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 (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, USA - Secretary - Chair 50th Commemoration 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.
David has authored 3 military books about his PTS and the Vietnam War Medal of Honor.
David is a mentor and key note speaker for Warfighter Advance.
David owns a 1946 Chevy truck hot rod that is used as a tribute truck for veterans.
David has awarded over 2000 lapel pins to Vietnam War Veterans for the Vietnam War 50th Commemoration. 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 >>
Command Chief Master Sergeant Carl Hunsinger USAF (Retired) - Chair Public Relations/Marketing Hunsinger served with distinction during his 30 years in the USAF. Carl received 2 Bronze Stars, several combat campaign medals, several Meritorious and Commendation Medals along with numerous other military decorations and awards. After Carl’s military service, he continued to volunteer on behalf of veterans. READ MORE >>
Richard Hunt USMC - Director - Chair Presidential Awards Richard Hunt is a Marine Corps veteran and Purple Heart recipient who served in the Vietnam War. An engage leader of several veterans service organizations, he has been a passionate advocate of veterans issues while serving as State Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the President of the Purple Heart Veterans of Florida Foundation. His selfless service to veterans has garnered life-saving thanks from many veterans. READ MORE >>
Chief Petty Officer Gary Newman USN (Retired) - Director Gary enjoyed a very diverse and distinguished 20 year Naval career. He served his first 12 years as a torpedo man and in 1973 he changed his career field to Master-at-Arms, which is law enforcement. Gary learned a lot through his early (hard-knocks) life experiences and on the job, that helped develop his people skills and his willingness, ability and passion for lending a hand-up. Following active duty, Gary continued his service by helping veterans. Gary joined the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1046 in Duval County and later founded the VVA Chapter 1059 in Clay County, starting with a membership of 25 and growing it to 128 in six years. READ MORE >>
Colonel John ThomsonUSA (Retired) - Director John served in the US Army Reserves as a Judge Advocate General Corps for over 30 years. Mobilization designee to the US Army Claims Service handling person injury claims. After the Korean War, Colonel Thomson remained active in the US Army Reserve.
Florida Governors Bob Martinez and Lawton Chiles appointed Jack to the Commission on Veterans’ Affairs
Member of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve
Over his 60 years as an attorney Colonel Thomson has done pro bono work on behalf of homeless veterans READ MORE >>