Newtown Lawmakers Honors Local Veterans with Wartime Service Medal

Posted on November 17, 2023


NEWTOWN– State Representatives Mitch Bolinsky (R-106) and Martin Foncello (R-107) participated in a Connecticut Wartime Service Medal Ceremony hosted at Newtown Middle School on Friday, November 10th, which was the state-observed Veterans Day.

The Newtown legislators presented the medals alongside the Middle School students who were related to each one of the veterans. The ceremony honored eight (8) Newtown Veterans.

“Serving Newtown for nearly eleven years in the Connecticut General Assembly has been among the most gratifying experiences of my life! Constituent and community service have provided me with the privilege to meet folks who don’t necessarily consider themselves “heroes”, but whose acts, outlooks, accomplishments, and sacrifices are truly special. Having the chance to hear their stories, see their humility, and celebrate who they are and what they’ve done is very inspiring.

At this time of year, Veterans Day is one of the special times we get to give thanks. I am particularly thankful to Newtown Middle School for including us in their annual Veterans Day celebration and PTA’s Field of Flags ceremony.  It was a blessing to stand with these Veterans, their family members, the NMS student body, and faculty.” said Rep. Bolinsky. “I’m grateful every day for the blanket of freedom provided by these brave Americans.”

“I proudly served as an Army Officer for 28 years, with the Army, the Reserves and National Guard. Co-hosting a ceremony to honor Connecticut veterans was such an honor,” said Rep. Foncello. “It was very moving to see these middle school students stand beaming next to their relatives as they received the Connecticut Wartime Service Medal. They were so happy and so proud to have a part in the ceremony as we handed the award box and pin to them. It was a happy occasion for the whole family.”

The Newtown veterans honored were:

  • Richard (Rick) Dawson, Army & Marine Corp / Master SGT / Persian Gulf
  • George Dirschel, Air Force & Coast Guard / CAPT / Vietnam & Persian Gulf
  • Gregory (Greg) Keller, Army / Staff SGT / Vietnam
  • Samuel Grummons, Army & Air National Guard / CAPT / War on Terror
  • Walter Schweikert, Army / First LT / Vietnam
  • Daniel Schenzer, Air Force / Airman 1st Class / Vietnam
  • Elias Ervin, Marines / SGT / Persian Gulf (USS Hermitage)
  • Daniel Reilly, Navy & Naval Reserve / Petty Officer / Vietnam


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.