Senator Witkos Names Darrell Stark of Stafford Springs Veteran of the Month

October 7, 2015
Sen. Witkos interviews Darrell Stark at his home in Stafford Springs.

Sen. Witkos interviews Darrell Stark at his home in Stafford Springs.

Hartford – State Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8), Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore, named Darrell Stark the “Veteran of the Month” this October. Stark, a Stafford Springs resident and author, served bravely in the United States Army during World War II. He was a survivor of the Bataan Peninsula defense and suffered for three and a half years as a prisoner of war.

Stark was recognized in Simsbury with the renaming of the Route 185 Bridge in 2013 as the Bataan Corregidor Memorial Bridge in honor of all the individuals who endured the battles. Stark is one of only two known Bataan survivors still living in Connecticut.

“The horrors Darrel Stark witnessed and lived through are astounding,” said Senator Witkos. “Yet, Darrel maintains a strong, inspiring spirit. His courage and his strength allowed him to live through so much, and still give back so much to his country. We honor Darrel for his undying spirit, his bravery and his selflessness. We also celebrate him for sharing his story with us all.”

Stark grew up in Oklahoma and joined the Army in 1941 when he was 17 years old. He was sent to the Philippines where he was assigned as a heavy weapons carrier. He participated in the Defense of the Bataan Peninsula, fighting off the Japanese with limited supplies. Bataan was surrendered in April 1942 and Stark became a POW. For three and a half years he was held in many POW camps on the Philippines and Japan where he was a slave laborer at a copper foundry. Stark was liberated in September 1945.

After recovering, Stark settled in Connecticut. His wife Judy, now deceased, and Stark had three children: Darrell, Darlene, and Judy. After the military he worked as a jail warden for the Department of Corrections eventually reaching the rank of captain.

Stark also supported his community as a little league coach, a frequent speaker in local schools, and a volunteer at many veterans organizations.

In 2008, Stark published a book My Journey as I Remember, a memoir about his life before, during and after being held as a POW. His book touches on the struggles he faced concerning physical and psychological problems as a result of his war time experiences.

Stark’s full story and a video interview can be found on senatorwitkos.com and at the following direct link: http://ctsenrepublic.wpengine.com/2015/10/veteran-of-the-month-darrell-stark/#.VhU-nvlVhBc.

Senator Witkos’ “Veteran of the Month” program features the stories of local veterans each month through text and video. Each story highlights the veteran’s unique experiences and acts of service. To nominate a local veteran to be a “Veteran of the Month” please contact Christopher F. Diorio at the CT Senate Republican Office by calling (860) 240-8801 or emailing [email protected]