Brinker, Ethier Receive Bronze Stars for Valor
More photos follow.
WEBSTER - Praising the historic and current role of “citizen soldiers,” Brigadier General Brian K. Balfe reminded the audience of the urgent need to help returning veterans re-enter the workforce. In his remarks to the 48th Annual Communion Breakfast of the Webster-Dudley Polish American Veterans, General Balfe, a 1983 graduate of West Point, urged area businesses to consider hiring those returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. From a high of 15.2% unemployment among returning veterans a year ago, the numbers continue to remain disproportionately higher than unemployment for non-veterans.
General Balfe, Deputy Commanding General of the 42nd Infantry (Rainbow Division) of the New York National Guard, told those gathered at the Ray Street veterans post, that the National Guard is an especially cost effective building block in the Nation’s defense. “In this era of federal budget cuts, we need to remember that National Guard troops cost about one-third of the cost of the full-time military,” General Balfe explained, adding that, “the Guard costs only 2 cents of every defense dollar.”
The General noted that it was “citizen soldiers,” who won the American Revolution that gave America its independence from Great Britain. Case in point, he recounted the history of the Battle of Saratoga, fought near his home in upstate New York. He stated that the victory of the American colonies in that war proved to be a turning point of the rebellion, and that a key to that victory was a Polish military hero – Tadeusz Kosciuszko.
“Citizen Soldiers are continuing to protect America’s freedom as men and women of the National Guard constitute a substantial part of the war against terrorism,” General Balfe stated, noting that 80% of the Guard are enlistees who joined after September 11, 2001.
Prior to his remarks, General Balfe joined with Senator Richard T. Moore, D-Uxbridge, and the Webster-Dudley Veterans Council in honoring two Dudley Vietnam veterans with Bronze Stars for valor. Sgt. James Brinker, and Sp-4 Eugene Ethier. The Bronze Star Medal is the fourth highest award for bravery, heroism, or meritorious service. Sgt. Brinker was part of the Recon Platoon of the Strike Force 2-502 Infantry BN, 101st Airborne Division, and Spec. Ethier was a member of Charlie Company 5th of the 46th Infantry BN, 198th Infantry Brigade. Sen. Moore presented the Bronze Star to Sgt. Brinker and General Balfe presented the Bronze Star to Sp-4 Ethier.
Participating in the honor court was: Dudley Veterans Service Officer Richard Holewa, Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars George Bibeau, Commander of the Webster-Dudley Veterans Council Al Beland, Commander of the Disabled American Veterans John Wojcik, Commander of the American Legion Jim Friesel and Past Commander of the Polish-American Veterans Robert Jacob. Brinker and Ethier were escorted to the Head Table by Robert Mailloux and Victor Jankowski.
Seated at the Head Table for the breakfast, in addition to General Balfe and Sen. Moore were: PAV Junior Vice Commander Jack Gryzb, PAV Women’s Auxiliary President Loretta Chapdelaine, Mrs. Joanne Moore, and PAV Chaplain Joe Sendrowski. PAV Senior Vice Commander Robert Jacobs served as Breakfast Chairman.
The Breakfast, which followed Mass at St. Joseph’s Basilica, was opened with a Color Guard from Oxford High School’s nationally recognized Naval Junior ROTC Unit. Sophomore Christopher Knight commanded the Color Guard and carried the national colors, senior and Cadet Company Commander Danielle Giard carried the Massachusetts flag, and flanking rifle bearers were sophomores Dylan Bordeaux and Brian Merritt.
Sen.Moore introduced two special guests in attendance, Representative Ryan Fattman, R-Sutton, and Dudley Police Chief Stephen Wojnar. To keep up with Sen. Moore’s work in the district, please visit, www.senatormoore.com.
- Wednesday, 07 March 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Region