Governor Rick Scott presented 142 military heroes with the Governor's Veterans Service Award during a Monday ceremony at the Clifford Sims State Veterans Nursing Home in Panama City.
"Our goal is to create an opportunity economy in Florida that supports jobs and opportunities for generations to come," Scott said. "None of this would be possible without the service of our veterans [and] this medal serves as a testament of thanks from Floridians everywhere."
Scott and his wife Ann, Florida's First Lady, presented gold medals to veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam and more recent conflicts. They were joined by Mike Prendergast, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs; Major General Emmett Titshaw, Jr., Adjutant General of the Florida National Guard; and, Representative Jimmy Patronis (R-District 6).
The "Governor's Veterans Service Award" honors Floridians who have served in the U.S. military. The front of the medal depicts the Great Seal of the State of Florida and the back displays the five seals representing the five military branches and an inscription that reads "Honoring Those Who Served."
The Scotts spent a few minutes with Grady Jeffres, a U.S. Army veteran who fought in five battles in the European Theater, including the "Battle of the Bulge." Coincidentally, the ceremony took place on the 69th anniversary of that historic battle. "It makes you feel great," Jeffres said.
Lee Elwell, 90, served on a U.S. Navy tanker during World War II. "I think it was real nice for him to take his time out and come over to see us," Elwell said. "The only thing I regret is our buddies that didn't make it [but] we still remember them… they're the ones that made the supreme sacrifice."
Later in the day, Governor Scott met with commanders of Florida's military installations at Tyndall Air Force Base.