Darien High staffer honored for veteran service

Marine veteran Rick Butler, center, with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, after Butler was honored for his service to his country at a Knights of Columbus awards ceremony.

The Knights of Columbus recently honored Rick Butler, a Marine veteran and six-year employee of Darien Schools, for his service to his country.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Knights’ leaders awarded Butler, a Stamford resident and Queens native, along with nine other honorees at the Knights’ annual “Honor Our Veterans Night,” on Friday, Jan. 25. Butler, who served five months in Da Nang during the Vietnam War, received a plaque commemorating his Marine service.

“I want to thank the Marine Corps League for picking me, and the state of Connecticut for honoring me,” Butler told The Darien Times.

Butler, 59, comes from a family of Naval soldiers, but he chose to enlist in the Marines, where he served for two years.

“It was definitely an education,” Butler said of his service. “It helped to mature me, definitely. I look at the Marine Corps as also my family.”

Blumenthal is also a Marine veteran, having served from 1970 to 1976. Butler has known Blumenthal for about seven years, since he joined the Marine Corps League, a Congressionally-chartered veterans organization that works to bring Marines together and promote traditions.

Butler said he and Blumenthal exchanged a “semper fi” greeting, the traditional Marine motto, an abbreviated version of the Latin for “always faithful.”

When he’s not keeping students at Darien High School in line as a member of the security team, Butler and his wife coach softball and also work as umpires.

Dr. Stephen Falcone, superintendent of schools, told The Darien Times that Butler “demonstrates an attitude of service and respect” in all his interactions.

“Obviously, his service to his country is beyond reproach,” Falcone stated in an email. “But I would add that the service he gives to [Darien High School] and the respect that he shows for students, staff, and visitors contributes to a healthy and safe learning environment.”

The guest speaker at the annual awards ceremony was Greenwich Police Chief James Heavey, who served as a military police officer in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm.

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