Wednesday, July 2, 2008


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs is pleased to announce the inauguration of the Florida Veterans Foundation, Inc.

Established by Florida Statute on July 1, 2008, and incorporated as a tax-exempt public organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, the foundation is dedicated to supporting the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs and to providing assistance and services to Florida veterans and their families.

The Florida Legislature authorized the foundation in statute during its 2008 legislative session as the Direct Support Organization of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

“I am grateful to Governor Crist and other members of the Cabinet, the Florida Legislature and Florida’s Veteran Service Organizations for supporting this initiative,” said FDVA Executive Director LeRoy Collins Jr. “This foundation will help us expand our mission of veterans’ advocacy, especially with our state’s returning veterans from the Global War on Terror.”

The work of the foundation will be supported by a combination of entrepreneurial initiatives, agreement with participating businesses, contributions from veterans, philanthropic foundations, corporations and private citizens.

A voluntary Board of Directors, selected by the Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, will meet as necessary to set and implement policies and programs. The nine-member board is composed of veterans, business owners and community leaders.
Board members are:

1. Lt. Gen. Robert Milligan, U.S. Marine Corps (ret), Chairperson, Tallahassee
2. Roderick Petrey, Esq., Miami
3. Maj. Gen. Fred Raymond, U.S. Army (ret), Wesley Chapel
4. Robert Creger, D.B.A., Fort Myers
5. Lt. Col. Anthony Armbrister, U.S. Marine Corps (ret), Fort Lauderdale
6. Col. Sharon Richie-Melvan, Ph.D., U.S. Army (ret), Inverness
7. Maj. John Haynes, U.S. Marine Corps (ret), Monticello
8. Frank Ryll, Tallahassee
9. Michael Coker, Ocala

The board will have its first meeting July 9 in Tallahassee, Fla.

The Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs is a state agency responsible for assisting, without charge to the claimant, Florida’s veterans, their families and survivors in improving their health and economic well-being through quality benefit information, advocacy, education and long-term health services. The department operates five veterans’ nursing homes and one assisted living facility through the State Veterans’ Homes Program. For more information on FDVA and Florida’s veterans’ homes, visit

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