Veterans Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Inductees

Robert P Adelhelm

After successful completion of 22 years of active duty in the USMC, Lieutenant ‎Colonel Adelhelm retired as the commander of USMC Blount Island in ‎Jacksonville. His service continued with founding Semper Fidelis Society, ‎Jacksonville Florida in 1998. He was driving force behind the creation, ‎establishment and funding of a Marine and FMF Corpsmen Monument inside ‎the front entrance of Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville FL, dedicated to ‎Marines and those Corpsmen who served with Marine units.‎
In 2012, he created Northeast Florida Vets4Vets which started as a small ‎group of veterans for coffee and doughnuts has now grown to nearly 600 ‎veterans and 70 veterans organizations which now fills the main floor of the ‎VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville. ‎
In 2020, he was the driving force behind the fundraising, design and ‎placement of a Beirut Barracks Monument. This monument is the first in ‎Florida, and only the third in the nation. This annual memorial service at ‎Evergreen Cemetery is solely dedicated to those 241 Marines, Navy & Army ‎personnel (to include 22 Floridians) who perished in the Beirut, Lebanon ‎Barracks Bombing on Oct. 23, 1983.‎

Douglas Alexander, Sr.‎

Bishop Dr. Douglas Alexander, Sr.‎ A native Floridian whose family roots in Citrus County go back to the late ‎‎1800s, Bishop Dr. Alexander. is a recognized and greatly admired spiritual and ‎community leader, affectionately acknowledged throughout the Citrus County ‎community as “Citrus County’s pastor.” A veteran of the United States Army, ‎he served in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.‎ He inspired his church family to be the community leader in meeting the basic ‎needs of food and shelter for Citrus County veterans and their families in ‎need. He established and operates a weekly food pantry for food insecure ‎veterans. Bishop Alexander Instituted and oversees program that transports ‎local veterans with VA medical appointments to local VA medical facility; ‎Gainesville, Tampa, and The Villages. He has secured temporary housing for ‎veterans and surviving spouses in financial crisis and assists in their ‎relocation, and Hosts and participates in the Citrus County Veterans ‎Appreciation Week Massing of the Colors Ceremony.‎

Thomas Bowman ‎

Col Bowman left active duty in 1988 to become an assistant district attorney in ‎Southeastern Massachusetts but was recalled to active duty during the Gulf ‎War. Released in May 1991, he practiced law concentrating in military and ‎Veterans issues before returning again to active duty in 1994. He retired from ‎Marine Corps as a colonel in October 1999, after serving as Senior Military ‎Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs and to the ‎Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.‎ He has served as Special Assistant for Veterans Research at the University of ‎South Florida and as a Senior Advisor to the Director of VA’s Sunshine ‎Healthcare Network which serves Veterans in Florida, Southeastern Georgia, ‎and the Caribbean. Secretary Bowman was a proud member of the Board of ‎Directors for the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV). He has ‎been a passionate advocate for this issue for decades and continues to be a ‎champion for homeless veterans.‎

Robert D. Chelberg

Lieutenant General Chelberg served his country in the military and as a ‎civilian for over four decades. His contributions to our country over his 32-‎year military career is significant and he is decorated with numerous awards ‎and honors. In May 2011, he and wife, Victoria, moved to Florida. He ‎continues to give back to veterans not only in Palm Beach County, but ‎throughout the state of Florida.‎ A veteran of Vietnam and Desert Storm, his distinguished military career was ‎nothing short of incredible and he still lives a life of service to his country and ‎his community. Established in 2009, the Wounded Veterans Relief Fund was ‎created with the mission to support Florida's disabled veterans by relieving ‎their financial strains and facilitating their transition to civilian life. In 2014, he ‎began serving as president of the fifteen-member volunteer board of directors ‎for WVRF, bolstering its fundraising strategy, redefining its vision, and shaping ‎much of what it is today.‎ Lieutenant General Chelberg, despite serving as a volunteer, works every day ‎in close collaboration with WVRF's Executive Director, Michael Durkee. He is ‎involved in daily operations and they make decisions on all issues that affect ‎the nonprofit together, including on fundraising, advocacy, public relations, ‎media appearances, and new initiatives. He also proved his deep-rooted ‎commitment to WVRF and the veterans it serves by personally donating ‎annually to the organization each year since he has been involved. WVRF ‎earned the Community Hero's Assistance Award in October 2015 from the ‎Military Officers Association of America.‎

