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Veterans' Day Remembered

"It was touching to see so many veterans, especially the large turnout of women veterans.  The speakers were eloquent in their dedication to country and appreciation, and this is the first time in my short 5 year tenure in State service that anyone has thought of us in this way! It truly means a lot to those of us who have served and to those who continue to fight for our freedoms!”     
Maureen Evelyn, Department of Developmental Services Trainer, United States Air Force Veteran who served 10 years as an Aerospace Physiology Supervisor at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma
Veterans' Day
Presentation of Colors by the Military Department
Maureen Evelyn is just one of many Veterans, Active Duty Service Members and Military Families who attended the Veterans’ Day Appreciation Program held recently at the Capitol Avenue Complex in Hartford. Sponsored by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and DDS Division of Equal Employment Opportunity(EEO), the program honored those who have served our country or are currently serving in the military.
After the Presentation of Colors by the Military Department, DDS Commissioner Peter H. O’Meara welcomed over 150 employees from DDS, Department of Public Health, Office of Policy Management and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
“There probably isn’t one person in this room who hasn’t been touched by someone in the Armed Forces and what they gave up for us”, said Commissioner O’Meara. “Their contributions to the freedoms we all enjoy everyday are immeasurable.”
Veterans' Day Program
(left to right) Ms. Cordula, Director of Division of Equal Employment Opportunity(EEO), Commissioner Linda Schwartz, Connecticut Department of Veterans' Affairs, Laura Guilmartin, EEO Specialist 1,  Lorna Reid, EEO Specialist 1, Commissioner Peter H. O'Meara, Major General Thaddeus Martin and DDS Deputy Commissioner Kathyn du Pree
Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz addressed the audience sharing some startling statistics. The United States has been at war 138 years of its’ 202 years in existence, 33 million Americans have served in the military and 638,000 men and women have lost their lives defending our nation.
“Families have made great sacrifices,” said Commissioner Schwartz. “Generations of veterans have given us a gift, their lives and youth and they endured great hardships to make America free”.
Connecticut Adjutant General Major General Thaddeus Martin spoke to the crowd about the men and women he serves with. “Every day they defend our right to live as individuals”, said Major General Martin. “They value life and are so bravely ready to die for our country.”
The room grew silent as Major General Martin presented a film on Connecticut’s National Guard, “Always Ready, Always There”. The moving film depicted Connecticut soldiers heading oversees on deployment, their time serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and their emotional homecomings.  
Two DDS employees invited their family members to the program. James Welsh, Director of Legal and Government Affairs sat next to his 21-year-old son, Lance Corporal James Welsh, United States Marine Corps. Lance Corporal Welsh joined the Marine Corps over three years ago and has served in Iraq. Teresa Gonzalez, Assistant Human Resources Administrator 3 was joined by her husband, Master Sergeant Frank Gonzalez of the Connecticut Air National Guard stationed at Bradley Base. He has served for 30 years and currently is an Avionics Technician.
Veterans' Day
James Welsh and his son, L.Cpl. James Welsh
Veterans' Day
Teresa Gonzalez and her husband, MSgt. Frank Gonzalez