Presented by Liberty Bank, the State’s Premier Veterans Charity Event Has Now Topped $200,000 in Total Dollars Raised; 2024 Event Set for September 27


New Britain, Conn., November 21, 2023 – Despite a three-week postponement due to heavy rains on its originally scheduled date, the 2023 Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open successfully regrouped at Tunxis Country Club on October 18 with 167 golfers gathering to help raise $25,000 for Connecticut veterans.

Nearly 170 golfers look on as Tournament Director Dennis Buden gets the event underway.

The event, presented by Liberty Bank, hosted by the Disabled American Veterans Hardware City Chapter 8 and arguably the largest veterans charity golf event in Connecticut, reached a landmark this year. Since its 2009 inception, the “GK’ as it is fondly called has raised more than $200,000 for a wide variety of Connecticut veterans causes, including DAV Chapter 8 and House of Heroes Connecticut.

“Never in my wildest dreams when this event began as a modest gathering of friends and family would I have imagined it becoming what it is today – a beloved tradition and major fundraiser supporting those who served,” said Tournament Founder and Director Dennis Buden. “On behalf of DAV Chapter 8, I thank Liberty Bank and all of our sponsors, golfers and supporters for their dedication to this cause.”

Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Ron Welch speaks at the event.

Long known as an event that honored local veterans at its post-golf dinner, the 2023 event was highlighted by the introduction of the first-ever DAV Chapter 8 Angelo Tomasso, Sr. and Angelo Tomasso, Jr. Veteran of Distinction Award, named in honor of two late New Britain community icons and DAV Chapter 8 members who not only served their countries admirably but left enviable legacies of community leadership, charitable giving and business achievement.

The 2023 Tomasso Award honorees were the late Armen Bayram, a U.S. Marine Corps and Vietnam veteran and dual Purple Heart recipient who passed in January, and Tom Higgins, a U.S. Army veteran who has spent the vast majority of his post-military life serving his fellow veterans through leadership positions with the DAV, New Britain Veterans Council and New Britain Elks Lodge 957.

Armen Bayram’s son, Marc Bayram, accepts his father’s Tomasso Award.

As part of the newly named award, the annual honoree or honorees are entitled to designate a $1,000 DAV Chapter 8 donation to the local veteran charity of their choice. This year, DAV Chapter 8 will make a $1,000 donation to PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere), a program near and dear to Armen Bayram’s heart which introduces golf to veterans and active-duty military to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being; and $500 donations each at the request of Tom Higgins to House of Heroes Connecticut, which provides no-cost home improvements focused on safety and accessibility to military and public safety veterans in need, and Scoops for Troops, a program founded by local youth Michael Ahern which raises funds to send wounded veterans and their families to a week-long retreat hosted by the Travis Mills Foundation in Maine.

Tomasso Award Honoree Tom Higgins Receives a Quilt of Valor.

Additional major sponsors of the 2023 Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open included the Petit Family Foundation, the Mayor’s Trophy Charitable Fund, the Starlight Program at Stonington Institute, the Tomasso Group, Jasko Development, the Army Aviation Association of America, Connecticut Chapter and Engineered Handling Systems.

The 2024 Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open will take place on Friday, September 27.

For more information about DAV Hardware City Chapter 8 and the Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open, visit Inquiries regarding sponsorships for the 2024 event may be directed to Dennis Buden at

About the Disabled American Veterans

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is a non-profit 501(c)(4) charity dedicated to building better lives for America’s disabled veterans and their families. Last year, the organization provided more than 210,000 rides to veterans attending medical appointments and assisted in filing over 174,000 claims for benefits, which resulted in $26 billion in earned benefits received. With more than 1,200 chapters, including DAV Hardware City Chapter 8, and more than one million members across the country, DAV empowers our nation’s heroes and their families by helping to provide the resources they need and ensuring our nation keeps the promises made to them.

About Liberty Bank

Established in 1825, Liberty Bank is one of the oldest and largest mutual banks in the country. With more than $7 billion in assets, Liberty has 56 banking offices across Connecticut and one in Massachusetts. As a full-service financial institution, Liberty offers consumer and commercial banking, cash management, home mortgages, business loans, insurance and investment services. Named ‘Top Workplace’ every year since 2012 and designated a 2021, 2022 and 2023 Best-In-State Bank in Connecticut by Forbes Magazine, Liberty maintains a longstanding commitment to superior personal service and unparalleled community involvement.


Media Contact: Dennis Buden, DAV Hardware City Chapter 8 (860) 558-0514