2014 Parade Grand Marshals

2014 Parade Grand Marshals

LEFT TO RIGHT:
Parade Grand Marshal Vice Admiral (retired) Melvin G. Williams, Jr.;
Honorary Grand Marshal Lieutenant Colonel Lesbia Nieves;
Honorary Grand Marshal Sergeant 1st Class Alex W. Seretny; and
Honorary Grand Marshal Mark R. Shenkman




2014 Parade Grand Marshals

• Vice Admiral (retired) Melvin G. Williams, Jr.


PARADE GRAND MARSHAL Vice Admiral (retired) Melvin G. Williams, Jr. served in the U.S. Navy for 32 years as a commissioned officer and one year as an enlisted sailor. A nuclear trained submariner, his nearly 10 years in Command included that as a Fleet, a Submarine Group Commander, a Submarine Squadron Commander, and a Submarine Commander (USS Nebraska, Gold crew. Adm. Williams is one of the U.S. Navy and Submarine Force “Centennial Seven”- first seven African-Americans to Command a U.S. Navy submarine in the first 100 year history of the Submarine Force (The Centennial Seven). After his 2010 military retirement, he served two years as the Associate Deputy Secretary of Energy in the U.S. Department of Energy, and was the Presidential Appointee responsible for day-to-day Management and Operations of the Department. Today, he is the Associate Provost for Military and Veterans Affairs at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., responsible for serving and supporting the over 1,000 student military members, their families, and veterans to accelerate learning opportunities and rewards, while working closely with the university’s senior leadership, students, alumni, and other affiliated stakeholders.
•	Vice Admiral (retired) Melvin G. Williams, Jr.


2014 Honorary Grand Marshals

• Lieutenant Colonel Lesbia Nieves


HONORARY GRAND MARSHAL Lieutenant Colonel Lesbia Nieves has been a member of the Connecticut Army National Guard since 1987 and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In April 2014, she became the first Hispanic woman ever to be appointed a Lieutenant Colonel in the CTARNG. Lt. Col. Nieves has held numerous leadership positions in her 19 years as a commissioned officer including Platoon Leader, Executive Officer, Company Commander, Battalion Logistical Staff Officer Operations Officer (Major Command Group), Operations and Training Officer for the CTARNG Recruiting and Retention, Executive Officer for the 118th Multifunctional Medical Battalion and now Battalion Commander. The Manchester resident recently completed a one-year tour at the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va., working in the International Affairs Division State Partnership program as one of the U.S. Southern Commands desk officers. She currently is assigned as Battalion Commander for the 143rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Waterbury, Conn. and is a full-time Social Work Supervisor for the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.
•	Lieutenant Colonel Lesbia Nieves
• Sergeant 1st Class Alex W. Seretny


HONORARY GRAND MARSHAL Sergeant 1st Class Alex W. Seretny is an 11-year veteran of the Connecticut Army National Guard who has served three combat tours since 2006 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, totaling more than 30 months of overseas service. The Windham resident is the recipient of a Bronze Star Medal for Valor (with “V” device) – the nation’s fourth-highest combat award, a Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and the Combat Action Badge. He is employed full-time by the Connecticut National Guard as a surface maintenance mechanic, and currently is assigned as a platoon sergeant with the 1048th Transportation Company based in Enfield.
•	Sergeant 1st Class Alex W. Seretny
Mark R. Shenkman


HONORARY GRAND MARSHAL Mark R. Shenkman served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army from 1967-1969 in the newly organized U.S. Army Computer Systems Command in Fort Lee, Va. After his military discharge, he began his investment career and held several prominent positions on Wall Street before establishing his own firm in 1985. Mr. Shenkman is the President and Chief Investment Officer of Shenkman Capital Management, Inc. of New York and Stamford, Conn, a high yield investment advisory firm. The Greenwich resident was one of the original funders and supporters of the University of Connecticut’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities. He also funded the move and expansion of Veterans Park at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., making the public tribute to U.S. veterans more visible and significant. Over the past decade, he and his wife have established the nation’s largest private collection of American political flags.
Mark R. Shenkman



Parade Marshals From 2013



Parade Grand Marshals
Retired Master Sergeant Frank Alvarado of East Haven


Retired Master Sergeant Frank Alvarado of East Haven recently retired from the Connecticut Air National Guard (CTANG), where he served for 20 years. Prior to the CTANG, he served three years of active duty in the U.S. Army including two tours in Vietnam. Alvarado spent more than 18 years with the CTANG’s 103rd Air Control Squadron and two years with the Airlift Wing as the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) in charge of the Services section. During his years with the CTANG, he performed duty assignments in South America and Turkey and in many U.S. locations. Alvarado worked as Director of the New Haven and Willimantic offices of the Spanish American Merchants Association from 2005 to 2011. Today, he is employed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a Senior Area Manager for Greater Bridgeport, and is the SBA’s Veterans Officer for the state of Connecticut. He serves on the Board of Directors of the National Guard Association of Connecticut, is a member of the City of New Haven’s Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee, and of the Hispanic-American Veterans of Connecticut, Inc. (HAVOCT). He also co-chairs the National Guard Association Annual Retiree Picnic with fellow Parade Grand Marshal Retired Brig. Gen. (CT) Daniel J. McHale. Highly decorated for his military service, Alvarado also is the recipient of the 2004 National Image Award, presented annually to one member of each branch for service, dedication and commitment to the Hispanic community.
Retired Master Sergeant Frank Alvarado of East Haven
Major Linda Cunha of Newington


Major Linda Cunha of Newington is the Executive Officer of the Connecticut Army National Guard’s (CTARNG) 118th Multifunctional Medical Battalion. Born in Bridgeport, she enlisted as a radio operator in July 1990 into the Headquarters & Headquarters Detachment (HHD) 118th Medical Battalion, while still a student at the University of Connecticut. After graduation, she transitioned to the Active Guard (AGR) System as the Battalion Clerk. Major Cunha graduated from Officer Candidate School in 1995 but held off her commission until August 1998 when she was branched as Medical Service Corps. From December 2003 to early 2005, she mobilized and deployed to Iraq with the 118th Area Support Medical Battalion as the S-1 (Personnel Officer). Then, as the 118th's AGR Administrative Officer from 2005 to 2007, she oversaw the battalion’s redeployment, reset, and reorganization. She was reassigned as the State Mobilization Officer. Major Cunha took command of the 142d Area Support Medical Company (ASMC) in April 2010. Under her command, the company has supported the state with various state call-ups such as Hurricane Irene and numerous snow storm duties. In 2011, she and the 142d ASMC were deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom for a one-year tour. The 70-soldier company, with its doctors and nurses, provided medical evacuation, laboratory, x-ray and dental services, and operated Troop Medical Clinics in Afghanistan. In 2012, the decorated Major returned to the U.S. and was named Executive Officer of the CTARNG’s 118th Multifunctional Medical Battalion, based in Middletown.
Major Linda Cunha of Newington
Retired Staff Sergeant Chandler J. Howard of Farmington


Retired Staff Sergeant Chandler J. Howard of Farmington enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1968. After Basic Training in Fort Jackson, SC, and Helicopter Crew Chief School at Ft. Rucker, Ala., the Bridgeport native was deployed to Vietnam. As a Helicopter Crew Chief, he was charged with maintaining the aircraft which flew combat support missions in the Mekong Delta area in 1969 and 1970. Howard’s Bell UHID helicopter crashed during one of these missions and he and his crew exchanged hostile gunfire. After, the Staff Sgt. (E-6) continued his service in Vietnam for another six months. During his three years in the Army, his service awards included an Army Commendation Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and 22 Air Medals. After his honorable discharge in 1971, Howard began his long career in banking, starting as a teller. Today, he is the President and CEO of Liberty Bank, Connecticut’s largest and oldest mutual bank. Over the past four decades, he served in positions of increasing authority at People’s Bank, Fleet Bank, Bank of America, Connecticut Innovations, and First City Fund Corporation, before joining Liberty Bank in 2007. He currently is a member of the Federal Reserve Board Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council and of the American Bankers Association’s Mutual Bank Council. He also is the incoming chairman of the Connecticut Bankers Association. A respected leader in civic involvement – both personally and through his job, Howard recently completed a term as Chairman of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, and serves on numerous community and corporate Boards. He is the recipient of a 2012 Connecticut Executive Choice Award from the National MS Society – Conn. Chapter, the Middlesex United Way’s Tocqueville Society Philanthropy Award, and the Whitney M. Young Service Award from Connecticut’s Boy Scouts of America.
Retired Staff Sergeant Chandler J. Howard of Farmington
Retired Sergeant Samuel Jacobellis of Danbury


Retired Sergeant Samuel Jacobellis of Danbury is a member of the Greater Danbury Area Korean War Veterans Association, one of three such Korean War organizations in Connecticut. This year is especially poignant for Jacobellis and his fellow Korean War vets as America is observing 60 years since the end of that war. In 1952 at the age of 20, the lifelong Danbury resident was working in the auto parts business when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Jacobellis served in Korea in 1952 to 1953 attached to the 176th Armored Field Artillery unit as a Chief of Section in an M2 tank. He fought in the Battles of Bunker Hill, Dagmar, White Horse and Pork Chop Hill. He earned numerous decorations, including the Bronze Star for valor and heroism in ground combat, and the Korean Service medal with four major campaign stars. After the war ended, Jacobellis returned to Danbury and spent the next four decades in the auto parts business as a store manager and in sales. He retired from that industry in 1996. In addition to his involvement with the Korean War Veterans, he is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Danbury Council of Veterans, the Catholic War Veterans, and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).
Retired Sergeant Samuel Jacobellis of Danbury
Retired Brigadier General (CT) Daniel J. McHale of Avon


Retired Brigadier General (CT) Daniel J. McHale of Avon enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1968 and served with the 34th Group in Vietnam in diving and demolitions in the Southern Part of Vietnam in the Mekong Delta in 1970 and 1971. He joined the Connecticut Army National Guard (CTARNG) in 1973 and, upon completion of Officer Candidate School two years later, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant (Infantry). Over the next 36 years, he served a variety of CTARNG assignments at the company, battalion and, brigade-level command. This included service as the Air Operations Officer member of Joint Task Force (JTF) for Operation Promote Liberty in Panama. From 2001 to 2005, he was Commander of the 85th Troop Command of the CTARNG, eight battalions with approximately 3,200 soldiers, the majority of which were deployed to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the Global War on Terror. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, McHale was appointed Commander for the CTNG Quick Reaction Force (QRF) which has deployed numerous times to protect critical infrastructure and nuclear power plants sites up and down the East Coast. He retired from the military in August 2005 but was brought out of retirement to oversee the Connecticut National Guard’s Katrina Relief Operation in 2005 and 2006. Before retirement from the U.S. Postal Service, he served as Manager of Customer Service Operations for the Hartford-area post offices and was the Postmaster in Simsbury. Today, McHale is Connecticut’s Transition Assistance Advisor (TAA), a Department of Defense contractor who provides advocacy and outreach to all generations of veterans, as well as active military and their families. He co-chairs the OIF/OEF/OND Military Support Coalition of more than 130 members of Federal, State, Civilian agencies, VSO’s and Military Associations. Inducted into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame in 2009, he is the Connecticut Chapter President of the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) and also co-chairs the National Guard Association Annual Retiree Picnic with fellow Parade Grand Marshal Retired Master Sgt. Frank Alvarado.
Retired Brigadier General (CT) Daniel J. McHale of Avon



Parade Marshals From 2012



Parade Grand Marshals
Parade Grand Marshal: Lieutenant Colonel Michael Zacchea of Brookfield
U.S. Marines

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Zacchea of Brookfield (U.S. Marines),a Purple Heart recipient who runs the University of Connecticut's Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, recently was named the director of veterans' outreach and support for UConn's Graduate School of Business. Zacchea, who holds an MBA from UConn, coordinates programs to recruit and support veterans and help them with job placement, continuing education, career planning, and other services. He was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 1990, and served in Somalia and Haiti before being deployed in 2004 as a Major to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom II. His team, and the Iraqi army battalion it trained, were involved in heavy combat numerous times. In one incident, Zacchea was wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade and received shrapnel in his shoulder and a traumatic brain injury, which required him to undergo several years of rehabilitation. His military awards include the Bronze Star Medal for Valor (with gold star in lieu of 2nd award), the Purple Heart Medal, a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, a Combat Action Ribbon, and many unit and campaign awards. Zacchea also received the U.S. Small Business Administration's award as 2012 Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year for his work with the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities.
Parade Grand Marshal:  Lieutenant Colonel Michael Zacchea of Brookfield


Honorary Grand Marshals
Captain Dori (Zink) Freer of Shelton
U.S. Navy

Captain Dori (Zink) Freer of Shelton (U.S. Navy), a helicopter pilot during her 26-year military career, attended the U.S. Naval Academy in its third class with women. The Glastonbury native flew search and rescue flights off the carrier USS Lexington and out of Jacksonville, Fla. including the 1986 explosion of Space Shuttle Challenger. With a Masters degree in Electronics Engineering, Freer was transferred to Japan as Director of Operations (and later Commanding Officer) at a unit overseeing foreign contractors performing overhaul and repair of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft. She commanded the Defense Contract Management Agency at Sikorsky Aircraft and flew acceptance test flights for the U.S. military and foreign allies. In her last Navy assignment, she oversaw the development of the next generation catapults for new aircraft carriers. Upon retirement from the Navy, Freer joined Sikorsky Aircraft as the Black Hawk program manager, supporting the aircraft after production, worked as the company's VH-60N Executive Transport program manager, and currently is Senior Program Manager, overseeing its HH-60 MEDEVAC product line.
Captain Dori (Zink) Freer of Shelton
Connie Nappier, Jr. of New Britain
Tuskegee Airmen, U.S. Army Air Corps

Flight Officer Connie Nappier, Jr. of New Britain (Tuskegee Airmen, U.S. Army Air Corps), dreamed of being a pilot since childhood and during his years at Hartford's Weaver High School. He is believed to be the last of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen still living in Connecticut. He and his fellow Tuskegee Airmen were dedicated, determined young men who enlisted during World War II to become America's first black military airmen. The Tuskegee Airmen were forced to operate as segregated units and were not allowed to train or fight alongside their white fellow countrymen. They proved themselves to be world-class pilots and, to identify themselves, painted the tails of their aircraft red, becoming known as the "Red Tails". After the war, Nappier returned to Hartford to become an architect. He continues to represent his fellow Tuskegee Airmen, most of them now departed, to recount their historic story.
Connie Nappier, Jr. of New Britain
Major Frank A. Tantillo of Tolland
Connecticut Army National Guard

Major Frank A. Tantillo of Tolland (Connecticut Army National Guard), an active member of the CNG, served two tours in Afghanistan and before, in-between and after his deployments, worked to receive his law degree at Quinnipiac University. During his 2006 tour in Afghanistan, he was Civil Military Operations Officer in charge of infrastructure rebuilds, education programs for children, and medical programs for the communities. In 2009, he was Company Commander responsible for maintaining flow of one of the busiest border checkpoints between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He was awarded a Bronze Star for each of his tours. Currently, Major Tantillo is the Operations officer for the 1-102D IN Battalion CTARNG, and is responsible for the training and operations for the 812-soldier Battalion. He also is an elected member of the Town of Tolland's Board of Education.
Major Frank A. Tantillo of Tolland



Parade Marshals From 2011



Parade Grand Marshals
Americo "Rico" T. Pace of West Hartford
U.S. Army

Corporal Americo "Rico" T. Pace was a member of the U.S. Army's 197th AAA (AW) Battalion during World War II. Drafted in 1942 and trained in amphibious, anti-aircraft and anti-tank warfare, Pace was part of the first wave of soldiers who landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France on June 6, 1944, just hours in advance of the D-Day invasion of 160,000 Allied troops. His recollections of that historic battle still are vivid today.

After recuperating from the emotional scars of the Battle of Normandy, Pace and the 197th AAA (AW) Battalion continued to serve. This included in the Battle of Cherbourg in France, the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium, France and Luxembourg, the crossing of the Rhine River, and engaged in occupational duties in Germany after the Nazis surrendered. He returned home to Hartford in 1945.

Pace's family came to Hartford from Italy, just months after his birth, in search of citizenship and a better life. They named him Americo in honor of their new land; his surname means Peace. His father died when the boy was just 10 years of age, leaving a wife and Pace's four siblings. At age 12, he starting working, doing odd jobs to help support his family, while still going to school. Upon graduation from Hartford Public High School, he began a lifetime of work for the former Allen Manufacturing Co. in Hartford. He spent a total of 48 years with that same company, before and after his service in the U.S. Army, until he retired in 1986 from the position of Inside Sales Manager.

Quiet retirement was not for Pace and, for the past 25 years, he has been balancing two part-time volunteer jobs that make the most of his dynamic and warm personality. A Greeter at Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center's visitors desk, Pace welcomes hundreds of people every day. The active volunteer is a recipient of the Saint Francis Spirit Award for his unwavering support of the Hospital. Pace also spends several days a week at the Connecticut State Capitol Building and the Legislative Office Building, where he provides informative tours to tourists, school groups, and other visitors.

Now 89 years of age, Pace has been married to his wife, Petronella, for 64 years, with whom he raised four children in West Hartford. Both a U.S. and an Italian flag proudly hang from a post on his front lawn. He has been involved in many veterans and community and civic organizations throughout his life. He is a longtime member of the Italian-American War Veterans, and served six terms as President of Hartford's Pratolano Italian Mutual Society which was co-founded by his father. He has worshipped at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church for 75 years, serving in many roles. The former Hartford Selectman also served as Democratic Chairman of Hartford's old First Ward.
Americo "Rico" T. Pace of West Hartford


Honorary Grand Marshals
Jimmie L. Griffin of Waterbury
U.S. Army

Jimmie L. Griffin is a longtime community activist, veterans advocate, and is the former President of the Connecticut State Conference of the NAACP. As a Sergeant E-5, Griffin served in a hostile fire zone on the Korean DMZ, training troops during the Vietnam War, has been involved in veterans affairs on local, state and national levels for more than 40 years. Griffin has received awards from the National Association of Veterans Program Administrators and the American Association of Minority Veterans Program Administrators for outstanding service to U.S. veterans. He also has been honored for his contributions to civil and human rights issues in the Bridgeport and Waterbury areas.
Jimmie L. Griffin of Waterbury
Harold I. Rochette, Sr. of Meriden
U.S. Air Force

Harold (Hal) I. Rochette, Sr. was born in Middletown and today lives in Meriden. While at Pratt and Whitney, he decided he wanted to fly planes, not just work on them. After much training, Harold became a pilot and flew a B-17 Flying Fortress. Lt. Col. Rochette served 28 years in the U.S. Air Force, belonged to the 8th Air Force, stationed in England and flew over France, Germany, and Poland in some 31 missions. Very modest about being honored, received the Air Medal four times, and the European Theater Operation twice, most proud of his Distinguished Flying Cross. Several years after the war, went to work for Connecticut Light and Power Company (CL&P) as a lineman. About a decade of ago, was asked to become a member of the company's Antique Veterans: enjoys marching with the Vets. His duty is to present the American Flag to the next-of-kin of an Air Force serviceman or woman at their burial. And, he has written a book called, "8th Air Force Lottery."
Harold I. Rochette, Sr. of Meriden
Rear Admiral Sandra L. Stosz of New London
U.S. Coast Guard

Rear Admiral Sandra L. Stosz of New London is the 40th Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, the first woman in history ever to serve as superintendent of a military service academy. She reported to the Academy after serving as the Director of Reserve and Leadership at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. There, she was responsible for developing policies to recruit, train and support approximately 8,100 Coast Guard Reservists. Rear Admiral Stosz is a surface operations officer with 12 years at sea, including command of two cutters an icebreaking tug on the Great Lakes and a medium endurance cutter that patrolled North Atlantic and Caribbean waters. She also was the first female commanding officer of a Coast Guard cutter on the Great Lakes. She and her crews executed many of the Coast Guard's 11 missions such as drug and alien migrant interdiction, fisheries enforcement, search and rescue, polar and domestic icebreaking and ports and waterways security.
Rear Admiral Sandra L. Stosz of New London
Capt. William S. Warner of Glastonbury
Connecticut National Guard and U.S. Army

Capt. William S. Warner is a Connecticut National Guard Battalion Infantry Officer in the 102D. He is responsible for re-integrating close t0 800 people in the Battalion back to a state of combat readiness and coordinates the many personnel, medical and logistics issues involved in this important process. The Mansfield native enlisted into the U.S. Army in March 1985, then enlisted in the Connecticut Army National Guard in July 1988, and served as an enlisted soldier until he separated from service in March of 1996. But following the attacks of 9/11/2001, Capt. Warner decided to return to the service of his country, enlisting in March 2003. He attended the Officer Candidate School (OCS) Program and graduated in August 2003, commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. He subsequently served as a Platoon Leader in Company B, Company A, Company Executive Officer, and deployed as a Platoon Leader for Company D 1st Bn, 102nd Infantry in support of Operation Enduring Freedom VII in Afghanistan, where he was stationed from January 2006 to May 2007. Upon completion of his first tour in Afghanistan, Capt. Warner served in a variety of company grade positions in the 1-102nd Infantry including Company Commander of Company B. He also has served the Connecticut National Guard as an Active Soldier for the counter drug program, recruiting and retention command, and as operations officer for the Connecticut Training Site. In 2009, Capt. Warner deployed to Afghanistan with the 102D Infantry, this time as a Battalion Staff Officer and Personnel Officer in support of Operation Enduring Freedom X for one year. He has received numerous awards.
Capt. William S. Warner of Glastonbury



Parade Marshals From 2010



Parade Grand Marshals
Walter Harrison
U.S. Air Force Veteran & President of the University of Hartford

The first university leader ever to be named the top marshal of the parade.

Harrison joined the U.S. Air Force after completing the ROTC program at Trinity College in 1968. He first was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss. for advanced technical training and then in Aiken, S.C., where he served as personnel and administration officer for the 861st Radar Squadron. During these years, he also served as a death notification officer, responsible for notifying families in Georgia and South Carolina that their sons or husbands had been killed in Viet Nam or elsewhere. In 1972, Harrison served as Base Chief, Quality Control for the Consolidated Base Personnel Office/3535 Air Base Group at Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif.

"Serving as an officer in the U.S. Air Force was not only an honor; it was the best leadership training I have ever received," says Harrison. "Although my assignment as a death notification officer was the hardest thing I have ever done, it prepared me for leadership in many difficult situations throughout my life. I consider it a high honor to have served my country, and I am humbled to have been asked to be the Parade Grand Marshal of the Connecticut Veterans Parade," Harrison adds. "This is a way of expressing my pride and gratitude to those who did so much more, especially to those who have been wounded or who died in service to our country and freedom around the world." Harrison lives in Hartford, Conn., with his wife, Dianne.
Walter Harrison


Honorary Grand Marshals
Sergeant First Class Christopher Blauvelt
Connecticut National Guard, U.S. Marines Veteran, U.S. Coast Guard Veteran

Has served his country in the military for more than half of his life. After graduating from New Haven's Wilbur Cross High School in the mid-1980s, Blauvelt joined the U.S. Coast Guard where he served as a helicopter rescue swimmer in Oregon as a Petty Officer Second Class. After eight years, he returned to Connecticut and worked as a U.S. Postal Carrier in New Haven. In 1995, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps, beginning five years of active duty with the First Force Reconnaissance Company. Marine Sgt. Blauvelt served at Camp Pendleton in California and overseas on a ship with the 13th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit).

Not long after he returned home in 2001, the world was rocked by the events of 9/11. Blauvelt immediately went into the Guard as a Reservist, and then as an Active-Guard Reservist (AGR). He worked as a recruiter, then with the New Haven-based 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry Regiment. That regiment was mobilized to Afghanistan in November 2009. In April, he and members of his unit were on patrol when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device (IED). SFC Blauvelt was seriously injured and has been recuperating at Walter Reed Hospital and will return home soon.

He and his wife, Bernadette, look forward to saluting the crowds at the Connecticut Veterans Parade.
Sergeant First Class Christopher Blauvelt
Abraham S. Homar
U.S. Air Force Veteran

Mr. Homar is a World War II U.S. Air Force veteran and ex-POW who tells a powerful story of his 10-man plane being shot down over Germany. On February 22, 1944, his plane was the lead in a formation of 48 bombers when it was hit by German fire. Homar almost fell out of the plane when he pushed open the door. His fellow soldiers were so shell-shocked that he had to push them out with parachutes to save their lives, before jumping himself. And when he did jump, his own parachute initially did not open and he prayed aloud while falling until it finally opened close to the ground.

Homar immediately was captured by German soldiers and torture and imprisonment followed for 14 months. He was moved in trains to different stalags throughout Europe, and endured an 86-day frigid march with more than 6,000 other American and British prisoners for 800 miles across Eastern Germany. Particularly poignant are this Jewish soldier's recollections about this period, having watched other Jews being filed into train boxcars, with no idea that they were being transported to concentration camps.

Today, Abe is very active in Jewish War Veterans affairs at Hartford-Laurel Post 45 in West Hartford and is the Chaplain of Connecticut's Ex-POWs. He still works fulltime as a liquor & wine salesman for Brescome-Barton. The Hartford native lives in West Hartford with his wife, Judy.
Abraham S. Homar
Command Sergeant Major Regina Rush-Kittle
U.S. Army Reserve

An impressive soldier and law enforcement officer, and an exemplary role model. A member of the U.S. Army Reserve, she recently completed a yearlong tour of duty in Afghanistan as the Command Sergeant Major of the 321st Military Intelligence Battalion of Austin, Tx. During this deployment, she was awarded the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, the NATO Afghanistan Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal and Overseas Service Ribbon. Prior to that, she served as the Command Sergeant Major of the 325th Military Intelligence Battalion of East Windsor, Conn.

Rush-Kittle began her military career in 1982 with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve while enrolled as a University of Connecticut student. Following an honorable discharge, she joined the U.S. Army Reserve to become a Drill Sergeant. She started her law enforcement career in 1983 with the Connecticut Department of Corrections, serving as a Correctional Officer for two years. She then was hired as the first African-American female officer to serve on the Middletown, Conn. Police Department. Several years later, she became a Connecticut State Trooper and was the first African-American female to be promoted to the rank of State Police Sergeant.

Rush-Kittle's first overseas deployment was in 2003 as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Returning to Connecticut, she was assigned as Acting Executive Officer of the State Police's Troop K and, after scoring #1 on both the Lieutenants' and the Master Sergeants' exams, was promoted to the rank of State Police Lieutenant again the first African-American female in the department's history to attain that rank. That same year, she was assigned as Commanding Officer of Troop I in Bethany, and was selected by the Connecticut Association of Women Police as its "2005 Police Officer of the Year".

Rush-Kittle grew up in Middletown, Conn. Today, she lives in Rocky Hill with her husband, William Kittle, a Connecticut Army National Guard retiree who also is a Connecticut State Trooper, and their children, Jorrell and Gianna.
Command Sergeant Major Regina Rush-Kittle
Robert F. Polito Jr.
U.S. Army Veteran

Mr. Polito is an 11-year veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard. He entered the University of Connecticut as part of the school's ROTC early commissioning program. After graduation, he served with Connecticut's 1/102d & 1/169th Infantry Battalions as a company commander. When he attained the rank of captain within four short years, he was the youngest captain in Connecticut at the age of twenty-four. He was twice awarded the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal for exemplary behavior, efficiency, and fidelity while serving as a member of his Unit.

Polito's ongoing commitment to support those who served was recognized in 2009, when the Connecticut District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration named him "Veteran Business Champion of the Year". One of his responsibilities at Webster Bank is to manage its SBA Patriot Express loan initiative, and he develops and leads programs and seminars for veteran business owners across the state.

Polito grew up in Cheshire, Conn., and now lives in Madison, Conn., with his wife, Lori.
Robert F. Polito Jr.



Parade Marshals From 2009



Parade Grand Marshals
Retired Army Captain Paul W. "Buddy" Bucha
Ridgefield, CT

Paul W. "Buddy" Bucha is a Vietnam veteran and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest award that can be given to military personnel.
Retired Army Captain Paul W. "Buddy" Bucha


Honorary Grand Marshals
Retired Army Captain Dr. Madelon Visintainer Baranoski
MSN of Meriden, CT

Dr. Madelon Visintainer Baranoski had a distinguished Military career in the Army, serving as a Surgical Nurse and Nurse Supervisor while stationed in Vietnam. Her first assignments were at the 8th Field Hospital in Nha Trang, and then at the 25th Evacuation Hospital in CuChi, Vietnam. She is a recipient of the Bronze Star for her meritorious service in a combat area, and has received the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Vietnam Gallantry Cross.
Retired Army Captain Dr. Madelon Visintainer Baranoski
Retired Army Captain Eleanor Shirshac Becker
of Killingworth

Born on a family dairy farm in Coventry, Conn., Eleanor Shirshac Becker, now 92 years old, was working for the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. She heard about the establishment of the new Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACS) [now known as Women's Army Corps (WACS)] and immediately volunteered to serve because she "wanted to help out". After close to a year as a supply sergeant, Becker was recommended for Officer Candidate School (OCS). She was trained in cryptography and took the secret orders for parts for military aircraft that were fighting in Europe and the Pacific. She rose through the ranks to Captain, serving in several locations around the U.S. At the end of the war, she returned home to many years of service for State of Connecticut.
Retired Army Captain Eleanor Shirshac Becker
Retired CTNG Command Sergeant Major William W. Chapman II
of Willington, CT

Retired CTARNG Command Sergeant Major William W. Chapman II of Willington, Conn. has more than 35 years of distinguished military service in the Marine Corps, Army Reserve, and Connecticut Army National Guard. His military experience includes Aircraft Hydraulics, Infantry, Civil Affairs, Combat Engineer, Military Police, and Logistics.
Retired CTNG Command Sergeant Major William W. Chapman II
Retired Navy Captain William J. McGurk
of Somers, CT

Bill McGurk is a veteran of 28 years of service in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserve. He was commissioned as an Ensign in June 1963, upon his graduation from Holy Cross College. His first assignment was aboard the USS FORREST SHERMAN where he served as Main Propulsion Assistant and Electronics Material Officer. He participated in Mediterranean and Northern European deployments, as well as two Caribbean cruises and refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Retired Navy Captain William J. McGurk



Parade Marshals From 2008



Parade Grand Marshals
Paul Pendergast


Paul Pendergast is a longtime supporter of veterans affairs. The Vietnam-era U.S. Air Force veteran was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant. Pendergast is the President of the Connecticut Veterans Fund, which produces the Connecticut Veterans Parade and its Executive Committee. He works with the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs on various projects to help veterans who live in the state, is involved in many philanthropic committees and endeavors, serves on several community and civic boards, and helps other organizations raise money to help those in desperate need of funding.
Paul Pendergast
Ray Necci


Raymond P. Necci, a longtime supporter of veterans affairs, is the former President and Chief Operating Officer of The Connecticut Light and Power Company (CL&P) and Yankee Gas Services Company (Yankee Gas), two of Northeast Utilities’ (NU) operating companies. “I sincerely thank the Veterans Day parade organizers for this honor and encourage everyone to come out and help salute our veterans that day,” Necci said in 2008.” CL&P has been a major sponsor of the Connecticut Veterans Day Parade since the event was established in 2000, and a unit of employees who are veterans and supporters march every year. Necci sits on a variety of industry boards, is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the United Way of the Capital Area and is a member of the Board of the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut. For the past two years, the Glastonbury, Conn. resident has provided leadership support to Operation Fuel, helping raise over $200,000 in 2007. He has volunteered with the Special Olympics of Connecticut for more than 20 years.
Ray Necci


Honorary Grand Marshals
Dolores Nieves and Joe Pickard
Representing the US Army 65th Infantry Regiment, "the Borinqueneers".

Dolores Nieves grew up in Carolina, Puerto Rico. In 1950, at age 18, he enlisted, saying he wanted a career in the Army. After months of infantry training, he went to Korea where he was a Rifleman and Squad Leader and was involved in much hand-to-hand action on the 38th parallel.
After the Korean War, he signed up for the Army Reserves and was a Platoon Sergeant, serving in the reserves for many years. He came to the U.S. in 1968. A mechanic, he worked for decades on Wethersfield Avenue in Hartford.

Joe Pickard was raised in Guayama, Puerto Rico. He joined the Army at age 20. With some previous experience in communications, he was chosen by a colonel to be a radio command operator in Korea. He learned about Morse Code and handled radio communications for entire units. He then was assigned to the Armed Forces Radio Services involved with Spanish-speaking programming. In 1967, he came to New York City. Several years later, he began a long career in Spanish-speaking broadcasting in New York, New Jersey, and later Connecticut – both behind the scenes and in front of the microphone and camera. He also worked for the City of Hartford in licensing for 20 years. Today, he works part-time as a van driver for school students with physical and mental difficulties.
Dolores Nieves and Joe Pickard
Nan Carmon
of Windsor

Nan Carmon was honored for years of support for servicemen and women and veterans. Upon graduation from college and during World War II, she worked for the Federal Office of Price Administration’s Connecticut office, which examined pricing related to the war. During the war, her husband, Major Frank W. Carmon, Jr. was serving in the 88th Infantry in North Africa and Italy Campaigns. The highly decorated soldier received three Purple Hearts, the Distinguished Service Cross, and Silver and Bronze Stars for his heroism.

In 1946, Frank and Nan opened the first Carmon Community Funeral Home in Windsor. Since that time, her sons and grandsons have become funeral directors and manage the firm, which has grown to nine funeral homes with a crematory in North Central Connecticut. Nan continues to serve as the company’s Bookkeeper and is the President Emeritus; Frank died in 1972.

