FAIRFIELD - State Representatives Brenda Kupchick (R-132), Laura Devlin (R-134) and Cristin McCarthy Vahey (D-133) along with State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) participated in a Connecticut Wartime Service Medal Ceremony hosted at Roger Ludlowe Middle School on Thursday, June 20.

The Fairfield legislative delegation presented the medals alongside Department of Veterans’ Affairs, (DVA) Director of Projects and Operations Joe Danao. The ceremony honored almost 200 Fairfield Veterans, over 40 were awarded posthumously.

“Serving nearly nine years in the Connecticut General Assembly has been the most exhilarating experience of my life. However, hosting a ceremony honoring our own Connecticut War Time American Hero’s tops the list! This ceremony was one of the most gratifying and humbling experiences I’ve ever been blessed to have,” said Kupchick. “I’m grateful every day for the blanket of freedom provided by these brave Americans.”

“It was a privilege to participate in this ceremony to honor our local veterans who served our country during times of war,” said Devlin. “It is important for us to remember the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families to keep our country safe and defend the freedoms we hold dear.”

“The event was so inspiring because the room was literally filled with heroes,” Hwang said. “I know I speak for my fellow state legislators when I say that we all have great respect for the many men and women who have bravely served our country. This event is just one small way to express our appreciation for all they have done. We are happy to play a role in giving these vets long overdue recognition for their brave service. We thank them - and their families - for their commitment to protecting the freedoms we hold so dear.”

“I was so grateful to join my colleagues to honor Fairfield veterans with the Connecticut Wartime Service Medal,” said McCarthy Vahey. “It was incredible to see the veterans and their proud families. It was a celebration of service.”

The ceremony was made with the help of many volunteers; the colors and the Pledge of Allegiance were presented by the National Association of Naval Veterans, Port 5, and the National Anthem was sung by Roger Ludlowe Middle School Students Charlotte Festini as vocalist and Amy LaFond on piano, remarks were given by Sen. Hwang, Reps. Devlin, McCarthy Vahey, and DVA representative Danao.

The keynote speaker was Captain Roger Crossland served as a SEAL officer in Vietnam and was mobilized as a reserve officer for duty with Naval Special Warfare Group One in Southwest and Central Asia as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002.

The recipient names were read by Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame member Thomas Quinn, American Legion Post 143 and Joseph Bender, Division Commander American Legion Post 74.

The Connecticut Veterans Wartime Services Medal was established in 2005 by the state legislature to honor all Connecticut veterans with qualified wartime service. Before this, the state had not issued such a medal since World War I. In subsequent years, the state has authorized awards to be made posthumously on or after November 12, 1918. In order to receive the medal, a veteran must qualify according to three conditions; veterans must have served during a qualified wartime for longer than 90 days, unless the engagement was less than that, he or she must have received an honorable discharge, and lastly, must currently reside in the state of Connecticut. For more information visit portal.ct.gov/dva.