2014 News

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Ceremonies Set for Wreaths Across America
(December 6, 2014) U.S. Army Reserve Ambassador Carl Venditto of Southington, a retired U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Colonel who grew up in New Britain and was named Connecticut State Veteran of the Year in 2006, will be a guest speaker at ceremonies celebrating Wreaths Across America Day at Fairview Cemetery in New Britain on Saturday, Ceremonies begin at 12 noon. December 13. Wreaths Across America New Britain is being spearheaded by DAV Chapter 8. Click here to read the full news release.
GK 2014 Raises Record $16,500 for Veterans

(October 31, 2014) The Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open solidified its standing as Central Connecticut’s premier veterans charity golf event this year, as 147 golfers and a record number of sponsors joined forces to raise an event-record $16,500 for causes benefitting Connecticut veterans. The majority of net proceeds from the October 2 event at Tunxis Plantation Country Club in Farmington, presented by Farmington Bank and hosted by the Disabled American Veterans, Hardware City Chapter 8 (DAV), benefitted two major veterans charities, House of Heroes Connecticut and Friends of Fisher House Connecticut. In the past four years, the event has raised more than $40,000 for area vets. Click here to read the full news release.

Large Gathering Honors Pearl Harbor Legend
Ed Riccio, Jr. slowly approached the large pavilion at Tunxis Plantation Country Club in Farmington, appropriately decked out in red, white and blue, and quipped, “This place reminds me of a hangar at Pearl Harbor, big enough for me to land a plane in!”
There were no planes in sight at the Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open on Thursday, October 2. But there was plenty of admiration and respect in the room for the 94-year-old Bristol native and resident, a Pearl Harbor survivor with a distinguished record of service in World War II.
Riccio was the guest of honor at the 6th annual affair, hosted by Hardware City Chapter 8 of the Disabled American Veterans and presented by Farmington Bank.
(October 6, 2014) Ed Riccio, Jr. slowly approached the large pavilion at Tunxis Plantation Country Club in Farmington, appropriately decked out in red, white and blue, and quipped, “This place reminds me of a hangar at Pearl Harbor, big enough for me to land a plane in!” There were no planes in sight at the Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open on Thursday, October 2. But there was plenty of admiration and respect in the room for the 94-year-old Bristol native and resident, a Pearl Harbor survivor with a distinguished record of service in World War II. Riccio was the guest of honor at the 6th annual affair, hosted by Hardware City Chapter 8 of the Disabled American Veterans and presented by Farmington Bank. Click here to read the full news release, and click here to view our photo gallery.
High-Ranking VA Official Schwartz to Attend GK
(September 26, 2014) Connecticut Veterans Affairs Commissioner Linda Spooner Schwartz, recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate in Washington to fill one of the most influential positions at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, will take part next Thursday, October 2, in ceremonies honoring Connecticut veterans at the Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open, Central Connecticut’s largest veterans charity golf event.
 

Commissioner Schwartz, who will formerly retire from her Connecticut post as of October 1, is taking on the position of U.S. Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Policy and Planning. She will play a key role alongside new Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald as the agency reshapes it services for the nation’s 24 million veterans.

 

Also taking part in Thursday’s post-golf ceremonies will be New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, Bristol Mayor Ken Cockayne, Honorary Chairman and Farmington Bank President, Chairman and CEO John Patrick, Jr., the New Britain Senior High School Jr. ROTC Color Guard, and members of the Marine Corps League, Hardware City Detachment 781. Prior to tee time, the DAV Chapter 8 Color Guard will accompany 12-year-old Megan McDaniel of East Hampton, daughter of Connecticut National Guardsman Captain Jeff McDaniel and U.S. Army veteran Dawn McDaniel, as she sings the National Anthem.

To read the full news release, please click here.

12-Year-Old Singer to Perform National Anthem 

(September 12, 2014) Everyone who has played in or supported the Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open already knows that this is not your routine charity golf tournament. Aside from our very special cause – supporting Connecticut veterans – what distinguishes our event are the lengths to which we go to honor service, including honoring a distinguished veteran from our area every year and making our ceremonies as memorable as possible.

 

This year is no different. A special treat is in store for our golfers on the morning of October 2. Before heading out on the course, golfers will be treated to a performance of the National Anthem by 12-year-old Megan McDaniel of East Hampton. Megan will be joined by the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 8 color guard.

 

Megan is not a professional singer – well, not just yet. Megan excels in school, is a trampoline gymnast and enjoys singing in the choir at East Hampton Middle School. Another activity Megan enjoys is serving on the Military Youth Council - that's because she is the daughter of Connecticut National Guardsman Captain Jeff McDaniel, who has served our country in Afghanistan and Bahrain, and his wife, Dawn, a U.S. Army veteran herself who today helps private companies integrate veterans into their workforce through her consultancy, Bravo Delta Consulting. Dawn is also the 2014 Connecticut National Guard Spouse of the Year. (Megan is pictured in photo above with her parents and older sister Coralin.)

 

“Megan is thrilled to have the chance to sing the national anthem at this wonderful event, and the entire family is so proud of her and happy to support this cause,” said Dawn.

GK Honoree Riccio Featured in Herald Story
(August 29, 2014) This year's Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open honoree, Pearl Harbor survivor and 94-year-old Ed Riccio, Jr. of Bristol, has quite a story - and that story was recently featured in a "Business Scene" column by long-time New Britain Herald and Bristol Press business reporter and columnist Scott Whipple. Riccio, of course, will be the GK guest following play on October 2 at Tunxis Plantaton Country Club, where upwards of 200 people are expected to gather to celebrate the service and sacrifice of Ed and so many other Connecticut vets. To read The Herald story, click here.
GK Field SOLD OUT! Waiting List in Place
(August 28, 2014) Everyone knows the Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open has been growing by leaps and bounds in its short history. Well, the tournament has reached a new milestone, selling out its field of 144 players - with five weeks remaining before the event! The GK is now actively accepting Waiting List reservations in the event of cancellations. Thank you to all the players for your support and commitment to our cause - and a big special thank you to those who have already sent in their registrations and payments! IMPORTANT REMINDER: To all groups committed to play in the GK but which have yet to send in their forms or payments, please do so ASAP! With the popularity of this event at an all-time high and players/groups expected to join our waiting list, please be courteous and send in your forms/payments now to assist us in our planning and to avoid being bumped from our list. (Side note: In the event that our Waiting List grows significantly, we will assess the viability of adding holes and increasing our player total as the event nears. Our priority is and will always remain a premium, pace-of-play-sensitive experience for our loyal golfers. Thank you for your support!

Gallagher Buick GMC Joins Golden Kielbasa

(August 28, 2014) For the first time in its six-year history, the Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open will offer a hole-in-one car prize out on the course. Thanks to Gallagher Buick GMC of New Britain, players in this year's event will have the opportunity, with one lucky swing off the tee, to win a 2-year lease on a 2014 Buick Regal GS. The lucky hole will be hole #4 on the White Course. But the chance to win big does not end there; Gallagher Buick GMC is also generously providing hole-in-one prizes on each additional par 3 on the White Course, including a 3-night/2-round Stay & Play vacation to the TPC Las Vegas; a luxurious 4-day/3-night golf vacation to the French Lick Resort in Indiana; and a Travis Mathew Head-to-Toe Signature Outfit Plus $500 online shopping spree. Thanks to the Gallagher Buick GMC team for being part of this year's GK!

Okay, Hospital of Central CT Board GK Train

(August 28, 2014) Five Silver Level sponsors have come aboard the 2014 Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open sponsor train, four of which have been loyal supporters of the event in the past. The latest sponsors to join our growing list include Okay Industries (back for its third straight year), The Hospital of Central Connecticut (also three years), the Creed Law Firm of Bristol (two years in a row) and Sir Speedy Printing, Downtown New Britain, which has been providing printing services and support for this event for four consecutive years. The new sponsor on the block is Bourdon Forge of Middletown. A big thank you goes out to these companies and their hard-working representatives: Okay's Donna Rutola, the Hospital of Central Connecticut's Lynn Faria, Attorney Kevin Creed, Sir Speedy Printing owner Mark Bernacki, and Bourdon Forge Assistant Sales Director Celine Morris.

Pearl Harbor Survivor Riccio 2014 GK Honoree
(August 21, 2014) When Ed Riccio, Jr. was literally blasted out of his barracks the morning of December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, he thought a water boiler had blown. "That was no water boiler," he says. The Bristol native and resident survived the Japanese attack that day, but it wasn't long before he faced death again in World War II - crash landing a B-17 bomber on Guadalcanal after the nose had been blown off the plane, killing the pilot and co-pilot (by the way, Ed landed the Flying Fortress despite having no flight training). Ed's WW II exploits are legend, and the now 94-year-old still recalls these stories as if it was yesterday. This authentic hero will be the guest of honor at the 6th Annual Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open on October 2. Visit our 2014 Honored Veteran page here to learn more about Ed's story, and read the full news release here.
New Major Sponsors Support Area Veterans

(August 7, 2014) Over the course of its six-year history, the Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open has been fortunate to enjoy the support of a variety of major sponsors who, like us, are happy to lend a helping hand to America's veterans. This year's Golden Kielbasa is happy to welcome our two newest Platinum Level sponsors, Stanley Black & Decker and The Starlight Program at Stonington Institute. Stanley Black & Decker is back for its second year and is giving back to a cause in the very community in which Frederick Stanley first started making hand tools in 1843. For decades, the company has employed thousands of proud veterans in its shops and factories, and it is proud to support these patriots who have given so much to our country. The renowned Starlight Program is dedicated to active duty military members and veterans whose lives have changed and become unmanageable due to significant substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mental health issues.

