Shirley Anderson Supervisor of Elections for Hernando County, unveiled a Wall of Honor dedicated to veterans and those actively serving in the military on Tuesday, August 29, 2017 at the Supervisor of Elections Office in Spring Hill. The wall features murals, photographs and short biographies of men and women in the military both past and present. The mural was created by Patricia Rummel who was brought to tears as she revealed the wall to the roughly 20 people in attendance. Rummel said that one veteran featured on the wall was her father who passed away and that the wall helps people learn about the history of the military. “We want them (the younger generations) to learn,” Rummel said.
The Wall of Honor can also be accessed at Hernandovotes.com and it includes an interactive guide to the history of the military and what different medals mean and represent. Rummel encourages anyone within Hernando county to submit a profile for any veteran they wish to see featured on the wall. She requests that you include a short biography of their participation in the military along with a photograph of the person in uniform and any current photographs. Rummel said she hopes to see more profiles added to the wall in the near future.
According to Anderson, two years ago they started a program called “Vote in Honor of a Vet” and that is where the inspiration for the wall began. She explained that the goal of the program is to advocate voter registration to youth within Hernando County while spreading knowledge about our military and conflicts that helped shape the United States of America. “We believe there is no greater way to honor our veterans than by casting a ballot on Election Day. By exercising our right to vote, we show veterans the respect they deserve for protecting our right to vote,” Anderson says on the office’s website.
Many veterans and those active in the military were present at the meeting and received certificates thanking them for their service. Nicholas J. Morana, 92, and Richard Gween, 92, were among the veterans and both served during World War Two. Morana began his service in 1944 and continued for 27 years until 1980. During World War Two Morana served as a radio operator on B-17’s. “It (the Wall of Honor) is definitely a step in the right direction. We really can’t do enough,” Morana said. Morana also hosts a radio program called Veteran’s Voice on the Hernando Government Radio. Gween served in the military for eight years, from 1944 to 1952. Gween was an Operating Room Surgical Technician. “It (the Wall of Honor) is really a great thing,” Gween said.
Joaquin Joubert, 62, began his military career in 1974 where he served six and one half years in the Army. Joubert went on to serve in the Navy until he retired as lieutenant in 2001. Joubert was among the veterans present at the event and said he appreciates the work that went into the wall. “I think this is absolutely incredible. We (veterans) really appreciate it,” Joubert said.
Commissioner Nick Nicholson who served in the Air Force attended the unveiling and shared some of his experiences. According to Nicholson he contracted Guillain Barre Syndrome from a swine flu vaccination while serving. Guillain Barre Syndrome is a rare disorder where a person’s own immune system attacks their nerve cells. The syndrome is usually caused from an infection or from the Epstein Barr virus. It typically causes muscle weakness and even paralysis. “I stayed paralyzed for three months and spent a year and a half in the hospital… We need to honor our veterans and welcome them home,” Nicholson said.
In closing Anderson said she hopes that knowledge of the wall can be shared to the community. “Share this information with others that you know so that we can honor all of our veterans here. We want this wall to be full with pictures,” Anderson said.