By Ruth Bruno
Cheshire resident and former state representative, Alfred Adinolfi has been selected to for induction into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame.
Adinolfi, who enlisted in the United State Air Force during the Korean War era, will be inducted on Monday Dec. 4th, at the Legislative Office Building Atrium in Hartford at 5 p.m.
During his time serving seven non-consecutive terms as a State Representative, Adinolfi assisted in passing legislature designed to assist active military members and veterans. He co-sponsored bills which prohibit health providers from charging veterans for thier health record as well as bills which provide property tax relief for retired or disabled veterans.
Adinolfi was nominated by Senator Len Suzio who represents the Cheshire and Meriden communities. Suzio says the decision to nominate Adinolfi came after he was reading information about the Veteran’s Hall of Fame and realized that Adinolfi was not among the list of 126 veterans that had been inducted since 2005.
“He’s a natural,” Suzio said, “He not only served his country as a veteran, but as a legislator.”
According to the Connecticut Veteran’s Hall of Fame’s Manager of Community Advocacy, Tammy Marzik, Adinolfi is one of 11 inductees for the class of 2017. A total of 63 veterans were nominated this year.
“It’s an honor to induct these men and women into the hall of fame,” Marzik said.
After enlisting at the age of 18, Adinolfi was based at Camp Edwards in Western Massachusetts. While serving there with the Tactical Air Command, he sustained and injury that kept him at an orthopedic ward at the neighboring Otis Air National Guard Base for three months.
“I was in the ward with men and women who were missing legs and every one of them would want to go back to their units,” said Adinolfi.
“I still think about that hospital stay,” said Adinolfi. He recounts that this stay in the ward inspired him to help veterans in whatever way he could.
“I decided I had to give back,” said Adinolfi.
His contributions began in a small, but immediate way.
“I wanted to help those other veterans who were there with me; I would just sit and talk with them,” Adinolfi said.
After receiving an Honourable Discharge from the military, Adinolfi moved to Connecticut in 1968 and settled in Cheshire in 1979. He had decided to direct his service to his community into politics, serving as the Cheshire Wetlands Commissioner and later as Cheshire Town Councilor for eight years.
Though discharged, his contributions to the military continued during his employement as a Manager of Product Engineering for DNE Technologies in Wallingford. During his 34 years employed at the company, he worked on several projects which would aid in providing safer environments for service members.
His urge to help veterans resulted in Adinolfi serving as a volunteer with the Connecticut Visiting Nurses Association in Wallingford.
“Sometimes I would just go in there and play blackjack or keep them company,” he said.
Adinolfi says one of the most rewarding moments came after he led the way in getting state legislation passed that would allow National Guard servicemen and women to to receive workers’ compensation elegibility if they were called on for duty by the governor.
Adinolfi recalled the complaints he would get from veterans who had been injured while on duty.
“It would take years and years for these poor guys to get compensation from the federal government,” Adinolfi said.
“That bill passed unanimously,” Adinolfi said with a smile.
Though he retired last year, Adinolfi continues to volunteer at local Veteran’s homes and says he hopes that veterans will continue to recieve the help he feels they need.
“[Veterans] need more ‘give-back,’” he said. “Giving back could just mean clipping the guy’s grass. It means giving help to those that need it,” Adinolfi said.