January 2018


Dear Distinguished Contributors and Sponsors;

On behalf of the members and program committee of the Hispanic American Veterans of Connecticut to personally thank you for honoring us with your support at our 11th Annual Military Ball and Fundraiser for Puerto Rico that took place on December 2nd, 2017. I am proud to announce that this was one of our must successful fundraisers to date.

Thanks to your generous contributions we were able to donate over $3,000 in monetary donations to needy local Puerto Rican veterans and service members. We want to thank you for making this possible, we could not have done this without your support.  

In mid-December, our Vice-President, Mr. Juan Cruz and our Public Affairs Director, Mr. Jesus Lopez traveled to Puerto Rico to meet with twenty-five (25) needy veterans and service members in the areas of Arecibo, San Juan and Ponce and provide them with the monetary donations to help them with their relief efforts. This was possible thanks to conversations with community stakeholders in which we were able to identify the direct need for monetary support.

Stakeholders made it clear that no other agency or organization was traveling inland to assist with monetary donations. One local leader would later say to us, “I want to thank you and your organization for taking the time to visit our island and assist with the relief funds for our veterans. It meant so much to them to learn that when veterans were in need on the island someone from as far as Connecticut heard their plea”. Again, this would not be possible without your support so again we thank you and salute you for your contributions.

If you purchased an advertisement, please remember that your Ad is posted on our website. If you would like to see additional photos of the veterans and service members we visited, please visit our website: www.havoct.org and go to the media link. Thank you again for all your support. God Bless You and Best Wishes for a Safe and Successful 2018.



Gabriel Botero Jr., MSW                                            SFC (Ret.) Juan L. Cruz
HAVOCT, Inc. President                                            HAVOCT, Inc. Vice President



Mission StatementThe Hispanic-American Veterans of Connecticut, Inc. mission is to provide bilingual (Spanish & English) services to any Connecticut Veterans who are actively serving, honorably discharged or members with a need to update their discharge, or retired, as well as their family.

It is with so much honor and previlege tha we continue our journey that promises to change the life our Service members and Veterans and their family who primarily reside in the state of Connecticut.

It is our goal that our members receive training to become service representatives so we may be able to assist the prior and current Service members in applying for their service needs. We also endeavor to grow the organization to allow us to provide couseling services to those prior and current Service members requiring it and to assist with housing, educational and health access, on a case by case basis.

We are currently recruiting new members to volunteer for this worthy cause. You do not need to be a Veteran to be a volunteer. We look forward to hearing from you so we can give back to Connecticut Veterans what they have earned. 

Brief HistoryThe Hispanic-American Veterans of Connecticut, Inc. (HAVOCT, Inc.) was founded on November 05, 2006. The organization was created from a group of veterans and community volunteers that came together after they joined efforts for several weeks to bring Hispanic-American Veterans representation to the Greater Hartford Veterans Parade 2006.

Two of the individuals that had the vision of such representation were Ms. Marilda Gándara, former President of the Aetna Foundation and Mr. Calixto Torres, former Councilman for the City Of Hartford and former Executive Director of the Connecticut Puerto Rican Forum Inc.

Their vision not only became a reality but also during the meetings originated by Lucy Goicoechea-Hernandez, Edna Berastain, MAJ Jorge L. Rodriguez, SGT Luis M. Vera, SFC (RET) Zenen Figueroa, SGT Luis Centeno, Edith Miller and Elsa Huertas, the idea to create an actual Hispanic Veterans organization evolved.  During the actual Veterans parade, the idea evolved to the point that not only this fine group of individuals came together, but they also brought forward more people and ideas.

As a result, on November 25, 2006, with the guidance of Mr. Gumersindo Gómez, Founder and Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Veterans Association of Massachusetts, a Vietnam Veteran and a Retired Army Sergeant First Class as well, a core group of individuals were appointed the responsibility to lead; they were the President, SFC Juan L. Cruz, Secretary, Luis Vera and Treasurer SFC (RET) Julio Diaz, who provide the organization the administrative component needed to make the dream of the organization’s mission a reality for the membership collectively.

