Veterans Memorial Park Foundation Of Pensacola
WHO WE ARE
In December of 1987 the "Moving Wall," a half scale replica of the National Vietnam Memorial in our Nation's Capital, came to Pensacola. It was a hugely profound and moving experience for our city. It attracted a large throng of visitors, including local Vietnam veterans. When time came for the Wall to move on many of the Vietnam veterans who had stood vigil at the Wall decided that Pensacola should have a permanent replica of this memorial to honor those who had fallen in that conflict. For five years the Vietnam Veterans of Northwest Florida held garage sales, 5K and 10K runs, baseball and softball tourneys, carwashes and numerous other fund raisers to make their dream a reality.
In 1992 the dream came true. What is now known as "Wall South," still the only permanent replica of the National Vietnam Memorial, was unveiled at what is now Pensacola Veterans Memorial Park. Since then the Park has grown and prospered.
Veterans Memorial Park is owned and controlled by the City of Pensacola. The Veterans Memorial Park Foundation of Pensacola, Inc., a registered 501(c)3 organization, providing stewardship of the Park through an agreement with the City of Pensacola. The Foundation is governed by an uncompensated volunteer Board of Directors. As stewards of the Park, the Board sees to the care and maintenance of the park utilizing funding gathered exclusively through grants and donations.
The Veterans Memorial Park continues to depend on the donations of those who love and support it, and who revere the memory of those honored there. Contributions can be made electronically by clicking Here or with checks made out to Veterans Memorial Park Foundation of Pensacola and mailed to:
PO Box 12984
Pensacola, FL 32591-2984
For copies of Board Meeting Minutes or other Public Record Foundation Documents, please contact the City of Pensacola.
To apply for Membership to The Foundation Board, click the link below.
Major Rob Doss (retired) enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the age of 17 in February 1975. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant (E-6), having served as an infantryman in the 2nd, 8th, and 9th Marine Regiments. In May 1983, he graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and was commissioned as a Marine Second Lieutenant.
In March 1985, he was designated a Naval Aviator and received orders to fly the CH-46E assault helicopter with HMM-365 at New River, NC where he deployed to the Mediterranean as part of the 24th and 26th Marine Expeditionary Units (SOC). He then joined HMM-263 in July 1990 and flew missions in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and flew a nighttime raid to rescue diplomats from the US Embassy in Mogadishu, Somalia during Operation Eastern Exit.
After the war, he was assigned to HT-8 at Whiting Field, FL to serve as a helicopter flight instructor. In 1992, he was selected as the HT-8 Bell Jet Ranger Flight Instructor of the Year while also pursuing an off-duty Master of Science degree in Management from Troy University.
After completing his tour as a flight instructor, he returned to New River where he was promoted to Major in November 1994 and deployed again, this time with HMM-162 and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (SOC). He flew missions during Operation Decisive Endeavor in Bosnia-Herzegovina and served as the Aviation Mission Commander during the reinforcement and noncombatant evacuation of the besieged American Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia where he later flew dozens of additional missions in support of Operation Assured Response.
In August 1996, he became the first commanding officer of Aviation Maintenance Squadron 1 in Pensacola, FL. He retired from the Marine Corps in December 1998 after nearly 24 years of service and after accumulating more than 4,000 flight hours.
After his retirement from the Marine Corps, he owned, operated, and managed businesses and flew helicopters offshore out of Louisiana. He later taught history, sociology, honors economics, honors American government, and entrepreneurship as well as coached baseball for two years at West Florida High School before accepting a position as director of transportation for the Escambia County School District for nine years.
He retired from the school district in 2018 and now resides in Cantonment, FL with his wife Christina, managing director and shareholder with Saltmarsh Financial Advisors in Pensacola. They have two children, Rob and Bryan. Rob is a Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel who served two tours in Iraq and is stationed in Camp Pendleton, CA. Bryan is a Major in the Marine Corps Reserve who served two tours in Afghanistan. He resides in Washington, DC where he is a senior director with Markon Solutions.
Maj. USMC Ret.
W. A. “Butch” Hansen retired from the Navy after a 30-year career as a Navy Captain and Submariner who once commanded Submarine Squadron 20, and the fast attack submarine USS Bergall (SSN667).
