Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open

2023 Guest Speaker: CT DVA Commissioner Ron Welch

Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner, Brigadier General (Ret.) Ron Welch will be Guest Speaker at the 2023 Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open post-golf dinner.

Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Ron Welch will be guest speaker.

Commissioner Welch is a graduate of East Lyme High School where he was an extremely competitive athlete in football, wrestling and crew at the local, state and national level. Upon returning from a combat tour to Afghanistan he was inducted into the East Lyme High School Football Hall of Fame.

Ron served full-time in the U.S. Army as an Airborne Ranger, including three trips to Panama, one was part of Operation Promote Liberty, 17 Worldwide Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercises with 2nd Battalion, 75th Airborne Rangers stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington.

In May of 1981 he was involved in a severe in-line-of-duty parachute accident. After a medevac flight, he received extensive medical intervention, physical therapy and several surgeries.

He next served as an officer in the Connecticut National Guard totaling more than 39 years of combined service. During that time, he was also involved in several Homeland Security missions protecting critical infrastructure and severe weather emergency responses.

Ron held 28 key staff and command assignments, completed 37 military schools from the tactical level to strategic level including the U.S. Army War College, completing a master’s degree in strategic studies.

He is Level III Joint Service Qualified and completed the U.S. NORTHERN Command Dual Status Commander Certification program. Ron also completed a master’s degree at Eastern Connecticut University.

Some of Ron’s awards include the Legion of Merit, The Soldiers Medal, 4 Meritorious Service Medals, 9 Army Commendations Medals, the Afghan Campaign Medal, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Expert Infantryman’s, Ranger Tab, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Air Assault Badge, Canadian and Israeli Parachute Badge and CT Medal of Valor.

Ron’s eldest son Stephen is also a 2-time combat veteran of Afghanistan and also deployed to Africa. Stephen presently serves as a Captain and Physician Assistant in the Active Guard Reserve program for the Connecticut National Guard. His daughter Katherine is completing a masters at Quinnipiac university and his son Ethan is entering his senior year at Pennsylvania State University.

Ron was appointed by Governor Ned Lamont on May 9, 2023, as Commissioner of CTDVA. For the past four and one-half years he served as the Vice President for Military Services at Veterans Rally Point, which is part of Easterseals Capital Region and Eastern Connecticut located in Norwich. Veterans Rally Point recently completed a new 18,000-square-foot build out of the facility that provides free life changing services to Active Military, National Guard, Reserve, Veterans & their families.

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