2018 Honored Veterans

Robert Barker

U.S. Navy

Bob was born in Castine, Maine, right on Penobscot Bay almost exactly 87 years ago on April 11. Happy Birthday Bob! After graduating from Warren Harding High (Bridgeport) in 1948, Bob joined the U.S. Navy Reserves until called to active duty in support of the Korean War.

Bob requested Destroyer duty because he felt they were large enough to cross any ocean yet small enough to always sense you were “at sea.” He served aboard the Destroyer Joseph P Kennedy, Jr., as Petty Officer Electronic Technician until transferring to the Olathe Kansas Naval Air Station to study radar systems, and then went on to the Naval Air Station at Lakehurst, N.J.

His tech training came in handy when he joined IBM after his honorable discharge in 1954, where he spent 10 years working on its largest computers. Then, in 1964 he decided to pursue his passion with British motor cars, opening a dealership selling MGs, Austin Healeys, Triumphs and others. Not one to be pigeonholed, four years later Bob embarked on a career in finance, working with Hornblower & Weeks, Hemphill-Noyes, and then Merrill Lynch, where he retired as a Vice President in 1990. Bob then opened his own investment firm, which he sold in 2011, retiring once again!

Bob has never been defined only by service, work or career. An avid rock climber, he’s climbed mountains in Italy, Sweden, Yosemite and others, sometimes as a member of the International Alpine Club and the Appalachian Mountain Club. He even climbed the Unisphere at the site of the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens (where he was spotted by a police helicopter and “urged” to descend, courtesy of an only slightly amused NYPD).

Bob has driven race cars and piloted planes. He has flown regular missions for Angel Flight Northeast, transporting patients and their loved ones to and from treatment centers in his own airplane and at his own expense. He remembers the plights of many patients, all of whom were understandably deeply grateful for his service.

Bob has also served for many years as a pro bono arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and has evaluated top-flight law students as a mock trial judge.

Bob currently serves as the Director of the United Flying Octogenarians (UFO), an international flying organization promoting the longevity of physical and mental health—obviously with some real success.

Capt. Mario Carpanzano

U.S. Army

Captain Carpanzano was born and raised in Stamford. A 2001 Westhill High School graduate, he attended Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., where he received his Bachelor of Science in Communications in 2005, along with a commission in the Army as a Second Lieutenant. After completing the Military Police Officer Basic course in 2006, he was assigned to the 28th Military Police Detachment in Fort Wainwright, Alaska, where he held the positions of Platoon Leader, Executive Officer and Special Reaction Team Leader.

In 2008, Mario was elevated to Company Commander of the 472nd Military Police Company (Combat Support). In 2010, after the successful completion of his command at Fort Wainwright, now Captain Carpanzano was assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division and deployed to Baghdad, Iraq. As the Brigade Provost Marshal, he and his team were responsible for the area security of 12 forward operating bases in Baghdad, the training of Iraqi Police and the detention of prisoners.

After his Iraq deployment, Mario returned to the States until his 2012 reassignment to 5th Squadron, 7th Calvary and subsequent deployment to the Zabul Province of Afghanistan as a military advisor to the Afghan Army. When that tour ended in 2013, he was assigned to Rutgers University as an Assistant Professor of Military Science where he remained until transferring off active duty in 2017 and into the Connecticut National Guard.

Captain Carpanzo has received numerous awards over the course of his service, including the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, three Army Commendation Medals, a National Defense Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Medal, Operation Enduring Freedom Service Medal, NATO ISAF Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, Army Service Ribbon and the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge. And, Mario’s impressive resume includes a Master’s in Business and Operational Security Management Degree from Webster University.

Mario, his wife, Major Josie Carpanzano, and their two children, Canio and Fia, live in Stamford. Stamford COTY is grateful to Captain Mario Carpanzano for his continued service.

Maj. Josie Carpanzano

U.S. Army

Major Carpanzano was born and raised in Chicago, She graduated from Clark High School in 2000 and went on to Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., where she received a Bachelor of Science in Biology together with her commission in the U.S, Army as a Second Lieutenant.

After completing the Medical Service Corps Officer Basic Course in 2006 in San Antonio, Texas, she was assigned to the 172nd Brigade Support Battalion in Fort Wainwright, Alaska, where she held the position of Evacuation Platoon Leader. In 2007, she became the Executive Officer for the 1/25th Stryker Brigade “Arctic Wolves” Support Medical Company where she served until 2008. Later that year she was deployed to Iraq as of the 2/8th Field Artillery Logistical Support Team Commander.

In 2010, Major Carpanzano was assigned to Winn Army Community Hospital at Fort Stewart, Ga., as the Adjutant for a short period prior to assuming command of the Winn Army Community Hospital Medical Company. She successfully commanded a company of over 450 Soldiers responsible for the healthcare of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, their families and a robust retiree community.