William “Billy” Francis
Air Force

Colonel Francis has dedicated his entire life to serving others. During his ‎military service, his mission was to serve his brothers and sisters in arms, ‎members of developing nations, and those in need of help by the United States ‎Air Force. However, he found a new mission – to serve those who have also ‎served this country. Billy does this every day at Florida State University. ‎ Colonel Francis created the Student Veterans Center (SVC) and serves as the ‎first, and only director since its inception in November of 2011. Since its ‎creation, the FSU Student Veterans Center has become a national example of ‎how to empower student veterans. He established the center with the vision to ‎become a national beacon of veteran support and success is the guiding ‎principle of the Veterans Alliance, which encompasses Florida State University ‎initiatives that ease the transition from military service to campus life. ‎ ‎ In the past 10 years, the Student Veterans Center has become a premier ‎institute which has prioritized, supported, and guided student veterans, ‎reservist, national guardsman, and ROTC cadets. It has served as an example ‎for universities across the State of Florida and the United States on student ‎veterans’ success and integration. The veteran graduation rate has raised as ‎much as 20% since Colonel Francis took command. ‎

Daniel V. Hughes

Mr. Hughes is known in Veteran's circles as a "Veteran's Veteran." A United ‎States Marine, he has served in several Veterans Service Organizations, in ‎which most of his time has been as an officer. He has served as an All-‎American Commander, and All State Commander in the VFW. In the Marine ‎Corps League, he served as a Detachment Commandant where he was ‎awarded the Distinguished Service Award. In the Florida Veterans Foundation, ‎he served as a District Director covering seven counties in Northeast Florida. ‎He served as the Chairman of the Jacksonville VA Cemetery Committee for 5 ‎years (out of the 24 years that he served also as a member of this committee).‎ He later campaigned for a new road to be built from Interstate 95 to the ‎cemetery, in order to make it more accessible for families visiting their loved ‎ones. The cost of this new road amounted to over 2 million dollars, which was ‎in addition to the cost of the cemetery, which brought the total expenditure ‎for the cemetery and road to over 4 million dollars. Key legislators who ‎advocated for the project included Congressmen John Mica and Andrew ‎Crenshaw (FL) and Jim Kingston (GA.) However, as was stated by both ‎Representative Mica and Crenshaw, none of this would have been ‎accomplished without the determination and visionary thinking, not to ‎mention the dogged perseverance of Dan Hughes.‎ Thank you and welcome to the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame

Stan Jordan

Colonel Stan Jordan has years of dedicated service at all levels. He spent 17 years as a ‎member of the Duval County School Board, one of the nation's largest school ‎system with over 120,000 students. Served in the Florida House of ‎Representatives for 8 years. During which time, he was Chairman of the ‎Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs. Representative Jordan worked ‎tirelessly to ensure Florida would receive a national military cemetery. He ‎sponsored and passed a resolution in 2002 to be presented to the President ‎and Congress of the United States requesting priority consideration for the ‎cemetery. Jacksonville now has a national military cemetery-testimony to his ‎respectful persistence in support of Veterans and communities.‎ Representative Jordan ensured laws were passed that supported our military ‎service members and military families. These were "legislative models of ‎emulation" for other states across America and were adopted by legislatures ‎after enacted in Florida. The list is long and includes, recognition of ‎transferring military spouses' professional credentials, free fishing licenses ‎and entry to state parks for military members, and free annual vehicle ‎registration renewals for Florida National Guard members.. Additionally, ‎through his legislative efforts, he secured over 50M dollars in funding to ‎renovate Florida National Guard Armories. Rep. Jordan also served on the ‎Base Realignment and Closure Committee (BRAC) as the only Committee ‎Member from the Florida House of Representatives. The success of the BRAC ‎effort accounted for over 50 billion a year in economic impact. .‎

Ray Quinn

Sergeant Major Ray Quinn is an inspirational leader who has committed his life to serve ‎veterans and their families. Upon his retirement Sergeant Major Quinn chose ‎to continue a life of service in impactful ways. He served with the Florida ‎Department of Military Affairs for many years culminating with his selection as ‎the Director of Executive Services He was one of the founders of the Veterans Council of St. Johns County and ‎continues to be totally immersed in its operation. He is currently serving as ‎the Vice Chair where he has chaired the Wreaths across America Program for ‎the St. Augustine National Cemetery for the past six years. Several times each ‎year St. Johns County suffers the loss of a veteran that has no next of kin. ‎Upon these occasions the County verifies their service and arranges for ‎interment at the Jacksonville National Cemetery. The Veterans Council of St. ‎Johns County has a policy that no veteran goes home alone. Sergeant Major ‎Quinn volunteers to conduct a graveside service for every veteran that has no ‎family. Sergeant Major Quinn’s work has impacted veterans across Florida. He ‎was one of the leaders who championed the creation of the Florida Veterans ‎Hall of Fame and was invited to serve on the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame ‎Council where he served as Chair and Vice Chair. ‎

Darryl “DJ” Reyes

‎ ‎After serving 33 distinguished years in the US Army, DJ continued to serve not ‎only his local community, but the Florida legal landscape. In September 2013, ‎Reyes met with Hon. Richard Weis about a plan to create a Veterans ‎Treatment Court in the 13th Judicial Circuit in Tampa. There was no budget, ‎no staff, and no veteran mentors to help start the program, but that didn’t ‎deter Reyes. The program started a month later with six veterans and one ‎mentor. Six years later, the Veterans Treatment Court in Tampa peaked to ‎nearly 250 veterans and more than 140 mentors, who fill the gap in many ‎program requirements while also providing support, advocacy, and training. ‎The Tampa program has served as a national model. ‎ In 2019, Reyes traveled to Washington, D.C., to champion for federal ‎legislation supporting veterans’ courts nationwide — and it became law in ‎August 2020. The Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act by U.S. Rep. ‎Charlie Crist of Florida directs the Department of Justice to provide grants and ‎assistance to state, local, and tribal governments to create and maintain ‎veterans’ treatment courts. Over 90% of veterans in trouble with the law and ‎with a diagnosed disability or condition as a result of military service get the ‎necessary medical treatment and community support and successfully ‎graduate from the program. Tampa’s Court also saves millions of annual local ‎taxpayers’ dollars because the veterans are kept out of jail and reintegrated ‎back into the communities via schooling, employment, and community service ‎initiatives.‎

Fred Robinson

Fred Robinson After Fred Robinson’s Marine Corps service ended, his service to veterans and ‎the military community to generations of Veterans in Central Florida grew. He ‎has had the honor to serve on several Congressional Advisory Boards; ‎impacting large Veterans communities of interests in Central Florida and ‎Nationally. ‎ Mr. Robinson serves on Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer Veterans Advisory ‎Council and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demmings Veterans Advisory Council ‎where he was elected to Vice Chair. Additionally, Mr. Robison serves as a ‎member of Mission United Veterans Council under the United Way initiative. ‎Mr. Robison served as American Legion Department of Florida, Assistant ‎Adjutant 2015-2017 supported the Department Adjutant Managing the ‎Department, Supervised Boy’s State Program, responsible for all Bids, overall ‎maintenance of Buildings and Property, Oversaw Constitution and ByLaws.‎ Working for Hospice and knowing that many Vietnam Veterans die without ‎getting their proper recognition for their service, Mr. Robison wanted to ‎ensure veterans were able to participate in Commemoration of Vietnam ‎Veterans Pinning Ceremonies. During Covid-19, it complicated matters ‎further. Mr. Robinson was able adapt and overcome, working with VAMC ‎Director Timothy Cooke to host a Vietnam Veterans Drive through pinning ‎ceremony at VAMC Lake Baldwin on the promise, to welcome them home.‎ Mr. Robinson has served as a Guardian on 4 Honor Flights and worked to ‎have Vitas Healthcare Sponsored 6 Veterans Organization Commanders and ‎VSO’s on Honor Flights. Coordinated and arranged interviews for Tuskegee ‎Airman CMSGT. Richard R. Hall Jr. who served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. ‎Montford Point Marine Sgt. Charles Foreman for Black History month and ‎Marine Corps Field Music Sgt. Sallie Amato for Women’s History month.‎

Gill Ruderman

For over 18 years he has contributed in numerous ways in sup­porting ‎veterans and veteran programs and activities. Primarily through his ‎association with the Manatee County Veterans Council and Veterans of ‎Foreign Wars Braden River Post 12055, he has earned the deserved ‎reputation of being a key leader among veterans in Manatee County.‎ ‎ In 2016, Selected as the Manatee County Veteran of the Year in 2016 by the ‎Manatee County Veterans Council. He served as leader for Council's program ‎to get veterans into classrooms to educate today's students about the military ‎and has been instrumental in the planning and execution of the Council's ‎Veteran's day Ceremony and Parade for several years. Colonel Ruderman ‎believes in the concept of giving, both time and money, in support of various ‎organizations that not only serve veterans, but also the greater good. He is a ‎true believer in the concept of volunteering. Since his peers are fellow ‎volunteers, he uses his leadership and managerial skills in a multitude of ways ‎in order to help "get things done", and he strives to do so without fanfare.‎

