Lt. Gen. Vavala awarded Kent County medal for service

DOVER — Levy Court commissioners honored now retired Delaware National Guard Adjutant Gen.  Francis D. Vavala with the Kent County Medal for Meritorious Service on Tuesday night — the highest honor the county can award to an individual.

Lt. Gen. Vavala, responsible for overseeing both the Delaware Air and Army National Guard, retired on Feb. 1, 18 years to the day after he began in the role.

He enlisted in the Delaware Army National Guard as a private in 1967 and was commissioned a signal officer in 1970.

While major generals are supposed to retire at 64 and state adjutant generals at 66, Maj. Gen. Vavala received special permission from Washington, D.C. to lead the Delaware National Guard past that age upon the request of Gov. Jack Markell.

In accepting the honor, Mr. Vavala deferred to the servicemen and women he’d worked with.

Levy Court commissioner P. Brooks Banta awards now retired Delaware National Guard Adjutant General Francis D. Vavala with the Kent County Medal for Meritorious Service. All seven commissioners expressed their thanks for his service and commitment to the state. (Delaware State News/Ian Gronau)

“I don’t take this honor lightly, I know that the county didn’t have to do this,” he said. “I humbly accept it on behalf of the amazing people who served with me. I was standing on their shoulders.”

Commissioner P. Brooks Banta noted that awarding the medal is a rarity, only able to recall about 20 individual cases in which the court chose to do so.
In other business, the Levy Court:

• Swore in Jim Hosfelt as 2nd District Levy Court Commissioner. He officially took his seat on the court Tuesday night. The seat had been vacant since Democrat Brad Eaby resigned to take a position with the state in late December. Mr. Hosfelt, a Republican, defeated Democrat Andrea Kreiner for the seat in a March 21 special election.

The court now has a 4-3 Democratic margin.

After taking his oath of office, Mr. Hosfelt once again expressed his appreciation to voters.

“Thank you,” he said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to serve my constituency.”

His first night happened to fall on an exceptionally active night for the commissioners. The courtroom was nearly at full occupancy with Kent Countians who turned out to oppose a zoning change that would have allowed a proposed apartment complex just south of the intersection of Hickory Ridge Rd. and US 13 in Smyrna. State Rep. Charles “Trey” Paradee was among dissenters.

After a lengthy session of public comment, Mr. Banta made the motion to deny the approval of the proposed Hickory Ridge Apartment Complex. All other commissioners voted to deny the proposal as well.

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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