Showing posts with label Brevard County Veterans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brevard County Veterans. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

George Taylor, advocate for homeless veterans, passed away

Longtime Brevard County homeless veterans advocate George Taylor dies at 70

Florida Today
Tyler Vazquez
May 18, 2020
Taylor's own experience with PTSD and homelessness enabled him to form a real connection with homeless veterans, according to those close to him.
Students at Pineapple Cove Classical Academy in Palm Bay invited veterans and veterans groups to their campus on Friday for a Valentine's Day to honor their service, and learn from their experiences. The kids put together care packages for National Veterans Homeless Support, and loaded them up in a van for NVHS Founder and President George Taylor, Sr. (Photo: TIM SHORTT/FLORIDA TODAY)

George Taylor, the longtime champion of veterans issues in Brevard County, passed away Sunday at the age of 70 after suffering a heart attack last Thursday.

A former homeless veteran himself, Taylor was rarely without his signature black cowboy hat and even less often without his purpose: Helping homeless veterans survive and find housing.

He could be commonly found in the wooded areas and sandy scrub brush where homeless veterans were known to camp. Reaching out to them and connecting them with needed services was his purpose and his mission and led him to found National Veterans Homeless Support, a group that aids homeless vets.
read it here

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Retired Marine Chaplain Walking From New York to Merritt Island

Marine Corps veteran to walk from New York City to Merritt Island
R. Norman Moody
September 9, 2016

"When I walk I can't stop walking. When people know that you walk they want to join you. I don't make excuses, I just walk. I trust God."
Rev. Danny Garcia begins his walk Sunday from New York City
(Photo: R. Norman Moody / FLORIDA TODAY)
Retired Marine Sgt. Danny Garcia started walking long-distance to heal from personal difficulties.

Many years later and thousands of miles of walking for causes in various countries around the world, he is beginning a new long distance trek: Many Steps for Many Vets 2016 Walk, from Sept. 11 to Nov. 11.

At age 71, the Melbourne resident is taking on a 1,450-mile trek beginning Sunday from near the site of the 9/11 memorial near Liberty and Greenwich streets in New York City, with the goal of reaching the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center on Veterans Day, Nov.11.

On that day, the center will hold its Veterans Day ceremony and the grand opening of its expanded museum and the adjacent 82-acre veterans park.

"This walk is not a game," he said. "This walk is not a marathon. Our country is bleeding right now. Yes, the walk is for our veterans, but it is also for our country."
read more here

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Florida Robber Picked Wrong Store, Army Veteran Fought Back

Video shows store clerk fighting back against would-be robber
Investigators searching for man between the ages of 19 and 22 years old
By Chris Hush
Published 11:30 PM EST Feb 02, 2016

MIMS, Fla. —A Brevard County store clerk, who is also an Army veteran, came face to face with the barrel of a gun and fought back.
"Over a couple dollars. He wanted to ruin someone's life and I'm not going to lie, that makes me mad," said David Dick, the store clerk who was attacked.

It happened a week ago. Video shows the would-be robber storming into the Sugar Creek gas station and store in Mims, demanding cash. Little did the crook know that he picked the wrong person to mess with.

"Pulling the oven open to pull out the pastries for that night. Put it over here. As soon as I turned around, he was already standing here, coming at me," Dick said.

The man, caught on surveillance video, came in armed with an airsoft gun, looking for cash. But Dick, who was working that night, was ready to fight back.
read more here

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Brevard County Homeless Veterans Hotel for Holiday

Group provides help for homeless veterans in Titusville
By Matt Grant
Published Dec 25, 2015

National Veterans Homeless Support provides food, shelter for veterans

TITUSVILLE, Fla. —Local homeless veterans are receiving help this Christmas. They're not only receiving meals, but also a stay in a hotel.

The National Veterans Homeless Support group is taking action this holiday season to help veterans and their families have a merry Christmas.

Vietnam veteran William Cruz is fighting a different battle these days.

"I didn't have nothing, not even to go to McDonald's," Cruz said.

The former Marine said his wife's medical bills wiped them out, leaving them homeless. That is, until the National Veterans Homeless Support group rescued him.

