to evaluate over 200 entries received for Phase I (January) of the contest.

Samantha McCauley, 11, a sixth-grader at Sarah Noble Intermediate School, who is one of first group of 18 finalists, said her social studies teacher Carol Fogel asked the class to submit entries.

“I love living in New Milford. I was born here,” Samantha said, explaining that she chose a cake design to celebrate the town’s 300th birthday because cakes go with birthday celebrations and “I like cake.”

Several entries included a cake theme.

Peter Christopherson said he tried to keep his design generic, simple and timeless so it would be suitable to a variety of promotions.

“I dabble in all kinds of artful ventures,” Mr. Christopherson said, remarking that he has several other ideas — variations with a similar theme.

His design combines the letters “NM” to evoke the hills and mountains of the town, with the tail of the N depicting the flowing Housatonic River.

Mr. Christopherson, who studied industrial design, said he took his inspiration from the hills and Housatonic, “not manmade icons.”

Abbe Svarplaitis, 10, and a fourth-grader at Sarah Noble is “very excited” her design was chosen.

“I just like to draw, to play around with pencils and paint,” Abbe said, explaining that she chose the gazebo as a background because “it’s popular.” She said she decided to add a dog and cat “because I really like animals.”

Her reaction to being a finalist?

“It’s shocking.”

Abbe’s proud father, Vitas, said he’s “ecstatic” his daughter’s design is one of the 18.

“This is great,” he said.

Abbe’s mother, Sue, said her daughter is so busy with lessons and activities, she “never dreamed” she would want to enter the contest so she threw out the first entry form.

That didn’t deter Abbe, who asked her teacher for another entry form and worked diligently to produce her design as something “fun to do.”

“This is such a wonderful idea to get children involved in our community,” Mrs. Svarplaitis wrote on the entry form.

Hill and Plain student Teddy Sheehy was one of several who chose to use a bridge to symbolize bridging 300 years. His design shows a horse and buggy entering the bridge and a modern car exiting.

Mr. Orenski said judges have the freedom to combine logo suggestions and have done so to produce one chosen design. In some cases the judges altered the colors from black or blue to “New Milford greens.”

February is Phase II of the contest. Phase III is in March. Three finalists will eventually be chosen from the finalists in all phases and residents will vote on the logo in April.

The committee’s basic rules ask for designs that:

  • Are simple rather than complex.
  • Identify New Milford and the Tricentennial in some way.
  • Are original and visually attractive.
  • Use strong colors.
  • Avoid generic or intricate images and shun words.
  • Are effective in a black-and-white rendering.
  • Would be readily discernible on diverse applications such as small pins, T-shirts, or a flag on 30-foot flagpole.

The judges named the following 18 finalists for the January phase:

Alden Ackerman, Peter Christopherson, Ron Crowcroft, Catherine DeJohn, April Kenney, Larry Gunerman, Shanin Jordan, Kimberly Lockwood, Samantha McCauley, Sean Miltenberger, Lou Okell (2), Kristin Orcutt, Laura Quigley, Charles Reynolds, Matt Rissolo, Teddy Sheehy, and Abbe Svarplaitis.


See next week’s Spectrum for a viewing of all 18 logos.

Design entries may be dropped off at the reference desk at New Milford Public Library or dropped off or mailed to The Greater New Milford Spectrum office at 45B Main St., New Milford CT 06776.


June 20, 2003
Drive underway to fly flags in village center
Courtesy of Peter Orenski
Mayor Bob Gambino and a group of residents hope businesses and individuals will sponsor flags on lampposts in downtown New Milford, like the one already displayed in front of Village Hardware Antiques on the Village Green, shown above.
There’s a new addition to the streetlight in front of Village Hardware Antiques in New Milford — an American flag donated by Peter Orenski.
Mayor Bob Gambino said residents, including Myrtle Williams and New Milford Police Officer James Dzamko, requested that flags be flown from the ornamental lampposts in the village center.
The mayor said they had seen flags flying from poles in neighboring communities and thought the idea would be a good one for New Milford.
Mayor Gambino hopes that by the Fourth of July all the lampposts on Bank Street will have flags.
“It’s a precursor to the Tricentennial [in 2007],” the mayor said Tuesday.
The new flag-holding brackets can hold two flags.
Currently the plan is to fly the American flag alone, but by obtaining a bracket capable of holding two flags, it leaves open the possibility of adding a town flag or banner for special occasions, such as the town’s 300th birthday in 2007.
“It’s a great symbol,” Mayor Gambino said of the flag flying in the breeze on Main Street Tuesday afternoon.
The mayor asked Mr. Orenski, known around town as “Flagman,” to help in the project, along with downtown businessman Pete Bass, the owner of Archway News.
They already have nine private individuals or businesses signed up to sponsor lampposts to offset the $50 cost per flag and bracket.
Mr. Bass, while driving through Simsbury, saw that town’s “wonderful” flag display, and he and his family thought it would be nice idea for New Milford.
He said the Village Center “dressed in patriotic red, white and blue shows our patriotic pride.”
Mr. Orenski and Mr. Bass have advanced the money for 10 flags on a new type of rotating pole aimed at preventing a flag from wrapping around the pole.
“Peter does everything first-rate,” said Mr. Bass, remarking that the flags are hand-stitched and made in the United States.
Mr. Orenski said Mr. Bass is anchoring the drive to the business community and for individuals to sponsor poles.
“Pat Hackett and his crew at Public Works gave us great cooperation,” Mr. Orenski said.
The Public Works Department installed the bracket and flag after they spray-painted the white bracket black to blend into the pole.
Mr. Bass and Mr. Orenski presented the plans for the flags to the Parks & Recreation Commission June 10 for its approval regarding the nine poles that are on the Green.
The men are slated to go before the Town Council Monday for approvals for lampposts on town sidewalks.
If the plan is approved Monday, Public Works will install the flags before July 4.
Anyone interested in sponsoring a flag should contact Mr. Bass at Archway News on Bank Street or Mayor Gambino in the town hall.
— Lynda Wellman

New Milford residents show support for American troops
By Lynda Wellman
Deborah Rose/Spectrum
Peter Delaventura of New Milford, a Vietnam veteran, gladly signs his name to the petition Monday outside M&B IGA.
The United States is at war, and New Milford residents are showing their support for American troops in a variety of ways.
There’s a “Support the Troops” rally planned for Saturday at 10 a.m. on the Village Green (see box, Page S6).
Republican Town Committee Chairman Pete Bass, Town Councilman Joe Hine and resident Pat Watson are spearheading that effort along with members of the GOP Town Committee.
Yellow ribbons have been put up on trees along the Green, and “Proud to be an American,” “Support President Bush and Our Troops” and “God Bless America” signs have sprouted on lawns and roadsides.
Pat Murphy, an Army veteran, and her daughter Murphy McRae tied the yellow ribbons on the trees on the Green Saturday morning on behalf of the Republican Town Committee. They had help from residents Tom and Pam Morey and Lynn and Jay Umbarger.
Peter’s Imports in Brookfield donated the yellow ribbon — more than 175 yards.
“You can’t do much as a civilian,” said Ms. Murphy, who like Mr. Hine is a candidate for the Republican mayoral nomination for the November election.
She explained that “our rights to assemble and to free speech are phenomenal” but said she would have been upset during her deployment in Panama if she thought she did not have the support of those back home.
Lynda Wellman/Spectrum
Peter Orenski of New Milford was one of several townspeople out over the weekend and on Monday collecting signatures from residents who support the United States’ war with Iraq and have concerns about a recent resolution opposing a preemptive strike against Iraq.
By Monday, according to petition organizers, almost 1,200 residents had signed statements saying they disagree with and reject a resolution passed by 40 residents that states “the townspeople” of New Milford are “against preemptive military action against Iraq by the United States.”
The resolution asked Mayor Bob Gambino to send copies to President George W. Bush and to Connecticut’s congressional delegation.
Mayor Gambino told the Town Council Monday he would not send the resolution (see related story, Page S1).
Peter Orenski, known by many as “Flagman,” said he personally collected 800 of the 1,200 signatures in 20 hours between Saturday and Monday.
“People are stopping me and thanking me for doing this,” Mr. Orenski said Saturday.
He said it was his anger at a group of people “hijacking our town” that impelled him to collect the signatures.
Romanian born but now an American citizen, Mr. Orenski said, “I know enough about history to know how a small group can commandeer a country.
“I am determined to show they are a minority,” he said. “That resolution shall not stand in the name of the townspeople.”