William Salter

A decorated combat veteran, Mr. Salter continued his service back home in ‎Santa Rosa County and state-wide in many capacities. He has served as a ‎guiding force in Northwest Florida for more than 30 years supporting the ‎military presence. Don served as Chairman of the two county Military Regional ‎Oversight Committee (MROC) and currently serves as the Chairman of the ‎Santa Rosa County Military Affairs Committee and the Santa Rosa County ‎Veterans Memorial Plaza Foundation. For the past 20 years, Don has planned, ‎organized and served as the Master of Ceremonies for every annual Memorial ‎Day and Veterans Day ceremony and parade in Milton. He is past Chairman of ‎the Emerald Coast Honor Flight Committee that organized sending 960 WWII ‎veterans from the First Congressional District to Washington DC to see their ‎Memorial at no cost. ‎ Following BRAC 1995 after Florida lost a number of key military missions, ‎installations and jobs to other states, Don Salter along with other like- minded ‎community leaders met with Governor Lawton Chiles to establish the Florida ‎Defense Alliance (FDA). One of FD A's purposes is to assist local community ‎efforts to enhance the military value of bases in their respective communities ‎should there be another BRAC. Mr. Salter established and serves as the ‎President of the Santa Rosa County Veterans Memorial Foundation, a 50l(c3) ‎not for profit, for the purpose of supporting the Veterans Memorial Plaza and ‎to raise funds to provide no cost assistance to Santa Rosa County veterans. ‎One of the first initiatives was to provide a no cost transportation service to ‎needy veterans requiring transport to the VA Clinic in Pensacola and return ‎home. The Foundation also provides wheel chair ramps and home ‎improvements for disabled veterans at no charge.‎

Robert Harry “Skip” Taylor

Skip served two tours in Vietnam, where he received a silver star, two purple ‎hearts and five bronze stars (three with "V" device). He served in operations, ‎analysis and evaluation at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers, Europe ‎‎(SHAPE); as Deputy US Representative to NATO/SHAPE; as SHAPE Liaison ‎Officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Services at the Pentagon; and was ‎Chief of Attaché Coordination during the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ‎beginning of Operation Desert Storm. Skip served with distinction for 31 years ‎in the US Army, however his service to this nation and this state continued.‎ Skip has served his community and his fellow veterans in various roles: ‎Director of VA Benefits and Issues, and Mentor at Brevard County Veterans ‎Treatment Court, State of Florida Veterans Service Officer, Disabled American ‎Veterans Chapter #123, Good Deeds Foundation, Military Officers Association ‎of America (Cape Canaveral Chapter (MOAACC). In his role as a mentor for the ‎Veteran Treatment Courts, Skip has actively supported the work of three ‎consecutive Brevard County Court Judges in the VTC Program, working to ‎rehabilitate veterans convicted of non-violent crimes. With a combination of ‎empathy and ''tough love," he has mentored over 200 participating veterans.‎

William Wilson
Air Force

‎ An Air Force veteran, Mr. Wilson is more than likely known for in this local ‎area as the Head Football Coach and Assistant Principal for Lincoln High ‎School. While his winning record and state championships are impressive, it is ‎worth noting 147 of his players received scholarship aid to play college ‎football with over 90 of them being to Division 1 schools. Many would not ‎have been able to attend college but are now college graduates as a result of ‎the scholarship they received.‎ Wilson served on the committee to bring the "Traveling Vietnam Wall" to ‎Tallahassee in 2006. He joined the Bud West Chapter 419 of the Air Force ‎Association and he worked to select the Bud West AFA Teacher of The Year ‎while serving on the Board of Directors. Wilson later joined the Vietnam ‎Veterans of America Chapter 96, AMVETS Chapter 1776, and joined as an ‎associate member of the Arthur R Meyer Jr Detachment 472 of the Marine ‎Corps League. His membership remains in American Legion Post 68 in ‎Madison FL which he joined in 1975. ‎ In 2020 with attendance limited at Tallahassee National Cemetery for the ‎Wreaths across America event, Wilson shifted his focus to local citizens who ‎died during our wars. Money was raised by VVA Chapter 96 for the purchase ‎of Wreaths to be placed on graves in local cemeteries Wreaths were placed on ‎graves of approximately 60 men who died serving America during WWI, ‎WW2, Korea, Vietnam, and the Global War on Terrorism. To insure that the ‎tradition of decorating graves of our heroes is passed on, he acquired help ‎from his grandsons and other elementary, middle and high school students. ‎He studied each man and at the grave site told a short history of the man and ‎his sacrifice. The young people were asked to lay the Wreath on the grave, ‎step back and say the man's name aloud; being told that as long as his name is ‎spoken, he is not forgotten. ‎

The Florida Veterans Hall of Fame is Sponsored by the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs
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