Over the past 20 years, Nan and her family and staff have developed many programs for veterans. This has included hosting three trips to Washington, D.C. for WWII veterans so they can see the WWII Memorial with their own eyes. The emotional trips included many special touches including a banquet where veterans shared their memories, and a private tour of Arlington National Cemetery. The family underwrote much of the trip so it was affordable for aging veterans. The funeral home raised substantial funds in Connecticut for the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. and they later signed up hundreds of World War II veterans and home front patriots to record their names in the memorial’s “National Registry of Remembrances”. Staff members also were instrumental in bringing the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, to Windsor – its first visit to the Northeast. That exhibit returned to Rentschler Field in East Hartford in October.

Nan has served as President of Gray Dickinson Post #59 American Legion Auxiliary. Four of her grandsons have served in the military over the past decade.
Nan Carmon
Robert Genovese
of Naugatuck

Robert Genovese is an Air Force veteran and Co-Founder of the “Veterans Who Care Committee”, a Naugatuck-based benevolent veteran’s organization. He has served as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors since 1988. The committee’s main goal is to assist Connecticut veterans of the U. S. Armed Forces who received discharges under honorable conditions, and they or their families are in need. The organization sponsors an annual Holiday Food Program providing gift certificates to needy veterans and/or their families. The committee has also provides the turkeys for the Ecumenical Council of Churches’ annual Christmas dinner in Naugatuck, and sponsors two $1,000 scholarship awards each year for students continuing their education after high school.

Genovese joined the Naugatuck Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1946 in 1972, served as the Post Commander from 1988 to1989 and held several other offices at the Post. While Commander, he organized Bloodmobile Drives with the American Red Cross and started a Senior Advisory Committee at the Post in 1988. In 1991, Genovese was honored as the VFW Post 1946 Veteran of the Year. He also succeeded in getting the Post involved in the filming of the movie “Jacknife” starring Robert DeNiro and Ed Harris. Props from the Post Home were used in the movie and several Post members were used as extras during filming in Meriden and Cromwell.

Genovese served as Commander of the Union City Chapter #11 of the Disabled American Veterans in 2002 and 2003. He is a member of the: Catholic War Veterans Post 708, Naugatuck; American Legion Post 17, Naugatuck; Italian American War Veterans, Favale-Generali-Florio Post # 8, Waterbury; AMVETS (American Veterans), Enfield, CT Post; Veterans of the Vietnam War, Wilkes-Barre, PA; and the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Milford, CT chapter.
Robert Genovese
Russ Jones


Russ Jones of West Hartford, is a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran and the retired SVP/CIO and Treasurer of Kaman Corp. Jones humbly felt that as an Honorary Grand Marshal, he represented the “everyman and everywoman” who went to serve in Vietnam. He was drafted by the Army shortly after graduation from college in 1966. Assigned to a signal outfit about 30 miles North of Saigon, he was the bodyguard and driver for a chaplain. He clocked 10,000 miles of driving, bringing mail and building morale for the troops. Jones was an active supporter of the Connecticut Veterans Day Parade in the 2000’s, ever since its establishment in 2000 and was proud to be recognized with this honor.
Russ Jones
Tom Guzzo


Tom Guzzo successfully fought to get the federal government to provide grave markers for all U.S. veterans. His story is a true testament to the power of one person who perseveres. He mounted a nine-year effort that resulted in the December 2007 passage of federal legislation that guarantees U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) gravestone markers for families of deceased veterans.

Guzzo was inspired take up this cause when his father, Hartford-area Army veteran Agostino Guzzo, died in 1998. The family discovered that Mr. Guzzo did not qualify for a government-funded marker to be placed on his grave. In 2001, legislation was passed that allowed the Guzzos and more than 20,000 other families of veterans to acquire a marker from the VA. However, that legislation was only retroactive to September 11, 2001, leaving a gap for honoring veterans with official grave markers for those that died between November 1, 1990 and September 10, 2001. The 2007 legislation approved by Congress that Guzzo lobbied for eliminated this gap and also provides medallions or bronze plates for veterans' headstones that were privately purchased
Tom Guzzo



Parade Marshals From 2007



Parade Grand Marshals
Command Sgt. Maj. Dave Warner
1st Battalion, 102d Infantry Regiment of the Connecticut Army National Guard.

Designated as the Task Force Iron Grays while stationed in Afghanistan, their unit conducted a full spectrum of operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Task Force Iron Grays enabled the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan by working with Afghan National Security forces and Multi-National forces in order to establish security, and deter the re-emergence of terrorism to enhance the sovereignty of Afghanistan. They had two specific mission focuses during the tour: 1) to provide security to the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs); and 2) to conduct full spectrum counter-insurgency operations in the provinces of Ghazni and Laghman. The 102nd Infantry conducted more than 1,450 combat patrols in 20 named combat operations.

Their Security Force (SECFOR) platoons were instrumental in providing the necessary security to the Provincial Reconstruction Teams as they enabled the government and population of Afghanistan to rebuild after a 25-year period of war. The focus of the SECFOR platoons was to establish a buffer between the PRTs and the insurgents in order to develop the much needed political and infrastructure for the government of Afghanistan to thrive.
Command Sgt. Maj. Dave Warner
Lt. Col Steven Gilbert
Commander of the 1st Battalion, 102d Infantry Regiment of the Connecticut Army National Guard.

Designated as the Task Force Iron Grays while stationed in Afghanistan, their unit conducted a full spectrum of operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Task Force Iron Grays enabled the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan by working with Afghan National Security forces and Multi-National forces in order to establish security, and deter the re-emergence of terrorism to enhance the sovereignty of Afghanistan. They had two specific mission focuses during the tour: 1) to provide security to the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs); and 2) to conduct full spectrum counter-insurgency operations in the provinces of Ghazni and Laghman. The 102nd Infantry conducted more than 1,450 combat patrols in 20 named combat operations.

Their Security Force (SECFOR) platoons were instrumental in providing the necessary security to the Provincial Reconstruction Teams as they enabled the government and population of Afghanistan to rebuild after a 25-year period of war. The focus of the SECFOR platoons was to establish a buffer between the PRTs and the insurgents in order to develop the much needed political and infrastructure for the government of Afghanistan to thrive.
Lt. Col Steven Gilbert


Honorary Grand Marshals
Anthony V. Savino
Bristol resident who served on active duty with the U.S. Army(Korean War-Era Service) and Connecticut Army National Guard for 40 years.

He served as the State Command Sergeant Major of the Connecticut National Guard for his last 16 years. Anthony has done extensive volunteer service in his community as officer and member of multiple boards, commissions and organizations.
Anthony V. Savino
Carmen Anthony Vacalebre
Owner/CEO of Carmen Anthony Restaurant Group and Waterbury resident.

