2014 Honored Veterans

Ernest N. Abate

U.S. Marine Corps

Ernest Abate, who was born and raised in New Haven, received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Villanova University and his law degree from Notre Dame University. In 1967, Ernie joined the Marine Corps and began his active service in 1969. After completion of a six month-tour of advanced combat training at The Basic School, Quantico, Virginia, he was assigned to Force Troops, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, where he served as a Trial/Defense Attorney, Staff Judge Advocate, and Military Judge. As a Military Judge, he presided over 56 courts-martial. While he was released from active service in 1972, Ernie continued as an inactive reservist until 1978. He was honorably discharged as a Captain and is the recipient of the Navy Achievement Medal.

Ernie is a partner in the law firm of Abate & Abate in Stamford, where he began his practice in 1972. He was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives in 1974 and over his tenure there was Chairman of the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee and Speaker of the House. In 1984, he was selected by the U.S. Secretary of Defense to participate in a project involving civilian review and assessment of military installations and facilities.

Ernie’s service to our community, state and country is vast and impressive. Highlights include board service with Connecticut Public Television and Radio, Aid for the Retarded, Alcoholism Council, Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut, The Stamford Foundation, Senior Services of Stamford, Kids-In-Crisis, Lower Fairfield County Regional Action Council Against Drug Dependency, King & Low-Heywood Thomas School and Ferguson Library. He currently serves on the boards of Stamford Hospital, Stamford Health Systems and the Herbert and Nell Singer Foundation.

Anna Edwards

U.S. Army

Anna Edwards was born and raised on Long Island, with her family being from Puerto Rico. After graduating high school, Anna entered the Army as a Military Police officer where she served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. While serving in the Army she applied for a job with the Stamford Police Department and was hired in December 1996.

Officer Edwards is now in her 17th year of service and is currently assigned to the School Resource Officer Program at Westhill High School. She started her career assigned to the Uniform Patrol Division on the West Side, and during that time served as a translator for the department as well as for victims and suspects. Over her career, Officer Edwards has assisted the Narcotics division with undercover investigations, been an instructor at the police academy, an investigator in the Youth Bureau and a recruiter for the Department.

Very active in community service Officer Edwards’ volunteerism includes her partner starting with her partner the Stamford Police Touch a Truck program. Additionally, she coaches basketball for the Mighty Mites program and gives safety talks for the Department at preschools and daycares in town. During the summer months Anna runs a program with the Boys & Girls Club to mentor youths and teach them about what police officers do in their daily duties.

Robert E. King

U.S. Army

Robert (Bob) King is proud to have served his country by being a member of the US Army from October 1965 to October 1967. This service took place during the challenging time of the Vietnam War. Although Bob was not deployed to Vietnam, he was assigned to Fort Dix, New Jersey, a key training post, where many soldiers were trained before going to Vietnam. Bob served honorably and earned the rank of Specialist E-5.

For the past fifteen years, Bob has been very active in advocating for programs and resources that will help every student meet and exceed basic academic goals. Specifically, Bob was a longtime board member of the Stamford Board of Education and a former chair of the Board.

Bob retired from the IBM Corporation after 30+ years where he held many different positions, including marketing and management. Bob currently serves on the boards of the Stamford Educational Foundation, New Neighborhoods Inc. and Saint Vincent Special Needs. In addition, Bob has served in leadership positions for a number of community organizations, including being a trustee of the Ferguson Library and the Stamford YMCA, a board member of the I have a Dream Foundation, the Stamford Partnership and the Wachovia Bank Community Outreach Foundation.

Bob and his wife Beverly have three children (Noelle, Charles, James) and four grandchildren.

Rabbi Phillip E. Schechter

U.S. Air Force

Rabbi Schechter, who was born in the Bronx, studied at Johns Hopkins and the University of Cincinnati. He received his rabbinical ordination, bachelors and masters degrees in Hebrew Learning, and his doctorate of divinity from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati and Jerusalem. He has served congregations in Baltimore, Atlantic City, New York City and Manalapan, New Jersey, before moving to Stamford in 2000.

Upon his ordination in 1960, Rabbi Schechter served as a Chaplain in the Air Force for isolated Jewish service personnel on seven Air Force bases throughout the Western United States. At the same time, he served the civilian Jewish communities of Salina, Kansas; Great Falls, Montana and Roswell, New Mexico.

Since moving to Stamford, Rabbi Schechter has served as the Moderator of the Issues in Living Program at the Stamford Senior Center and has been the rabbi for Jewish Living. In 2007-2009, he was co-rabbi of a congregation in Southington with his wife, Rabbi Liz Rolle, who is currently Education Director at Congregation Beth El in Norwalk. He also has served as Rabbi in Residence at the First Presbyterian Church in Stamford since 2009 and is a member of the Stamford Clergy Association.

Elected President of the National Association of Retired Reform Rabbis in 2012, Rabbi Schechter is currently one of the Reform representatives on the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council which endorses Jewish clergy to serve as chaplains for the Department of Defense and is Chaplain of the JWV Fred Robbins Post 142. His daughter, Sarah, is the first woman Jewish Chaplain in the USAF and is currently serving as the Jewish Chaplain for the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.