In his follow-on duties at the Pentagon, he was a principal author of the 2007 Secretary of Defense Joint Defense Capability Study. Butch worked as a consultant for the federal government as a Senior Fellow with LMI of McLean, VA--a not-for-profit strategic consulting firm. Here he has directed a myriad of complex and ground-breaking efforts for the DOD and several other governmental agencies, focusing on strategic planning and cost-effective resource allocation.
He is a founding member of the Veterans Memorial Park Foundation and served as the Board President for 3 years. He has also served as President of the Pensacola Chapter of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and is currently the Treasurer of the General Daniel “Chappie” James Memorial Foundation. He is married to Lee Hansen, also a retired Navy Captain and former commander of Training Air Wing 6 in Pensacola. They have 5 children and 15 grandchildren.
Capt. USN Ret.
-WALK OF HONOR COORDINATOR-
Pete Frano retired as a Captain from the US Navy after 30 honorable and distinguished years. He is a graduate of The State University of New York at Stony Brook and the National War College. Pete was the Commanding Officer of NAS Pensacola from 2005 to 2008 where he played a significant leadership role in the rebuilding of NAS Pensacola post Hurricane Ivan. While in command, he was an active supporter of numerous charitable organizations throughout the military and civilian communities in Pensacola. Pete has been a Veterans Memorial Park board member since 2016.
Capt. USN Ret.
-BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIR-
A U.S Navy Veteran, having served as a Corpsman, 1980 - 1986. Niels served at Naval Hospital Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA, Naval Hospital Okinawa-Japan, and Balboa Naval Hospital, San Diego, CA. During his last tour at Balboa, he was the Leading Petty Officer of the emergency Medicine Department. He is a recipient of two Navy Achievement medals and served on President Ronald Regan's, and Vice President George Bush's details and their medic during their 1984 re-election campaign stumps in San Diego.
Niels Andersen is an accomplished top executive with over 40 years of experience in business development and implementation, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology, management consulting specializing in healthcare administration, physician recruitment and retention, software design, business intelligence, and finance.
He is the President & CEO of KAMedData and, as a serial entrepreneur, he also leads its subsidiary companies--KontactIntelligence, VeritasHealthCare, MedCV and VetCV. His significant passion for helping others, particularly Veterans and their families, is what led to his involvement in The Veterans Memorial Park Foundation as well as the creation of VetCV.
His company, KAMedData, has been on the Inc. Magazine 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list three times and was named a Top 100 Health Company on the 2010 Inc. 500.
A published industry writer and sought-after speaker in healthcare and in tech entrepreneurship, Niels serves on many non-profit organization Boards and co-chairs the Workforce Development Committee of the West Florida Defense Alliance. At the request of the Chair of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Niels participated with other select national leaders in two industry round table events in DC to share his thoughts on improving the VA claims process and the issues relating to the lack of interoperability between Vista and ALTA.
Niels began college at the University of Maryland while in the Navy and graduated Magna Cum Laude in his BBA with an emphasis in Marketing at National University San Diego. After graduating, he immediately continued his studies there pursuing an MBA with a double emphasis in Finance and International Business.
A Danish immigrant, Niels is also proud father of two grown successful sons and two perfect granddaughters.
-I.T. & MEDIA COORDINATOR-
Stan Barnard is a Pensacola native who graduated from Pensacola High School in 1969, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in Vietnam. After returning from Vietnam, he worked for the Department of Defense, retiring after a total of 25 years. He has since built a successful Pensacola based business (Bellview Site Contractors).
He currently serves on the Veterans Memorial Park Foundation Board of Directors working with fundraising and community relations. He has been married to his wife, Debbie, for 40 years.
DIRECTOR OF FACILITIES OPERATIONS
-FRIENDS OF THE PARK PROGRAM COORDINATOR-
Paul graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1976. As a football letterman he was a member of Coach Shug Jordan’s 1972 “Amazins” – one of the Auburn Tigers most memorable teams. He was commissioned as a Marine Corps officer in 1977 and then designated a Naval Aviator in 1980.
During his military career he attended the Naval Postgraduate School, was carrier qualified and flew both rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft. He was an instructor pilot until leaving active duty in 1986 and then retained reserve status with the Defense Intelligence Agency until retiring after Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1991.
Also in 1986, he started Entrekin Aviation and became the first civilian in the world to own and operate a Russian MiG aircraft. As a full time airshow pilot, Paul performed flight demonstrations across North America and entertained millions of spectators while also participating in motion picture, television and government contracts.
