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Delaware State Chamber gives top honor to former Delaware Nat'l Guard leader

Delaware State Chamber of Commerce
DSCC President Michael J. Quaranta (left) with Major General (Ret.) Francis D. Vavala (right)

The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce awards retired Major General Frank Vavala its Josiah Marvel Cup Award.


Vavala is a born and raised Delawarean who attended Salesianum and Wilmington University, and he served 50 years in the Delaware National Guard.

He also worked at DuPont prior to his Guard service.

Vavala’s military service began in 1967 in the Delaware Army National Guard, and he was appointed Delaware’s Adjutant General in 1999 by then Governor Tom Carper.

He’s the first Delaware National Guardsman to achieve four-star rank, and he was the longest-tenured Adjutant General in the country, serving three governors over 18 years before retiring in 2017.

Vavala is honored to receive the Marvel Cup.

"This is the honor of the highest magnitude. I would never in my life felt that I would be the recipient of this award. I've been to the dinner every year. This is so magnificent."

He was congratulated by two previous winners President-elect Joe Biden.

"There's no one more deserving than you. I've seen you in action General, all your courage defined by character, you've not only been an incredible leader of the Delaware National Guard you've been a genuine friend to so many," said the President-elect, who added he will lean on Vavala while in the White House as he he did as Vice President.

Credit Delaware State Chamber of Commerce
President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill were among those who offered congratulations to Marvel Cup winner Maj. General Frank Vavala

Jill Biden also sent words of congratulations in a recorded statement.

"General Vavala, this is such a well-deserved honor. Throughout your career you've shown uncommon leadership, courage, and dedication to our entire National Guard community."

Vavala led the efforts to construct the Delaware Guard’s state-of-the-art headquarters in New Castle -  now named the Major Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III National Guard/Reserve Center after the late state Attorney General.

That facility is home to about 400 soldiers, airmen, and sailors. 

The Marvel Cup honors a Delawarean who has made an outstanding contribution to the state, community, or society, and it’s named after the Honorable Josiah Marvel, who served as the state chamber’s first president. 

The Delaware State Chamber also awarded the Dick DiSabatino award to former Delaware State Senator Margaret Rose Henry. This award recognizes someone who makes significant contributions that help shape public opinion and policy in Delaware.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.
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