Department of Florida

Category Archives: News

Governor Signs 2018 Florida Purple Heart Day Proclamation

Gov. Rick Scott has signed the annual Florida Purple Heart Day Proclamation. The governor calls upon Floridians to pay special tribute to those members of the Armed Forces who have received the Purple Heart, while also honoring the families of the fallen.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 is Florida Purple Heart Day.

Click here to print proclamation.

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Navy’s First Female Admiral, Alene Duerk, Passes Away

Story Number: NNS180725-04Release Date: 7/25/2018 12:58:00 PM
From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

An undated official portrait of Rear Adm. Alene B. Duerk. Duerk entered the Navy in January 1943 and initially served as a ward nurse at the Portsmouth and Bethesda naval hospitals. She was later assigned to the hospital ship USS Benevolence and deployed to the Pacific Theater during World War II in support of Adm. William Halsey’s Third Fleet. In May 1970, Duerk was appointed director of the Navy Nurse Corps. She became the first woman to attain flag rank in the U.S. Navy on June 1, 1972. Duerk was born in Defiance, Ohio and retired from the Navy in 1975. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

WASHINGTON (NNS) — Retired Rear Adm. Alene B. Duerk, the Navy’s first female admiral, passed away July 21, 2018. She was 98 years old.

“It took 197 years and a forward-looking Chief of Naval Operations, Elmo Zumwalt, to break with tradition before Alene Duerk became the first woman admiral in the U.S. Navy,” said Naval History and Heritage Command director Sam Cox. “But the credit goes to Duerk. From the crucible of caring for wounded Sailors, Marines and prisoners of war during World War II in the Pacific, she blazed a trail of stellar performance in tough jobs, serving as an inspiration for an ever increasing number of women officers who have followed her path.”

Born in Defiance, Ohio, on March 29, 1920, she received nursing training at the Toledo [Ohio] Hospital School of Nursing, from which she earned her diploma in 1941. From there, Duerk entered the U.S. Naval Reserve and was appointed an ensign in the Nurse Corps.

“Alene Duerk was a strong and dedicated trail blazer who embodied the very principles that continue to guide Navy Medicine today,” commented Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general, upon learning of her passing. “She will forever be remembered as a servant leader who provided the best care to those who defended our nation, honoring the uniform we wear and the privilege of leadership.”

Her first tours of duty included ward nurse at Naval Hospital Portsmouth in Virginia, Naval Hospital Bethesda in Maryland, and sea service aboard the Navy hospital ship, USS Benevolence (AH 13), in 1945. While anchored off the coast of Eniwetok, Duerk and the crew of the Benevolence would attend to the sick and wounded being brought back from the Third Fleet’s operations against Japan.

Upon cessation of hostilities on Sept. 2, 1945, Duerk and the Benevolence crew took on the task of repatriating liberated Allied prisoners of war, an endeavor that solidified her commitment to nursing and patient care.

An undated file photo of Rear Adm. Alene Duerk during a promotion ceremony with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo “Bud” Zumwalt, left, and Secretary of the Navy John Warner. Duerk entered the Navy in January 1943 and initially served as a ward nurse at the Portsmouth and Bethesda naval hospitals. She was later assigned to the hospital ship USS Benevolence and deployed to the Pacific Theater during World War II in support of Adm. William Halsey’s Third Fleet. In May 1970, Duerk was appointed director of the Navy Nurse Corps. She became the first woman to attain flag rank in the U.S. Navy on June 1, 1972. Duerk was born in Defiance, Ohio and retired from the Navy in 1975. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Years later, when asked about her service for the Library of Congress’ Veteran’s History Project, Duerk said, “The time I was aboard the hospital ship and we took the prisoners of war, that was something I will never forget . . . that was the most exciting experience of my whole career.”

Thereafter, Duerk was assigned to Naval Hospital Great Lakes until being released from active service in 1946.

In 1951, Duerk returned to active duty serving as a nursing instructor at the Naval Hospital Corps School in Portsmouth, Va. and later as inter-service education coordinator at the Naval Hospital Philadelphia, Penn.
Her skills in ward management, surgical nursing and mentoring would be put to use over the next two decades while serving at hospitals in San Diego; and Yokosuka, Japan; at the Recruiting Station in Chicago; and in Wash., D.C.

In May 1970, following assignments as assistant for Nurse Recruitment in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) and assistant head of Medical Placement Liaison (Nurse Corps) at the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Duerk was appointed director of the Navy Nurse Corps.

Over the next five years, Duerk provided direction for the Nurse Corps, updating policies affecting Navy Medicine and expanding the sphere of nursing into ambulatory care, anesthesia, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology.

Her selection to the rank of rear admiral was approved by President Richard Nixon on April 26, 1972. The first woman to be selected for flag rank, she was advanced on June 1, 1972.

Rear Adm. Duerk retired in 1975, but remained a strong advocate for Navy nursing through the remainder of her life.

Duerk was awarded the Naval Reserve Medal, American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with bronze star; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp; and the National Defense Service Medal with bronze star.

Duerk’s biography offers greater insight into her service, it can be found online at the website of the Naval History and Heritage Command here: http://www.history.navy.mil/browse-by-topic/diversity/women-in-the-navy/first-female-flag-officer.html

See the entry on Duerk at the Library of Congress Veteran’s History Project online here: http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/bib/loc.natlib.afc2001001.28852

The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy’s unique and enduring contributions through our nation’s history, and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.

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2018 Freedom Raffle Winners Announced

We are pleased to announce the WINNERS of the 2018 Freedom Raffle as follows:

 

  • Grand Prize winner of $10,000 – Frank Klimekoski
  • 2nd Place winner of $2,500 – Jose Cintron
  • 3rd Place winner of $1,000 – James Allbrook
  • 4th – 5th Place winners of $500 – William Coopy, Barry Murante
  • 6th – 10th Place winners of $100 – David LeRoy, James Handly, John McCoy, William Walz, Steven Pommer

 

All recipients will be notified within the coming week by The American Legion, Department of Florida.
To watch the live footage of the drawing, click here. The Raffle is featured at the 6:00:36 time mark.
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American Legion’s call to Congress: Pass the VA Mission Act of 2018

Dear American Legion Family and Friends,

There is no question that The American Legion is the largest veterans service organization, and we have the influence that we do on Capitol Hill because of our active and caring members. With that said, there is an opportunity this week for The American Legion’s voice to be heard on Capitol Hill.

The VA MISSION Act of 2018 (S. 2372) will be going for a vote in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, May 16. If passed, this bill would do several things to help veterans, including:

  1. Streamlining all of the community care programs, including the Veterans Choice Program, into one common sense program.
  2. Expanding the VA’s caregivers program to all war eras of veterans, not just the post-9/11 generation, which is critical. This program should be available to all war eras and the veterans who proudly served our great nation.
  3. Providing $5.2 billion to the Department of Veterans Affairs to appropriately fund the Veterans Choice Program through the next year while the community care programs are being modified and streamlined. This means the VA will not have to continuously ask Congress for more money, which will allow veterans to receive the immediate care they need and where they need it.

Supporting these issues has long been a goal of The American Legion, and this is the time to get it done. From streamlining the multiple ways and programs a veteran can obtain care in the community into one simple program, to opening the caregiver program to all veterans of any war era, to ensuring the VA has the funding necessary to provide the best care anywhere, the VA MISSION Act of 2018 is a great step forward for veterans.

Please call your congressman or congresswoman and let them know that The American Legion supports S. 2372, the VA MISSION Act of 2018, and encourage them to pass this veteran-centric bill as soon as possible.

Throughout my year as your national commander, I have made “Family First” my theme. It’s time that Congress does the same.

There is some opposition to this legislation so your quick action can make the difference. Call now and tell your representative to support the VA Mission Act of 2018. You can find your representative’s phone number by entering your zip code at https://ziplook.house.gov/htbin/findrep_house?ZIP or by calling the congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121; (press 2 for House).

Family First!

Denise H. Rohan
National Commander
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Quarterly Veterans Town Hall Scheduled for May 16 at St. Petersburg VA Regional Office

 

Bay Pines VAHCS Office of Public Affairs | April 26, 2018

BAY PINES, Fla. – The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, in collaboration with the St. Petersburg VA Regional Office and Bay Pines National Cemetery, will host a quarterly Veterans town hall meeting on Wednesday, May 16 from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. The event will take place at the St. Petersburg VA Regional Office in the atrium located on the second floor. Click here for driving directions and a campus map.

VA outreach services and special program representatives will also be available to assist Veterans beginning at 12:00 p.m. and will remain available throughout the duration of the town hall. Services available will include VA health care enrollment and eligibility; VA benefits and claims assistance; and patient advocate services. Veterans and their families, congressional stakeholders, Veteran Service Organizations and other community partners are invited to attend.

During  the town hall, Bay Pines National Cemetery Assistant Director Eugenia Simmons will present pre-need eligibility services available through the National Cemetery Administration (NCA). In addition, local VA leaders will provide updates on VA operations and improvement initiatives. Veterans and their families will have an opportunity to comment publicly about VA programs and services.

