Air Force veteran honored with city proclamation
The New Haven (Conn.) Register
ANSONIA — There’s no place like home.
If that sounds like a cliche, city native Tracy W. Black doesn’t mind.
Black was surprised last week with a proclamation from Mayor James Della Volpe. He received the honor at a celebration with family and friends in the aldermanic chambers at City Hall.
Black, 50, was recognized for his 29-year career in the Air Force. He recently retired with the rank of senior master sergeant.
Black’s longtime friend, Gary Tinney, said he and other organizers had to “sneak up” on Black to get him to City Hall.
“It was definitely a surprise; it caught me off-guard,” Black said.
Black, who lives in California, was visiting the city. He holds his memories of growing up in Ansonia close to his heart.
“I always say never forget where you came from,” he said. “I’ve lived all over the world. When I used to come back to Connecticut (from one of the New York airports), I would get a tingle when I saw the ‘Welcome to Connecticut’ sign,” Black recalled. “Then when we got back to Ansonia it would be even worse.”
He said he and Tinney have been friends since kindergarten. They both attended Ansonia schools and graduated from Ansonia High School in 1980.
He and his wife, Karen Blewett Black, who graduated from Ansonia High School in 1981, have two children, Micaela Black, 25, and Erica Black Hall, 23.
Tinney, a West Haven resident, said he and his friend have been through a lot together. “I’m so proud of him,” he said.
Hall said in an e-mail that her father is humble, “and never takes an ounce of credit for himself.”
She said he “never misses an opportunity to tell people he comes from a small, yet great town called Ansonia, Connecticut. Over the years of military travel, it has been difficult to make it home to Ansonia,” she wrote.
“He’ll tell you no matter how many countries he’s lived in, deployed to, or states he’s lived in temporarily, no matter what, Ansonia is home.”
Black said he was deployed many times during his career, including to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now he is coming out of retirement to take the position of director of the Air Force Recovery Care program. He will be based in San Antonio. The program assists wounded Air Force personnel and their families.
Black said he will oversee the program throughout the United States and abroad.
Distributed by MCT Information Services