2018 Yearly Monthly Meeting Calendar

The meetings are held on Saturdays at the Rocky Hill CT Department of Veterans Affairs
287 West Street - Commissioner's Conference Room - Rocky Hill CT 06067
(0900 - 11:00 HRS)


2018 Meeting Schedule

Monthly Meeting – 1/27/18 (0900-1100 HRS), CTDVA Conf. Room

Monthly Meeting – 2/24/18 (0900-1100 HRS), CTDVA Conf. Room

Monthly Meeting – 3/31/18 (0900-1100 HRS), CTDVA Conf. Room

Monthly Meeting – 4/28/18 (0900-1100 HRS), CTDVA Conf. Room

Monthly Meeting – 5/26/18 (0900-1100 HRS), CTDVA Conf. Room

Monthly Meeting – 6/30/18 (0900-1100 HRS), CTDVA Conf. Room

Monthly Meeting – 7/28/18 (0900-1100 HRS), CTDVA Conf. Room

No August Meeting

Monthly Meeting – 9/29/18 (0900-1100 HRS), CTDVA Conf. Room

Monthly Meeting – 10/27/18 (0900-1100 HRS), CTDVA Conf. Room

Monthly Meeting – 11/17/18 (0900-1100 HRS), CTDVA Conf. Room

No December Meeting

(Ask Security at the Gate for further instructions, if needed.)
You are here:CategoriesHAVOCT INC NewsMilitary - State of ConnecticutMAJ Lesbia I. Nieves was officially promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel

MAJ Lesbia I. Nieves was officially promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel Featured

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MAJ Lesbia I. Nieves was officially promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel with the Connecticut Army National Guard on Thursday, May 15, 2014. The ceremony took place at the State Armory in the presence of her husband, son, parents, HAVOCT, Inc. family and her Battalion.

LTC Lesbia I. Nieves

Connecticut Army National Guard

MAJ Lesbia I. Nieves was officially promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel with the Connecticut Army National Guard on Thursday, May 15, 2014.  The ceremony took place at the State Armory in the presence of her husband, son, parents, HAVOCT, Inc. family and her Battalion.


 LTC Lesbia I. Nieves has been a member of the Connecticut Army National Guard since 1987.  She is an OIF Veteran and Past President of the Hispanic-American Veterans of CT, Inc (HAVOCT, Inc.) and current Advisor.   In May 1994, she enrolled in the Officer Candidate School with the Connecticut Army National Guard and graduated in August 1995. 


During her years as a commissioned officer, she has held various leadership positions that have included but not limited to the following: Platoon Leader; Executive Officer; Company Commander; Staff Officer for BN, Logistical Officer; Operations Officer (Major Command Group), Operations and Training Officer for CTARNG Recruiting and Retention, Battalion Commander, and Executive Officer for the 118th Multifunctional Medical Battalion.   She has also served as the State Partnership Program Director for the CT National Guard working with the Partner Nation of the Country of Uruguay. Most recently she completed a one tour at the National Guard Bureau working in the International Affairs Division State Partnership program, as one of the US Southern Commands desk officers.  She  was  recently  assigned as the  Battalion Commander  for the  CTARNG 143rd  Combat  Service  Support  BN Waterbury, CT.


 LTC Nieves holds a B.S. degree with a major in Psychology and minor in Sociology and two Masters Degrees: one in Counseling with a concentration in Marriage and Family Counseling and the second degree in Public Administration with a concentration on National Security Affairs.  She has also completed various military educational programs as well to include most recently graduating from the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, Command and General Staff College program in 2009.


She has been employed by the Department of Children and Families since 1995 and holds the position of Social Work Supervisor.  She has worked primarily within the Hartford and Manchester communities.


She is a Board Member of the Connecticut State Veterans Memorial, Inc. She is a life Member of the VFW, a member of the American Legion, the Women Veterans’ Memorial, and the American Veterans Association (AMVETS).  

She is married to Edward Nieves and they have three children.  LTC Nieves and her family reside in Manchester, Connecticut.  The LTC thanked her husband, children and parents for their support throughout her years of service and she recognized MAJ (Ret) Edna Acosta-Newson as her mentor and one of the people who encouraged her to continue when she felt she could no longer serve for a variety of reasons. 


The LT Colonel’s promotion made history as she is the first Hispanic female to move up to this high a rank within the Connecticut Army National Guard.  We wish her the best of luck in her new endeavors and know she will continue to serve the State and the Nation well.


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