In 1989 Paul accepted a position with Delta Air Lines. He has flown more than 20,000 hours in 38 types of rotary and fixed wing aircraft ranging from the BD-5J micro jet to the Boeing 777. He holds multiple U.S. and World Airspeed Records and is recognized on the National Aviation and Space Exploration Wall of Honor. He is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, the National Football Foundation and has received numerous civilian and military awards. Paul also has a Master of Education degree from the University of West Florida. Paul is an Eagle Scout, Scottish Rite Mason, past President of the Pensacola North Rotary Club, Deacon with First Baptist Church of Pensacola, a leader in the Gulf Coast Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and other civic service organizations serving on several boards of directors. He is the author of two books, Mighty Hands and Mr. MiG, as well as various articles and technical papers. An avid outdoorsman, Paul has hunted deer, moose, elk, caribou, black bear, brown bear, and a World Slam of the North American Wild Turkey. His lovely wife is the former Lisa Goeller. He has four children and four grandchildren.
Maj. USMC Ret.
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
-FINANCE COMMITTEE CHAIR-
Ted Brobst grew up in Pennsylvania and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geography. He was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy and was Designated as a Naval Aviator.
Stationed at N.A.S. Barbers Point in Hawaii and Attached to Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4), he flew Anti-Submarine Warfare missions in the P-3 Orion as a Plane Commander and a Mission Commander of a Combat Air crew. During his time in VP-4 the squadron made three successful deployments to: Adak, Alaska, Cubi Point in the Republic of the Philippines, and again to Adak, Alaska.
Ted’s second tour was to Training Squadron Two (VT-2) as an instructor pilot at N.A.S. Whiting Field, where he flew the T-34C Tubomentor.
Upon completion of active service in the Navy, Ted was hired by Delta Air Lines, Inc. as a pilot, and completed Initial Training as a Second Officer on the Boing 727. Forced by a downturn in the economy, Delta was compelled to layoff pilots. During this period, Ted found employment with Auto Shred Recycling as a Division Supervisor, and subsequently was hired to fly for Federal Express. After three years with Federal Express, Ted returned to Delta Air Lines and is currently a Captain on the Boing 767.
Ted has been a long-time member of the VFW, the American Legion and the Elks.
-TRIBUTE BANNER COORDINATOR-
Having served six years In the U.S. Navy and fifteen in the U.S. Army, Warren Palmer is a Veteran of two branches. Those twenty-one years of Active Service included deployments to Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
After transitioning to civilian life, Warren worked for six years in Italy as a Private Contractor for the U.S. Navy.
MSG USA Ret.
Sergeant Major Stacy Pruitt, USMC (retired) hails from Laurel, MS. He entered the Marine Corps at Parris Island, SC in July of 1989.
He served in multiple elements of the Marine Corps, including the 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions, 3rd Force Service Support, 1st Marine Logistics Group, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, and at the Marine Corps Training and Education Command where he served as a Drill Instructor and First Sergeant. He has participated in multiple combat operations, to include Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Restore Hope in Haiti, and Operation Enduring Freedom.
He retired as the Sergeant Major of MATSG-21 aboard NAS Pensacola after twenty-eight years of service in July of 2017 and then began his new career as a Realtor Coldwell Banker Realty. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Park University. He is married to Billie Pruitt and together they have 3 children and 3 grandchildren.
SgtMaj. USMC Ret.
Isabella (Cissy) Witt has lived in Pensacola most of her young life! Cissy is a proud graduate of Escambia High School and Pensacola State College. She is better known as the “Delta girl”. Cissy is the Operations Manager at Delta Air Lines in Pensacola and has been with Delta for 33 years. Prior to her employment with Delta, Cissy lived in Atlanta where she worked for Constangy, Brooks, and Smith, LLP as a finance specialist. During her career with Delta, Cissy was awarded the prestigious Chairman’s Club Award. This achievement is especially significant because Chairman’s Club is a peer-to-peer program, recognized by their colleagues as embodying the best of Delta. She has been awarded many Leadership awards during her career with Delta, in addition to creating a 3,000 foot Christmas Card that was delivered by Bob Hope to our troops during the Gulf War.
