2016 Warrior Award

The 2016 Walk of Honor Warrior Award recipient is Marine Corporal Roger Rua.

by Danbury Hamlethub

October 8, 2016

The 2016 Walk of Honor Warrior Award recipient is Marine Corporal Roger Rua.The 2016 Walk of Honor Warrior Award recipient is Marine Corporal Roger Rua. Corporal Rua was serving in Afghanistan with the Security Platoon attached to the 9th Engineer Support Battalion, when the vehicle he was riding in drove over a command detonated improvised explosive device (IED). Cpl Rua sustained fractures to his spine, femur, and sternum and suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the explosion. Although he was initially paralyzed from the chest down, miraculously through determination and physical therapy, Cpl Rua is now able to walk with the use of a cane. He is currently on a wait-list for a home from Homes For Our Troops, a nonprofit organization that builds mortgage free, specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans.

This year an essay contest entitled “What A Veteran Means To Me” was added to the event. The participants were 4th and 5th graders from King Street Intermediate School and the results were heart-warming. Awards will be given to the top essay in each grade.

Presentation of the Warrior Award and the Essay Awards will take place at the Walk of Honor on Sunday October 16, 2016 at the Danbury War Memorial at 12:00 PM. A one-mile walk will follow the ceremony.

“Every year I’m in complete awe of the men and women who serve our country and their dedication to people they have never met. I realize more and more how many heroes walk among us every day and we don’t even know it. Mr. Roger Rua is one of those heroes. His story is inspirational,” says Mary Teicholz, event founder and organizer.

All participants are encouraged to join the ceremony and the walk (rain or shine) to show pride in our servicemen and women. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony and presentation of the awards will take place inside the Danbury War Memorial.

(Nomination submitted by Lois Barber)


2015 Warrior Award

2015 Warrior Award recipient is Danbury WWII Veteran

by WLAD

October 15, 2015

The 2015 Walk of Honor Warrior Award recipient is World War II US Marine Corps Veteran Anthony Yakacki.The 2015 Walk of Honor Warrior Award recipient is World War II US Marine Corps Veteran Anthony Yakacki. Yakacki landed on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945 on his 19th birthday. Marines in the landing craft sang Happy Birthday to him before they stormed the beaches. Yakacki was on Iwo Jima until March 12, 1945 when he was wounded. He was only one of four survivors out of his group of 30 Marines.

Event founder and organizer Mary Teicholz says he remembers vividly today how he had to collect the dog tags of the fallen Marines and the fierce fighting with an enemy that was dug in well. A piece of metal remains in his back from the attack. Yakacki says he can still remember the blood soaked sand and seeing the wounded and deceased service members.

He never really talked much with his family about how he was wounded. His son recently learned more about his father's service and nominated him for this award. 

Anthony Yakacki is 90 years old and still flies the American and USMC flag in front of his Danbury home. The longtime Danbury resident came home and coached baseball and was a Boy Scout Leader.

Presentation of the Warrior Award will take place at the Walk of Honor on Sunday at the Danbury War Memorial at noon. Additional bricks for the Veterans Walkway will be dedicated. Pillars lining the walkway were recently installed there. 

The ceremony is outside the Danbury War Memorial, but will be held indoors if there is inclement weather. A one-mile walk which is mapped out around Rogers Park will follow the ceremony and is rain or shine.

(Nomination submitted by Anthony E. Yakacki)


2014 Warrior Award

Walk of Honor to be held Sunday in Danbury

by WLAD

October 17, 2014

This year's Warrior Award recipient is John "Buzz" Hogan, a Vietnam veteran who is a two-time Purple Heart recipient.The 7th annual Walk of Honor is being held this weekend in Danbury. In addition to the walk, this year's Warrior Award recipient will be presented with the recognition. Organizer Mary Teicholz says the event will begin at noon on Sunday and will also include the dedication of additional bricks to the Veterans Walkway of Honor, followed by the one-mile walk.

This year's Warrior Award recipient is John "Buzz" Hogan, a Vietnam veteran who is a two-time Purple Heart recipient. He's been diagnosed with cancer because of Agent Orange exposure while in combat theater in Vietnam. Hogan also started a scholarship fund recently for Bethel High School seniors that are the children or grandchildren of combat veterans.

For his service in the Marine Corps, Hogan was presented with the Combat Action Ribbon and a Distinguished Service Medal among other honors. She called his story is one of bravery, heroism and community.

Teicholz says this year is paying tribute to those who not only gave their lives at war, but also those who have given of their lives after they’ve retuned home.

(Nomination submitted by Dan Gaita)


2013 Warrior Award

'Warrior Award' goes to Danbury area Vietnam vet

by WDAQ

October 21, 2013

The second annual Warrior Award has been presented during the Walk of Honor yesterday at the Danbury War Memorial. This year's recipient is a Vietnam veteran who earned the Bronze Star with Valor, Navy Achievement Medal with Valor and three Purple Heart Medals.The second annual Warrior Award has been presented during the Walk of Honor yesterday at the Danbury War Memorial. This year's recipient is a Vietnam veteran who earned the Bronze Star with Valor, Navy Achievement Medal with Valor and three Purple Heart Medals. 

Danny Mack Welch served 6 combat tours in Vietnam. 

He was nominated by Operation Vet Fit co-founder Dan Gaita. He says Welch was the same guy at 19 as he is today, but with the ghost of war that perpetuates throughout life.

Welch is both a supporter of the Operation Vet Fit program and a benefactor. Gaita says when Welch and others came home from war, they were treated as second class citizens and didn't receive the warm welcome that combat veterans receive now. He says hopefully that's a lesson learned from Vietnam.

