Waterbury Mayor Neil M. O’Leary has proclaimed Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015 as “Colonel John Chiarella Day” in honor of the distinguished United States Army Veteran who served his country honorably and introduced patriotism to generations of Waterbury school children.
Chiarella, a loving husband, father, grandfather and patriot, passed away Saturday in Waterbury at the age of 83 surrounded by his family.
“Col. Chiarella was a great man whose positive impact on Waterbury will be felt for years,” O’Leary said. “I ask every resident of Waterbury to pause with me to honor this fine American.”
Col. Chiarella was born in New York but spent most of his life in Waterbury. Six months after graduating from Wilby High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was accepted and graduated from Field Officer Training School. He came home a 1st Lieutenant, left for the Korean conflict in October 1952 and remained there for a year. After leaving active duty, he became a member of the U.S. Army Reserves in Connecticut.
He moved up the ranks and was promoted to full colonel in 1975 before being honorably discharged in 1982.
Col. Chiarella left a lasting mark on the City through his work with the Waterbury Veterans Memorial Committee. He worked to increase public awareness of veterans and issues they face, while teaching school children of the dedication veterans have and the sacrifices they make.
The committee was also an active participant in Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Pearl Harbor Day ceremonies.
Col. Chiarella’s distinguished military career saw him serving on active duty during the Berlin Crisis through the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1993 he was inducted into the Artillery Hall of Fame.
He also served as the Senior Technical Judge for the Army in Connecticut at Science Fairs. At one time, he was a lecturer and judge at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and at the University of Connecticut for High School Science and Humanities Programs. He was appointed by Gov. Rowland as a Trustee for the Connecticut Veterans Affair Office, a post he held until his death.