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Dedication Ceremony – November 11, 2013

November 15th, 2013

On Monday, November 11, 2013 the World Class Veterans Memorial Park was officially dedicated by the Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park Foundation (CFVMPF).   The Memorial is a part of and adjacent to the VA Medical Center at Lake Nona.

The  Veterans Memorial Park honors 1,174 men and women from Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia Counties who made the ultimate sacrifice.   The park was designed to be a place of healing and reflection for patients, friends and families of those from Central Florida who died in service to protect freedom for all.  As this is a “living memorial”, additional names will be added in the future.

The Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park Foundation Board of Directors welcomed those attending.  A musical prelude was enjoyed as presented by the Bahia Concert Band.  COL DeLloyd Voorhees, USA (Ret.) CFVMPF President, extended a warm welcome and opening remarks.  The program included an Invocation led by CAPT Richard Black, USN (Ret.), the National Anthem played by the Bahia Concert Band, and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Col Joe Kittinger, USAF (Ret.) 

Jerry Pierce, CFVMPF Chairman,  presented a history of the Memorial and introduced honored guests and guest speakers.

Honored guests included Gold Star Families, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson; Congressman John Mica; Congressman Alan Grayson;  Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orange County; Mayor Buddy Dyer, City of Orlando; and Commissioner John Horan, Seminole County.  Other guests representing public officials who were unable to attend were also introduced.  Jerry expressed appreciation for the support from the Boy Scouts of America – Central Florida Council’s Color Guard and Drum Corps. Guest speakers were Mr. Timothy Liezert, Director, Orlando VA Medical Center,  Mr. Harvey Massey and Dr. Neil Euliano, USA (Fmr.)    (Note… Remarks presented by Mr. Harvey Massey and Dr. Neil Euliano are printed below following the photographs.)

Jerry Pierce made special presentations in appreciation for extraordinary dedication to the creation of the “World Class” Veterans Memorial Park.  The Appreciation Plaques were presented  to Ronald W. Lowry, A.I.A,  CFVMPF Board Member, and Ron Davoli, Wharton-Smith Construction Company, General Contractor of the Memorial.   

The program concluded with remarks from COL DeLloyd Voorhees, USA (Ret.), and the Benediction led by CAPT Richard Black, USN (Ret.)

Following the Ribbon Cutting ceremony, guests experienced walking through the Memorial and viewing the names of the fallen heroes inscribed on the granite monuments.

Bahia Concert Band

Col Joe Kittinger, USAF (Ret.) leading the Pledge of Allegiance

Timothy Liezert, Director – Orlando VA Medical Center

Harvey Massey

Dr. Neil Euliano, USA (Fmr.)

 Jerry Pierce, CFVMPF Chairman,  making presentation to Ronald W. Lowry, A.I.A., CFVMPF Board Member

 Jerry Pierce, CFVMPF Chairman,  making presentation  to Ron Davoli, Wharton-Smith, General Contractor

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony – Honored Guests

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony – CFVMPF Board Members

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony – Gold Star Families

Jerry Pierce, USA (Fmr.), CFVMPF Chairman and COL DeLloyd Voorhees, USA (Ret.), CFVMPF President
World War II Memorial

Vietnam Memorial

View of  Monuments

Note: the above photographs were taken by Sharon Breece, CFVMPF Photographer.

To view a slide show of additional photos taken by John K. Harris, Photographer – click – (turn up your volume.)

 Following are Remarks from Guest Speakers – Harvey Massey and Dr. Neil Euliano – as presented at the Dedication Ceremony of the Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park at Lake Nona on  November 11, 2013.



I would like to congratulate all the people who have been involved with this incredible project and for everything they have done to make this a reality.  I feel it is also fitting that we thank the Executive Directors, the Board Members, and the Advisors of the Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park Foundation for their vision, their purpose and their accomplishments.  Their generous, tireless commitment to bringing this memorial to our community has been both inspiring and infectious.

As you know, this memorial will honor the more than 1,100 men and women who, in Abraham Lincoln’s words, gave that “last measure of devotion” in service to their Country.  It is truly a great gift to the families of those who served but did not return home.  And, last, but certainly not least, we should all feel a sense of pride in having this beautiful memorial as part of our Central Florida Community and, for no other reason, that it will provide a peaceful and healing place of remembrance.  

President John F. Kennedy once said, “A Nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”  OUR NEW VETERANS MEMORIAL PROUDLY DEMONSTRATES, HERE IN CENTRAL FLORIDA, WE REMEMBER!   