In 2013, Josie was assigned as the lead Medical Observer/Coach Trainer and the Brigade Medical Operations Officer for the Patriot Brigade 1st Army Division East at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. She spent the next four years traveling across the northeastern part of the United States training, supporting, and building future relationships with all the National Guard and Army Reserve medical units preparing for future active duty missions, as well as providing continuity to the medical evaluation teams at the Joint Reserve Training Center at Fort Polk, La.

Major Carpanzano is married to Captain Mario Carpanzano (a Stamford Native), and they have two children, Canio and Fia. Josie is currently working in the City of Stamford Department of Operations, and she serves as a member of the Patriotic and Special Events Commission. Her military awards include the Bronze Star Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, the National Defense Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, an Operation Iraqi Freedom Service Medal, a Meritorious Unit Citation, an Army Service Ribbon and the Overseas Service Ribbon.

Salvatore Chip Cingari

U.S. Army

Chip began his career in the grocery business before he could even ride a bike, working for his grandfather Salvatore Sr., sweeping floors, separating and cleaning bottles, and stocking shelves in the family’s first store located in the Shippan section of Stamford.

When Chip’s father Dominick opened the Neighborhood Market in Darien, Chip was one of his first employees. Then in the late ’50s, Chip’s father and his two brothers, Rocky and Sam, joined forces to convert the old Hueber Ice Cream Factory into the first Grade A Market, which still stands across the street from their original store.

Chip was drafted into the Army in 1966 and entered basic training at Ft. Dix, New Jersey, before assignment to Ft. McPherson, in Atlanta. Shortly after, Chip shipped off to Germany with the 3rd Missile Battalion, Nike Missile Hercules Unit, achieving the rank of Specialist 5, with Top Secret clearance. Honorably discharged in 1968, Chip rejoined the family business, married his high school sweetheart Nancy in 1969, and has managed the nonperishable side of the business ever since, which has grown to include the 11 stores which make up the ShopRite Grade A Markets.

Chip has loyally served the Connecticut Food Association as a member of the Board of Directors for over 30 years where he’s acted in many different capacities like running conventions and liaising with local, state and federal officials, legislators and lobbyists. Chip’s many contributions led to his selection as the first inductee in the CFA Hall of Fame.

Chip has also given much to the communities where the Grade A stores are located. He is a lifelong member of the Stamford Italian Center, where he’s served as a Director for the last 15 years. He has also served in a variety of leadership roles at St Leo’s Church for over three decades.

Chip enjoys travelling with his family, especially to Italy, playing golf and spending time with his children, and especially his grandchildren.

Chip resides in Stamford with his wife Nancy. His daughter Jennifer and her husband Jason Christe, along with his son Dominick and wife Lisa and their twin children, Salvatore and Sofia also live here.

Ralph Del Veccihio

U.S. Army

Ralph is a Stamford born, Stamford educated veteran, having attended Stevens Elementary, Cloonan Junior High and Stamford High Schools, where he graduated in 1964. He then attended vocational school in Norwalk where, after a six-month masonry program, he graduated at the top of his class.

Ralph was just 18 years old and “on his way”, with a car, a girlfriend and a nascent career in a trade he loved when in May of 1965 he was drafted into the United States Army. After reporting to Ft. Dix that December for basic training, he was shipped to Ft. Campbell in Kentucky for combat training in preparation for deployment in the jungles of Southeast Asia. In early 1966 he boarded a troop ship along with 4,000 other G.I.s and U.S. Marines, where he spent 30 days tossed in rough seas before his arrival in Vietnam. There he was stationed with the 573 Direct Support Outfit in Pleiku Province until at just 19 years of age, he was dispatched with 250 others near the DMZ where they served in a variety of support roles for other G.I.s and Marines, like guarding the perimeter of their fire base and going on patrols to locate North Vietnamese troops.

Near the end of Ralph’s 13-month tour he was given what has proven to be the most impactful assignment of his military career, though it was just three days long. Ralph was assigned to escort 75 young souls who had made the ultimate sacrifice to the mortuary in Saigon, where he helped ready them for their final trip home.

After his return to the States, Ralph married that same girlfriend and they had two sons, first Ralph, Jr. and then Joseph, and he established a successful masonry business in Stamford. Together with his second wife, the former Phyllis Silvester, he is now the proud grandfather of ten.

In the years since, Ralph has been inspired to turn the anguish of those three days in Saigon into a mission, collecting funds for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund in New York. Started by the Fisher family, the organization assists our heroes and their families returning from the wars overseas.

Michael Mickey Doyle

U.S. Army

Mickey was raised and educated in Stamford, having received his high school degree from J.M. Wright Technical School. By that time, however, Mickey had already been working part time at Springdale Florist for five years and had been a member of the U.S. Army Reserves for two, having completed his basic training in 1956 at age 17. After graduation in 1958 Mickey was called to active duty in Fort Dix, N.J. In 1961 he was again placed into active duty in Fort Bragg, N.C., due to the escalating tensions between East and West Germany and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Two years later Mickey went back on standby, and returned to Stamford and Springdale Florist, now as a full-timer, and he received his honorable discharge in 1964. Mickey purchased the business in 1973, which has been a Stamford and Darien institution ever since.

After the service, Mickey became involved with the Springdale VFW Post 9617, including by transporting veterans like Post Commander James Nestor to and from the VA Hospital in New Haven. He has also been active in the Old Timers’ Associations of both Stamford and Darien, as well as the State Street Debating Society. As the community minded owner of Springdale Florist he has donated over 100,000 roses to cancer patients at the Bennet Cancer Center at the remarkable pace of 100 per week, not only to deliver some beauty, but also so that they never forget that there is someone out there who cares about them. He also donates centerpieces for the annual Breast Cancer Luncheon and now raises funds for the Brian Bill Monument, among many other charitable causes.

Tonight’s honor is not the only one Mickey has received for his many sacrifices and kindnesses. A flag was flown over the U.S. Capitol in his honor in 1991. In 1993 he was honored by the Springdale VFW, Stamford Firefighters Local 786 and Mayor Stanley Esposito even proclaimed a day in his honor. He has been the State Street Debating Society’s Man of the Year and the Darien Old Timers’ Community Civic Award winner. In 2002 he was appointed as an Honorary Deputy Police Chief by the Stamford PD. and earned the Fraternal Order of Elks Citizenship Award. He has been honored by the American Legion and was named Grand Marshal for the Stamford Veteran’s Day Parade, an honor that he also received in 2009 for the Darien Memorial Day Parade.

Robert McGrath

U.S. Navy

Bob was a member of Rippowam High School’s class of 1965, a tumultuous year both in the United States and overseas. Already instinctively called to service, Bob began his military career as a volunteer, joining the ranks of the U.S. Navy.

After basic training, Bob was assigned on an LST (Landing Ship, Tank) in Little Creek, Va. before being transferred for assignment to Newport, R.I., on a Destroyer Escort. Eventually this lead to an assignment as a shipboard firefighter in a damage control group where he reached the rank of Machinist Mate Second Class before receiving his honorable discharge. That’s also where Bob was first inspired to seek a career as one of “Stamford’s Bravest” in the City of Stamford Fire Department.

After sitting for and passing the firefighting exam in 1970, Bob was quickly hired at the rank of firefighter, where he first became recognized as a valued member, and over time an inspiring leader of the department. During his 41-year career here, Bob rose through the ranks, all the way to Fire Chief, where he served with distinction until his retirement in 2011.

However, Bob soon discovered that he was not quite ready to retire, and so that September he was hired as the Fire Chief for the Stratford Fire Department, where he still proudly serves as head of the department.
During his employment in Stratford, Bob, with the help of his dedicated firefighters and officers, has made numerous improvements by upgrading training, apparatus, safety awareness and by upgrading its Standard Operating Procedures, resulting in the upgrade of the Town of Stratford’s fire service insurance rating. Not merely content to lead the department itself, Bob has also been deeply involved with the Stratford student mentor program, which is a program for at risk students at the high school level that he hopes just might turn out some future fire chiefs.

Bob resides in Stamford with his wife Patricia (Pat), as do their son Michael (with spouse Kim and Bob and Pat’s grandchildren Aiden and Madelyn) and their daughter Megan McGrath, who is a teacher at Rippowam Middle School.

Leroy Lee Terrell

U.S. Army

Lee was born in Prescott, Ark., but grew up about 100 miles to the northeast in Little Rock and North Little Rock. After graduating high school in 1949, Lee joined the U.S. Army in 1951 and was assigned to 373rd Armored Infantry Battalion in Germany where he attained the rank of Corporal. He received an honorable discharge in 1953 and returned to Arkansas where he enrolled in the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, home of the Golden Lions of the NCAA. After Lee achieved a Bachelor of Science degree in 1956, he was quickly hired by IBM and initially assigned to their Seattle, Wash. offices. After an admirable career that spanned more than three and a half decades in Office Administration, Marketing and Human Resources, Lee retired in 1992 and turned to fulfill his sense of civic responsibility in the not-for-profit sector.

Among Lee’s charitable engagements were as Director of Human Resources for the Northside Center for Child Development in New York City, the Hall Neighbor House in Bridgeport and CTE Inc., here in Stamford. Not content to merely work nine-to-five in the nonprofit sector, Lee also volunteered his time for organizations like the Stamford Fair Housing Commission and the Personnel Commission for the City of Stamford, where he served as its Chair for three years. And there’s more: Lee has also volunteered for the National Urban League Black Executive Exchange Program, the United States Department of Labor Youth Motivation Task Force and the Urban League of Southwestern Connecticut, where he also served as Chair. He’s also been a board member for the Yerwood Center and currently serves on the board of the Pacific House (formerly the Shelter for the Homeless).

Lee still enjoys tennis, cooking and poker, and he loves living here in Stamford with his wife Ruby.