The Brevard County charity is putting more than 40 vets and their families up in a hotel for Christmas, giving them warm meals and supplies.
read more here

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day at Brevard Veterans Memorial Center

Today at the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center there was a fabulous Memorial Day event at this gorgeous combo center/museum.
Life size mannequins
I will have the video up on this sometime tomorrow after the Lake Nona VA event.
UPDATE here's the video

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Vietnam Veteran Came Home With PTSD, Once Homeless, Helps Others

Brevard veteran's PTSD helps drive him to serve
R. Norman Moody
October 3, 2014

George Taylor feels at home among homeless veterans.

After more than two decades of helping homeless veterans, the 65-year-old often tells his wife, Jan, that he will slow down or that he will do the work just one more year.

"Every year I hear that," she says with a laugh. "I think I'll hear that the last time when he is dying."

Taylor's passion for helping homeless veterans comes from his own struggles. He saw the horrors of war while serving as a paratrooper in Vietnam with the Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade. He came home suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and soon found himself homeless.

After months living in the woods and about 15 years wandering from place to place, with help from his brother, Roger, Taylor sought treatment for PTSD at a VA center in Miami.

He overcame homelessness and soon turned his attention to helping homeless veterans who face the same struggles he once faced.
read more here

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Florida veterans hoping this time will be different

This reflects more on what we've been talking about all this time. "It will help, but it should have never gotten this way. They knew 10 years ago what was going on." and it was said by an Iraq veteran. They knew and veterans were made promise after promise by members of Congress as they faced crisis after crisis.

Brevard vets like VA bill as first step to agency upgrades
R. Norman Moody
August 8, 2014

Brevard County veterans see the VA reform bill signed into law this week as a step in the right direction but said they will have to wait to see how well the reforms actually work.

The bill will allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to hire more doctors and nurses and allow veterans who live more than 40 miles away from VA facilities to get care outside the VA healthcare system. It also gives the VA secretary more authority to fire poorly performing officials.

The bill calls for $16.3 billion in additional spending for the VA.

"That has been needed for a long time," said Vietnam veteran Ed Caron, of Merritt Island.

Caron, a retired lawyer who is a service officer for Disabled American Veterans Chapter 123, said more veterans are being added to the mix at the Department of Veterans Affairs, but the government has for years not provided the resources to meet the demand.

"We have more troops that are coming home," he said. "Congress changed the rule to say you can now get five years' treatment after you get out of the service. There is only so much work they can do with the doctors and nurses they have. They need more."
read more here

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Amputee Iraq Veteran Overcomes Odds, Sworn in a Deputy Sheriff

Overcoming Amputation, U.S. Marine Sworn In As Deputy
Space Coast News
By Wayne Ivey, Brevard County Sheriff
August 3, 2014

On Friday, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office swore in Cpl. (Ret) Robert Smith of the United States Marine Corps. Almost his entire life, Robert wanted to be a law enforcement officer but chose to serve his country first by joining the USMC.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – During Friday’s Swear-In Ceremony I had the opportunity to swear-in a new Deputy Sheriff whose story of patriotism, overcoming challenges, heroism, commitment and determination deserves special recognition and appreciation.


In May 2008, while on military patrol in Iraq in the city of Fallujah, Robert’s Unit encountered an IED that exploded, injuring several in the unit including Robert who lost his right leg.

In a split second Robert’s entire life changed and threatened his ability to achieve his goal of one day serving as a law enforcement officer.

Robert would later receive a copy of the video, that to this day he occasionally watches to motivate him to succeed and to remind him of how precious life is.

Following the incident, Robert was awarded the Purple Heart and was fitted with a prosthetic leg.

With the help of his incredible wife Natalie and family and the local organization, “Sentinels of Freedom Space Coast” that strongly supports our veterans, Robert refused to give up on his dream.
read more here

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Parent pushes for Afghanistan war memorial in Brevard

Parent pushes for Afghanistan war memorial in Brevard
Written by
R. Norman Moody
November 29, 2013

MERRITT ISLAND — Over 18 months, Jeanne Weaver completed many drafts of a drawing that will be become a sculpture that pays tribute to those who served in the war in Afghanistan.

Weaver, an artist from Cocoa Beach, worked from several photographs, including one of her son, Army Lt. Todd Weaver, to come up with final drawing that will be the Afghanistan War Memorial at the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center plaza.