“To me this is a gut issue. I’ve seen countries taken over by activists,” Mr. Orenski continued, adding “I thank this group and its leader, Justine McCabe, for galvanizing me into action.”
However, Mr. Orenski told the Town Council Monday, he was “appalled” by the “act of vandalism” of those who posted signs over the ribbons on trees on the Green on Monday.
The signs stated, “Support our Troops, Impeach Gambino” and “Not in Our Name, Impeach Gambino.”
Mr. Orenski said he did not want the lives of our troops combined with politics and urged residents “to support the troops in a dignified manner.”
Marianne Stilson, the stepmother of Marine Corporal Matthew Stilson, is organizing a display for the town hall and spearheading a drive collecting items for care packages for New Milford residents serving overseas (see related story, Page S6).
On Monday night, a color guard of veterans stood through much of the Town Council meeting, which began with a Pledge of Allegiance and then two verses of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”
William Post, the commander of the American Legion Post 31, spoke at the Monday’s council meeting and urged support for President Bush and the troops.
“God-fearing people have remained silent,” he said.
Fred Hathaway, commander of VFW Post 1672, said 40 people can’t speak for 27,000.
He said he agrees people have the right to free speech but said they should not make it sound as if all citizens support a resolution against a preemptive strike.

Deborah Rose/Spectrum
Yellow ribbons were tied to trees on New Milford’s Village Green in support of American troops in Iraq. Subsequently, some person(s) hung up signs over the ribbons Monday in defiance of Mayor Bob Gambino’s connection to a controversial resolution regarding the war.

Across the Spectrum

Apologizes for absence at forum
by Peter Orenski

[Editor’s Note: The following is an open letter to the people of New Milford from resident Peter Orenski.]

I owe you an apology for being AWOL from the battlefield — the battlefield for our town’s good name. Please forgive me.

On March 9, in a Sarah Noble Intermediate School meeting room here in New Milford, a group of well-meaning and patriotic Americans exercised their sacred freedoms to voice their opinion regarding our government’s action now under way in Iraq.

I believe that some members of that group had put their life at risk in honorable service of the United States. I salute them for it.

Had I exercised my freedom to be there that night, had I not been AWOL, it would have taken me a few brief moments to realize that their declaration titled, A Resolution of the Townspeople of New Milford Against Preemptive Military Action Against Iraq by the United States, was an unacceptable misrepresentation of my every thought, belief and feeling.

Had I been awake to my elementary obligations as an American citizen, I would have been there to tell that honorable group: How dare you! How dare you presume to speak in my name!  Speak if you must, in the name of your 40-odd group of people present here — out of some 27,000 New Milfordites — but do not presume to speak in my name!

As one saved by America from the pit of communist Romania, I would have gone on to say, I was indoctrinated by thugs, I am personally familiar with communist thugs.  As someone who has had two relatives exterminated at Auschwitz, as someone who at age 19 served as a guide to that death camp, I am personally familiar with the works of fascist thugs.  Trust me to know about thugs. Trust me to tell you what that mother-of-all-thugs is planning to do to us and to our freedoms if we do not stop him now. I trust you to teach me about freedom. Trust me to teach you about thugs.

It would have been good to get that off my chest. But alas, I was AWOL. AWOL from exercising my freedom. And for that I apologize to you.

Peter Orenski is a New Milford resident.


Abbott students help to celebrate Flag Day

By Susan Tuz


Peter Orenski, also known as the flag man of New Milford, discusses elements of Danbury’s city seal during Flag Day ceremonies Thursday at Abbott Tech in Danbury.
The News-Times/Michael Duffy
Peter Orenski, also known as the flag man of New Milford, discusses elements of Danbury’s city seal during Flag Day ceremonies Thursday at Abbott Tech in Danbury.
DANBURY — Turkey, Greece, Spain, Albania. The student body at Henry Abbott Vocational Technical School represents these and some 20 other countries.

