Phil Kraft, serving his last year as chairman of the town’s Monuments & Ceremonies Commission, will serve as the town’s Memorial Day parade speaker.
Kraft started as a Family Health Counselor in 1989 for National Veterans Services Fund, Inc., formerly Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange Victims, Inc. He is now president and executive director of NVSF, helping them to find creative and innovative ways to help them to help themselves, both through the VA and other resources. Kraft is proud to say that NVSF has been able to help veterans and their families from every U.S. war from Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom all the way back to the Civil War!
After a brief college experience at Waynesburg University in Pennsylvania, Kraft enlisted in the US Army from July 1969 to January 1972. In Vietnam, while assigned to the 59th Signal Company, he was attached to Special Services at Long Binh in 1970.
He served on the Agent Orange Commission in Washington, D.C., founded and chaired by retired Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr. Kraft was proud to have served on this commission until the Admiral’s death to cancer in 2000.
After 15 years, he stepped down as Post Commander of the Darien VFW Post 6933 in 2015. He has served the Connecticut VFW District One Surgeon, was past chairman of VFW State Veterans’ Services, in March 2008, he was appointed to the VFW National Veterans Care Committee and was appointed as a National Aide-de-Camp for 2010.
In 2011, Kraft was inducted into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame for a lifetime of service to veterans. He was also selected by Congressman Jim Himes to serve on his Veterans Advisory Board, and has served on his screening committee for appointees to the military academies. This year, he was asked by Senator Richard Blumenthal to be a part of a Statewide Round Table on Toxic Exposure in the Military.
Kraft is also a Life Member of the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), and Veterans of the Vietnam War (VVnW) having served VVnW as their National Agent Orange Advisor since 1995. He is also a proud member of the Connecticut Patriot Guard. In addition to their military funeral escorts, each December they escort Wreaths Across America as the convoy goes through Connecticut on its way from Maine to the Arlington National Cemetery.
Kraft has served the Town of Darien Monuments and Ceremonies Commission since 1994, and has been Chairman since 2009. He was named as Grand Marshal for the 2013 Parade.
Kraft is an active supporter of Wreaths Across America in their efforts to place wreaths on the graves of the fallen every December both at our Connecticut Veterans Cemetery and at Arlington National Cemetery.
Kraft and his wife Peach have lived in Darien since 1983; they have a daughter, Abigail, and a son, John.
October 2017 Kraft will mark his 16th year as an instructor at the UAW Veterans Conference in Black Lake, Michigan, where he serves as an instructor on veterans’ benefits.