No one questions the fact that Board Member Harry Stimmel deserves to be honored by Florida Veterans for Common Sense as the first “FLVCS Veteran of the Quarter.”
Everybody associated with FLVCS admires Harry for his exemplary military service and his tireless work to help veterans, our community, and the nation. Harry served in WWII as a combat medic with the 1st Infantry Regiment, 6th Infantry Division saving the lives of American soldiers as they fought their way across New Guinea and the Philippines. As a result, Harry was awarded the Bronze Star. After WWII Harry volunteered for the reserves and was called up during Korean Conflict where he served with I-Corps on the Pusan Perimeter and then at theInchon invasion disembarking troops, fuel, and munitions. Later, Harry and a warrant officer led a group of black GIs across the Korean Peninsula to secure tungsten mines being harassed by North Koreans and Chinese troops. Harry was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his service in Korea. In total, Harry was awarded twelve medals for service in WWII and Korea. Harry was one of the first members of FLVCS and is a self-starter who helped initiate important projects like the FLVCS Wounded Warrior Walkathon to help veterans and their families. His example inspires FLVCS members and friends to pitch in and help.
Harry’s efforts to help veterans are extensive and continuous. Several years ago, he initiated a project to collect Christmas cards for soldiers serving in Iraq andAfghanistan. Harry also initiated the FLVCS Veterans Committee, which collects personal items needed by the wounded warriors being treated at the Haley VA Hospital. Harry and the FLVCS Veterans Committee delivers each quarter to Haley VA Hospital books, magazines, toiletries, lap cloths, Afghans and underwear with custom sewn Velcro fasteners so that wounds can be accessed easily. On his visits to the hospital, Harry noted that the wounded warriors who are confined to their wheelchairs quickly wear out their wheelchair gloves. As a result, he has spearheaded specific appeals for donations to purchase wheelchair gloves.
Harry simply can’t resist being generous to the wounded warriors. Once at the hospital, a wounded soldier admired Harry’s FLVCS cap and Harry simply gave the soldier the cap and thanked the soldier for his service. In Sarasota, Harry volunteers with the Military Assistance Program at Jewish Family and Children’s Services to help veterans and their families. Harry’s work with this program is multi-faceted. He has done everything from helping with picnics and other events and estimating the cost of roof repairs for families of needy vets to mentoring veterans. Harry also volunteers with Courts Assisting Veterans Program (CAV), which diverts veterans in trouble with criminal justice system to appropriate support services.
Harry’s efforts don’t stop at helping veterans. Whenever FLVCS needs a volunteer, Harry steps front and center to do whatever is needed. He has telephoned for political campaigns, led FLVCS in the Veterans Day Parade, and spearheaded fundraising as examples. When Harry leads the Pledge of Allegiance at FLVCS meetings, his sincerity and commitment to America is obvious to everyone present. Harry always moves FLVCS forward with good humor and patience. He is our FLVCS goodwill ambassador and an example for us all. Most importantly, everyone associated with FLVCS is proud to call Harry a friend.
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