Thursday those students joined with the Danbury Police Honor Guard and guest speaker Peter Orenski in a Flag Day celebration on the school grounds. In the words of Robert Casey, the program’s master of ceremonies, they were “honoring the symbol of freedom for the entire free-world.”

Orenski, a member of the North American Vexillological Society, is also known as “the flag man of New Milford.” He speaks internationally about the symbolism of national flags and spoke proudly of our nation’s flag and the freedom it represents.

“I come from the Balkans originally, from Romania, and 40 years ago there, you were forbidden to even look at the American flag,” Orenski told the 630 students present. “At that time, Romania was under a communist regime. At this time, a debate is going on in this country about the treatment of the (American) flag, how to protect it from being desecrated, if it should be allowed to be burned in protests .ź.ź.”

The Stars and Stripes “represents America in its best sense” Orenski continued. “It is a symbol for those of us who arrived from all shores to America, which gave us a home and a chance to be someone .ź.ź. 350,000 Americans have died since World War II in defense of our nation’s ideals .ź.ź. that is why we fly a clean flag, why it is lit at night, and handled so as to never touch the ground. That is why we honor it.”

As with most school assemblies, murmured comments passed between some students, as speakers made their presentations, but when junior Michelle Haber stood at the microphone to sing “The Star Spangled Banner,” all went silent, and her clear voice, singing out Francis Scott Keyes’ words of patriotism, was the only sound heard.

“When we were kids, growing up, we always celebrated Flag Day,” said Abbott Tech Principal Robert Sandagatta after the ceremony, “but at most schools today, nothing is done. We’re starting a new tradition this year at Henry Abbott Tech.”


Waving the flag at Italy
Sister cities: New Milford and Vinci
By Lynda Wellman STAFF WRITE

NEW MILFORD — A trip to visit the Italian home of Leonardo da Vinci, the famed artist, architect, engineer and mathematician born in 1452, could lead to sister town status for New Milford.Peter Orenski, better known locally as “Flagman,” hopes to make the proposal Monday at a Town Council meeting.

“I would love for the mayor to declare us a sister city with Vinci,” Orenski said last week. “It would be fun for us and a good tourist draw for them.”

“It sounds like an interesting idea worth following up on,” Mayor Arthur Peitler said Tuesday. “That kind of connection is always exciting. A lot of things can spin off that.”

In 1997, the mayor proposed becoming a sister city of Kenmare, a town nestled among the mountains of Cork and Kerry, and one of Ireland’s planned towns.


The idea of forming a relationship with Vinci,Italy, was spawned when Peter Orenski, seen here wrapped in the New Milford town flag, was traveling with cousins in the Tuscany region of Italy
News-Times file photo
The idea of forming a relationship with Vinci, 
Italy, was spawned when Peter Orenski, 
seen here wrapped in the New Milford town 
flag, was traveling with cousins in the 
Tuscany region of Italy.

The mayor said there was some correspondence between schoolchildren in the two towns, but the idea didn’t seem to catch on.

In recent years, New Milford has celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a reception and naming the Irishman and Irishwoman of the year.

The idea of forming a relationship with Vinci was spawned when Orenski was traveling with cousins in the Tuscany region of Italy in June. He is treasurer of the executive board of NAVA, the North American Vexillological Association, a flag study society, and was speaking at Italian Flag Society meetings.

Orenski visited Vinci and its Leonardo Museum in the Castle of the Counts Guidi. Having lunch across from the Town Hall, he noticed there was no flag flying.

Since flags are his passion as well as his business, he headed across the street to find the mayor and discuss Vinci’s need for a flag.

“Here it is, a town with very old traditions and no flag,” said Orenski, who is often seen wearing a flag-covered jacket or hat.

He met with the assistant mayor, and left with a copy of the town’s coat of arms, determined to design a flag for Vinci.

Flag design is not a new endeavor for the man who organized the competition to design the familiar green and white New Milford flag in 1995.

“Every time I see the flag flying from the library and Town Hall it makes my day,” he said.

Orenski explained that the New Milford flag gives him a feeling of belonging that he’s never had over a lifetime living in several countries.

“Through flags I connected,” he said, remarking that despite a successful career as a chemist he is proudest of creating a flag for New Milford

Orenski, who was born in Romania, has been a U.S. citizen since 1965 and a New Milford resident since 1987. He described himself last year as “rescued by America from the pit of Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe.”

Flags have been his business since he retired from Union Carbide in 1989. He wrote a book based on the process leading up to choosing New Milford’s flag, “A Flag for New Milford: The Practical Guide for Creating a Successful Civic Flag.”

The book has spawned what Orenski jokingly calls the “son” and “grandson” of New Milford — a regional flag for Hampton Roads and a flag for Southampton County, both in Virginia.

Using the Vinci coat of arms as a base, Orenski has designed a flag true to the shield on the coat of arms.

His proposed flag has the da Vinci family alternating gold and red stripes at the base and the castle tower above in red on a blue background. He said heraldry rules usually forbid putting one color on top of another since colors melt together when seen from a distance, thwarting easy identification.

Roberto Breschi, a well-known Italian vexillologist has researched the coat of arms and discovered the castle was originally silver or white on blue instead of red on blue. Following Breschi’s suggestion, Orenski is presenting an alternate flag choice with a white on blue castle for the town.

He said the proposed flags are designed in the “divine ratio,” 1:1.618, used by the Greeks in the Parthenon in Athens and by da Vinci.

“(The ratio) just happens to be very pleasing proportions .ź.ź. visual harmonics,” said Orenski. “The perfect ratio would have meant a lot to Leonardo.”

In designing a flag, Orenski aims for simplicity, visual impact with color and proportion and use of symbols that mean something to the residents.

Once the residents of Vinci choose their flag, Orenski proposes making two, one for Vinci and one for New Milford.

He hopes the town of Vinci would fly the New Milford flag on July 4 to celebrate America’s birthday and also the birth of the New Milford flag, July 4, 1995.

He’s suggesting New Milford fly Vinci’s flag on April 15, da Vinci’s birthday, as “an expression of friendship to the citizens of Vinci and in gratitude for the contributions” made by New Milford residents whose family roots are in Italy.

If his proposal is accepted, Peitler would send an official New Milford flag, as well as a table flag with a marble base quarried in the Boardman District of New Milford and a jewelry-quality New Milford lapel pin to Giancarlo Faenzi, mayor of Vinci.


March 2, 2001
Town to honor Italian-Americans and Leonardo da Vinci's hometown


Peter Orenski of New Milford used the Vinci coat of arms as a basis for creating this flag for the Italian town.

By Lynda Wellman


New Milford is taking the first steps to establish a special relationship with Vinci, Italy, the hometown of Leonardo da Vinci.

At the urging of Peter Orenski, better known locally as the Flagman, Mayor Art Peitler on Monday proclaimed that April 15, the birthday of the famed artist, architect, engineer and mathematician Leonardo da Vinci, be a day to honor Italian-American residents and the town of Vinci.

"The town of New Milford takes great pride and is thankful for the many artistic and cultural contributions made by our citizens whose family roots lie in Italy," the proclamation begins.

This is the coat of arms for the town of Vinci, Italy.

The town would fly Vinci’s flag that day as "an expression of friendship to the citizens of Vinci and in gratitude for the contributions of Italian-Americans to our community."

Mayor Peitler plans to send symbolic presents — an official New Milford flag, as well as a table flag with a marble base quarried in the Boardman District of town and a jewelry-quality New Milford lapel pin — to Giancarlo Faenzi, mayor of Vinci.

He and Dr. Orenski hope the town of Vinci will fly the New Milford flag on July 4 to celebrate America’s birthday and also the birth of the New Milford flag, July 4, 1995.

"All of civilization owes a debt to Leonardo," said Councilman Ray O’Brien, who supported the idea of honoring Italian-Americans on April 15.

He quipped, however, that it seemed terrible to associate the event with income tax day.

