St. Johns County is no stranger to veterans. Currently, over 22,000 have chosen to make St. Johns County their home and that number doesn’t appear as though it’s going to decrease any time soon. With so many who’ve earned the title “veteran,” it’s nice to know that there’s an organization like the Veterans Council of St. Johns County to look out for them all.
Established on July 4, 2001, the Veterans Council of St. Johns County is a 501 (C) 3 organization which acts an an advocate for veterans and veterans groups. While their mission is not to work with individuals, they act as an “umbrella” organization for groups like the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion and the like. In St. Johns County, there are a total of 28 of these organizations, and the Veterans Council, as dictated by their mission statement, serves to ensure that all of them are able to speak with a single voice.
According to Bill Dudley (Lt. Col. USAF – Ret.), Chairman of the Veterans Council of St. Johns County, St. Johns is a great place to be if you’re a veteran. “St. Johns County is the friendliest and easiest county in the state of Florida for veterans to obtain the services they require.” Why is that, you wonder? “It’s because of the attitude of our elected officials in this county. I can go before the county commissioners on just about any veteran need or request and will usually get a vote of 5-0 in our favor and I’ve never had a request denied.”
Along with helping veterans groups help their members, the Veterans Council of St. Johns County is involved in many civic-minded projects, as well. Currently, the Veterans Council is working on a Veterans Day weekend-long event in St. Augustine, starting with a parade on November 11. “We’re also having a film festival featuring five documentaries which include World War II, Korea, Vietnam, POWs and K9s for Warriors.” The documentaries, produced by current Secretary for the Veterans Council, Michael Rothfeld, will play in a film festival held at the Corazon Cinema. The weekend will culminate with a patriotic concert, featuring Lee Greenwood on Sunday, November 13 at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. The Veterans Council of St. Johns County serves a vital role by ensuring that all veterans in the county, and the groups which serve them, receive all of the help, guidance and direction they require.