When the YMCA of the Suncoast–Hernando County honored Thomas Rexford this Veteran’s Day, they marked two significant milestones: His 101st birthday, and Veterans Day.
Thomas Rexford of Spring Hill was born on Nov. 11, 1919. And as a young man, he voluntarily enlisted in the Second World War.
“Thomas served in the Army Air Corps in South Africa,” said Beverly Rexford, Thomas’ wife.
Thomas, according to Beverly, comes from a long line of military veterans.
“A genealogical report traced one of his family members back to the Revolutionary War,” said Beverly Rexford. “And now, we have a great-grandson in the Marine Corps.”
Beverly says that Thomas never liked to talk much about the war, but he continues to express his patriotic pride.
“Thomas is concerned about today’s service people, he cares about the way they’re treated,” said Beverly. “And we’re very proud of them.”
Thomas voted in the most recent election and stays active with Beverly at the Hernando YMCA, where the couple has belonged for 30 years. Once an active swimmer and walker well into his ’80s, Thomas still enjoys sitting happily on the deck of his scooter, watching his wife swim.
“The Y is for everybody, from little kids to older people,” said Beverly. “The Y is an asset to our community.”
The YMCA of the Suncoast–Hernando County feels the same way about Thomas–so at their Nov. 11 Veterans Day breakfast event, they gifted all veterans present with cupcakes and a hot breakfast, and plenty of extras for the honoree who turned 101 on Veterans Day.
According to information provided by Kelli Biandudi, Communications Manager of Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA, “They presented a special cake for Thomas, who also received a quilt from the Quilts of Valor Foundation and a plaque from the Veteran’s Heat Factory. Gus Guadagnino, Founder and CEO, presented the award.”
“We were so happy to be able to celebrate Thomas and his birthday again this year. He and his wife, Beverly, have been members for many years. Almost the entire time that our Y has been serving the community,” said Amber Slusser, Branch Executive Director, YMCA of the Suncoast–Hernando County.
And, says Slusser, the YMCA of the Suncoast–Hernando County appreciates its vets.
“We love our Veterans, both within the Y and outside of the Y. We can’t wait to be able to get back to providing regular opportunities each month for them to come together, connect, engage and meet others,” she said. “They have done so much for us that we believe that it is part of our mission and promise to serve them through programs and activities to keep them active and healthy in mind, body and spirit.”
Beverly Rexford says she and her husband are deeply appreciative of the YMCA’s special tribute to her husband.
And aside from being a national hero, Beverly wants everyone to know something about her husband Thomas.
“He’s an honest, upstanding person,” she said. “My husband is a good man.”