"I would love for the mayor to declare us a sister city with Vinci," Dr. Orenski said recently. "It would be fun for us and a good tourist draw for them."

Mayor Peitler said last week that the idea of a sister city relationship is "an interesting idea worth following up on. That kind of connection is always exciting. A lot of things can spin off that."

In 1997 the mayor proposed becoming a sister city with Kenmare, one of Ireland’s planned towns, but that idea didn’t seem to catch on. New Milford, however, celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with a reception and ceremony naming the Irishman and Irishwoman of the year.

The idea for a relationship with Vinci was spawned when Dr. Orenski was traveling in the Tuscany region of Italy in June. He serves as treasurer on the executive board of NAVA, the North American Vexillological Association, a flag study society, and was speaking at Italian Flag Society meetings.

While he was having lunch across the street after visiting the Leonardo Museum in the Castle Guidi, he noticed there was no flag flying over Vinci’s town hall.

Since flags are his passion as well as his business, he headed across the street to find the mayor and discuss the need for a flag in a town with "thousands of years of history."

Dr. Orenski met with the assistant mayor and left with a copy of the town’s coat of arms, determined to design a flag for Vinci.

Flag design is not a new endeavor for the man who organized the competition to design the familiar green and white New Milford flag in 1995.

"Every time I see the flag flying from the library and town hall it makes my day," he said. "I get all happified."

Vinci at a glance

Vinci, Italy, is the town where Leonardo da Vinci was raised, although he was born in a farmhouse in Anchiano, 3 kilometers from Vinci.

The borough of Vinci has about 14,000 residents and consists of 54 square kilometers.

It is located in verdant countryside in the heart of Tuscany, near Florence.

The Romanesque Santa Croce Parish Church is near the 11th century Conti [Count] Guidi Castle, which houses the Leonardo Museum.

The Leonardo Museum has several floors of working models of machines inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s designs.

Vinci is known for its extra virgin olive oil and wines, including Chianti Putto Montalbano and Chianti D.O.C.G.


— Lynda Wellman

Dr. Orenski explained the New Milford flag gives him a feeling of belonging that he’s never had over a lifetime of living in several countries. Born in Romania, he has been a U.S. citizen since 1965 and a New Milford resident since 1987.

"Through flags I connected," he said, remarking that despite a successful career as a chemist, he’s proudest of the New Milford flag.

Flags have been his business since he retired from Union Carbide in 1989. He wrote a book based on the process leading up to choosing New Milford’s flag: "A Flag for New Milford, The Practical Guide for Creating a Successful Civic Flag."

The book has spawned what Dr. Orenski jokingly calls the "son" and "grandson" of New Milford, a regional flag for Hampton Roads and a flag for Southampton County, both in Virginia.

Using the Vinci coat of arms as a base, Dr. Orenski has designed a flag true to the shield on the coat of arms. His proposed flag has the da Vinci family alternating gold and red stripes at the base and the castle tower above on a blue background.

Heraldry rules, however, usually forbid putting one color on top of another since it thwarts easy identification when colors melt together in the distance.

Roberto Breschi, a well-known Italian vexillologist, has researched the coat of arms and discovered the castle was originally silver or white on blue instead of red on blue as in the coat of arms. Following Dr. Breschi’s suggestion, Dr. Orenski is presenting an alternate flag choice with a white on blue castle for the town.

The proposed flags are designed in the "Divine Ratio" used by the Greeks in the Parthenon in Athens and by Leonardo da Vinci.

"It just happens to be very pleasing proportions..., visual harmonics," said Dr. Orenski, remarking the typical American flag is 3 feet by 5 feet, "as close as any manufacturer will get" to the perfect ratio.

"The perfect ratio would have meant a lot to Leonardo," Dr. Orenski said.

In designing a flag, Dr. Orenski said he aims for simplicity, visual impact with color and proportion and to use symbols that mean something to the residents.

Dr. Orenski’s company, TME Co. Inc., headquartered in New Milford, owns the rights to Ambassador Lapel Flags and Ambassador Badges. TME sells jewelry-quality, 24K gold-plated flag pins, as well as watches, other accessories and apparel.