Todd Weaver, was killed Sept. 9, 2010, when a bomb exploded along the road his platoon was patrolling in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

“He is the lone soldier who will represent all of our troops serving in Afghanistan,” she said. “As far as I’m concerned he is a nameless lone soldier.”

Weaver will not be identified in the sculpture. The soldier is kneeling, his rifle in one hand; his other hand pointing offinto the distance. A mountain, a desert and a river completes the scene for the 4-foot wide by 5-foot tall monument that will list the names of those from Brevard or with local family connections killed in the war in Afghanistan.

“I wanted to show emotion and I wanted to show passion,” Weaver said. “I wanted it to be a lasting memorial.”
read more here

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Battle of Ia Drang Chaplain Nevin Snyder Remembered

From Bill Vagianos, President, Brevard Veteran's Memorial Center

In a place that came to be known as The Valley of Death, in a football field-sized clearing called landing zone X-Ray, Lt. Colonel Hal Moore and 400 young troopers from the elite newly formed American 7th "Air" Cavalry, were surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers dug into the surrounding tunnel-pocked mountainside.

The ensuing battle was one of the most savage of the Vietnam War. Those men under fire, their common acts of uncommon valor, and their loyalty to and love for one another continually reflect our Honor and Commitment in service to our country.

The battle was depicted in the book and movie, "We Were Soldiers Once, and Young" Nevin Snyder was there and served heroically.

Nevin served for many, many years as Chaplain to the Vietnam Veterans of Brevard, the Brevard Veteran's Council, the Brevard Veteran's Memorial Center, and also ministered to the Veteran population at-large on an ongoing basis.

Nevin Snyder fought his final battle January 2, 2013. He will buried, alongside his wife at the Brevard cemetery with full Military Honors on Friday, January 18, 2013 at 1500 hours.

JANUARY 5, 2013

My brother Nevin

My brother Nevin died Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 2, at Fellowship Manor in Whitehall, Pa. He was 84.

Nevin served as a pastor in Pennsylvania, where he grew up, before becoming a full-time army chaplain.

As a chaplain, his tours of duty included Vietnam and Thailand.

He was chaplain to the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Ia Drang where 72 American soldiers died, the first big loss of American lives in the Vietnam War. This battle was the basis for the movie We Were Soldiers, although the movie distorted the facts of the battle to try to make the story more upbeat.

It was not an upbeat story except for the honor of the soldiers who served and died. Retired General Hal Moore tells the real story in his book We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young on which the movie was loosely based.

The night before the battle, Nevin served communion to some of the 72 men who died the next day. After the battle, he was called upon to identify their bodies.

He told me that he smoked a cigar while identifying the bodies because the cigar smoke masked the smell of death. Otherwise, he said, he would have vomited. Better to look manly smoking a cigar than to break down.
read more here

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Florida veterans has millions of dollars unclaimed

Our daughter grew up with cable TV and the Internet. My husband and I met while working for a cable company. It was really odd when I was taking Digital Media classes at Valencia College and had to explain to the younger students (my daughter's age) that when I was growing up, we actually had to get up to change the channel on the TV, typed on paper with ink ribbons and had to white out typos instead of just using delete on the keyboard. Spell check was called the dictionary.

When Vietnam veterans came home, and all the generations before them, finding out what benefits they earned for their service was really hard for them. It was even harder to be able to find their "brothers" and "sisters" for emotional support.

Claims were a nightmare as well and everything was done with regular mail. Thank God the DAV was there to help with filing claims because most veterans had no clue what to do including my Dad, a Korean War veteran.

Times have changed but what has not changed is what this country owes our veterans. Yes, owes our veterans because they paid for it all when they put their boots on and left US soil to fight the battles this country decided had to be fought.

Florida veterans group on mission to deliver benefits
FDVA: Millions of dollars unclaimed
Sep 6, 2012
Written by
R. Norman Moody

Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs on Wednesday launched a statewide multimedia campaign to connect veterans with millions of dollars of federal and state benefits that they’ve earned but are not claiming.

The nation’s third-largest population of veterans collects than $13.7 billion a year in federal compensation, education and pension benefits, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical services and military retired pay, according to FDVA, but apparently millions more is available.

