Hoffman Auto Group proudly joined together with Turnpike Auto Body, NY Pickle Deli, Renee DiNino and iHeart Media to celebrate and honor Vietnam Veteran, Richard Kowalker, with the presentation of a new horse trailer. Mr. Kowalker’s story is one of service, trials, triumph and honor. Having faithfully served as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam, later re-enlisting as a drill instructor, Kowalker held various civilian jobs and faced a time of struggle with post traumatic stress disorder. After working through his PTSD he attended a funeral of a Vietnam veteran who had recently been identified and brought home to rest, he remembered the honor bestowed upon President John F. Kennedy with a “riderless horse” and thus began his mission to carry on this tradition. He had honored over 700 fellow veterans when another challenge plagued him – his horse trailer was damaged in an accident and he had an upcoming funeral to attend. Holding true to the Marine’s motto, “Semper Fidelis,” Rick remained faithful to his word and began an overnight 15-mile trek on foot with his two horses. With the help of the community and the kindness of Ken Yavis from NY Pickle Deli, he was assisted with a temporary trailer for part of this travels that day. That is when the community heard more about his dedication and mission prompting local businesses and individuals to come together in an effort to present a new trailer so he would have safe and reliable transportation to continue his mission to provide the riderless horse for at least 1000 veterans.
The Hoffman Auto Group firmly believes in supporting and giving back to the community and has consistently demonstrated this over the 94 years we have been selling and servicing our vehicles. It is in the building up of the community and providing opportunities to help people thrive that we all benefit.
In our continued support of our military, we applaud the faithfulness of Mr. Kowalker who served our country in battle, has faced his personal battle of PTSD and since 2006 has given of himself to honor over 700 fellow veterans with his “riderless horses”
With over 80 people in attendance at the trailer presentation, we met an 83 year old Army veteran, Salvatore Malinguaggio (pictured with his grandson, Officer Kominske, and Susan Lane, Manager of Corporate Reputation and Community Outreach, Hoffman Auto Group) who
shared a story with us about when he was only seven years old he used visit Hoffman Auto Group in East Hartford and shine the shoes of our salesmen.
On behalf of Bradley Hoffman, the Hoffman family and the Hoffman Auto group, thank you to Mr. Kowalker for serving to our country, for not giving up when life became challenging and for honoring fellow veterans.
We sincerely appreciate you!
Take a look at the stories captured by WFSB Channel 3 news and FoxCT news. See our photos on Facebook.
Mr. Richard Kowalker is a humble, dedicated and kind man! It was an honor to meet him and a joy to partner with others in the community to ensure he continues with his mission to honor fallen veterans.