CCSU Honors The Service And Commitment Of Local Veterans


Julia Jade Moran

Local veterans and service members honored those

Isabella Chan, News Editor


“Veteran’s Day is a time to thank living veterans for their service and to show appreciate for their contribution to our national security and to emphasize that all those that serve, not just those who die and sacrifice their duty,” Chris Gutierrez, Veterans Affairs coordinator, stated.

Honoring the veterans of the New Britain community and Central Connecticut campus, CCSU awarded local service members and student veterans for their military duties.

The ceremony opened with the “Posting of the Colors” conducted by color guards of the United States Armed Forces, followed by a number of speakers and honoring those with several awards and scholarships.

“America’s armed forces has always been prepared to defend our freedom and freedom for others throughout the world. On Veteran’s Day, we realize we owe that privilege of living and democracy to the many men and women who have defended this nation, many of whom who have gave their life for our freedom,” Gutierrez stated.

He cited that millions of service members died in the line of fire, along with more than 1.4 million living with wounds they suffer from while fighting in battle. Gutierrez calls these veterans “a special group of Americans.”

“It is a day we stand and support our fellow Americans who so proudly served our country in the armed forces. America has survived many battles, fought bravely by our men and women in uniform. It is these men and women, both past and present, we should remember and thank by honoring on this day,” Gutierrez added.

Recipients of the awards included U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Walter Francois, who was honored with the Veterans Public Service Award for Excellence, U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Owen Cornish, who was awarded the CCSU Student Veteran Award for Excellence and Scholarship and honoree Wesley Szacillo.

For the first time, all of the recipients were part of the Marine Corp, and received a strong battle cry “Oorah!” from fellow service members.

“Personally, I look back on me joining the Marine Corp and honestly I feel like that is the best decision I’ve ever made. Reasons being is it continues to shape me into the best possible person. With that being said, I humbly appreciate everyone being here, I am honored,” Francois stated.

President Dr. Zulma Toro, who also was in attendance, shared that the awards and scholarships presented to the student veterans represent a small form of acknowledgement and appreciation for their service.

“A few simple awards do not express the profound gratitude we feel for our veterans and the many sacrifices they and their families have been called upon to make,” Dr. Toro said.

Dr. Toro further stated that university is “deeply committed,”  to providing assisting to the 400 student veterans pursuing a higher education and making it her responsibility to ensure they thrive just as “these students make it their duty to protect and defend the values of this country.”

“With so much attention on what divides us as a nation, let us take the opportunity today to agree on one thing: our veterans deserve our gratitude and support,” Dr. Toro stated. “We are very proud of them, not only for their service but for their leadership on campus and example they set for all of our students.”