“I think it’s a very proactive approach,” said Bill Vagianos, president of the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center. “Hopefully, we’ll see an improved process. It needs to be more veterans-focused instead of so bureaucratic.”

The outreach campaign will use everything from traditional newspaper advertising to a new website and smartphone app to reach out to different generations of veterans, from World War II to those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Some of Florida’s veterans fought for our freedom in the days before television, while others never knew a time without personal computers, yet they all share the admiration of a grateful nation,” said Mike Prendergast, executive director of FDVA. “If they aren’t receiving the benefits and services they rightfully earned, we must use every approach available to reach them and set things right.”
read more here

They did their jobs. Making sure they get what they need when they come home is our job now.

Florida is blessed with a lot of groups and a lot of people doing whatever it takes to make sure that happens for our veterans and Bill Vagianos has been tied to most of what is taking place for Florida veterans.

I met Bill when he was working to take care of homeless veterans for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. This man hardly ever stops. If he is involved in anything, you know it'll work.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Florida Veterans Charity Watchdog Committee

Vets group takes aim at sketchy solicitors
Panel works on guide to aid host retailers
Written by
R. Norman Moody

MERRITT ISLAND — Former military-service members — determined to make sure that groups collecting money in the name of veterans are operating transparently — have formed a watchdog committee to come up with guidelines for soliciting in Brevard County.

The first meeting on Friday of the Veterans Charity Watchdog Committee came in the wake of a FLORIDA TODAY investigation that found some groups collecting money for veterans do not meet standard charity guidelines for how much actually goes toward veterans programs.

Skip Bateman, the committee chairman, said he has received calls inquiring about organizations that come from out of the area to solicit in Brevard. He said the FLORIDA TODAY stories propelled him and others at the Brevard Veterans Council to begin looking at what could be done to make sure money collected for veterans is going to veterans. They were joined by the Indian River Veterans Council president and others. read more here

Skip Bateman, left, chairs the Brevard Veterans Council. Bill Vagianos is vice-chair. / RIK JESSE/FLORIDA TODAY

Friday, August 17, 2012

Walmart suspends veterans charity as advocates seek stricter rules

If you live in Florida, you are very aware of Bill Vagianos especially if you do anything with homeless veterans. When he talks, everyone needs to listen because he has a huge agenda,,,,taking care of veterans!

Walmart suspends veterans charity as advocates seek stricter rules
Aug 16, 2012
Written by
R. Norman Moody

Solicitors claiming to collect money in the name of veterans in front of Brevard County stores may soon have guidelines to follow if local advocates have their way.

Walmart already has decided to suspend one group from asking for money at its stores.

Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said the company has taken a closer look at the organizations requesting to solicit on its properties and decided to suspend Veterans Support Organization until it investigates further.

“The group is no longer welcome to fund-raise or solicit outside our stores until we know more,” she said.

Bill Vagianos, the president of the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center and vice chairman of the Brevard Veterans Council — a coalition of more than 70 veterans organizations — said that the topic of creating guidelines for groups claiming to collect money for veterans at stores and on the street has now been propelled forward in the wake of a FLORIDA TODAY investigation published Sunday.

“I recommend that we have a uniform criteria,” Vagianos said. “It’s been a topic of discussion for years. We’re just now taking up the initiative.”
read more here

Update from a fellow sucker. If you gave to this group or any of the other groups you believed in, don't feel too bad. Just make sure the next time you know where your money is going. Don't fall for the sad stories about what is happening to our veterans if they do not list anything they are doing for them. We've all seen commercials and ads to groups claiming they are really working for veterans only to discover they are putting most of their money into raising more money and putting it in their pockets. I not only fell for a lot of these groups, I helped support them on this blog. I had to learn the hard way and support the groups I am still a member of. The DAV-DAVA has been around a long time and I know what they do. Point Man Ministries has been around a long time and I know what they do. There are several other groups I am still involved with because I do believe in them. I stopped advertising for new groups because I ended up regretting any support I gave them. This group is one of them.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Anonymous donor funds D.C. visit for 50 Brevard veterans

Anonymous donor funds D.C. visit for 50 Brevard veterans
May. 21, 2012
Written by
R. Norman Moody

MELBOURNE — Air Force Lt. Jack Wilson, 25, listened intently as World War II veteran Ralph White shared stories about his service in the Navy.

Young airmen from Patrick Air Force Base joined World War II veterans, most in their 80s and 90s, for Honor Flight, which takes the veterans to visit and reflect at the monuments built in their honor.

“I’ve seen many of the monuments except for some of the memorials,” said White, 93, of Titusville, as he prepared for the start of the trip early Saturday morning.

“I’ve wanted to do this for years,” Wilson said. “I got the email about this and I literally replied in 30 seconds.”

The 25 World War II veterans (including three women), 24 airmen and one soldier made the trip courtesy of an anonymous donor of $40,000, enough to cover the cost of two trips.
read more here

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Greg Welsh, manager of the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall

Veteran hauler stands tall for the Vietnam Wall
Memorial replica now at Landers Center

By Henry Bailey
Posted May 12, 2012

PHOTO BY STAN CARROLL Greg Welsh, manager of the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, salutes during the National Anthem at the Wall's opening ceremony.

Greg Welsh of Cocoa, Fla., is a stand-up guy for the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall -- on view this weekend in Southaven -- even as he oversees its take-down and transport across the country.

The Vietnam veteran and Air Force retiree hauls the replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington in a "dually" truck across the country for its Florida nonprofit owners, the Vietnam and All Veterans group of Brevard. It's a duty that he's cherished since this Wall, one of a number of replicas, was built in 2005.

"I'm basically the keeper of these names, for all the people who come to see them," he said on the Landers Center grounds, where the Wall arrived Wednesday and is the focus of DeSoto County's tribute to all Vietnam-era veterans. Visitation and all events are free.

The county's main salute program is today at 10 a.m. inside the Landers Center with Chancellor Percy Lynchard as speaker. The closing ceremony with former Democratic state representative John Mayo of Clarksdale speaking will be at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Wall; people at this event should bring their own chairs.
read more here

Here are a couple of videos on the reunion

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Brevard sets aside day to say 'thanks' to veterans

Brevard sets aside day to say 'thanks' to veterans
Cocoa volunteers return special favor for 3 veterans
7:32 AM, Nov. 12, 2011
Written by
Andrew Knapp

COCOA — Friday was a day of parades and memorials across the Space Coast, as residents saluted those who have served their country past and present.

But for more than 100 volunteers in Cocoa, Veterans Day was a time to get down and dirty and return the favor to former military members. They dispersed to three houses — all in need of a little TLC — and cleaned gutters, cleared yards of waste and rolled on fresh coats of paint.

“We’re serving the veterans who have served us,” said Sgt. Eric Austin, who leads the Cocoa Police Department’s community resources unit. “We’re here to serve . . . the people who are not necessarily able to care for their houses the way they would like to.”
read more here

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dark Ages: When veterans beg someone to end their suffering

There was a time in history when men were sent by their king to battle in foreign lands. Back then, the king had to go too, leading the way. The king had someone trained to tend to his wounds, so he was well taken care of. The warriors were not so lucky. On the battlefield, some begged to for someone else to end their suffering. Few survived to make it back home but if they were wounded, back home, they were on their own.

Society has changed a lot since those dark days. We have doctors deployed near units with helicopters rushing the wounded to aid. The survival rate is at an all time high but the amputation rate is also at an all time high. We want to think that the wounded are cared for physically and psychologically but too often we forget about the financial part of their lives. Who is supposed to pay their bills when they are too disabled to work? These men and women were paid by the government during their service. The same service that caused them to be wounded. They no longer have those paychecks to pay their bills and feed their families or even put gas in the car to get to their appointments at the VA. They are told they have to wait for their claim to be processed before they can be compensated. 756,000 of them are waiting for their claims to be approved right now.

Do we leave them in the Dark Ages when they beg someone to end their suffering or do we step up and make sure they do not regret for a second they survived after their service?

Our views: Not good enough (June 15)
Pentagon, VA must speed up sharing health care records

“It’s a bureaucratic quagmire,” says Bill Vagianos, president of the Brevard Veterans Council and district director for the Florida Veterans Foundation, which encompasses seven Central Florida counties that includes Brevard. “I’ve seen some improvement, but not a marked improvement.”

