A Call to Service

Michael Monaco, general manager of Monaco Ford, carries on a family tradition of serving others

Breezing through a hallway of his family’s Ford dealership, Michael Monaco stops to look at a collage of some of his ancestors. There’s his late grandfather, Charles L. Monaco, in the center. Surrounding him are the headshots of five of Monaco’s great uncles. 

All were young men when the photos were taken decades ago and are in military uniform.

“I come from a long tradition of service to this country,” Mike says. “We’re a very patriotic family.”

A veteran of the Iraq War, Mike, co-owner and general manager of Monaco Ford on New London Turnpike, carries a sense of duty with him in his work and personal life. 

A teenager when the Sept. 11 terror attacks happened, Mike joined the U.S. Marine Corps right out of high school.  

“I wanted to go overseas. My country was at war and I wanted to be there.” 

He served two deployments in Iraq, lost a friend to a roadside bombing and came home a changed man after four years’ of service. 

He went to work in the family’s  Ford dealership, a business his great grandfather started in 1922, working 40 hours a week as a mechanic while he was still in high school. When he left the Marine Corps, he went back to that work because he liked the solitary nature of it. 

“I needed to get squared away and I started at the ground level again.” He’s worked at a variety of jobs at the dealership, before becoming general manager. He co-owns the business with his father, David Monaco, and his sister, Christine Monaco-DiMauro. 

Today the dealership is one of the second largest in the state and prides itself on its community involvement. 

The business sponsors an annual car show to assist veteran organizations. Christine serves on the board of Glastonbury’s YMCA. She also works on events that promote female wellness, education and safety, and coordinates blood drives and charity events at the family dealership.

Mike stays in touch with his former Marine squad members and is active in veterans’ issues in general. He serves as the vice chairman of the Glastonbury Veterans Service Commission and is the commandment of the Peter R. Monaco Jr., Marine Corps League, Detachment 40, a nearly 70-year-old veterans organization that had gone dormant.

Named after one of his uncles, the group today boasts 160 members and hosts the annual 22-kilometer Hike to Remember to support veteran suicide awareness. This year's 8th annual hike is scheduled for May 16. 

“We’re big on hiring veterans and we understand the struggles people are going through,” Mike says of the family and its business. “We really appreciate our local community and we try to give back to our community.” 

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