Addabbo nominated Staff Sergeant Catalina Gaviria from Hamilton Beach, who started her military career with the U.S. Marine Corps in 2000 as an administrative clerk. Her first duty station was with the Sixth Communication Battalion and mobilized in 2002 for one year in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
After Gaviria’s mobilization, she transferred to the Fourth Tank Battalion, Tow and Scouts platoon in Florida. She was also mobilized to support the unit’s deployment to Djibouti, Africa, during the Global War on Terror. After returning to the U.S., Gaviria performed funeral honors for fallen Marines and volunteered for the Toys for Tots program.
“Staff Sergeant Gaviria has an exemplary military record and dedicates her time to her community. She has served her country abroad and continues to do so,” Addabbo said. “Gaviria is not only a member of our great military, but her most important title is ‘Mom.’ It was an honor to induct Staff Sergeant Gaviria into the New York State Veterans Hall of Fame and it was a pleasure to meet her family during the ceremony for her at The Shops at Atlas Park on Armed Forces Day where she was presented with a plaque acknowledging her induction and military service.”
Gaviria reenlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve in 2012 as an emergency management instructor based in Homestead, Florida. Then, she transferred to the 514th Civil Engineers Squadron in 2014 in New Jersey, where she still serves as an instructor for the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear program.
The NYS Veterans Hall of Fame inductee has received numerous awards, including two Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medals, The Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, The Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device, The National Defense Service Medal, a Sharpshooter Rifle badge and a grey belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
Gaviria married her high school sweetheart and a fellow Marine Corps veteran, Sergeant Milton Gaviria; they have two daughters and reside in Hamilton Beach, Queens.