Chronicle Staff Writer
STORRS/MANSFIELD — Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT 2nd District) recognized three Windham veterans for their years of service to this country by presenting them with service medals Wednesday.
Courtney said he presented the veterans with medals because he wanted to make sure they were recognized for their service.
“A lot of times when service members are leaving the military they are in such a hurry to sign the papers and go home that the processing of medals gets left behind,” he said.
The three veterans were presented with medals at the Windham Veterans’ Coffeehouse, a weekly gathering held on Wednesday morning at Hops 44 in Storrs where veterans come to eat breakfast, mingle with one another and listen to speakers.
The coffeehouse is open to any Connecticut resident who is a veteran or on active duty. Most of the people who attend are residents of Windham, Mansfield and surrounding towns.
Vietnam War Veterans Kenneth Tellier and Arthur Evans were recognized on Wednesday along with World War II Veteran Paul Panagrosso.
Tellier, 78, served as a medic in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. He served from June 1965 through June 1967, last being stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey.
Courtney presented Tellier with the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Korea Defense Service Medal. Tellier was also given a Vietnam Veteran lapel pin.
“I felt very honored and appreciated for the recognition,” he said.
Evans, 73, served as a kitchen supervisor and cook in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. He served from April 1968 through February 1970.
Courtney awarded Evans the Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Stars, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon with Device (1960) and the Expert Badge with a Rifle Bar.
Evans also received a Vietnam lapel pin and an Army Commendation lapel pin.
“It’s a great feeling,” he said.
Panagrosso, 96, served as a corporal in the United States Army during World War II. He served from February 1945 through December 1946.
Panagrosso was an anti-tank gun crewman who served in battles in Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe.
Courtney presented Panagrosso with the Prisoner of War Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three Bronze Service Stars, the World War II Victory Medal, the World War II Honorable Service Lapel Button and the Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar.
“It’s an honor that they remember my time in the service,” he said.
In addition to honoring veterans, Courtney recently helped pass the PACT Act in the House of Representatives.
This bill would expand healthcare eligibility to more than 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxic substances including burn pits and the chemical known as Agent Orange.
Now the Senate is expected to vote on the bill. Courtney is optimistic the bill will pass.
“It looks very good that we’re gonna get an agreement on the legislation,” he said.
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