Cissy organized the Suzi Beane Charity Golf Classic, a 22 year annual event, that raised funds for many charities on the Gulf Coast. In addition, she has chaired many organizations including Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity, and the Emily Harris Head Injured Children Foundation. She is currently involved with the New Beginnings Thrift Center at the Warrington Methodist Church, which assists in helping anyone in need on the Gulf Coast.
Cissy was blessed with two awesome boys, Chris and Conner. If you ask Cissy what is the one word that would explain her drive – it would be “Compassion.” When she was asked to join the Veteran’s Memorial Park Board, she jumped in and said wherever you need me. Cissy's work with The Park is motivated by a desire to honor her two silent heroes--her father, Donald J. Beane, (USN) and William H. Hoff, Lt Col (USMC) who served 2 deployments to Vietnam.
“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal…Reach down and lift someone up!”
- EVENTS COORDINATOR-
A retired U.S. Navy Veteran, Rob Gregg served as an Interior Communication Electrician from 1982 to 2006. Rob served on the USS White Plains (AFS-4) forward deployed out of Yokosuka, Japan 1983-1985, USS Richmond K. Turner (CG-23) Charleston South Carolina 1985-1987, USS Fairfax County (LST 1193) Little Creek Virginia 1987-1988, Navy Recruit Exhibit Center (NREC) Washington, D.C. 1988-1991, USS Coral Sea (CV-43)1991-1994, Mine Counter Measure (MCM) Bravo Crew Ingleside, Texas 1994-1997, Trident Training Facility (TTF) Kings Bay, Georgia 1997-2000, USS Kitty Hawk (CV-43) forward deployed Yokosuka, Japan 2000-2003 and Navy Education and Professional Development (NETPDC) Pensacola, Florida 2003-2006. Rob is a Navy Enlisted Classification Instructor with a Master Training Specialist (MTS) Certification.
After leaving the Navy, Rob was employed as a Curriculum Designer for an online education company in Pensacola, Florida. He is currently the Director of Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) a Department of Education grant-funded program designed to motivate and assist veterans in the development of academic and other requisite skills necessary for acceptance and success in a program of postsecondary education. The primary goal of the program is to increase the rate at which participants enroll in and complete postsecondary education programs.
Rob is also the Past-President of the National Association of Veterans Upward Bound (NAVUB), as well as the Co-Chair of the Gulf Coast Veterans Advocacy Council (GCVAC) and Co-Chair of the Pensacola Veterans Service Organization Network (PVSON), Longtime Paid Up for Life (PUFL) and 2-time Past-Commander of Hanniton Watts American Legion Post #193, Past-Chapter President Association of Florida Colleges (AFC) Pensacola State College and a member of the Workforce Development Committee of the West Florida Defense Alliance. Rob is also the recipient of the George Everette “Bud” Day Award for service to veterans in the Gulf Coast community.
Rob attended Excelsior College while in the Navy, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in general studies with an emphasis on education psychology from Excelsior College. He has a master's degree in higher education with a specialization in higher education leadership and administration from Capella University as well as a Post Graduate Certificate in institutional research from Florida State University.
A native o Darlington, South Carolina, Rob is the proud father of two adult daughters.
ICC SW/AW, USN Ret.
-PUBLIC RELATIONS COORDINATOR-
Terri Craney is a Marine daughter who was blessed to be primarily raised in Pensacola, visiting her Dad aboard NAS-Pensacola at MATSG-21.
As the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, it’s her honor to encourage education on our nation’s military history and foster patriotism in Pensacola. Terri is the proud mother of 2 daughters and a son.
“To whom much is given, much is expected.”
-WALL SOUTH RUBBING COORDINATOR-
Col. Ben is a retired Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve with 30 years of service, including experience as the Reserve Provost and Personnel Advisor to the Provost at Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. He is an NRA-Certified Pistol Instructor, NRA Range Safety Officer, Florida Concealed Carry Firearms Instructor, USA Concealed Carry Registered Instructor, Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network Affiliated Instructor, and trained in U.S. Air Force Small Arms and "Expert" Qualified. He participates in International Defensive Pistol Association competitions and is "Marksman" Qualified. He has served as a Representative to the Florida State Committee for Employer Support of the Guard-Reserve and served on its Executive Council. Ben appeared on the History Channel's "Secrets of War" episode 51, Psychological Warfare, and authored the Air Force book "Psychological Operations." He is a certified federal mediator and ombudsman and a U.S. Air Force Air War College graduate. Colonel Findley was awarded the U.S. Air Force Academy’s outstanding counselor award for Academy liaison officers in Region II, where he served as Deputy Commander for NW FL & AL. He was also awarded the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Tallman Outstanding Leadership/Service Award & the Department of Defense's Legion of Merit medal. He is a Vietnam era veteran. The 2nd edition of his book "Concealed Carry & Handgun Essentials" was published in 2016. He serves on the Board of Directors for the State of Florida's Department of Veterans Affairs' Florida Veterans Foundation and is on the Board of the Veterans Memorial Park in Pensacola, FL.