This event is open to media. Media representatives interested in attending are encouraged to contact Jason Dangel, Public Affairs Officer, Bay Pines VAHCS, at 727-398-9531 or email vhabaypublicaffairs@va.gov prior to the event.

For updated information about the Veterans town hall meeting or to learn more about the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, please visit www.baypines.va.gov. To learn more about the St. Petersburg VA Regional Office, please visit www.benefits.va.gov/stpetersburg. You can also receive information by subscribing to receive updates via email at www.baypines.va.gov/news/enews_subscribe.asp, or by connecting with us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/vabaypines, and Twitter, www.twitter.com/vabaypines.

About the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System 
The Bay Pines VAHCS is one of the nation’s leading VA healthcare systems, employing nearly 4,300 medical professionals and support staff dedicated to providing the very best care to Veterans residing in southwest Florida. The organization is one of the largest VA health care systems in the country in terms of patients served and is accredited by The Joint Commission, Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and several other nationally recognized accrediting organizations. The Bay Pines VAHCS operates nine facilities to include the main medical center located in Bay Pines and outpatient clinics located in Bradenton, Cape Coral, Naples, Palm Harbor, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Sebring. To learn more, please visit www.baypines.va.gov, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/vabaypines, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/vabaypines.

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Member Verification Post Cards & Emails

The American Legion Department of Florida 100th Anniversary Member Directory Project is about to begin!

The American legion Department of Florida has contracted with Publishing Concepts (PCI), a trusted partner, to create this special member publication.

Watch for postcards and emails from PCI with instructions to update your information so we can take advantage of this great opportunity to celebrate our rich history and heritage!

Download Flyer

Work has begun on the The American Legion Department of Florida 100th Anniversary Membership Directory. Directory questionnaires are being sent to all Members, some via email and some via USPS. Information on purchasing the directory is not included in this initial mailing, as the goal is simply to gather the directory listing information from those that want to be included. Only those members that provide information for their directory listing will be included in the directory.

This is a great opportunity for Department to get updated contact information for our members, we urge you to participate.

As privacy is a concern for many of our members, it’s important to note that only those members that provide their directory listing information will be included in the printed directory. The publisher works under a very strict confidentiality agreement and will only use the information provided for the purpose of contacting members to gather data and to sell the directory. Only American Legion, Department of Florida members can purchase this directory. It is copyrighted and cannot be used by any member for solicitation purposes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I received an email/postcard/phone call from a company asking for my personal information. They said they were working on a directory for The American Legion, Department of Florida. Is this a legitimate project, or is it a scam? We have partnered with PCI (also known as Publishing Concepts) to produce our new members directory. PCI is a company located in Dallas, TX that publishes directories for educational institutions, fraternities, sororities and military organizations across the nation. This project allows The American Legion, Department of Florida to receive important updates to our database so we know more about our members and how we can better serve you and future members.
  2. How do I know my information will only be used for directory purposes? The American Legion, Department of Florida has a contractual agreement with PCI that states:
    1. The names, addresses and information provided to PCI by The American Legion, Department of Florida for the publication of the Directory will be held confidential by PCI, except to the extent that they are utilized in, or in the preparation of, the Directory and except as required by court order or law.
    2. The Directory will be made available only to members of The American Legion, Department of Florida. Upon completion of the project, PCI will return to The American Legion, Department of Florida any and all electronic files that have been supplied by The American Legion, Department of Florida or produced by PCI in connection with the production of the Directory.
  3. I would like to verify and update my information. How may I do this? If you have received a postcard or an email with a telephone number, you may call the number to speak with a dedicated representative for The American Legion, Department of Florida project. The representative will verify all the information we have on file for you and make any updates where needed.If you have received an email with an embedded link, you may go to the online site to review your information. If you have questions, you may call PCI’s customer service desk at 1.800.982.1590.
  4. Can anyone purchase a directory? The American Legion, Department of Florida members Directory is available for sale only to The American Legion, Department of Florida members.
  5. When will I receive my directory? The total duration of the directory project is about 12 months. Since we began the project in April 2018, the directories will be distributed in April 2019.
  6. Can I choose some or all of my information not to be printed in the directory? When you call to update your information, you can tell the representative what information you would prefer to have excluded. You may also communicate this information to the PCI customer service desk (1.800.982.1590) or to the Department.
  7. I ordered a directory/package over the phone and would like to cancel my order. How do I do this? Call the PCI customer service help desk at 1.800.982.1590, and they will take care of this for you.

Sample Post Cards:

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Robert H. Jenkins, Jr. Post Office

PFC Robert H. Jenkins, Jr., Medal of Honor
Company C 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion (Rein)
Third Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force Pacific
Fire Support Base Argonne
Republic of Vietnam

The 3rd Recon Association, a non-profit war veteran’s group of over 1,700 former Marines and Navy Corpsmen, is extending an invitation to you and others in your Units to join with us at the United States Post Office Interlachen, FL on Friday, June 15, 2018 at 10:00 AM for the naming/dedication of the post office as the, “Robert H. Jenkins, Jr. Post Office, Interlachen, FL 32148”.

That afternoon, June 15th at 3:00 PM, we will be holding a service at Robert’s grave located in the SISTER SPRING BAPTIST CEMETERY. 137 Hickory Road , Interlachen , FL 32148 . From the intersection of SR 20 and CR 315 in Interlachen, take CR 315 north approximately 2.2 miles, to Holiday Drive. Turn right on Holiday Drive and then turn right on Hickory Road.

Robert was one of four Medal of Honor recipients our battalion, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, had during the battalion’s involvement while serving in the Republic of Vietnam, all posthumous..

Join us as we gather at the Post Office located at 100 Mathe Avenue in Interlachen, FL 32148 in our celebration honoring Robert’s sacrificing his life to save another’s.

Feel free in copying and posting the attached pages for forwarding to the American Legion Districts and individual American Legion Posts.

Please let me know if you will be able to join us for this celebration. If you have any questions; please… Contact: Len Rapuano 1526 NW 24th Terrace Cape Coral, FL 33993,
ph 239-772-7217 or cell 239-314-6206., Email 3C23rdRecon@centurylink.net

Download Invite

Download Dedication Information

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Commander Sets New Goal

WE DID IT! – We helped the Commander reach his initial fundraising goal of $50,000 for PROJECT: VetRelief.

Additional monies collected for his project will now go towards ALL Florida Legion programs. Donations can still be made to PROJECT: VetRelief, just be sure to indicate where you’d like the funds to be applied in the memo of the check, or by making your check directly to PROJECT: VetRelief.

At the beginning of the year, the Commander set a goal to collect $50,000 during his one-year term as Department Commander for PROJECT: VetRelief. Once the goal of $50,000 has been met, he decided that any additional donations submitted and made payable to “The American Legion, Department of Florida” and indicating “Commander’s Project” in the memo line will go towards other Florida Legion Programs. However, the Legion Family can still contribute to PVR by making donations directly payable to PROEJCT: VetRelief, but be sure to include “Commander’s Project” in the memo.

Commander Shuga has decided to raise his fundraising goal to $75,000 to continue his efforts in providing funds for our Legion programs. He knows that with the generosity of the Legion Family and the passion they have for the Florida Legion programs, this goal is very attainable! Let’s help him reach his secondary goal, and ultimately help veterans and their families through our various programs!

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Voting Clarification

The question has come up pertaining to a “number or percentage of votes required to win a contest during our Department elections”. According to Department ByLaws, Article I, Section 14, “The candidate for each office that receives the most votes shall be declared the winner.” And the Rules of Procedure #22 “…The Candidate for each office that receives the most votes shall be declared the winner…”

Here are pages from the Constitution & ByLaws and Rules of Procedure, from 2016 and 2017, which clarify this question:

We hope this clears up any confusion. If you still have questions about this or any of the voting process, please email our Department Assistant Adjutant, Bruce Comer at bcomer@floridalegion.org.

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2018 State Oratorical Winners

The American Legion, Department of Florida is proud to announce the winners from the State Oratorical Contest held, March 10, 2018:

1st Place – $2,500 and representing Florida at National Oratorical Contest
Caleb Wilson, Western Area, Post 84

2nd Place – $1,500
Greta Dieck, Central Area, Post 8

3rd Place – $1,000
Holly Stidham, Northern Area, Post 27

$500 Winners

  • Ricardo Barrios, Eastern Area, Post 63
  • Chika Ojukwu, Southern Area, Post 385
  • Sheyla Ravelo Perez, Southwestern Area, Post 323

We’d like to extend a special thank you to All the Posts, Districts, and Area Chairmen that helped support these students with their journey to the State Contest; Department Oratorical Chairman, Meri West, for her dedication and support for the Oratorical Program; The Judges, Tabulators, and Time Keepers for your help and support at the State Contest; and to our contestants and all attendees for your support and participation.

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