Catholic Charities to honor Major General Francis Vavala at 2019 Annual Tribute Dinner

October 29, 2018 – WILMINGTON DE– Major General (Ret) Francis Vavala, Delaware’s Former Adjutant General, will receive the Msgr. Thomas J. Reese Award at Catholic Charities Annual Tribute Dinner on Wednesday, April 03, 2019.


The Most Reverend W. Francis Malooly, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington, will present the award at the dinner to be held at the Chase Center on the Riverfront.


The Award, created in 1989 in memory of Msgr. Thomas J. Reese, community activist and longtime director of Catholic Social Services, the forerunner of Catholic Charities, recognizes exemplary individuals who have demonstrated a deep commitment to promoting and restoring the well-being of people – Catholic Charities’ mission.


“Major General Vavala has demonstrated his commitment to community service throughout his military service career. His example is one that reflects the qualities of Monsignor Reese and his commitment to the most vulnerable,” said Richelle A. Vible, Executive Director.

Vavala began his service to military service in 1967, served in a multitude of diverse assignments and leadership positions with increasing responsibilities at the platoon, company, battalion, and brigade levels ultimately reaching General Officer.


He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1995 and Major General in 2000. He served as a General Officer for 22 years and was the State Adjutant General, the Commanding General, and highest ranking member of the Delaware National Guard for 18 years between 1999 and 2017. Prior to his retirement in 2017, he was promoted to Lieutenant General (State) by Governor Jack Markell and later in 2017 he was promoted to General (State) by Governor John Carney making him the first Delaware National Guardsman to achieve four-star rank.


His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Order of the First State and many other Federal, State and community awards.


Vavala’s professional memberships and affiliations include: The National Guard Association of the United States, The National Guard Association of Delaware, The Association of the United States Army, the Association of the United States Air Force, The Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, and The Delaware National Guard Retired Officer Association.


He is a member of The American Legion, Sons of the American Revolution, Delaware Veteran’s Association, the Beau Biden Foundation, and other boards and commissions.


Vavala is a parishioner of St. Anthony of Padua R.C. Church and a member of the Knights of Columbus. He lives in New Castle County with his wife of 51 years, Jane. They have three children and three grandchildren.


To learn more about Catholic Charities Annual Tribute Dinner or to support the Tribute Dinner through sponsorships or ticket purchases, visit the Catholic Charities website at


Catholic Charities, serving those in need for over 180 years, offers a wide range of services to strengthen families, care for children, assist the disadvantaged, and build human relationships throughout Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.