2012 Honored Veterans

Megan Backes

U.S. Coast Guard Academy

Upon graduating from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1994 with a B.A. in government, Megan was assigned to the USCGC FORWARD out of Portsmouth, Virginia, where she was involved in drug and migrant interdiction patrols in southern and Caribbean waters. She then served as a lieutenant in the Office of Law Enforcement in Miami. There she developed a unique partnership between law enforcement and the Coast Guard in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina that led to enacting groundbreaking legislation for safer waters in all three states. She also has served as operations officer for the Group Marine Safety Office for Long Island Sound, where she focused on search and rescue and law enforcement.

Megan, who was raised with a strong commitment to community, moved to Stamford in 2000. In addition to being active in her two children’s schools – Our Lady Star of the Sea and Rogers International and the First Presbyterian Church, where she serves as a deacon and helps prepare meals at the soup kitchen, Megan is a volunteer at Pacific House, a Boy Scout leader and softball coach.

Perhaps most inspiring is her commitment to the quality of life of our veterans. As a supporter of the Homes for the Brave, which provides housing and services to help homeless veterans, she is specifically dedicated to its Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes program, the first community-based transitional home dedicated to homeless female veterans and their children in Connecticut.

Sherwin Baer

U.S. Army Reserve

Newly engaged to be married and six weeks after enlisting in the Army Reserve in 1955, Sherwin was assigned to active duty in the military police in Okinawa, where he served for 17 months. Before heading to Japan, Sherwin completed his basic training at Fort Dix in New Jersey and his military police training at Ft . Gordon in Georgia. When he returned to the States, Sherwin continued his service in the Army Medical Reserve until his honorable discharge as a specialist in 1961, the same year he became a resident of Stamford.

For the next 41 years, Sherwin dedicated himself to teaching Social Studies in the Stamford Public Schools at Dolan Middle School, Stamford and Westhill high schools, and in the Alternate Routes to Success (ARTS) program. Sherwin earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Long Island University; his master’s in history from Teachers College at Columbia University; and his 6th year degree in education from Bridgeport University. Sherwin has been a volunteer for the Stamford Police Department and is a member of the Jewish War Veterans.

Sherwin and his wife, Betty, who he says taught for “only” 28 years in Stamford, raised two sons here, Ray and Bill, both of whom also reside in Stamford with their families. (The real reason Sherwin and Betty are still “up North.”)

Jeff Calcott

U.S. Marine Corps

In 1967 at age 18, Jeff enlisted in the Marines. He did his training at Parris Island, Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton before arriving in Da Nang assigned to Mike Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, First Marine Division. Jeff served 13 months in the finest rifle company in the First Marine Division, providing security around Da Nang Airbase. Jeff held the rank of corporal E-4, while serving as section leader with three rocket crews, and he received an early honorable discharge at Treasure Island as a combat veteran two weeks before his 20th birthday.

Owner of Egress Dynamics, a Stamford-based signage company, Jeff has been very involved for more than 40 years in veterans’ affairs, locally, regionally and nationally. He has held numerous leadership positions in the Marine Corps League, VFW, American Legion, Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Marines’ Fund, National Veterans Service Fund and Rebuilding Together (formerly Christmas in April).

With the SSMF, Jeff has supported more than 50 local veterans who have needed assistance with medical and housing needs, and he initiated the Holiday Meal program for veterans and their families, forming a military organization group to fund it. His most recent project with Rebuilding Together has been to assist a double amputee veteran obtain a home improvement grant to enable him to live on the ground floor of his home.

From food drives and chili cook-offs to assistance for the homeless and disabled – all for veterans, we are grateful for his service. We are proud to name Jeffrey Calcott as an Honored Veteran.

Bill McGirr

U.S. Marine Corps

On his 17th birthday Bill enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, assigned to the First Battalion at Fort Schuyler in New York. He served a five-year tour and was honorably discharged in 1952 as a buck sergeant from the 2nd Marine Division. Utilizing the GI Bill, he then enrolled in night school at Fordham University. Through a combination of nights, Saturdays and summers, he received his B.A. in four years.

Bill has had a prestigious career in domestic and international business, including vice president corporate marketing, division president and general manager for General Foods and Nestle Co. He and his family of six lived abroad and returned to the States 30+ years ago to Stamford.

For the last 15 years, Bill has been a realtor here. He serves as a director of the Stamford Board of Realtors and is a member of the Legislative & Political Affairs Committee of the Connecticut Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors.

Bill is dedicated to helping veterans and has made multiple trips to support our Wounded Warriors in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital. He has raised funds to support these veterans and to send care packages to Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a past commander of the United States Sail and Power Squadron and an active member of Stamford’s Lock City Detachment Marine Corps League.

Maria Theresa Stewart

U.S. Army

Maria Theresa grew up in New York City and entered the U.S. Army in 1950. She did her basic training at Fort Lee in Virginia. From Fort Lee, Sergeant Stewart was assigned to the Fort Belvoir Engineer Center, in Virginia, where she met her husband Wallace, also a sergeant in the Army. She served at Fort Belvoir until September 1951, when she requested a discharge to be with Wallace, who was hospitalized for two years.

Maria Theresa, a resident of Stamford for 60 years, began her nursing career at Stamford Hospital in 1953 as a licensed practical nurse, having received her training at Caledonian Hospital in Brooklyn. She attained her registered nursing degree and license from Norwalk Community College in 1971. For six months in 1968, Maria also worked for the Visiting Nurse Association. She retired from Stamford Hospital as registered nurse in 1981. After retiring from the hospital, she worked for The American Red Cross until 1990.

Nursing provides an indispensable need in our community and lives, and Maria loved her career as a nurse. She is a member of the Catholic War Veterans Post 1957 and the American Legion. Maria and Wallace raised four children in Stamford – Cora, Patty, Linda and Robert – who are extremely proud of their mother being honored this evening.

Frederic Weisberg

U.S. Army

Born in Stamford, Fred was a well-known community leader. He graduated from Stamford High School in 1960, went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont and received his law degree from Cornell Law School.

In 1967, Fred received officers’ training at Fort Eustis in Virginia and then joined the administrative staff of the New Cumberland Army Depot in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. From 1968-69 he served in Vietnam in the Da Nang Support Command as secretary to the general staff under General Gunn and was promoted to the rank of captain. He received the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious achievement and the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement in ground operations against hostile forces.

On returning home, Fred joined the Stamford office of Cummings & Lockwood and became a senior member of the litigation department and a managing partner. A fellow of The American College of Trial Lawyers and a member of the American and Connecticut bar associations, he advocated for pro bona legal assistance programs. Fred also served as vice president and director of the United Way of Stamford, vice chairman of the Stamford Chapter of the American Red Cross and as a director of the Stamford Jewish Center and the United Jewish Federation of Stamford.

Fred died in 1994, and he is survived by his wife Madge and daughters Ali and Jill. It is with appreciation that the Committee selects Frederic Weisberg as one of its Honored Veterans.