Adjutant general thanks, honors veterans

Brig. Gen. Anthony Carrelli, the adjutant general of Pennsylvania, speaks to the guests as Lt. Col. Daniel Carroll looks on at the Honorary First Defenders Annual Dinner Meeting in Bethlehem, Pa., April 28, 2017.


By DAVE SUTOR | The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa. (Tribune News Service) | Published: October 10, 2017

Pennsylvania’s adjutant general, Anthony Carrelli, had a straightforward and heartfelt message for the veterans who gathered inside the Frank J. Pasquerilla Conference Center on Monday.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for your service,” Carrelli said during an interview at the Salute to Veterans Dinner.

“They’ve done so much for us in this country. There are generations and generations of veterans that have served. I don’t think they get near the respect and the amount of thanks that they should be getting from the community. Most people aren’t aware of the great sacrifices that they and their families have made throughout their service.”

Carrelli is responsible for command, control and supervision of National Guard units allocated to the commonwealth, six state-owned veterans’ homes, and programs for more than 894,000 veterans.

But, as he explained, the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs relies heavily upon countless veterans organizations, such as the event’s sponsor, Veteran Community Initiatives, to help in its mission.

“By no means can we do it all by ourselves,” Carrelli said.

“Really, the bulk of the work is done by organizations just like the VCI here. And there are thousands of other organizations within Pennsylvania. And many of them full of veterans themselves that want to help other veterans.”

Carrelli’s appearance was part of a night designed to honor local veterans and their families.

“It’s just wonderful to be able to get out and help the veterans get recognized,” VCI Director Tom Caulfield said. “It’s a little fun time. We’re all together sharing some stories.”

The gathering also included the announcement of VCI’s veteran of the year, retired Air Force Col. Karen Esaias, a member of the Cambria County Military Hall of Fame. She was the first woman to serve as commander of the Region 8 Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Legion of Merit Medal recipient, and commander of all special field investigations squadron work in Italy, Spain, Greece, France, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. She is a VCI board member.

Past recipients include former U. S. Rep. John Murtha, veterans advocate Robert Eyer, state Rep. Edward Wojnaroski, and Marine Col. John Hugya. Caulfield called it a “who’s who of leaders in the community.”

©2017 The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.)
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