Carmen has been a vital force in securing community contributions for the Connecticut Veterans Day Parade to keep this public tribute to our veterans alive and the largest in New England.
Carmen Anthony Vacalebre
Juan M. Fuentes-Vizcarrondo


Well-known area photographer and newsman, including at Hartford Times and El Observador. Served in U.S. Army and Reserves during time of Korean conflict.
Juan M. Fuentes-Vizcarrondo
Phyllis A. McMeans
Served in the Marine Corps from June 1971 to January 1974

She was trained in Personnel Administration in South Carolina and then transferred to California. She was then stationed in North Carolina at the Marine Corps Air Station where she trained as an Air Traffic Controller. The East Hartford resident is the longtime Choir Director for Hopewell Baptist Church. Its Gospel Quartet will sing the National Anthem during the parade, following a Moment of Silence. She also is Director of the Men's Music Ministry and the Church Choir at the Bethel A.M.E. Church in Bloomfield, and was the 2007 Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Choir, which was formed for a performance with the Hartford Symphony.
Phyllis A. McMeans
Walter "Doc" Hurley, Sr.
Founding President of the Doc Hurley Scholarship Basketball Classic

The organization encouraged Hartford's young men and women to stay in school and then go on to college with the help of modest but essential scholarships. The Doc Hurley Scholarship Foundation has awarded over $490,000 to 478 deserving high school seniors in the Greater Hartford area. Doc also served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Walter "Doc" Hurley, Sr.



Parade Marshals From 2006



Parade Grand Marshals
Frank Falana
Served Three Tours of Duty

A decorated veteran, Frank Falana served three tours of duty for his nation. In 1969, he volunteered for service in the Army Infantry in Southeast Asia's Vietnam War and was a paratrooper with the Air Calvary, repelling down ropes into ground combat. At the end of his tour, he joined Operation Just Cause in Panama, assisting in the removal of Pres. Noriega and flying air crews, medical crews and soldiers, including bringing the deceased back to the U.S. Later, as a Staff Sergeant for the U.S. Air Reserve, he delivered supplies, clothing and uniforms during Operation Desert Storm.

When he returned home, Falana spent more than 20 years in the Executive Protection Department of Northeast Utilities, as a body guard as a driver for the Chairman, Officers and Trustees. A longtime volunteer firefighter for the Wethersfield Fire Department, he volunteered for various fire and police organizations, as well as coaching and refereeing youth sports. He was a member of the Governor's Horse Guard, and worked with the Shriners, entertaining hospitalized children.

Falana worked as a Supervisor for the U.S. Marshal Service, his department provided courtroom security for federal judges. He was a member of the Manchester Pipe & Drum Corps, which marched with him during the 2006 parade. A courageous veteran who devoted his life to helping others, Frank succumbed to brain cancer December, 2006.
Frank Falana


Honorary Grand Marshals
Al Meadows
Coordinator of Connecticut's Operation Gift Cards

For the past year, Huntington's Al Meadows has devoted much of his time to saying "Thank You" to hospitalized soldiers who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is the creator and coordinator of

Connecticut's Operation Gift Cards (www.ctveterans.org), which visits troops in Washington's Walter Reed and Bethesda Military Hospitals, bringing "Thank You" kits that include cards and PX gift certificates. To date, the program has personally presented more than 1,900 kits and $38,000 in gift certificates to injured soldiers from all over the U.S.

A Purple Heart recipient himself, Mr. Meadows served in the DMZ in Korea in the Army's 2nd infantry division in 1966 to 1967. He then spent almost a year in Vietnam with the Ninth division of the Mobile Riverine force a special unit composed of both Army and Navy soldiers. He served on ground combat, as a rifleman, as a radio man for forward observation team, and as an assistant gunner in a heavy mortar platoon. Mr. Meadows decorations include: Combat Infantryman's Badge, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Korean Defense Medal, and Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Today, Mr. Meadows is Vice Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart for Connecticut, and is a past State Commander for the Disabled Americans Veterans. He is a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S.

When he returned to home, he worked for many years as a draftsman and supervisor in an engineering firm. Today, he runs his own commercial graphic design studio in Huntington, Conn.
Al Meadows
Edward S. Banas, Sr
Past National Commander-in-Chief, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States

Edward S. Banas Sr. was elected Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars on August 29, 2003 at the 104th national convention, held in San Antonio, Texas. He is only the second member from Connecticut to be elected to this position.

Mr. Banas served in the Army from 1965 to 1968. In Vietnam, he was assigned to the 18th MP Bde. and was awarded the Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, National Defense Medal and the Army Good Conduct Medal.

In 1967, while still in the military, Mr. Banas joined VFW Post 10004 in Jewett City, Conn. He served in a variety of positions at the Post level including Post Commander. At the district level, Ed earned the honor of All American District Commander. He served as Department Commander of Connecticut in 1993-94.

On the national level, Mr. Banas has served on several committees including Safety, By-Laws, Budget & Finance, and as chairman for both the Americanism and Legislative Committees. He served a two-year term in 1994-1996, as a member of the National Council of Administration representing the Departments of Massachusetts and Connecticut. In 1998-1999, he served as the Eastern States Conference Chairman.

Mr. Banas put his military police experience to good use when he became a member of the Norwich Police Department in 1968 and served with the department for more than 10 years. During this time, he was a member of several law enforcement associations including Patrolman's Benevolent Association, New London County Detective Association, Connecticut Narcotic Officers Association, and the International Narcotic Officers Association. He now lives in Niantic, Conn.
Edward S. Banas, Sr
James W. Shelmerdine, JR.
President, Connecticut Chapter of Korean War Veterans

The President of the Connecticut Chapter of Korean War Veterans, Mr. Shelmerdine has been a member of the Veterans Day Planning Committee since the event's inception in 2000.

James is a lifelong East Hartford resident has devoted his life to the ensuing America's freedom through military service. He joined the Connecticut Army National Guard in 1952 and, five months later, was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served as Combat Rifleman in the First Battalion 224th Infantry, 40th Infantry Division in North Korea. Two days after his discharge in 1954, he joined the Connecticut Air National Guard and served for three years as a Personnel clerk, First Sergeant and Legal Technician at Bradley Air Field in Windsor Locks. When his unit was eliminated after 37 months, he joined Army National Guard and was a Platoon Leader and Company Commander for nine years.

Shelmerdine's career includes work as General's Aide, Operations, for the 76th Training Division in West Hartford. From 1973 to 1992, he was on sporadic Active Duty, balancing that responsibility with his civilian career as an insurance claims adjuster.

Currently, he is Commander of the Final Honors Firing Squad at veterans' funerals and is a member of ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve). For the past 25 years, he has served as Marshal of the East Hartford Memorial Day Parade and has been a member of the Town's Patriotic Commission for more than 30 years.

A retired Lieutenant Colonel of the Army Infantry, Shelmerdine is the recipient of many awards, including a Purple Heart, a Meritorious Service Medal, an Army Commendation Medal, an Army Achievement Medal, a Combat Infantry Badge, a Parachutist Badge, a Korean Service Medal with 2 bronze stars, a United Nations Service Medal, a Korean Presidential Citation, and a Republic of Korea Service Medal.