Ben is a retired licensed & certified Financial Advisor & licensed securities agent, specializing in retirement planning and investing & offers various practical financial & management seminars & workshops for community groups, as well as consulting services. He has eight years of experience in private industry as a human resources director and training manager for Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company in New York City and with Abbott Laboratories in Austin, Texas. He is retired as a Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) by the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants, as a certified Chartered Portfolio Manager (CPM) & Master Financial Professional (MFP) by The American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM), as a Mediator/Ombudsman with the Department of Defense, & as a small business consultant. He is a retired Florida licensed agent in annuities & life & health insurance & was NASD licensed and registered as a securities Registered Representative, specializing in mutual funds, IRAs, & retirement planning and investing. Ben retired from Pensacola State College FL, serving as Dean of the School of Business & Human Resources Director in 2003, with 15 years of service.
Dr. Ben also taught financial and human resources management, serving as Dean of the College of Business and Professor of Management at the University of Sarasota & as graduate professor of management for Kansas State University and the University of Arkansas. Ben is the author of seven academic books/works, including (1) Management: Processes and Paradigms for the 21st Century; (2) Successful Financial Management and Investing; (3) Principles of Supervision (U.S. Air Force ECI); (4) Job Application, Interviewing and Resume Preparation (2nd ed.); (5) Leadership and Airpower Issues for the Twenty-First Century, (U.S. Air Force); (6) Psychological Operations: Principles and Case Studies (Department of Defense); and (7) Research and Writing Handbook (U.S. Air Force Air University.) He has written & presented numerous management, human resources, investing, financial planning, & leadership articles and workshops in the U.S. & in 7 countries. In 1980, he taught a Southwestern University (Texas) International Management course, leading students to Japan, China, Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau, lecturing at Taichung University in Taiwan, the Republic of China. His doctorate is in business and teaching from the University of Northern Colorado's Business School.
He is Past Chapter President for the Florida College and University Personnel Association and a recipient of their "Outstanding Human Resources Practitioner Award." He is also past Chairman of the Florida Community Colleges Human Resources Council and past Board Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Escambia County FL School District. He is Past President of the Public Risk Management Association, North Florida & Alabama Chapter, was nominated for PRIMA National Risk Manager of the Year, and was given a national leadership award for chapter service. He is past President of the Florida Partnership for Safety & Health, Pensacola, Florida Chapter. Ben also served on the Baptist Health Care Corporation’s Advisory Council & the State of Florida Board for the Florida Partnership for Safety and Health. He also was appointed to serve on the Escambia County Utilities Authority’s Finance Council. Ben is an ordained minister with the Universal Church & is a Christian. He was a Real Estate Agent in Texas for 8 years and resides in Pensacola, FL with his wife of fifty years Karen. They have two grown daughters & six grandchildren. He enjoys target & competition pistol shooting, teaching gun safety & skills, writing, reviewing handguns for manufacturers, & ballroom dancing.
COL. USAF Ret.
Attorney Edmund W. Holt is a locally renowned last will attorney, estate planning attorney, living trust attorney, probate law attorney, will dispute attorney, real estate lawyer, mediator, and negotiator. Specializing in civil litigation, Attorney Holt provides professional legal services to the greater Pensacola, FL area.
Attorney Holt serves on the board of directors for several local community and charity organizations. He has given numerous hours of legal representation to such groups for the benefit of our community. He teaches from time-to-time as an adjunct professor in business law, government regulations, real estate litigation, probate, and corporate and business enterprises at Pensacola Junior College and the University of West Florida.
Additionally, Attorney Holt has lectured for the local Small Business Development Center and for various estate planning seminars. He has served as a volunteer teaching contributor for Junior Achievement. Attorney Holt is dedicated to our local community and to helping his clients to best understand the law and how it affects their personal situation.