The Col. Frederick J. Graves Veteran of the Year Award is probably not what you think it is.
Sure, the award goes to a veteran, but it is not for the vet’s military service.
Instead, it recognizes the veteran’s volunteer work as a civilian in helping make their hometown a better place.
Annually, since 2000, the Manatee County Veterans Council has sought nominations from the community for the Veteran of the Year award.
The council is also seeking nominations for the auxiliary member of the year award, and for the non-veteran of the year award, both of which recognize work done on behalf of veterans.
With 40,000 veterans living in Manatee County, there should be plenty of candidates worthy of consideration.
“I want Don Courtney and his committee to be inundated with nominations. Let’s get the word out,” Carl Hunsinger, chairman of the Veterans Council, said Thursday.
For information on how to submit a recommendation for any of the three awards, visit my-mcvc.org/awards-program/
Award recipients are recognized at the annual Military Ball, before the Manatee County Commission, and during the annual Veterans Day Parade.
In other business during Thursday’s Veterans Council meeting:
- Renee Medina, veterans service counselor, reported that Manatee County is now fully staffed with four state-certified counselors to assist the county’s growing veterans population. Medina was subbing for Lee Washington, veterans service officer, who was addressing the Tiger Bay Club on Thursday. The number of veterans counselors is based on the number of vets in the county, Medina said.
- Meshia Richardson, coordinator for Flags for Fallen Vets, reported that 440 volunteers have been recruited to place 11,400 flags at Sarasota National Cemetery for Memorial Day. The program started locally three years ago, when 7,600 flags were placed at the cemetery. The cemetery holds its Memorial Day observance 10 a.m. May 27.
- Richardson also reported on the progress of AmVets Post 941, which is helping a disabled veteran and his family living in a dilapidated 912-square-foot house. Volunteers completed phase one of roof replacement last weekend, and received a passing inspection from the county. In addition, the AmVets post has collected more than $5,000 in donations for renovations, and a new air conditioning unit, she said.
- The council’s slate of officers for 2018 was accepted by acclamation, including Carl Hunsinger as chairman, Stuart Taube as vice chair, Lance Biddle as secretary, and Stan Weyman as treasurer.