Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open

The Angelo Tomasso, Sr. and Angelo Tomasso, Jr. Veteran of Distinction Awards

Presented Annually at the Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open

In 1910, 17-year-old Angelo Tomasso, Sr. arrived in New York from Italy, determined to succeed in America. He served honorably in World War I, then returned to make his mark in his chosen hometown of New Britain, Connecticut. After several years working as a laborer, he used the one piece of equipment he owned – a steam shovel – to establish a construction company, Angelo Tomasso, Inc., in 1923. During the 1930s and 1940s Tomasso paved the majority of the roads in New Britain and built the first section of New York’s Taconic Parkway and the original Brainard Airport in Hartford. Proud to be an American and always thankful for his blessings, Tomasso became active in the community and established the family’s legendary culture of giving back before passing unexpectedly in 1952.

Angelo Tomasso, Jr., served with distinction in the U.S. Navy during World War II, receiving a Purple Heart for wounds sustained in the Philippines. Upon his father’s death, Angelo, Jr., became president and chief executive officer of the Tomasso Company at age 27, and managed the company along with brothers Victor, George and Bill. The company became famous for major construction projects including Interstates 91 and 84, Routes 9 and 2, and corporate headquarters including Emhart, Stanley Works, Aetna and Bristol Myers. Tomasso, Jr., continued giving back to his community, as his father had done, and over the years earned numerous civic service honors. By the time of his passing in 2015 the Tomasso family name had become synonymous not only with business success, but with charity, good will, American pride and commitment to service.

In 2023, DAV Hardware City Chapter 8 chose to honor the Tomasso family legacy by naming its annual award presented at the Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open after Tomasso, Sr. and Jr. The Angelo Tomasso, Sr. and Angelo Tomasso, Jr. Veteran of Distinction Award will be presented annually by DAV Hardware City Chapter 8 at the Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open to a Central Connecticut veteran or veterans who has/have made a meaningful impact and inspired others through exemplary military service and/or community leadership. The 2023 award(s) are the first to be presented bearing the Tomasso family name; all veterans previously honored at the event – a tradition that began in 2011 – are now also designated as Tomasso Award recipients.



Sal Sena (Newington), U.S. Marines

Robert Dornfried, Sr. (Berlin), U.S. Army, Korea, Bronze Star (posthumous)


Tom Higgins (Berlin/New Britain), U.S. Army

Armen Bayram (Portland/New Britain/Berlin), U.S. Marines, Vietnam, 2 Purple Hearts (posthumous)


Angelo Tomasso, Sr. (New Britain), U.S. Army, WW I (posthumous)

Angelo Tomasso, Jr. (New Britain), U.S. Navy, WW II, Purple Heart (posthumous)

Al Nelson (New Britain), U.S. Navy, WW II, New Britain Fire Department (30 years)


Willie D’Amato (Berlin), U.S. Navy, WW II

Eugene Polaske (Berlin), U.S. Marines, WW II/Korea


Dennis Taricani (Berlin/New Britain), U.S. Marines, Vietnam


Bill May (Hamden), U.S. Army/Connecticut National Guard (24 years), Co-Founder, House of Heroes Connecticut (posthumous)


John Hogan (Bristol), U.S. Army, Vietnam, Distinguished Service Cross


New Britain’s Iwo Jima Survivors:

Stan Dabrowski, U.S. Marines

Ray Greene, U.S. Navy (posthumous)

Joe Roman, U.S, Marines


Ed Riccio, Jr. (Bristol),  U.S. Army Air Corps, WW II, Pearl Harbor


Connie Nappier (New Britain/Hartford), U.S. Army Air Corps, WW II, Tuskegee Airman


Manny Jimenez (Glastonbury/New Britain), U.S. Marines, Afghanistan, Purple Heart


New Britain’s Greatest Generation (all WW II):

Chet Georgetti, U.S. Army

Gene Leganza, U.S. Navy

Leo Piccoli, U.S. Army

Andy Symecko, U.S. Navy

Al Wojtera, U.S. Navy

More about Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open

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