NEW BRITAIN - Central Connecticut State University honored three veterans Friday afternoon in the school’s annual Veterans Day Observance Ceremony.
“America’s armed forces have always been prepared to defend our freedom and the freedom of others throughout the world. On Veterans Day, we acknowledge the great debt we owe the many men and women who have defended this nation,” said Peter Troiano, CCSU’s interim president of student affairs.
The three veterans who received awards and citations were all CCSU graduates - including Marine Corps veteran Salvatore V. Sena Sr., who graduated from the university 28 years ago.
Sena played an instrumental role in ensuring that veterans received final honors for their funerals before the state of Connecticut adopted a budget. He worked directly with both funeral homes and color guards. Sena is a member of U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty’s Veterans Advisory Board.
“There is no ‘I’ in team. You cannot get anything accomplished being alone,” Sena said after receiving the Veterans Public Service Award for Excellence. “There was no way I was going to get anything accomplished without the help of my fellow Marines and veterans around the state. It is to them that I want to say thank you very much. If it was not for you, I wouldn’t be standing here right now.”
Connecticut Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Dorota E. Gdula and Connecticut Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tasha E. Dow were also honored for their service to the country Friday afternoon.
Before enrolling at CCSU to study Exercise Science, Physical Education and Human Performance, Dow, a Plainville resident, served in Afghanistan with the Connecticut Army National Guard 142nd Medical Unit from 2011-2012. Dow currently has two semesters left at CCSU before completing her Exercise Science degree. She received the Great Elm VFW 9945 Wethersfield Veterans Scholarship.
Gdula, a graduate student pursuing a degree in Technology Management, Manufacturing and Construction Management, previously served in the United Arab Emirates with the Connecticut Air National Guard from 2016-2017. A native of Poland, Gdula has previously received the Airman of the Year award in 2014. Gdula received the Student Veteran Award for Excellence and Scholarship during Friday’s ceremony.
The three veterans also received citations from the Connecticut House of Representatives, the state Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and the city of New Britain.
This morning, city officials will visit 11 memorials and monuments in the city to honor veterans. There will also be a ceremony at 1 p.m. at the Iwo Jima Memorial located near CCSU at the intersection of Ella Grasso Boulevard and Exit 29 of Route 9.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @FrazerNBH