GROTON, Conn. - The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut held its 10th annual Military Appreciation Breakfast to honor service members and recognize local community leaders for their support of the military, Nov. 1.
Tony Sheridan, president and CEO, Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, said the annual breakfast serves as the unofficial kick-off for Veterans Day celebrations around the area.
During the event, the Naval Submarine School Silver Dolphins color guard presented the colors and Fitch High School Chamber Choir performed the service song of each military branch. Two local businesses also received the 2019 Military Community Support Awards for their outstanding support of military members and their families.
Rear Adm. Butch Dollaga, commander, Undersea Warfighting Development Center, served as a guest speaker for the event and discussed the importance of the submarine community to the nation.
“Being the center of excellence for the undersea domain on the Southeast Connecticut region I’ll tell you that we are the vital cog in our national defense in that realm and that’s why undersea warfighter development center is here,” said Dollaga. “I do own all the tactics, techniques, procedures, capability, development, for the entire United States Navy, again aviation surface and the undersea domain and that starts with us.”
He added it was an honor to be at the breakfast and thanked all the veterans in the crowd for their contributions to the submarine community.
“I need to thank all the veterans in the crowd”, said Dollaga. “All those who forged the way ahead, who built the baseline of successful undersea operations in the submarine force so that we can continue to build on that to maintain our undersea superiority for decades to come.“
Dollaga also thanked the elected officials and local community for their continued support of the men and women of the United States Navy and their spouses.
Sheridan noted the significant contributions military families have made to the region.
“What goes unrecognized sometimes is that many of the family members also get engaged on boards and agencies in the community and these are all bright wonderfully capable people so our quality of life is dramatically enhanced because of all of the participation we have here from our military services,” said Sheridan.
The Chamber holds the breakfast each year to create an opportunity for the local community to gather in a show of support and gratitude for military veterans and active duty service members.