DARIEN, Conn. – Phil Kraft was honored after a lifetime of service on behalf of U.S. military veterans. Kraft, who currently serves as executive director of the veterans’ assistance organization HonorBound Foundation in Darien, was honored recently when Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson presented Kraft with a proclamation that declared May 5th as Phil Kraft Day in Darien. Stevenson presented Kraft with the award at a party celebrating Kraft’s 29 years with HonorBound, a nonprofit that provides veterans with case-managed social care, financial relief, advocacy and help with housing and services. “Phil has made it his mission to see that no veteran is ever forgotten,” Stevenson said.
Kraft will soon relocate to Arizona to be closer to family members but will continue to serve as HonorBound’s executive director. Kraft, who served in Vietnam, has volunteered tirelessly on behalf of veterans and related causes for decades in the local community.
He has served in a variety of roles for the Veterans of Foreign Wars for more than 20 years, including 15 years as commander of Darien VFW Post 6933. He’s been a fixture at the town’s annual Memorial Day Parade, Flag Day, Veterans Day and 9/11 celebrations for years as master of ceremonies. He was a volunteer member of the town’s Monuments & Ceremonies Commission for 22 years and its chairman for 12 years, and he was instrumental in bringing Wreaths Across America to the community’s veterans cemetery.
Kraft’s service stretches beyond the Darien area as well. He recently was tasked by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy to be a founding member of a statewide Veterans Advisory Council, a group that will address issues affecting veterans in Connecticut. He’s also served for Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Jim Himes, and in 2011 was inducted into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame. HonorBound, which was rebranded from the National Veterans Service Fund last year, has assisted more than 2,300 veterans nationwide in 2017 and will continue its mission to serve veterans who struggle with life’s basic needs, Kraft said.
Recent examples of HonorBound’s mission are the help the organization provided veterans in Stratford and Hartford, Kraft said. In Stratford, a veteran and his wife had been living without heat in their home for more than six years until HonorBound paid to repair the couple’s heating system. In Hartford, a 94-year-old veteran was facing eviction until HonorBound stepped in to help him re-locate to a new home.“HonorBound will help any veteran who can prove they served honorably for a minimum of one year,”Kraft said. “It’s part of HonorBound’s commitment to help veterans before they reach a point of crisis.”