Person of the Week
David Yaccarino Gives Back to Veterans as Navy Helped Him Find His Path
David Yaccarino is hosting a cold-weather collection for homeless veterans through Friday, Dec. 3 in honor of Veterans Day with collection points throughout town. (Photo courtesy of David Yaccarino)
When David Yaccarino was young, he wasn’t sure what path he wanted to take in life. He decided to try to enlist in the Marines, but since he was not yet 18, he couldn’t. From there, David joined the U.S. Navy Reserves, which helped him build a foundation for the rest of his life.
“I wanted to serve the country and it was the best thing I could’ve done,” says David, who served from 1976 to 1980. “I had great, loving parents and my dad said, ‘You’re too smart for what you’re doing,’ and they supported me joining. I excelled in the Navy doing everything I was supposed to and more. The day we were graduating, officer said to me, ‘Keep your nose clean, work hard, and you’re going to go places.’ It inspired me.”
David went to boot camp in Illinois and then Navy A School for accounting and bookkeeping in Norfolk, Virginia, before being stationed in New London. David returned to his hometown of North Haven where he has since raised a family, opened a business, gotten involved in politics, and volunteered in the community.
“I love it here. North Haven has a lot of nice things and good people,” says David. “I went to North Haven schools and my kids did, too. I remember the closeness of my neighborhood growing up and playing in the woods and fishing. We were like brothers and we’re close to this day.”
For the past eight years, David has given back to fellow veterans in need by hosting a cold-weather drive for homeless veterans. The current drive runs through Friday, Dec. 3. Donations of new thermal underwear, sweatshirts, sweatpants, warm hats, gloves, and heavy winter socks are being accepted with sizes medium and larger preferred.
“Each year, we have a really good turnout and receive so many items,” says David. “It also helps to bring awareness that there are a lot of homeless veterans who don’t have access to these items.”
There are drop-off location throughout town including the American Legion Post 76 at 20 Church Street; Love, Lera Bakery at 344 Washington Avenue; Arnold’s Jewelers at 117 Washington Avenue; DJ’s Cards & Comics at 1 Lincoln Street (corner of Lincoln and Washington); and Yaccarino Automotive at 319 Washington Ave.
On Saturday, Dec. 4, there will be a drop-off ceremony from 10 a.m. to noon at the American Legion Post 76. Items will then be sorted and donated to The Columbus House in New Haven for distribution to veterans and individuals in need.
This isn’t the first time that David has gotten involved in the community. Since returning to North Haven after the Navy, he has been active in the community. He raised his three children—David, Joseph, and Carolyn—in town.
When his children were younger, David was a co-founder of Boy Scout Troop 811 and volunteered with the organization for 16 years. He also coached Max Sinoway Baseball and softball.
David also volunteered for Saint Francis Cabrini Church, where he is a member of the Mens Club and worked as a youth group mentor. He has volunteered for the CT Coalition to End Homelessness, the Columbus House for Homeless Veterans, multiple food and clothing drives, PPE distribution, reading sessions at the elementary schools, and civic discussion sessions with high school seniors. One of his favorite things about getting involved is seeing his children participate.
“My three kids get involved in everything,” says David. “They all give back to their communities, which is one thing I instilled in them.”
David met a number of people through his volunteer work and at one point, he was asked if he would consider running for state representative. Though he was hesitant at first, David ended up running and has served the 87th General Assembly District for the past 11 years, being elected to his six term in November 2020. He was appointed a leadership position as House Republican senior whip and serves on several legislature committees.
“I had no desire to run for political office and originally said no, but I’m honest, work hard, own a business, and bring a working person’s perspective,” says David. “I enjoy helping people and giving back to the community. I have a 100 percent voting record and like supporting science and good things.”
Over the years, David took college courses, studying western civilizations, history, and literature and at one point, he considered studying to be a teacher. David has owned DJ’s Cards & Comics for the past three decades. He decided to step away from a successful family business to branch out on his own and has enjoyed getting to know his customers and employees.
As a member of Post 76 and state representative, David spoke at the Veterans Day ceremony on the North Haven Green. He joined Post 76 a few years ago and has enjoyed taking part in the different events. He is looking forward to bringing the donations from his drive to Post 76 on Dec. 4.
“It’s a good community effort and it feels good when the community comes together,” says David. “Giving back feels good, but you have to do it because you want to do it. You get joy out of giving back.”
Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .