Veterans Group


Date: February 4, 2019

  1. The name of the organization is Strawberry Ridge Veterans Group.

  1. The objective and purpose of the Group is to be a social organization. It is a civilian Group open to all former members of the Armed Forces of the United States of America and Allies, male or female.

  1. The Group will have a chairman, secretary and treasurer.

  1. The Group will maintain a Checking account and a summary report will be given at each meeting.

  1. The Group will meet on the 1st Monday of the Month in the main room of the Activity Center at 7:00 pm.

  1. Dues will be initially $20 to pay for a cap, labels and badges. There will be $5 annual dues.

  1. Uniforms will only be worn at official events.



Veterans Club
Monthly General Meeting Minutes
Date: Nov 4, 2019

The meeting was opened at 7:12 pm with Veterans Club Chairman Bob Casey presiding and Pledge of Allegiance conducted.

Roll Call
Officers present for the meeting:
Chairman: Bob Casey
Secretary: Absent/Vacation
Treasurer: Michael Adams
Acting Secretary: Larry Caplinger Jr

There were a total of 9 members present at the meeting.

Meeting Minutes:
Previous meeting minutes were read with no comments or changes made and accepted.

Financial Report for Nov 2019:
Beginning Balance: $576.33
Petty Cash: $54.12
Total Income: $92.00
Total Debit: $87.00
Ending Balance: $635.45

New Member(s): Ken Belles. Welcome!!!

Old Business:
  1. The visit from the Veterans Administration was well received and included good information for veterans and their families. Veterans and their spouses enjoyed a great time of friendship, light dinner, and camaraderie.
  2. Veterans Day activities. What, where, when, why?
New Business:
  1. Veterans Day activities were discussed and planned by the attending group. The Veterans Day ceremony is being planned for 11 November 2019 at 0900 hours in front of the Strawberry Ridge Clubhouse and following inside the Clubhouse. There will be a ceremonial raising of the American Flag with the National Anthem and a short brief of the meaning of Veterans Day to be followed by an indoor American Flag and All Services Flag presentation, cake, coffee, and iced tea along with more explanation of Veterans Day. We will take input from a service member or service member’s family regarding their service during this indoor ceremony (please remember this is not a memorial service), so kindly let us know beforehand. Please bring your own chair for the outside ceremony if you encounter difficulty standing for any length of time and for your safety.
  1. Member Raleigh Towns thanked Treasurer Michael Adams for being concerned about a fellow vet and assisting him with equipment to aid him in a quality of life matter. This is what we are about… “WE GOT YOUR BACK”!
WWII Books are available to read for interested veterans. Please contact Beverly Pennington here via Strawberry Ridge directory.
  1. Don Gugel won the 50/50 drawing!
The next drawing and Veterans Club meeting will be December 2, 2019 at 7:00pm at the Strawberry Ridge Activities Center.

The meeting was motioned for closure by member Raleigh Towns and seconded by member Don Gugel at 2025 hours.

Submitted by Acting Secretary Larry Caplinger Jr.


A new book by Admiral William McRaven is entitled SEA STORIES, and it will captivate you throughout as he details the capture of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin laden. It is currently on the best sellers list. Admiral McRaven is now retired.

  THE SANDAL was written by our very own Bob Burfitt. Bob, who is a member of the Strawberry Ridge Veterans Club, is retired and has lived in the Ridge with his wife, Judy, for many years.  Retirement is not a word that is in Bob's vocabulary though.  He's been very active in so many organizations here at the Ridge and is currently the Editor of our monthly Strawberry Toppings. Thank you, Bob, for all your contributions to the Ridge.

MAKE YOUR BED by William H. McRaven is another good read.  Admiral McRaven was a Navy SEAL and was Commander of USSOCOM at MacDill AFB prior to his retirement in 2014.  He is now the Chancellor at University of Texas where he gave the commencement speech in 2014.  You can listen to the speech at

THE DISABLED VETERAN'S STORY by Miguel Reece, USAF, MSC Retired is another book you should read.  He will present a workshop here on August 3 at the Activity Center.  This event is sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans Club.

All of the books are available at Amazon, and THE SANDAL is also available at the Strawberry Ridge Lending Library.


AT 314-680-4825 or


Can veterans get a special designation on a driver license or identification card?
Yes, veterans who live in the Sunshine State can add a veteran designation to their driver license or ID card, which is simply a blue “V” on the bottom right portion of the card.
To add the “V” to a license or ID card, veterans can visit any Florida driver license office, to include those operated by county tax collectors. They should plan to:
  • Present their DD-214, which shows their honorable discharge from active duty.
  • Pay a one-time $1fee, in additional to the replacement or renewal fee.
  • Visit to ensure they have all the other documents required.
Veterans who need to obtain a copy of their DD-214, may request it through the National Archives, which provides information on how to make the request online at


Veterans, please consider volunteering your time with the Veterans Treatment Court as a Mentor.  This is a worthwhile program that helps our Veterans when they need us the most.  For additional information please contact Colonel DJ Reyes at

our mentor force:

- All volunteers
- Male and female, E5 to O6, Army/Navy/Air Force/Marines, 5 years to +33 years of military service, Desert Storm to Afghanistan combat tours
- Currently 41 mentors (I started the program 2 years ago as the first mentor)
- 50% are active duty senior NCOs or officers at MacDill AFB - challenge of retention due to turnover and PCS cycles
- 38% are veterans currently employed in the legal, corporate or DoD industries
- 12% are the senior veteran mentors that manage 4 Task Force teams of mentors and their assigned veterans (total of 75)

So I am always recruiting to replenish our mentor bench which doesn't stay stable, in order to keep up with a constantly increasing veteran intake load.  We would graciously accept your involvement as mentors and are flexible in your degree of support.  Also, please pass the word out for any potential mentors in your community!  best regards, DJR

Colonel, US Army (retired)
Senior Veteran Mentor and Coordinator, 13th Judicial Circuit Veterans Treatment Court


There are more than 58,000 service members whose names are on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.  The National Call for Photos is being launched to collect photos of each of them.  If you have a photo to share, go to and click on Wall of Faces.  Find the profile of the person you have the photo of and click on it. There you can upload the photo. If you prefer to mail it, send a copy of your photo to Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Attn:  Call for Photos, 2600 Virginia Ave., NW, Suite 104, Washington, D.C.  20037.  The photo should be of the highest quality with a glossy finish. Reproduce at an 8 x 10 size if possible.  Fill out the photo submission form and enclose it with the photo.

Wreaths across America honors veterans

One Saturday every December, tens of thousands of volunteers participate in Wreaths across America wreath-laying ceremonies at national cemeteries and memorial parks. Since the organization’s founding in 2007, it has helped keep alive the memories of those who serve or have served and those who have given their lives in the line of duty.
In 2013, Wreaths across America designated the Veterans Memorial Park in Tampa an official location for National Wreaths across America Day. This year, nearly 20 wreaths were positioned around the park.
“Wreaths were placed on completed structures such as the Vietnam War and Spanish American war memorials, as well as at future memorial sites (Gulf War and POW),” said Mark Goujon, of Lithia, chairman of the Iraq Veterans Memorial.
Marty Sullivan, of Valrico, second vice president of the Korean War Veterans of America, set wreaths in front of the Iraq Veterans Memorial and Korean War Memorial.
The two men met in 2012 at the Veterans Memorial Park.
“We’re both from the greater Boston area, and we hit it off immediately,” said Goujon. “Marty is a committee member for the Korean War Memorial and I am chairman of the Iraq Veterans Memorial, which honors Florida’s 190 fallen. Marty also joined the IVM committee and volunteered at over a dozen events to raise funds to complete the memorial within two years.”
The wreath-laying ceremony occurred on the one-year anniversary of the Iraq Veterans Memorial, so Sullivan and Goujon rendezvoused there “to pay our respects, share war stories, and admire so many impressive war memorials in Tampa to honor Florida’s veterans and fallen,” said Goujon.
BY Barbara Routen
Special Correspondent 

(Pictured above:  Marty Sullivan, of StrawBerry Ridge, lays a wreath at the Iraq Veterans Memorial at the Veterans Memorial Park in Tampa)


Please help us fund the War Dog Memorial at Veterans Park in Tampa.  It will be placed inside the Vietnam Memorial for all to enjoy.  Your donation, no matter how large or how small, will be greatly appreciated.  Donations can be sent to:  WAR DOG MEMORIAL, VETERANS PARK MUSEUM, P. O. BOX 2403, VALRICO, FL  33595

STORIES OF KOREA (from Tampa Tribune 9/21/13)

Korean vets regale MASH cast with stories from the 'forgotten' war

Korean War veteran Martin Sullivan speaks to members of the Village Players at the historic McCabe Theater in Valrico. CHRIS URSO/STAFF
Korean War veteran Martin Sullivan speaks to members of the Village Players at the historic McCabe Theater in Valrico. CHRIS URSO/STAFF
They are not the World War II veterans who were exalted upon returning home. Nor are they the Vietnam War veterans who were vilified before, during and after that unpopular war.
They are, they say, the soldiers and sailors from “the forgotten war,” commonly called the Korean conflict.
They killed and saw their comrades killed. They wounded the enemy and came back to the states wounded themselves. But when they returned home many of their family members and friends didn't acknowledge they had been to war, Korean War veterans told the cast of “M*A*S*H” at the James McCabe Theater in Valrico this week.
The veterans were honored, they said, by the invitation to speak with the cast about their wartime experiences.
“M*A*S*H” is scheduled to be performed at the theater in October.
Gail Pierce, producer of the show and vice president of the Valrico Players, said she was compelled to invite the veterans to the theater after meeting them at Veterans Park on U.S. 301 when a Korean War memorial was dedicated recently. Their stories were intriguing and entertaining, she said.
“We set the entire evening aside for them, to give the cast the opportunity to learn the serious side of the Korean War, the back story,” said Domin Pazo, an artistic director for the theater.
The veterans shared some amusing stories, like one Navy veteran Martin Sullivan told about the time his buddies bet him he couldn't sneak a case of booze onto their ship. He managed to get it aboard, covered with a few phonograph records he had bought on shore leave, telling military guards it was a record player.
Calvin Clifton, who served as an Army paratrooper in Korea, had a few humorous stories of his own, like the time he and a buddy had latrine-digging duty and his pal ignited a small piece of C4 plastic explosive to hurry along the job. “It took us two days to fill that hole back in,” he said, drawing laughter from the cast that will play doctors and nurses in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital on the Korean peninsula.
Clifton also had a serious story, one about the shrapnel that doctors removed from his leg and back after his unit was ambushed. It was his only visit to a MASH unit, he said. Because of the morphine used to deaden his pain, Clifton doesn't remember many details about that visit, but he does recall the professionalism.
And he remembers specific battles in which he and his comrades participated, though he largely has pushed them to the back of his mind to suppress nightmares, he said.
The cast thanked the veterans for their service, and peppered them with questions about how they spent their off time, what they ate, how they interacted with South Koreans.
Cribbage was popular back then, and softball and basketball were common pastimes at officers' clubs. Nightlife was pretty much non-existent. And the food, well, it often was less than desirable.
Much like in the movie version of "M*A*S*H," the doctors and nurses who manned the units, used for the first time during the Korean War, could be a zany bunch, Sullivan said: “There were some lunatics there. There were some whacky people.”
No one knew if they would show up for surgery in a lab coat or a bathrobe, he said. And nobody cared, as long as they got the job done. And the job they did was exceptional, Sullivan said, noting important surgical procedures were developed in those war-time hospital tents.
Before Korea, said Air Force veteran Ralph Hawkins, president of the local Korean War Veterans Association, there were only medics. And each soldier and sailor carried their own morphine, just in case.
“I was never a customer of MASH, but they were customers of ours,” Hawkins said, noting he worked with a combat cargo operation that often carried patients from small air strips near the MASH operations to hospitals in Japan.
Ed Epps, an Army veteran, worked with a chemical smoke generator in Korea, used to cover troop movement. “I like the idea of being able to give the (MASH) players an idea of what went on over there, so they can convey that to the audience,” he said.
Epps was at Inchon Harbor in South Korea for a prisoner exchange, when several of his buddies who had been taken captive were released and taken to a hospital ship.
“A lot of young folks don't know much about Korea,” said Navy veteran Bill Sarver. “It wasn't a long war, but it was a tough one.”
The soldiers and sailors were ill-prepared for the brutal weather they would encounter in Korea, he said. “I remember one guy that only had a summer uniform. He wore every piece of clothing he had to try to stay warm,” while he and Sarver and others worked with gun crews to shut down caves.
“Most of us forgot about our experiences in Korea because nobody was interested,” Hawkins told the MASH cast. “We were the in-between. We were totally ignored. It's nice to get some recognition.”
(813) 259-7127


The United States military is the greatest fighting force in the history of the world. Our soldiers are unparalleled in their skill and commitment, and our technology is also the most advanced on the planet! These future-machines are being developed to ensure American military dominance in the years to come.


You can order the ID card for $18.99 or the photo ID card for $19.99 at

If you prefer to download the form and mail it in with our payment, go to


Veterans Corner Serving Those Who Served

Mar 29, 2013, 11:18 a.m.
Many veterans or spouses may not be aware that they qualify for a pension benefit. A war-time Veteran with 90 days of active duty, with one day beginning or ending during a period of war, is eligible to apply for the Aid & Attendance Pension.
Only an estimated five percent of these potentially eligible veterans actually receive these benefits. This fact can be attributed to the complicated and frequently changing laws surrounding the rules and regulations.
If you think you might need
assistance in applying for benefits, contact your area Veterans Service:
Lake County: 1300 S. Duncan Drive, Bldg. E, Tavares, (352) 742-6585.
Marian County: 2528 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, Phone: (352) 671-8422
Pinellas County: 2189 Cleveland St., Suite 230, Clearwater, (727) 464-8460;
St Petersburg – 647 1st Ave. N., St. Petersburg, (727) 582-7828
Hillsborough County: 10119 Windhorst Rd., Tampa, (813) 246-3170
Sarasota County: 4000 Tamiami Trail S # 139, Venice, (941) 861-3047
Manatee County: 1112 Manatee Ave. W, Third Floor, Bradenton, (941) 749-3030
Charlotte County: 2280 Aaron St, Port Charlotte, (941) 764-5579
Lee County: 2440 Thompson St.,
Ft. Myers, (239) 533-8381
Need a Book to help?
Barbara Steinberg, a Registered Financial Gerontologist™ and expert on eldercare financial planning has written Crack the VA: Discover Hidden Benefits For Your Parents, a guide to finding those hidden benefits. In it you will learn:
• What benefits are available to aging Veterans and their surviving spouses
• How to determine what they are eligible for
• Which forms to complete and where to apply for benefits
• How to fill out the forms to increase your chances of success
Homeless veterans will soon be a part of a national effort to reduce homelessness among veterans. Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg, Inc., was one of 38 projects around the country to receive a grant that will be used to provide a daily average of 25 beds for homeless veterans to promote increased housing stabilization. Housing will be provided at 5726 126th Avenue North, Clearwater, FL; and 8384 Bayou Boardwalk, Largo, Fla.
The grants were awarded through a special program that gives Veterans the opportunity to take over payment of a lease instead of moving out after leaving certain VA programs, such as substance use counseling, mental health services, or job training. Usually, VA programs require veterans living in transitional housing to move out after 24 months.
Called the “Transition in Place” model, it helps close the gaps in available housing for the nation’s most vulnerable homeless veterans.
“Securing permanent housing is a vital step in the journey of our homeless veterans,” said Dr. Susan Angell, executive director for VA’s Veterans Homeless Initiative. “This is the last piece of the puzzle. It is crucial for them in continuing to lead independent lives.”
Under the program, funds go to community-based programs that provide homeless veterans with support services and housing.
Lisa Pape, national director of homeless programs for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), which oversees VA’s Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program (GPD), said on a single night in 2011, a national count of homeless veterans totaled 67,495.
To help a homeless veteran or veteran at risk of homelessness, refer them to the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans, 1-877-4AID-VET, or direct them to


You may have earned college credit for military service.

Use Navy Benefits to Pay
for a Degree

Attention Navy Veteran,

Credit for service and the GI Bill can make it faster and more affordable to earn a degree. Start using military benefits by finding schools with VA-approved programs.

1. Eliminate Classes with ACE and CLEP®: some schools offer credit for service and you can test out of some classes

2. GI Bill Pays Up to $52,500: includes stipends for books and housing

These benefits can be used towards an Associate's, Bachelor's or Professional Certificate.

To find schools that participate, go to