 

The Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open is proud to have these distinguished community friends on board for our 2014 event. Thank you!

Veterans Corner TV Features Golden Kielbasa
(August 7, 2014) The Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open and its work on behalf of Connecticut vets was recently the featured topic on Nutmeg Television's popular Veterans Corner cable access program hosted by Chuck Woodin. The topics ranged from the work of the GK's beneficiaries to the importance of giving back to those who have served. Guests included Farmington Bank Vice President Chris Traczyk, DAV Chapter 8 Service Officer Dennis Taricani and GK Founder and Tournament Director Dennis Buden. The program will air again in September - for the schedule, click here. To view the program on your computer or device, click here.
Dancing With Our Heroes for Fisher House
(August 7, 2014) GK beneficiary Friends of Fisher House Connecticut will be in the spotlight at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford at the “Dancing with Our Heroes” fundraiser on Saturday, September 13. This major event hopes to raise as much as $500,000 for the Fisher House Connecticut project and will include dancing, dinner, a silent auction, a professional show and the “Dancing with Our Heroes” dance competition featuring military heroes partnering with professional dance instructors. Among the featured Connecticut vets who will be dancing is 2012 Golden Kielbasa Honored Veteran and former New Britain resident Manny Jimenez, an Afghan vet and Purple Heart recipient. The Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studios of New England are partnering to make this not-to-be-missed event happen. Click here for complete event details.
House of Heroes, Stanley Partner for Vets
(August 7, 2014) Stanley, the New Britain-based division of Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open Platinum Sponsor Stanley Black & Deckerand global leader in hand tools, has partnered with GK beneficiary House of Heroes Connecticut as a Corporate Champion, donating $50,000 to the non-profit organization’s on-going efforts to provide no-cost home repairs to Connecticut military and public safety veterans and their spouses who are disabled, living on a fixed income or facing other physical or financial challenges. GK Founder and Tournament Director Dennis Buden, far right, was proud to take part in the check presentation along with Stanley Black & Decker Chairman and CEO John Lundgren, House of Heroes Chairman Bill May and others at “Stanley Build Your America Night” at the New Britain Rock Cats game on July 26. Over the past two years, House of Heroes Connecticut has provided no-cost home improvements valued at more than $300,000 to 35 Connecticut veterans and throughout the state. Veterans and their families in Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington have been among those helped.
Farmington Bank Program Supports Vets
(August 7, 2014) The Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open doesn’t only raise funding for wonderful veterans organizations, it also helps raise awareness of programs and services that meet the needs of our heroes. Recognizing the commitment and sacrifices of those who serve, GK Presenting Sponsor Farmington Bank is stepping up for vets in a big way, providing services and charitable contributions that benefit veterans, military personnel and their families in Connecticut. Learn more.
Farmington Bank: 3-Year Commitment to GK
(June 2, 2014) The Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open and veterans region-wide have received a huge boost as Farmington Bank, Presenting Sponsor of the event since 2012, has made a three-year commitment to take its sponsorship through 2016. The sponsorship secures the future of the event and sends a clear signal to the community that if veterans causes are your calling, the GK is the place to be. “Farmington Bank takes great pride in being an active partner in our communities,” said John J. Patrick, Jr., Farmington Bank chairman, president and CEO - and also this year's Honorary Chairman of the GK. “We have the utmost respect for the service and sacrifice of America’s veterans, and are honored to sponsor this great event that benefits them and their families.”

Learn more about Farmington Bank's commitment to veterans.

Read the full new release about Farmington Bank's sponsorship of the GK.
GK Has a New Home in Tunxis Plantation CC
(May 15, 2014) The Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open will be moving to Tunxis Plantation Country Club in Farmington for the October 2, 2014 event, offering golfers a top-notch golfing and hospitality experience unrivaled in the region. The move to Tunxis will not only offer great golf, but allow for the post-golf barbeque and awards ceremony to take place on site in the Tunxis Pavilion for the first time in the event's history, providing tremendous comfort and convenience for players. The 2014 GK will be the biggest and best yet, so register your foursome early. Click here to visit Tunxis Plantation.