James W. Shelmerdine, JR.
Judith E. Keene
USCG Commandant of Cadets, United States Coast Guard Academy

Captain Judith E. Keene, USCG, graduated with high honors from the Coast Guard Academy in 1981, and was recipient of the award for the Highest Proficiency in Management. Upon graduation, she was assigned aboard USCGC MUNRO in Honolulu, Hawaii. Other operational tours include Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Station New London, Connecticut and Deputy Group Commander of Group Woods Hole. In June 2003, she returned to Group Woods Hole as Group Commander. At Group Woods Hole, she oversees the operations of eight multi-mission small boat stations and one seasonal station, four patrol boats, two aids to navigation teams and a long range aids to navigation station.

The New London resident also has served in a variety of staff assignments including Executive Assistant to the Deepwater Program Executive Officer; Gender Policy Advisor to the Commandant; Assignment Officer at the Personnel Command; Deputy Comptroller at the Reserve Training Center in Yorktown, Virginia; and Chief of the Human Resources and Personnel Services Branches at the 14th Coast Guard District Office in Honolulu, Hawaii. While in Honolulu, Captain Keene attended the University of Hawaii where she earned a master of business administration degree and received the Lum Yip Kee award given to the top graduate. She was also a National Security Fellow at Harvard University from 1997 1998. Most recently, Captain Keene served as Chief of the Resources and Planning Branches for the Coast Guard's Pacific Area in Alameda, California.

Captain Keene's personal decorations include the Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), the Secretary of Transportation's Silver Medal, the Coast Guard Commendation Medal with Operational Distinguishing Device (4 awards) and the Coast Guard Achievement Medal (2 awards) as well as other unit and service awards.
Judith E. Keene



Parade Marshals From 2005



Parade Grand Marshals
Elwood A.D. "Woody" Lechausse


Resident of Enfield, and a tireless advocate for many veterans groups on local, state and national levels, including extensive work for the Disabled American Veterans of America. Lechausse served in the U.S. Army between 1958 and 1965, and was a Sergeant in Vietnam and Turkey. Currently, he is the Legislative Committee Advisor for the Connecticut.
Elwood A.D. "Woody" Lechausse


Honorary Grand Marshals
Rob Simmons


A Vietnam Veteran and recipient of two Bronze Star Medals. Rob is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives where he was also a member of the U.S. Armed Services, Transportation and Homeland Security Committees, and Chairman of the Homeland Security Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment subcommittee.
Rob Simmons
Sally Hitchcock


A World War II Army Nurse and First Lieutenant who served in the Southwest Pacific. A graduate of Smith College in 1941, and Yale School of Nursing in 1944, Sally worked as head nurse at Newington Veterans Hospital until 1948. She is the author of the book, Letters Home: Memoirs of One Army Nurse World War II, a collection of letters and commentary on her war experiences.
Sally Hitchcock
Tom Condon


An Editor and Columnist for The Hartford Courant. Trained in Cryptography and Electronic Warfare Systems, Condon was a First Lieutenant in Vietnam in the Army's Military Intelligence Branch with the 9th Infantry Division and the Delta Military Assistance Command. Tom was honored with a Bronze Star Medal and an Army Commendation Medal, both for meritorious achievement.
Tom Condon



Parade Marshals From 2004



Parade Grand Marshals
John Motley


Burlington resident and former President of the Travelers Foundation, Vietnam veteran and proud supporter of the parade. John is a partner in MotleyBeup Group LLC.
John Motley


Honorary Grand Marshals
Ben Cooper


Member of the Jewish War Veterans of America and West Hartford resident. Ben worked at Colt as part of the WWII effort and was a Combat Medic with the U.S. Army's 45th Infantry that liberated Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany. Since 1990 he has been speaking about his wartime experience with students in schools throughout our region, to help them better understand our history.
Ben Cooper
Lloyd "Fig" Newton


Retired four-star General, 34 year career with the U.S. Air Force. Lloyd was a former Thunderbird pilot, congressional liaison officer, and administrative director of operations of the U.S Special Operations Command.
Lloyd "Fig" Newton
Ray Dunaway


Resident of Avon, and WTIC-AM talk show host who has been involved in this parade since its inception in 2000. Ray has been the superb announcer at the review stand, really making every unit feel acknowledged and important.
Ray Dunaway



Parade Marshals From 2003



Parade Grand Marshals
Michael Morris


Former CEO/President/Chairman, Northeastern Utilities. A longtime supporter of veterans and this parade. Also a former ROTC Brigade Commander.
Michael Morris


Honorary Grand Marshals
Connecticut's Tuskegee Airmen


Former Tuskegee Airmen, a remarkable group of African Americans who distinguished themselves as the 99th Pursuit Squadron. The squadron was later incorporated into the U.S. Army Air Corps 332nd Fighter Group, who fought during World War II. Included Edward Hall and Connie Nappier.
Connecticut's Tuskegee Airmen
Linda Spoonster Schwartz


Commissioner of Veterans Affairs, State of Connecticut. Linda was a member of the U.S Air Force Nurse Corps from 1968 to 1986. She has dedicated her post military career to teaching and veteran's issues. Linda has been commended for her leadership on the issue of homeless veterans, Agent Orange and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
Linda Spoonster Schwartz



Parade Marshals From 2002



Parade Grand Marshals
Dick Booth


President and CEO of the Hartford Steam Boiler. Richard is a member of the Boards of St. Francis Hospital, the American Insurance Association (AIA), The Griffith Foundation for Insurance Education, the Florence Griswold Museum and the MetroHartford Alliance, Inc. Additionally, Richard is on the Board and Executive Committee of the Hartford Youth Scholarship Foundation and has been a longtime supporter of the parade.
Dick Booth


Honorary Grand Marshals
Terry Giaconne


A Gold Star Mother whose son, Air Force Technical Sergeant, John Chapman, was the first CT citizen to die in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, in March 2002. Terry is a resident of Windsor Locks.
Terry Giaconne



Parade Marshals From 2001



Parade Grand Marshals
Brad Davis


Host of the Brad Davis Radio Program on WDRC, co-founder of the parade, and its most loyal & eloquent promoter. Brad is an active member of the Executive Committee and served in the U'S' Marine Corps.
Brad Davis
Marilda L. Gandara


President, Aetna Foundation, Founder of the CT Veteran's Day Parade with her son Paul, Marilda is the parade's most ardent supporter.
Marilda L. Gandara


Honorary Grand Marshals
Governor and Mrs. John G. Rowland Lieutenant Governor M. Jodi Rell


Governor and Mrs. John G. Rowland Lieutenant Governor M. Jodi Rell



Parade Marshals From 2000



Honorary Grand Marshals
Governor and Mrs. John G. Rowland


Governor and Mrs. John G. Rowland



Parade Marshals From



Parade Grand Marshals
Retired Sergeant Samuel Jacobellis of Danbury


Connecticut Veterans Parade
c/o CT Veterans Fund
1245 Farmington Avenue, #338
West Hartford, CT 06107
860-986-7254
Copyright 2005-2010 Connecticut Veterans Parade






Follow Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter Home