top of page

Site Search
Search our Veteran news and events, all in one place, with key terms such as location or topic.

47 items found for ""

  • David Smith | FVF

    Representative David Smith United States Marine Corps, Retired Colonel Rep. Smith’s family moved to Central Florida in 1972 while his extended family still lives in the Merritt Island area. His father was a career U.S. Army officer and Vietnam Veteran. ​ Growing up and throughout high school, David was very active in sports. He played on both community and school baseball, basketball, football, and tennis teams. Additionally, he acted in multiple community theater productions, including roles in Inherit the Wind, Guys & Dolls, Harvey, The Madwoman of Chaillot, The Lion in Winter, Macbeth, As You Like It, and Jesus Christ Superstar. David attended vocational training in high school and earned a certification in welding. ​ David attended Texas A&M University on a military scholarship and graduated in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Upon graduation, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. David earned his wings of gold at NAS Pensacola, launching his career as a UH-1N helicopter pilot. He flew more than 4,500 accident-free flight hours during his career and was a designated Weapons and Tactics Instructor. He made six extended deployments overseas or aboard ship, including a combat tour flying in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In addition to his flying duties, David also had multiple assignments as a Program Manager overseeing military procurement contracts. ​ After graduating from the Defense Acquisition University, he was selected by the Marine Corps as one of their first Acquisition Professionals. David also holds a Master’s degree from the Florida Institute of Technology in Business Management. He had Command assignments or Program Management responsibility for three separate billion-dollar programs, and his final Marine Corps assignment was leading a military and civilian workforce at the Central Florida Research Park that managed $1.4 billion worth of Simulation & Training projects. ​ After 30 years of service, David retired at the rank of Colonel. He has worked in the private sector of Central Florida’s Simulation & Training industry for the last seven years. He currently owns a business consulting company. ​ Colonel David Smith lives in Winter Springs and is very active in community affairs. He is a Paul Harris Fellow at the Winter Springs Rotary Club, a member of the Seminole County Regional Chamber of Commerce, VFW Post 5405, and multiple other Veterans organizations and local non-profit groups. Additionally, Rep. Smith is a member of Leadership Orlando class #78 and Leadership Seminole class #26, and the CrossLife Church in Oviedo. He is one of the few combat veterans in the Legislature. << Back to Veteran Legislators

  • Tommy Gregory | FVF

    Representative Tommy Gregory United States Air Force Retired Lieutenant Colonel Representative Tommy Gregory is a native Floridian who served in the Air Force for 20 years and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before retiring in 2014. He began his military career by earning a B.S. in Economics from the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he graduated with Military Distinction. He also deployed to Southwest Asia for Operations Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom. Rep. Gregory received his J.D., with honors, from the University of Texas School of Law and served as a prosecutor for 14 in the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps. His career included: Serving as staff judge advocate for the 48th Fighter Wing in England. He supervised a 35-person legal office; oversaw the provision of legal services to 15,000 personnel, the drafting of 6,000 estate planning documents, and prepared 3,500 tax returns; and managed the pre-trial advice, prosecution, and appellate review of 50 felony and 270 misdemeanor cases. Serving as a Senior Counsel for the Air Force Space Command legal office in Colorado, where he managed the daily operations of a 15-person office and oversaw the delivery of 4,200 legal opinions to a four-star commander and headquarters staff, as well as the review of all administrative law issues for ten legal offices around the country. ​ After retiring from the military, Rep. Gregory spent ten months doing missionary work in the Dominican Republic as his house was built in Sarasota. He then established a successful private law practice in Sarasota. He is currently with the Williams Parker Law Firm, where he focuses on litigation and advising clients, commanders, and senior leaders in high-profile, high-pressure situations. ​ The Representative has served on the boards of Habitat for Humanity Sarasota, St. Martha Catholic School, and the Sarasota Republican Club. His wife, Erica, is also an Air Force retired Lieutenant Colonel and a small business owner. They are raising three sons. ​ Rep. Gregory states, “I consider it a great honor to have served our country in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.” He goes on how his military career helps him in the Florida House, “During my career in the Air Force, I was taught and used a decision-making process called the OODA loop — OODA being an acronym for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. This four-step approach to decision-making focuses on rapidly gathering information, putting it in the historical and current context, deciding appropriate actions, and then executing. It is a powerful tool for quickly zeroing in on the best answer to complicated questions and then repeating the steps as the situation changes. OODA can be applied outside the military.” Florida lawmakers are fortunate to have this military experience help shape policymaking in Tallahassee. << Back to Veteran Legislators

  • Mail-Out | FVF

    Joining Forces to Prevent Veteran Suicide in Rural Florida Counties The Florida Veterans Foundation is taking a crucial step forward in raising awareness for Veteran Suicide Prevention in five rural counties: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Bay, Walton, and Okaloosa. As part of the Governor's Challenge Suicide Prevention Campaign, the foundation has initiated a targeted mail-out to spread vital information and resources to veterans residing in these areas. By reaching out directly to these communities, the mail-out aims to raise awareness, provide support, and ultimately save lives. Together, let's join forces to combat veteran suicide and ensure that no hero is left behind. ​ The mail-out is designed to reach veterans residing in these rural communities, ensuring they have access to the necessary information, tools, and assistance they need. By delivering comprehensive resources, including helpline numbers, counseling services, and local support groups, the Florida Veterans Foundation aims to create a safety net of support for those facing mental health challenges. ​ The significance of targeting rural areas should not be understated. Often, these communities face unique barriers, such as limited access to healthcare services and fewer available mental health resources. By directly engaging veterans in these counties, the foundation hopes to bridge these gaps and ensure that no veteran is left without the help they deserve. ​ The mail-out campaign is an opportunity to highlight the importance of early intervention, de-stigmatize seeking help, and promote support within the veteran community. By raising awareness and encouraging open conversations about mental health, the Florida Veterans Foundation hopes to foster an environment where veterans feel comfortable seeking assistance when needed. This initiative is a testament to the dedication and commitment of the Florida Veterans Foundation to protect and support those who have bravely served our country. By amplifying the Governor's Challenge Suicide Prevention Campaign, the foundation is actively working towards reducing veteran suicide rates and improving the overall well-being of veterans in these rural Florida counties. ​ The Florida Veterans Foundation's mail-out campaign serves as a beacon of hope, reaching out to veterans in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Bay, Walton, and Okaloosa counties to let them know they are not alone. It is a powerful reminder that as a community, we stand together, ready to provide the support, resources, and understanding needed to prevent veteran suicide. Let's come together and ensure that every veteran in these rural counties receives the care and assistance they deserve.

  • Mike Giallombardo | FVF

    Representative Mike Giallombardo Florida Army National Guard, Currently Serving Warrant Officer Representative Mike Giallombardo is a husband, father, combat veteran, and businessman dedicated to serving his community. His military roots run deep. His father, Robert, was stationed in South Korea with the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division when he met a Korean woman named Sun. When his deployment ended, Sun decided to leave South Korea and move to the United States with Robert. Their son, Mike Giallombardo, was born in 1982. Rep. Giallombardo grew up in Cape Coral, where he attended Pelican Elementary, Gulf Middle School, and attended both Mariner and North Ft. Myers High Schools. At an early age, he developed a love for playing football and was a standout player throughout high school, which ultimately led to college scholarships. He earned an Associates in Science degree from Georgia Military College, a Bachelors in Criminal Justice from Florida Atlantic University, and a Master’s Degree in International Relations with a concentration in Conflict Resolution from American Military University. After college, the Representative enlisted in the United States Army and was deployed to Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. During his deployment, he served with the 4th Infantry Division and supported special operation missions. Mike played a significant role as a liaison to the Iraqi military and other coalition forces supporting Iraq’s counterinsurgency effort. Highly decorated from operations, he was awarded numerous medals, including the Army Commendation and Army Achievement Medals for his operational roles in Iraq, leading to the capture of various targets. Rep. Giallombardo currently serves as a Warrant Officer in the Florida National Guard, where he serves as a State Emergency Response Team liaison for Florida. He was activated for multiple hurricanes working with multiple counties to ensure that the citizens receive support from the Florida National Guard. When not on active duty, he owns and operates businesses that specialize in cybersecurity, technology development, commercialization of new technology, and education. He specializes in assisting law enforcement, assisting veteran-owned companies, and helping veterans transition to civilian life. The Representative is a member of the Military Officers Association in Cape Coral, Veterans of Foreign Wars in Cape Coral, Southwest Florida Military Museum, ESGR, South Florida Defense Alliance, and serves as a mentor to more than a dozen women and veteran-owned businesses. Reflecting on his service Rep. Giallombardo said, “Serving in this nation has been the honor of my lifetime, whether with the Army in Iraq or with the National Guard testing for potential COVID patients in the U.S. I’m looking forward to building on this record of service in the Florida House!” He and his wife Wendi have been married for 11 years. They have a son Luca (7), daughter Presley (4), and help raise their niece Ivey (8). << Back to Veteran Legislators

  • Victor Torres | FVF

    Senator Victor Torres United States Marine Corps FVF Current Board Member, Sergeant Senator Victor “Vic” M. Torres, Jr., is of Puerto Rican descent and was born and raised in New York City. His lifetime of service began when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after graduating from Harren High School in 1966. He joined as the Vietnam War was raging. During his four-year enlistment, Senator Torres was stationed in Okinawa Japan, rose to Sergeant, and was awarded the Good Conduct Medal. ​ In 2019 Senator Torres wrote: “It was not until I served in the Marine Corps, though, that I fully understood what makes America truly great.” He went on, “The Marine Corps taught me, and exemplified, that America stands up for the oppressed. We are the guiding light for freedom lovers across the globe to look toward in times of despair. Above all, we defend the defenseless. I carried these values with me as I continued my career of service as a member of law enforcement. It was in this job that I kept my neighbors safe, protecting back at home all we hold dear. I carried with me to the Florida House and subsequently to the Senate these same sacred values.” ​ Once completing his service in the Marine Corps, he ensured safety and order in his community as a police officer for the New York City Transit Police. After twenty years, Senator Torres retired from the New York City Transit Police as 2nd Grade Detective. ​ In 1993, Senator Torres relocated his family to Florida and continued his community service as a volunteer and leader for several community organizations, the labor movement, and grassroots efforts. He has established a strong reputation as a committed political activist and an effective leader. ​ In 2012, Vic Torres was elected as a State Representative for Florida House District 48 in Orange County; and for the 2014-2016 legislative cycle, he was tapped to be the Democratic Deputy Whip. He has served on numerous Senate committees, including the Military and Veterans Affairs and Space Committee. ​ Senator Torres has been married to Carmen L. Torres for over twenty-five years. Carmen is also a committed community leader and volunteer. She is a past member of the Executive Board of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Past Vice-Chair of the DNC Southern Caucus, and past Florida Elector for President Barack Obama. Vic and Carmen are the proud parents of five children and eleven grandchildren. << Back to Veteran Legislators


    Feature a Veteran in an Upcoming PBS Film This once in a lifetime opportunity will honor a Veteran’s legacy in the new documentary A State at War: Florida During WWII, which will be cherished forever. 3 Donation Levels – your Veteran’s name in the film credits – your Veteran’s name in the film credits with rank, and branch of service or more – your Veteran’s name and photo in the film credits with their name, rank, branch, and years of service Donate Today, and we will include your Veteran’s Legacy in this historical and memorable film, and on the Florida Veterans Foundation Memorial webpage. Millions of people around the world will view the program on PBS stations and other venues in the years to come. Memorial recognition in the film is limited. Honor your Veteran’s legacy through Your donation and help to support Veterans in need through a variety of programs and services provided by the Florida Veterans Foundation. ​ The film is scheduled to be released on Veterans Day 2023 on PBS. $500 $1000 $2000 Preserve Your Veteran’s Legacy In This Historical Film Today 3 Donation Levels – your Veteran’s name in the film credits – your Veteran’s name in the film credits with rank, and branch of service or more – your Veteran’s name and photo in the film credits with their name, rank, branch, and years of service Note: Only a $2000 or more donation is granted a photo submission $500 $1000 $2000 Memorial Day Video Donation Form First name Last name Email Rank Service Organization Enter the amount you wish to pay: $ Donate Thank you for helping us make a difference! Memorial Video Photo Upload If you are donating a total of $2000 or more please upload your photo submission here:


    Order Your Gadsden Flag License Plate The license plate has reached its required voucher sales, and are now available for purchase at your local DMV. Floridians who purchased presale vouchers for the specialty plate are able to redeem them at their local tax collector office or license plate agency, and those who wish to purchase the new plate are advised to contact their local office prior to visiting to ensure stock is available. Follow the link below to be redirected to The Florida Dept. of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles Speciality License Plate portal. CLICK HERE Plate sales go to supporting Veterans in need. The license plate has reached its required voucher sales limit and is now in stock near you. You will receive a letter from FLHSMV with redemption instructions once the license plate ships to tax collector locations. Specialty license plates cost a set fee (annually) above the standard Florida license plate. The fees vary based on the type of license plate. These additional funds go to support the cause for which the specialty license plate was designed. ​ There are no additional fees when paying by eCheck. When paying with debit or credit card, a service fee will apply. An agent will contact you within three business days to complete your purchase . Please be prepared to make payment when our agent contacts you. FLORIDA HIGHWAY SAFETY & MOTOR VEHICLE LOCATIONS


    Past Event Galleries 10th Anniversary Gala Military Legislative Reception 2023


    In Memory Of . . . Those who have served this great nation . To submit a Veteran to our page, click here. Dennis Maiocchi National Guard Robert Norem USAF Vietnam Veteran Lewis B Wilson Jr. Sergeant, USMC 1942-1945 4th Marine Division, Pacific Islands Buddy White Lee Alfred Jr. U.S. Army Oscar V. Dye USAF George C Brand Jr. National Guard, Company A 3rd Battalion, 124th Infantry Brigade Lieutenant Colonel E. Conrad Sittler​ U.S. Army Wayne H. Coloney Tom Chaboudy USMC April 6th, 2023 Harry L. Fake Jr. U.S. Army Vietnam Norman Gail Woods U. S. Navy, Chief Warrant Officer, World War II POW Larry Lattimer Major, USA, USAF (Ret), Vietnam Melbourne Allan Shepard Jr. USN, Vietnam Veteran Donald E. Wright Airman 3rd Class, USAF, Korea Dale Doss U.S. Navy Veteran, Silver Star Recipient Bernard "Bun" O'Connell Sgt, USMC 5th Marine Division, 13th Marines Colonel Harold E. (Hal) Grant Army Air Corps, USAF, WWII & Vietnam Veteran Robert “Bob” Lee Franklin, Sgt 29th Infantry, US Army Thomas Mabry Ervin Ramon Scott Sgt. Ronald Standiford U.S. Army, Co. C, 4th Batt, 31st Infantry. Vietnam, Purple Heart Virginia Woods Department of the Navy Matt Strong USAF Vietnam Vet Nolan L. Bennett U.S. Navy, NATO and Vietnam Passed on 08/27/2023 Myron Duane Kitt, Sr. USMC, Corporal Kitt Transitioned November 2, 2023 in Tampa, FL Memorial Wall George Wilsey, U.S. Army Dr. Harry K. Taylor Ms. Jessie C. Miller, USAF Ryan Elzie O’Leary Lance Corporal, USMC Tom and Christine R eddaway James Eveland John O'Connor Don Gress Misti Kehoe, Kelly Tepper, Kim Kehoe-Brown Jackie Modica Bob Kehoe Jim Camp & Eva Cline William Poe Radioman/Signal Corp, USA Roger Dale McKenzie U.S. Navy Veteran Megan Healy Dade Institute of Technology Jennifer Grier Dick Reddaway James H. Sutphin Rockledge, FL Josephine "Josie" Haynes Jennifer Grier Dick Reddaway Richard E. Tomlin, Jr. Ed Mullinax Mosquito Joe of Tampa Bay Nahlin Yanez George Diggins US Army, 2002-2023, Purple Heart Recipient Ellert A. Dominick US Navy Leyane Salcedo Army, 2-7IN Chandler Jackson Dawson SPC US Army Passed Dec. 29, 2023 Remembering WWII Veteran and Co-Founder of the Florida Veterans Foundation, Major John Haynes Video courtesy of WCTV. Honor A Veteran Your Name (First & Last) Your Veterans Name (First & Last) Email Please include any additional information you would like such as Branch, Date of Passing, etc. Submit Thanks for submitting! Additionally, to submit a photo of your Veteran please email the photo file to .

  • Sam Killebrew | FVF

    Representative Sam Killebrew United States Navy FVF Current Board Member, Elected 2016 Rep. Killebrew entered the Navy after graduating from Auburndale High School in 1963. He served three years, much of it attached to Naval Aviation, at overseas duty stations included Okinawa. “I was always attached to aviation, so I was never on a ship,” Rep Killebrew said. “I enjoyed my tour — glad I went. After serving in the U.S. Navy, a lifelong Florida and Polk County resident, Rep. Killebrew owned and operated multiple construction and manufacturing companies, including; Killebrew Manufacturing Company, Imperial Trailer Service, Killebrew Inc., and Rotational Molding Company. He is also a former partner of the Florida Strategic Group, LLC. Sam is actively involved in the progress and expansion of New Beginnings High School, aiming to help students who have dropped out to earn a high school diploma. Rep. Killebrew was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2016 and was just elected to a third term. He served as Vice-Chair for the House PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee and a member of the Florida Veterans and Military Families Caucus. The Representative also sits on numerous boards and civic organizations throughout the state. He regularly sponsors legislation to protect Veterans, animals, and children and families. He has played an influential role in bringing over $10 million to Polk County for various road/highway projects, water quality preservation and restoration, educational programs, and other projects around the district. Notable Veteran legislation that Rep. Killebrew has sponsored or co-sponsored include: Ad Valorem Tax Discount for Spouses of Certain Deceased Veterans Who Had Permanent, Combat-Related Disabilities: Will allow the surviving spouse of a combat-wounded veteran to keep their ad valorem tax discount after the veteran dies; and Enrollment of Dependent Children of Active Duty Military Personnel in the Florida Virtual School: Allows students of active-duty military personnel stationed abroad but claim Florida has their resident state to attend Florida virtual school. He is married to Eileen Killebrew of Lake Wales, and they have five children, seven grandchildren, five dogs, and an avid supporter of Hope Equine Rescue. << Back to Veteran Legislators


    Veterans Resource Center Fraud Prevention, Charity Registry & VetSource Military & Veterans Assistance Prog ram >> Fraud Protection & Prevention ​ The Military and Veterans Assistance Program (“MVAP”) was created to help educate military members and veterans on the types of scams that target their communities, what they can do to protect themselves, and how they can help protect others by reporting scams and deceptive business practices. In addition, members of the MVAP team work directly with military servicemembers and veterans who have been targeted, or their representatives, to help resolve their consumer protection related issues or find other outside assistance if necessary. FRAUD PREVENTION GUIDE If you are aware of a scam targeting our service members or veterans, or you have been affected by a scam or deceptive business practice, please file a complaint with my office by clicking the link below or by calling my consumer protection division directly at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) Veterans Charity Registry & Check A Charity ​ All charities soliciting within the state of Florida (excluding religious, educational, political and governmental agencies) are required to register and file financial information with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). Call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or use our online Check-A-Charity tool to find out if a charity is properly registered. You can also find out how much the charity is spending on administration and fundraising and how much money goes to actual programming CHECK A CHARITY The Veterans Resource Center Coming soon a place to research products, services and other military organizations and resources who have registered with the Foundation. Click here to file a complaint


    Thank you for supporting us! The Florida Veterans Foundati on’s mission is to serve, support, and advocate for veterans in need.​ Donate Help us make a difference. First Name Last Name Email Street Address City Region/State/Province Postal / Zip Code & Country Donate in the name of: Enter the amount you wish to donate: $ Donate Thank you for your donation to help our veterans in need! Make checks payable to: Florida Veterans Foundation, The Capitol, 400 S Monroe St UNIT 2107, Tallahassee, FL 32399 Honor A Veteran Become An Ambassador

bottom of page