It’s a situation many veterans in Brevard County know well:

Long delays in getting health care and disability benefits because the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs are not sharing their medical records, the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing.

Multiply that across the USA, and you’ve a got a red-tape nightmare as hundreds of thousands of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are returning home seeking help many are not promptly receiving.

The problem received scandalous attention in 2007, when the Washington Post reported that hundreds of severely wounded soldiers and Marines were struggling to recuperate in slum-like conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center outside Washington.

Many had been released from hospital beds but still needed treatment — treatment that was not forthcoming because military and VA record sharing was a disaster, keeping them in limbo.

As a result, the total number of pending claims has skyrocketed from 448,000 last year to 756,000 today.

Some veterans find the stalling so infuriating they give up, falling through the cracks and not getting the help they need.

read more here
Not good enough

Friday, May 27, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott cut $12 million from homeless veterans

He made promises to rich people that he would take care of them but when it came to our veterans after they were promised this nation would care about them, he forgot all about them. Did he think about them at all? No, I doubt it. If they had money, he'd be right there behind them.

Scott also vetoed $12 million for a homeless veterans program in Brevard County pushed by Haridopolos, a Brevard resident.

Scott spoke standing in front of a sign saying "Promises Made, Promises Kept."
Scott signs new Fla. budget but vetoes $615M first



TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Gov. Rick Scott signed a $69.1 billion state budget Thursday, but before doing that he vetoed a record $615 million in spending, including money for environmental land purchases, college and university buildings, homeless veterans, public broadcasting and local projects ranging from health care to rowing.
The new Republican governor vetoed more than 150 line items after the GOP-controlled Legislature already had chopped nearly $4 billion in spending.
The austere spending plan is expected to result in layoffs for hundreds if not thousands of public employees, including teachers. A new retirement provision also will effectively cut the pay of those who still have jobs.
Scott went to The Villages, a central Florida retirement community that's a GOP and tea party stronghold, to sign the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 rather than do it in Tallahassee, home to thousands of public employees.
Sumter County sheriff's deputies escorted about two dozen protesters, some holding signs saying "Pink Slip Rick," from the town square. That's where Scott, a former hospital chain CEO, spoke to about 200 supporters at what one GOP staffer called a private event.

Read more: Scott budget

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Jodi Owen "adopted veteran" at Melbourne Veterans Reunion

Lending a hand to those who served
Owen's work has made a difference to numerous veterans

MELBOURNE — Wearing a sleeveless reunion T-shirt, Jodi Owen mingled among veterans at the 23rd annual Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion. Her green pop-up tent sits in the midst of their campsite.

Owen is not a veteran but is very much a part of the brotherhood that comes together at the reunion, sharing war stories, friendship and camaraderie.

She came to know many of these veterans as a volunteer at the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall. She counseled those who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder while working on her doctorate at Florida Institute of Technology.

Since graduating in 2000 with a doctorate in psychology, Owen has attended all but one of the annual reunions.

"These are some of my best friends," she said, motioning to a section of the campground at Wickham Park in Melbourne. "I know all the people along here."
read more here
Lending a hand to those who served

Friday, February 12, 2010

Vietnam vet lied about Medal of Honor

Vietnam vet lied about Medal of Honor


Published: February 11, 2010

TAMPA - For two years, Vietnam War veteran Gary Amster drove around Florida with a license plate that said he had been awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award.

But Amster never received the Medal of Honor.

A federal jury Wednesday convicted Amster, 62, of three charges - a felony count of lying to a federal agency about having the medal and two misdemeanor counts of falsely representing that he had won the medal.

The felony carries up to five years in prison and the misdemeanors each carry up to a year behind bars. Sentencing is set for April 30.

Defense attorney Michael P. Maddux said Amster wrongly thought he had been given the honor because of a form that was mailed to him by the Army.

"He believed that he was a hero," Maddux told jurors in his closing argument. "Some people need to believe that they're heroes. That doesn't make them a criminal. You shouldn't make him a criminal."

But a federal prosecutor said Amster fraudulently altered the Army form and then used it to fool authorities; he filed the form with the Brevard County Clerk of the Court and then used a copy with the State of Florida seal.
read more here
Vietnam vet lied about Medal of Honor
linked from VAWatchdog