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 goal of this Foundation is to operate the Park in such a manner that no tax-payer funds are expended in its care and maintenance. 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.
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.
Don Chipman hails from Lynchburg, VA. He was commissioned in 1991 after graduating from the United States Naval Academy. After a rewarding and successful twenty-seven year career filled with great memories and amazing people, he retired as the MATSG-23 Commanding Officer aboard NAS Pensacola.
Don has since held several Program Management positions in support of the DoD. He and his wife, Elise, have three children and always look forward to the next adventure.
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 Major (lieutenant colonel-select) 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.
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.
Peter W. McKanna, retired, United States Marine Corps, duty stations included Guam, Hawaii, Japan, Camp Pendleton, served two tours in Vietnam during 1968-69 & 70-71 where he earned a Purple Heart at the end of 2nd. tour. Once medically retired from the Marine Corps, he entered a 34-year long career in the Car Wash Industry where he has owned and operated several state-of-the-art car wash locations both in Illinois and Florida.
During the last 18 years of his career, he held several senior level management positions with World-Renowned Car Wash Equipment Manufacturers. During that time, he was very involved in the research and development of car wash equipment and wash solutions. Additionally, he was entrusted to travel throughout North America to enhance and further develop the manufacturer's distribution network. During his career in the Car Wash Industry, he was awarded some of the most prestigious industry awards, wrote and published several industry related articles and was a sought-after public speaker for the Car Wash Industry, retiring once again in 2010.
Shortly afterward, he was recruited by the Founder of Gateway Capital Funding, LLC, headquartered in Atlanta, GA, where he was appointed to the position of President/COO. The firm is a Business/Financial Consulting Firm, specializing in SBA, Conventional and Private Investment Banking loans for commercial clients. Additionally, the firm provides in-depth business consulting services, including in-house legal, CPA, Architect and Engineering services.
Within the community, Mr. McKanna supports and is active in and held the positions of “Veterans Ambassador” for Covenant Hospice of Pensacola and Co-Founder of America's “First” Junior College Vietnam Memorial Scholarship Foundation, in his hometown of Joliet, IL. He is a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart, and VFW. At the Sarasota VA Vet Center, he served as a volunteer counselor assisting Vietnam Veterans who were struggling with transitioning from military to civilian life and others who were suffering from PTSD.
Served as founding board member and President–Elect of the Fort Myers Kiwanis Club in addition to serving on several for-profit organizations as a board member and officer. Has earned a BS Degree in Business Management & BA Degree in Business Administration, graduated Magna CumLaude.
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.
Raised in Southern California, Donna Kirby relocated to Pensacola in January of 2009 and is proud to call Florida home. Donna studied Economics at California State University, Long Beach. Prior to joining the Blue Wahoos' front office staff, Donna's career was mainly based in the entertainment industry working for leaders such as Warner Bros, NBC/Universal, and The Walt Disney Company.
During her tenure with the Blue Wahoos, Donna has managed several departments including merchandise, community relations, promotions, non-traditional revenue, and stadium operations. In her role as Vice President of Operations, Donna manages an award-winning game day staff and oversees a robust surveying platform that has helped earn the Wahoos the title of #1 Fan Experience in Minor League Baseball.
On her days away from the stadium, Donna enjoys spending time with her dog Maggie, learning new recipes for vegan cooking, and exploring all of the exciting things there are to do along the Florida Gulf Coast.
Donna's decision to join the Veterans Memorial Park Foundation came from a desire to serve the Veteran Community and raise awareness for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Her work at The Park is to honor the memory of her father, Douglas Kirby, who served 27 years in the United States Marine Corps.
Bill was commissioned in December 1973. He was an Infantry Officer at Camp Lejune, NC. He later transitioned to the aviation side of the house where he flew the A-4M at El Toro, California. He later transferred to NAS Pensacola where he taught Aerodynamics and was a flight instructor with VT-10. He left the Marine Corps in January, 1988. He flew for Delta Air Lines until his retirement in 2020.
Jill Hubbs is a founding board member of Pensacola's Veterans Memorial Park. She is the proud daughter of Commander Donald Richard Hubbs, the commanding officer of VS-23 and a Navy pilot who became missing in action during the Vietnam War while conducting a mission off the coast of North Vietnam on March 17, 1968. Cdr. Hubbs and his three crew members remain unaccounted for from the war, four of the 1,224 Americans who are still missing. As a way to honor her father’s legacy and memory, Jill Hubbs has spent her adult life being active in organizations and activities that serve the needs of veterans and active duty military personnel.
Hubbs graduated from Pensacola Junior College in 1977 with an A.A. degree in Liberal Arts and in 1979 graduated from the University of West Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She began her professional career as an elementary school teacher, spending 15 years in the classroom. In 1996, she joined WSRE, the PBS television station for Northwest Florida, serving as the director of educational services and community outreach.
In 2020, Hubbs was named the General Manager of WSRE. During her tenure at WSRE, she has produced numerous award-winning programs and documentaries, including Honor Flight: A Journey of Heroes, a documentary that chronicled the journey of WWII veterans who traveled to Washington D.C. to see the memorial built in their honor. (Watch it here) She also produced They Were Our Fathers, a documentary about the sons and daughters who lost their fathers in the Vietnam War and the touching way they honor their dads on Father’s Day at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. (Watch it here) Jill was among the thousands of people present on October 24, 1992 at the dedication of The Wall South, the nation’s first replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, when it was unveiled at what is now Veterans Memorial Park in Pensacola. She was proud to be there to be able to touch her father’s name on Panel 25S, Line 3. In 2012, she produced a documentary, Pensacola Veterans Memorial Park, which chronicled the history of the park. (Watch it here) Hubbs is planning on updating this documentary to reflect the many additions that have been made to Veterans Memorial Park in recent years.
One of her proudest achievements was to be a part of a group of local Gold Star Families group which raised the funds to place a Gold Star Families Memorial monument at Veterans Memorial Park in 2020 as a part of a national initiative led by WWII Medal of Honor recipient, Hershel “Woody” Williams. The monument serves to raise public awareness about Gold Star Families’ enduring sacrifice and the ultimate sacrifice made by their loved ones--a reminder that freedom is not free.
Jill is the mother of one daughter, Sarah, and three grandchildren whom she adores: Rex, Sally and Rebecca.
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!”
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.
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.
A U.S Navy Veteran, having served as a Corpsman, Niels Andersen is an accomplished top executive with over 35 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.
A Danish immigrant, Niels is also proud father of two grown successful sons and two perfect granddaughters.
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.
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On the Downtown Pensacola Bayfront Shoreline.
SEND US AN EMAIL.
COME VISIT US AT THE PARK.
On the Downtown Pensacola Bayfront Shoreline.