Friends Of Fisher House Connecticut

Helping Heroes  Helping Families

War Hero Dances for Fisher House, Shares his Legacy

Robert Dalfino, son-in-law, Martha Dalfino, daughter, Omer, his wife Pauline and daughter Sheryl.
Omer dancing with his instructor Kimber Petrucci

December 9,2013 – New England Region.- On November 10, 2013, Omer Deabay and his family, seated at one of 70 banquet tables, waited patiently for his dance group, “#10 Foxtrot”, to be called. With his dance ID number affixed to his back, he allowed himself to be distracted by his loving family, as they purposely steered the conversation away from the dance competition. 

Deaby  was joined by 55 other veterans, along with their families and friends.  Over 700 people gathered at the Connecticut Convention Center, in Hartford, to watch the New England Regional Fred Astaire hosted dance competition. Professional dance instructors throughout New England had given complementary dance lessons to veterans to raise funds for Fisher House at the “Dancing with our Heroes” Gala.  A polished wood dance floor, in the middle of the ballroom, would be the site for the warriors to do battle.

There Omer Deabay sat, his current challenge in front of him. He felt weak as he waited anxiously for his “heat”, as they call it in the dance world.  When asked why he was so nervous, he replied that he wanted his dance instructor to be proud of his performance and his family to know he has never shied away from a challenge.  “There isn’t anything you can’t get through when your family is there to support you.”  A perfect message to share with your loved ones this holiday season.

Omer and Pauline Deabay have been married for 63 years. They have 5 children, 11 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. Deabay’s two daughters, Martha and Sheryl, his wife and his son-in-law, Bob Dalfino, shared recent and distant past stories about Deabay’s exploits.  This scene was duplicated throughout the banquet hall, with each family and friends showing their support of their very own hero.  Deabay’s children said about their Dad, “He has always been there for us. It’s the least we can do for him”.

Deabay served in the United States Army in both WWII and the Korean War. Pauline recalled the anxiety that coursed through her when the Red Cross told her that her husband was missing in action in Korea. He had been wounded and had been carried off the battlefield.   He was later traced to a field hospital and eventually reunited with his unit.  Deaby received the Combat Infantry Badge, UN Service Medal, Korean Service Medal and three Purple Hearts.  He served his country proudly, but when asked what his greatest accomplishment had been in his more than 84 years, it was “his children.” 

Every Saturday night his family gathers at his home for Pauline’s homemade bread, baked beans, hot dogs and potato salad. This is the home where they learned to respect their elders. This is where they observed family members supporting each other.  This is where they learned that being kind and giving to others is the measure of a man.  Omer always spent time with his children so they could learn the meaning of being a quality human being. Omer and Pauline have never wavered from their definition of what makes a “good person.”  Bob Dalfino said, “Last year, when I was sick and hospitalized, Omer was there for me every day. I would do anything for this man”. 

Kim Haidinger, Regional Director of Fred Astaire Studios, said, “We look forward to doing this event again for Fisher House CT, next year, 2014.”  Over $125,000 was raised for Friends of Fisher House Connecticut, part of an ongoing effort to raise $3 million to help build a Fisher House adjacent to the VA Hospital in West Haven, Connecticut.  Fisher House is the military equivalent of a Ronald McDonald House.  Fisher House provides a place for military families to stay, free of charge, while they or their loved ones undergo treatment at a VA medical center. Those who benefit range from the parents of a young military member with a traumatic injury to the spouse and the children of one who has lost a limb in battle, to the wife of a veteran who served in WWII and is living out his final days. The families are provided with all the comforts of home in a supportive environment so they can be near their loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury. 

For more information on how your organization can help raise funds for Fisher House, visit www.FisherHouseCT.org , or contact Attorney Kevin Creed, of Bristol, CT at 860-583-4800. He is the CEO of Fisher House CT. Attorney Creed commented on the efforts of the Fred Astaire Dance Studios, “With fundraising efforts like this, we will be much closer to our $3 million goal when we break ground in 2014.” To make a donation to Fisher House, go to www.FisherHouseCT.org. Fisher House has a A+ rating from Charity Navigator and 96% of all funds raised go directly to programs supporting military families.