It is also fitting that we hold this event today, Veterans Day, adjacent to the new VA Hospital that will provide care for the over 400,000 veterans who call Central Florida home.   Let me also add, on a personal note, that as a family, the Masseys are very proud and honored to have made a gift on behalf of our family and all the team members of our Company at Massey Services.

Many of our team members, like me, have served our Country and we believe it’s important to give something back.   As a very young man I served our Country, and was proud to stand alongside soldiers who believed very strongly in what they represented, and why they represented it.  This was an experience I have treasured and carried with me throughout my life. 

I am sure you will all agree, you and I have been blessed to be living in the greatest Country on God’s earth.  The world, even today, looks to us because of our prosperity, productivity and innovativeness.  People from all over the world come here because of this.  Above all, we are recognized as the greatest economic and military structure the world has ever known. The basic and fundamental reasons for this are best described in three words:  Liberty. . . Freedom. . . and Opportunity.  The official motto of our Country is “In God We Trust.”  These words are printed on every piece of currency in our society, and in the halls of many of our State Capitals.  God has truly blessed our great nation for over 237 years. 

It has been said, “the key thing about remembering is that you don’t forget.”  It’s incumbent on us, the living beneficiaries of these sacrifices, to never forget those who gave their all on our behalf. 

We’re extremely grateful to all of you who have come out today for this wonderful moment in our community’s history.  We’re also very proud to cut the ribbon on the Veterans Memorial Park in recognition of everyone throughout Central Florida who has served our great Country.  In closing, let me thank you all so very much.  God Bless You.  And, may God Bless the brave men and women of the United States Armed forces, and may God Bless America and the wonderful people in it.

 Harvey L. Massey, Chairman/CEO, Massey Services, Inc.



Thank you Mr. Chairman, Honored Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.  We gather today to pay respect to a large group of American heroes……..

This group of people, whose names appear on our memorial, has something in common with us. Central Florida was their home…on these walls are engraved almost 1174 names of men and women from our own neighborhoods, who died defending our country.

They represent all of the branches of the military, they represent all of the counties in Central Florida, they represent all races and creeds, they represent all the religions, and they represent the very best of America. Most were extremely young and had their whole lives ahead of them.

They fought and died in World War I, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and the continuing war on terror. The battlefield devours its heroes….so it falls to us to remember their sacrifice.

Each name on this memorial was a real person…… with a family…..with hopes and dreams…..with loving relatives………..not just a cold name etched on granite. 

The pain and suffering did not cease when these service men and women died……..husbands, wives, girlfriends, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, friends and others continued to grieve long after the sound of taps died out. Who are these people that we honor today?…… What do we know about them,   How did they live.   How did they die?   All 1174 stories deserve to be told…. BUT let me share only a few.

The year is 1945…… We are aboard a hospital ship the USS Relief in the South Pacific…..while the medics try desperately to save the life of a young soldier named ‘’ Bobby’’

Let’s go back in time and find out about this young soldier
Bobby was born on March 26, 1924 in Altoona , (Lake County), Florida…..Population 39….he loved to play sports and his favorites were football and baseball, boxing and tennis.

He attended grade school in Altoona but they did not have a high school so he went to High School in the big city of Umatilla Florida…..( population 1653). He played the trombone……He sang in the glee club……..He loved building model airplanes ………He served as a mentor in Sunday school and graduated from Umatilla High School.  After graduation, he went to work as a night watchman in an orange-packing house. He worked as a rodman on a surveying team, for the Florida State Highway Department.

In August 31, 1944 (at the age of 20) he was found fit and was inducted into the Service.  Bob was sent to South Carolina, for his recruit training where he qualified as a sharpshooter with both the M1 and the Browning Automatic Rifle. 

After a ten-day furlough, to see his family back in Altoona, Bob reported to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and one month later, he was assigned to the 46th Replacement Draft. In March of 1945 that unit moved to Camp Pendleton, California and Robert left the United States on March 11, 1945.

En route to their destination, the soldiers got a look at some of the places that had been making headlines since December 7, 1941. The first stop was Pearl Harbor.  They passed by Iwo Jima and arrived in Guam on March 31, 1945 and on April 1, 1945 headed toward a little unknown island call Okinawa.

When the need for replacements became apparent, Robert’s group was called in and immediately plunged into the fighting as a unit.  Robert’s company suffered several casualties during the assault and enemy fire remained so heavy that the wounded soldiers could not be evacuated. His platoon was pinned down. 

