George Duren- Port St. Joe, Florida
George Walter Duren joined the military after graduating from Florida State University. He trained as an Infantry Rifleman and was sent to Vietnam around June 1968. He was assigned to the 2nd squad of the 2nd Platoon of Charlie Co. of the 2/35 Infantry of the 4th Infantry Division, based in Camp Enari, West of Pleiku in the Central Highlands.
Mr. Duren has often said that he has never forgotten his experiences in Vietnam and they never get too far from him. Over the years, he has dedicated himself to celebrate soldiers' return and to give honor to the lives some of them gave. Serving other veterans has been a very rewarding experience for George. Perhaps no other group of American citizens do more to earn the gratitude of a nation. George co-spear headed the Forgotten Coast Warrior Weekend which entertained 20 wounded Veterans and their companions with deep sea fishing and activities on the coast for 9 years. He served on the board of the creation of the Three Servicemen South Park in Apalachicola, FL and has been instrumental in leading a committee to raise money and build the Honor Walk, a venue to Honor all veterans at the Gulf County Veterans Park on Beacon Hill, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
Mr. Duren is committed to his community. In 1999, the local paper mill closed down and laid off 650 employees. Mr. Duren used his supermarket business as an opportunity by contributing and soliciting donation to collect $65.00 Thanksgiving food packages for each employee. Mr. Duren set up a large tent and had volunteers distribute the food three days prior to Thanksgiving. During Hurricane Michael, Mr. Duren contributed hundreds of pounds of food to food tents to help families who were in need