Colonel Bruce Host, USAF (Retired) - Founder and President Retired Air Force Colonel Bruce J. Host is a distinguished aviator and Vietnam War Veteran who has lived a life of noteworthy public service and elected Leon County Commissioner. He worked to complete major infrastructure in public works projects benefiting all services. A former president of his local Kiwana‘s Club and homeowners association, he helped create the FSU Student Veteran Center and establish in perpetuity a Florida Veterans Hall of Fame and the Florida Veterans’ Hall Of Fame Society, Inc. READ MORE >>
First Sergeant Thomas S. Rice, US Army (Retired) - Vice President Retired Army First Sergeant Thomas S. Rice has made Okaloosa County a premier destination for veterans of all ages. From establishing the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast at Elgin Air Force Base to escorting 900 World War II veterans to the National World War II Memorial in Washington DC, his remarkable service to veteran related causes has garnered him many national honors. A local restaurant owner. He serves on the Veterans Florida Board of Directors. READ MORE >>
David Rose, USAVeteran - Secretary - Chair 50th Commemoration - Webmaster - Author - Videographer - Photographer - Chair Presidential Awards - Chair Operation: Interview - Chair County Plaques Project - Society Representative Heroes Honor Festival David was drafted after college and served in the US Army as a Conscientious Objector Combat Trauma Medic during the Vietnam War. After 45 years of running from his feelings and thoughts, David met his PTS head on. READ MORE >>
Lieutenant Commander Herlena Washington, USN (Retired) - Treasurer Herlena Washington served in the US Navy for 25 years as a Healthcare Administrator. Her leadership experience involved all facets of Naval Operations, Strategic Planning, budget, resource management, change management, supply training and leadership development.
Herlena is Community Chairperson for Jax Chapter of the National Naval Officers Association. Spearheading all community events - feeding the homeless, serving vets.
She was Immediate Past President of Beta Alpha Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. (3 yrs)
She spearheads the week long military events held in Nov for 3 years. Feeding and providing clothing for the homeless, wreaths across America, Veterans parade, and serving the VA clinic of Jax. READ MORE >>
Captain Thomas G. Gates, USAF - Chair Special Projects Thomas G. Gates is an aviator who served two combat tours with the Air Force during the Vietnam War. An Eagle Scout and graduate of the University of South Florida, he spent a distinguished career in the FBI following active duty service. Returning to his USF roots, he campaigned for institutional and community support for veterans programs at the university, which led to Military Times ranking USF as top in the nation in supporting student veterans. READ MORE >>
Dr. David L. Goetsch, USMC Veteran - Director After voluntarily serving his country in the United State Marine Corps, Dr. Goetsch has spent the rest of his life to date serving the people of Florida, with an emphasis on veterans and military personnel. In our region of the state, no one is better known or more respected for his contributions to veterans, military personnel, and the state through higher education and economic development. READ MORE >>
Captain Reuter (Roto), US Navy (Retired) - Director Although his “life’s plan” has been filled with successes and blessings, growing up as a young boy, Roto watched our space program grow, and wanted to be an astronaut. It was on THAT path to fulfilling his dream, he joined the NROTC, and was commissioned into the Navy, later designated as a naval aviator. And even though he gave it his best shot, his “dream” of becoming an astronaut never came to fruition, however in the process of trying to reach it, he became a successful and respected Navy pilot and officer. One of his more demanding positions was as a test pilot, where his focus and that of his team’s, was ensuring the safety for our nation’s pilots who would eventually use the same equipment after it was fielded. READ MORE >>
Lt. Colonel Donald J. Slesnick II, US Army (Retired) - Director Donald Slesnick II served in the United States Army for over 20 years and retired as a Lt. Colonel after serving in Vietnam and Europe. He commanded our local Army Reserve Civil Affairs unit and after retirement, he became an Army Reserve Ambassador. He continues to serve with Army Reserve Ambassador Emeritus status. Mr. Slesnick has a stellar career as an attorney and as an elected official including serving as Mayor of the City of Coral Gables. READ MORE >>