Realizing that the wounded must be removed to the rear and the heights must be taken, Pvt. Robert McTureous, on his own initiative, filled his pockets with grenades, jammed more grenades inside his jacket, and charged up the hill and into the enemy position where he knew the accurate rifle and machine-gun fire was coming from.

Running among the caves, he tossed grenades into the Japanese positions as stretcher-bearers came forward to remove the wounded during the temporary lull caused by his furious one-man assault.

His supply of hand grenades exhausted, he returned to his own lines, took on another load and returned to the caves, passing one cave, he was badly wounded in the stomach but instead of calling for help and risking other men being hit in attempts to rescue him, he crawled 200 yards to a sheltered place within the American lines before asking for aid. His actions so badly disorganizing the remainder of the Japanese garrison, that his own company was able to occupy the hill and complete its mission. The earlier wounded were evacuated to safety due to his actions.

Pvt. Robert McTureous was evacuated to a hospital ship, but all efforts failed and on the morning of June 1, 1945 he passed away. 

On August 7, 1946, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Miller McTureous’ Sr., at a ceremony in Altoona, Florida, received their son’s Congressional Medal of Honor.

Private Robert Miller McTureous Jr.’s name is on our memorial.


Emory Lawrence Bennett was born on December 20, 1929 at New Smyrna Beach. He was the youngest child of Sterling and Stella Bennett.  Shortly after the great depression the family….. Mom dad and the 4 boys ……..moved to Cocoa where they started a small fish market. (Bennett Fish Market). 

All of them worked in the little family owned seafood business. Emory spent most of his leisure time hunting and fishing to supplement the family diet for themselves and their customers.  To the surprise of his older brothers, he became a crack shot at bringing down ducks and other water fowl.

Emory grew up working in the family business and after graduating from Cocoa High School in 1948, worked several different jobs to earn enough money to attend college.  He subsequently enrolled at a business college and continued to work part-time to pay for his college.

On July 25, 1950 Emory enlisted in the United States Army and was assigned to the Corp of Engineers, but as Americas involvement in the Korean Conflict expanded an urgent need for infantrymen materialized.  As a result, Bennett was transferred as a rifleman to Company B and was deployed to Korea in February 1951. He had his first baptism in combat on March 31, 1951 and was promoted to Private First Class the next day.

He subsequently saw action in three consecutive campaigns. In his last letter home from Korea he expressed hope that he would be rotated home for Christmas. On June 24, 1951 Emory Bennett’s B Company was engaged in a frontal attack by superior forces. At approximately two in the morning, two enemy battalions swarmed up the hill in a ferocious banzai charge in an attempt to dislodge PFC Bennett’s company from its defensive positions.

Meeting the challenge, the men of Company B fought back, but the enemy pressed the assault with fanatical determination. Soon the integrity of the perimeter was imperiled.  Fully aware of the odds against him, PFC Bennett left his foxhole, moved through enemy fire, stood within full view of the enemy, and poured crippling fire into the ranks of the onrushing assailants.  Although wounded, he maintained this position long enough to momentarily halt the enemy advance but the numerically superior enemy assault resumed and company B had to pull back.

Bennett was ordered to move back, but he voluntarily remained to provide covering fire while the rest of Company B withdrew, Again wounded, PFC Bennett gallantly maintained his one-man defense , defying the enemy, and continued to sweep the charging foe with devastating fire until mortally wounded. PFC Emory Lawrence Bennett died on that hill in Korea.

During an awards ceremony on 1 February 1952, Mr. Sterling G. Bennett, Sr. accepted his son’s Medal of Honor. But you may already be familiar with Private Bennett…..On October 11, 1963, the Emory L. Bennett Causeway located in his hometown of Cocoa, Florida was dedicated. This was the shortest route from Orlando to the east coast.  You know the Bennett Causeway as the B line.

Private First Class Emory Bennett’s name is on our memorial.


Tara Jacobs was born on a summer day in July 1977 and along with her four brothers were raised by their father. Tara and the rest of the family had moved to the small community of Deltona, Florida.  

Tara sang in the church choir …She aspired to become a pediatric nurse.  But 3 weeks before graduating from Deltona High School, Tara told her dad that she was going into the military and shortly after graduating from Deltona High School, she enlisted in the United States Air Force. Her first stop was Lackland Air Force Base in Texas for basic training. Following basic training she was asked to perform some administrative clerical duties at her company’s headquarters.

Her next assignment sent her to Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi where she was enrolled in a technical school.  It wasn’t long before Tara had earned an Associate’s Degree in Information Management.  Over the years, Tara continued to work her way up the ranks finally becoming a Master Sergeant.  In 2010, Tara and her longtime friend, Army Sergeant Ernest Brown, were married.

The dining room table in her father’s modest apartment has dozens of photographs depicting the personal moments of Tara:  A well-worn photo of a little girl and her brother sitting in Santa Claus’ lap; a church choir performance;  Polaroid photos of her first trip to Walt Disney World; Basic training in Texas. and most recently a party at her home to celebrate her wedding  to Ernest Brown.  Unfortunately time did not permit an extended leave and shortly after her marriage, Master Sgt Tara Brown was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and was the support technician in charge of personnel at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland.

According to her fellow soldiers she was bright, outgoing, and her smile would brighten anyone’s day.   Her dad said …she was never afraid, and was very happy in what she was doing.   She loved the Air Force.

Her next deployment was to Kadena Air Base, Japan, where she continued working in the information management field.  This was one of several overseas assignments for Master Sargent Brown.  Included were short stays in Eskan Village of Saudi Arabia ….Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.

On January 25 2011…..Master Sargent Brown was deployed to Kah-bool Afghanistan as a communication advisor to NATO where she served as an international trainer on computers and computer networking to Afghan Air Force.  

In April, 2011, Master Sergeant Brown and several other personnel were working on a project to build a national communication network at Kabul Air Force Base. When an afghan ‘’friendly’’ gunman opened fire. The 33-year old career airman from Deltona, died April 27, 2011 in a hail of gunfire near the Kabul Air Force Base.

U.S Air Force Master Sgt Tara Brown is on our memorial.


Kenny was born on his mother’s birthday…June 23, 1981…what a special birthday present for his family. He attended Stonewall Jackson Middle School…..right off of Semoran Blvd and Curry Ford Road……. The home of the jaguars…….. Following middle school he graduated (on his fathers birthday) from Colonial High School .

All through High School he dreamed of joining the marine Corp…..why??… because his dad was a Marine.  on May 25 1999, he enlisted and during his training , he was selected to be part of the Elite Marine Corps Anti-Terrorist Team.

On September 11, 2001 his team was activated and within hours they were at the site of The Twin Towers in New York City.   In early February 2004, his unit was ordered to Iraq to take part in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Kenny, now a platoon Sgt for 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, was sent on over 200 combat missions.

On April 6, 2004 on a recon combat mission Kenny was desperately trying to get wounded marines out of harms way when he was shot through the left shoulder. The bullet went thru the left shoulder and out the back. 

When Sgt Conde went down he heard the insurgents cheering and that really made him mad. He slowly got back up, the insurgents stopped cheering and Sgt. Conde moved his platoon forward until they had successfully overwhelmed the insurgents.

After being shot, he refused to be medically evacuated. Only when he could no longer raise his wounded arm, did he stand down.

Sgt. Conde could have come home…. but he requested to stay in Iraq with his fellow marines.

Only 2 months later, On July 1, of that year Sgt Conde was on another combat mission, when his unarmored humvee was hit by an IED and he was mortally wounded. Before they could get him to a medical aid station Sgt. Kenneth Conde Jr. died at Al Anbar Province, Iraq, on July 1st 2004.

USMC  Sgt Kenneth Conde Jr.’s name is on our memorial.


Those 4 short biographies are typical of the actions of the gallant men and women listed on our memorial.

The Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park Foundation honors all of these local heroes who, when duty called, marched off to war with faith in their country…. and hope in their hearts …..To never return.

Today, in memory only, they go proudly marching by.    With heads bowed, we must ask, from where, O’ GOD, come men and women like these……….?

In conclusion, I will leave you with the words from Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President of the United States…and I quote: 

“I have never been able to think of these memorials as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate.  I have rather felt that the flag should be at the top, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. 

We Honor them all in commemoration of what they did. ”

  Dr. Neil Euliano                           

Memorial Construction Progress – September 5, 2013

September 5th, 2013

Construction on the Memorial nears completion.  It will truly be a special place to both remember Central Floridians who died while serving our country and to mourn our losses.  The Memorial will also be a peaceful place for patients, families and friends to heal, pray, relax, and reflect as they remember their loved ones.

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Construction 9-5-3

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Memorial Construction Progress – August 27, 2013

August 28th, 2013




Memorial Construction Progress – August 14, 2013

August 16th, 2013

Construction continues to progress very well.  Contractor Wharton-Smith, Inc., projects to be substantially completed by September 15, 2013.  This completion date will be well in advance of the official dedication scheduled for November 11, 2013.

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Construction 8-14 - 4 
Construction 8-14 - 1

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Memorial Construction Progress – July 11, 2013

July 12th, 2013

Construction of the Memorial to honor Fallen Heroes from six Central Florida Counties continues to move forward.  Photos below report progress as of  July 11, 2013.

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Rick Walsh Hosts Seminar

July 7th, 2013

                                                                    Rick Walsh

Rick Walsh Hosts Seminar on Estate Giving to the Memorial

The Certified Financial Group of Altamonte Springs conducted its sixth free seminar for veterans and others considering a planned gift to the Memorial in June at the offices of the Knob Hill Group at Lake Invanhoe, Orlando. Rick Walsh, President of the Knob Hill Group, an investment and strategic counseling company, hosted the seminar.

Prior to establishing Knob Hill Group, Rick served as Senior Vice President Corporate Affairs of Darden Restaurants Inc., and was a founding member of the leadership team that took Darden public in 1995. He came to Florida as a Navy corpsman, where he assisted in eye, ear, nose, and throat surgery at the Naval Hospital Orlando. Mr. Walsh holds a Masters in Public Policy and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Central Florida. He received the University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1985.

As was noted to attendees at the recent Seminar in addition to outright gifts and pledges of cash or stock, some donors will choose to make a deferred gift through their estate. Generally these include a bequest, charitable annuity, trust or paid-up life insurance policy. Be sure to consult with your legal or tax advisor about the tax savings for these ways of giving. For more information, contact the Certified Financial Group in Altamonte Springs at 407-869-9800 or at:

Foundation Elects New President

July 6th, 2013

                                                     Col. DeLloyd (De) Voorhees, Jr.


Col. DeLloyd (De) Voohees, Jr. USA (RET) was recently elected President of the CFVMPF Board. De retired from the U.S. Army after serving 30 years with the rank of Colonel. He started his next career in Orlando with Jardon & Howard Technologies, (JHT). He is currently Vice President, Business Development at General Dynamics Information Technology in Orlando, FL. Upon his election he said, “I am truly honored to serve with such a dedicated group of fellow veterans who had the vision for this Memorial to the Fallen a decade ago. Through their vision and the support of the community, we are now just months away from its formal dedication.”

Orlando Sentinel – June 30, 2013

July 2nd, 2013

The list of the Fallen Heroes from Central Florida Counties (Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia) was published in the Orlando Sentinel, Orlando, Florida on June 30, 2013.

If you know of anyone who died in combat to preserve our freedom, information was included referring readers to the website to review  Guidelines and a list of supporting documents for inclusion to be submitted to

To view the list of Fallen Heroes on this website for each of the Central Florida Counties, please click on HONORS/FALLEN HEROES.









Memorial Construction Progress – May 7, 2013

May 7th, 2013

Construction of the Memorial to honor Fallen Heroes from six Central Florida Counties is moving forward.  The construction site was visited today, May 7, 2013, by CFVMPF Board Members, Jerry Pierce,  Ron Lowry, and Earle Denton, as they reported “progress is impressive”


April 22nd, 2013




















On Friday, April 19, 2013, the Ground Breaking event for construction of a World Class Veterans Memorial Park was held. 

The Memorial will be adjacent to and a part of the VA Medical Center at Lake Nona and it will be the only Veterans Memorial adjacent to a VA Medical Center in the entire country.

The Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park Foundation Board of  Directors welcomed those attending.  A musical prelude was provided by the Bahia Brass Quintet.  DeLloyd Voorhees, Acting President, welcomed everyone, followed by Opening Remarks by Jerry Pierce, Chairman.  The program included an invocation led by CAPT Richard Black, USN (Ret.), the National Anthem played by the Bahia Brass Quintet, and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Col Joe Kittinger, USAF (Ret.)

Honored Guest Speakers included Mr. Timothy W. Liezert, Director, Orlando VA Medical Center; Mayor Buddy Dyer, City of Orlando; Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orange County; Congressman Alan Grayson, District 9; Congressman John Mica, District 7; Congressman Daniel Webster, District 10; Vice Chairman John Horan, Seminole County and LTG Jay Garner, USA (Ret.), CFVMPF Honorary Chairman.

Wharton-Smith, General Contractor for the Memorial, provided shovels and hard hats for the Ground Breaking event.