Gaita said Welch is amazing inspiration who just finished successful brain surgery and is in recovery now.

(Nomination submitted by Dan Gaita)


2012 Warrior Award

Connecticut corpsman receives Silver Star for heroism in Afghanistan

By Cpl. Walter D. Marino II

May 09, 2012

Petty Officer Third Class Todd J. Angell received the Silver Star Medal in recognition for heroic service in connection with combat operations while serving as Corpsman, 1st Section, 81s Platoon, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines from 12 October 2010 to 20 December 2010 in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Petty Officer 3rd Class Todd Angell received one of the nation’s highest military awards for valor, the Silver Star, for his heroism in Afghanistan as a corpsman with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. 

Corporal Brandon Rumbaugh, a close friend of Angell’s and a Marine whose life he helped save in Afghanistan, pinned the medal on the Bethel, Conn., native during a ceremony April 27. 

Rumbaugh, a Uniontown, Pa., native, became a double amputee after stepping on an improvised explosive device. Angell was one of the service members who rushed to his aid and started him on intravenous fluids and medication. 

“One of the hardest (casualties) I worked on was Rumbaugh; he was one of the most unstable casualties I had. He was actually less stable than a kid I treated with a gunshot wound to the head,” said Angell. “I did everything I could, but I didn’t know if it was enough. Having him pin me meant the world to me. Just to have Rumbaugh alive to pin me, that’s more than any Silver Star or any medal.” 

Rumbaugh wasn’t the only one Angell saved during his tour in Afghanistan. Angell risked his life on many occasions to save others because he said, “If that means being hurt on the way, so be it.” 

During one incident Oct. 12, 2010, Angell took a Marine fire team and unknowingly ran more than 500 meters through an IED hotspot to provide immediate care for Marines injured by IEDs, rather than wait for vehicles to navigate the difficult terrain in the area. 

“I just grabbed my gear and just ran. It was a long run, probably the longest run of my life. I was pretty broke off by the time I got up there,” said Angell. 

Another incident Nov. 8, 2010, involved the treatment of an Afghan National Army soldier who stepped on an IED. Angell was following a Marine handling a minesweeper to get to the wounded soldier when the Marine struck an IED. Angell assessed the Marine’s injury before moving toward the soldier, where he applied tourniquets to both amputated legs, administered intravenous fluids and stabilized the soldier. As he was treating the soldier, an explosive ordnance disposal Marine working onsite also struck an IED, receiving minor blast injuries. After treating the three injured men and ensuring the safe evacuation of the soldier, a firefight broke out, resulting in a local resident being shot in the head. Angell treated the civilian promptly and saved his life. 

Angell wasn’t done yet. On Dec. 20, 2010, it was his combat skills that shined. During a firefight, Angell killed two insurgents at distances up to 400 meters. As the firefight continued, Angell also acted as the assistant mortar gunner. By the end of the day, he had fired 17 mortar rounds at enemy positions. 

“I don’t see Doc Angell as a corpsman,” said Cpl. James D. Freeman, a rifleman and a native of Woodberry, Tenn., who spent the latter half of his deployment in Angell’s platoon. “He’s just another Marine who knows how to fix people better than we can.” 

Angell’s platoon leader said he also felt he was one of the best corpsman he’s seen in his 17 years in the Marine Corps. 

“Doc Angell is a constant professional; they broke the mold with that guy,” said Staff Sgt. Ysidro R. Gonzalez, Angell’s platoon sergeant during the deployment. “Doc Angell never hesitated under fire, and I believe that his devotion and dedication to his Marines is what drove him in the eyes of the enemy to perform the way he did. He never once thought of himself; he always thought of his Marines, no matter what was on their collar, and for the Afghans as well. I just can’t say enough good things about that kid.” 

The ceremony brought out many different emotions from fellow service members in attendance, but the most commonplace was pride. 

“It made me feel very proud of that kid. I’m very proud of him and proud to know him and (to) have been a small paragraph in Doc Angell’s life,” said Gonzales, a San Diego native. “The only other way I can describe it is like a father watching his son graduate (recruit training) or something. Doc Angell is a great American; he saved a lot of lives. Everybody always talks bad about the kids of this generation, your youth and all that, and how they don’t measure up to everything else, but whoever says those things have never seen a young man like Doc Angell in combat.” 

Marines in Angell’s squad describe him as confident in his medical abilities, a people person, and, most importantly, someone who made them feel safe on patrol. 

“I’d say Doc Angell was there for me every time we stepped outside the wire. He loved to take care of his Marines,” said Lance Cpl. Timothy J. Hagem, a mortarman in Angell’s platoon during the deployment. “When he came up and helped Rumbaugh out, I was there for that. I’d say it was a combination of his duty and love of his Marines. Yes, he knew he had to do his job as a corpsman, but he had the drive of like, ‘I’m not just doing this as a corpsman, I’m doing this because these guys are my friends. Yeah, I want come home, but I want to see these guys come home just as much.’ If you love that person who’s hurt, you’re going to get there no matter what, and Doc Angell and Rumbaugh are real close.” 

Angell acted with complete disregard for his own personal safety, and his actions are a testament to his devotion to the Marines he served, but he humbly attributes his successes to those around him. 

"This is not an individual award," said Angell. "Even though it was awarded to me, this is for all of my Marines; because they did their jobs, I was able to do mine."

(Nomination submitted by Mary Angell)

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Last Updated: Monday, October 17, 2016