I believe it’s one of the greatest things to receive a compliment from one’s spouse or significant other because sometimes we take them for granted. That’s why it’s an honor for Ron Ford that his wife, Carolyn, nominated him as one of our Hernando Heroes.
The disabled Army veteran has been actively serving his country and his community since he was in the military. Most recently, he was instrumental in founding Glen Lakes Veterans and Friends (GLVF) along with two other veterans−retired Army Sergeant Dennis Blum and retired Army General George Friel.
The three recognized a need and rose to the challenge of meeting that need. They saw that many local veterans organizations, such as the American Legion and the DAV (Disabled American Veterans), did not have the funds for such necessities as air conditioning repairs and computers. From just these three veterans, the non-profit organization has grown to include more than 150 members and countless supporters.
Since 2016, when Ford and his fellow veterans started the organization, the non-profit 501(c)(3) has raised more than $250,000 through its annual golf outing held each year on Veterans’ Day. GLVF has brought the entire Hernando County community together through donations and sponsorships by local businesses and corporations.
However, Ron’s volunteer activities did not just start seven years ago. While serving as an executive at a bank in Michigan, Ron chaired many organizations professionally. The one he loved most was the chair of the Michigan foster care system. “We reviewed foster care cases, appeals, etc. and were able to effectively work with elected officials to pass some legislative bills to improve the system,” Ford stated.
He was also a volunteer mediator, conducting mediation cases ranging from monetary to divorces on tribal lands and was chair of a county commission that helped numerous Michigan counties establish full-time and well-paid veteran service officer positions.
Growing up, Ron’s mentors were his grandfather, a World War I veteran, and his father and uncle, both highly decorated World War II veterans.
“All three were men who worked, did the correct things, and served their nation. They inspired me to serve, help others, and be proud to be a veteran of our nation,” Ron remarked.
His wife, Carolyn, commented, “Ron gets things done and works with folks from all walks of life. He is comfortable in any setting, whether working in the ditches or giving a speech! He is a giver, for sure.” Earlier this year, the Fords moved back to Michigan to be closer to their children and grandchildren, but Ron didn’t let any grass grow under his feet.
Since returning to his old stomping grounds, Ron has joined the local American Legion post and will be doing fundraising for them. He’s helping farmers with the USDA and doing some mediation on a regional basis. Ron was also elected chair of his Home Owners’ Association and is working to improve the entrances and street signs, among other projects. And carrying on the legacy of Glen Lakes Veterans and Friends, Ford plans to establish a nonprofit and raise funds for the local VA clinics to have a DAV van.
Ron Ford is the embodiment of the phrase “service above self.” Hernando County was fortunate to have Ron as a member of our community for so many years and his community in Michigan is blessed to have him as a citizen there.