By Alice Tessier/Housatonic Times
Running or walking, participants in the Run for Joe at Canterbury School in New Milford have raised $150,000 over the years for the Joe Leto Scholarship Fund, a powerful tradition that offers more than might be apparent.
The event, which will take place Oct. 9, honors the memory of U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Giuseppe (“Joe”) Leto, a member of the Class of 1997 at Canterbury who died in July 1999 after undertaking a training hike at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
It also assists a day student. The Giuseppe “Joe” Leto ’97 Wrestling Award, is presented during the spring athletic awards banquet to the wrestler who has made the greatest contribution to the team effort.
And the benefit event is an opportunity for those who knew Mr. Leto to come together in a warm embrace and share their memories.
“Attendance is good every year,” said Marc Vanasse, the school’s director of communications. “Former faculty and students who knew Joe, some of his former wrestling cohorts at the school and some of his college wrestling team members and a lot of community members who know the family turn out, as well as current students and faculty. There’s always a lot of support for it.”
The event begins with one minute of silence in Joe’s memory, and then his younger brother, Vincent, kicks off the action.
Last year U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy was in attendance, and when he learned that no government tribute had been made in the young marine’s memory, he told the family something would be done this year. A flag will be flown at half staff at the state Capitol on the day of the run.
Canterbury is located in New Milford, CT, and always has great prep hockey teams.
Semper Fi, Lance Cpl. Leto.