Veterans Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Inductees — Photo and Biographies
Pictured (left to right):
Jeff Atwater: Chief Financial Officer For the State of Florida
Steve Crisafulli: Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives
Rick Scott: Governor of Florida
Jim Bennett – Representing his father the late Charles E. Bennett: Charles Bennett was a University of Florida graduate who served briefly in the state legislature before enlisting in the U.S. Army in early 1942. He served with distinction in the Pacific where he was awarded both the Silver and Bronze Stars. Following discharge in 1947 as a captain, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served Jacksonville’s citizens for 44 years. He died in 2003.
Retired U.S. Army Colonel, Curtis V. “Curt” Ebitz: Curt Ebitz is a retired U.S. Army Colonel, Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient from the Vietnam War. He served as Senior Army Advisor to the Florida Army National Guard and founded the Citrus County Veterans Foundation and a local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. A member of the Florida Commission for Veterans Affairs, he advocated for Florida’s World War II Memorial.
Retired U.S. Air Force Major General, Earl G. Peck: Earl G. Peck is a retired U.S. Air Force Major General and Vietnam Veteran who served as the first director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs upon the Cabinet Agency’s founding in 1989. A distinguished community leader and veterans’ advocate, he has held leadership roles in the Military Officers Association of America, Air Force Association, Order of Daedalians and other non-profit boards.
Retired Army Maj. Gen., James Lee Dozier (Class of 2014 Inductee): James Lee Dozier is a retired Army Maj. Gen. and a 1956 U.S. Military Academy graduate. He is a recipient of both the Silver Star and Purple Heart from his service in Vietnam. The general led a distinguished military career, then became a prolific business and community leader focusing on civic, agricultural and anti-terrorism interests. In 1981, he was held for 42 days by the Italian Red Brigades before an Italian anti-terrorism team rescued him from his captors.
Machelle Campbell, Representing her spouse, the late Laurence “Larry” O. Campbell: The late Laurence O. “Larry” Campbell is an enlisted U.S. Marine Corps Veteran. A Florida State University graduate, he began his law enforcement career in 1961, serving with distinction as Leon County Sheriff between 1996 and his passing in 2014. An active community leader, he served on the board of Honor Flight Tallahassee, honoring veterans with no-cost visits to the National World War II Memorial.
Bud Chiles, representing his father, the late Lawton M. Chiles: The late Lawton M. Chiles is a Korean War Veteran of the U.S. Army. Following discharge as a first lieutenant in 1954, the University of Florida graduate was elected to the Florida House of Representatives and Florida Senate before serving in the U.S. Senate from 1971-1989. A dedicated veterans’ advocate, he is fondly remembered as Governor of the State of Florida from 1991 until his passing in 1998.
Retired Chief Master Sergeant, Charles E. LeCroy: Charles E. LeCroy spent 22 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a Chief Master Sergeant, the service’s highest enlisted rank, in 1969. A Vietnam Veteran, he served with distinction as post, district and later Western Area Commander with the American Legion. Volunteering with the Florida Veterans Foundation, he has proven a compassionate leader and counselor, assisting many veterans and their families.
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel, Rocky McPherson: Rocky McPherson is a retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel. A Vietnam Veteran, he superbly led the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, first as its Director of Administration and later as Executive Director from 2002-2007, where he oversaw the addition of three state veterans’ nursing homes. Since 2007, he has served with distinction as Vice President, Military and Defense Programs of Enterprise Florida.
Gary Myers, representing his father, the late Gerald “Virgil” Myers: The late Gerald “Virgil” Myers is a World War II Veteran and Silver Star and Purple Heart recipient who served with distinction in the European Theater. He was one of three American soldiers that found the Buchenwald Concentration Camp and help free more than 26,000 starving inmates. He later served as president of the Central Florida Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge and attended many unit reunions.
Major General Michael Calhoun: Adjutant General, Florida National Guard
Retired Army Col. Mike Prendergast: Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, Executive Director
Retired Army Sgt. Maj. Ray Quinn: Chairman of the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame Council
2015 Hall of Fame Ceremony — The Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame held its Induction Awards Ceremony in the Cabinet Room of the Florida State Capitol Building in Tallahassee on December 1, 2015 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Following the Ceremony, the Reception was held at the Florida Governor’s Mansion from 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM.