Captain Donn A. Weaver- US Army(Retired)-Cocoa Beach, FL
Education and Training:
- 1964 Buena Park High School, Buena Park, CA – HS Diploma.
- 1968 University of California, Los Angeles, CA – BA Degree, Political Science.
- 1968 US Army Basic Combat/Advanced Infantry training, Ft. Dix, NJ.
- 1969 Infantry Officer Candidate School/Commissioning: Second Lieutenant, Ft. Benning, GA.
- 1973 Florida State University (FSU), Tallahassee, FL – .MA Degree, International Affairs.
- 1974 FSU Candidate for PhD, International Affairs (Completed all but Dissertation).
- 1974 FSU Florida Community College Teaching Certificate.
- 1962-1999 Learned Five Foreign Languages: French, German, Swahili, Hungarian, Bulgarian.
Professional Employment History:
- 1968,. 1972 Active Duty, US Army. (Private to Captain.)
- 1969 ,. 1970 Platoon Leader & Acting Company Commander, at Korean Demilitarized Zone. 1970 – 1972 Commander, A CO, 2nd BN, 2nd BCT, Ft. Dix, NJ.
- 1972 .,. 1974 Taught undergraduate FSU course in Political Science.
- 1974 – 2002 US Government Foreign Service Officer. Retired as FS-1 (US Army Colonel Equivalent).
Served 13 years overseas in eight different countries in Africa and Eastern Europe.
- 2002 – pres. Independent Contractor with US Department of Defense. Spent a cumulative total of 12 months in Iraq. Was regularly called to act as Senior Instructor for DOD Courses in the Washington, DC area that addressed Sensitive Embassy-related Issues. Works intermittently.
- 2016 – 2022 Supported, as Subject Matter Expert, multiple Defense Attache Course Modules presented in Florida
Additional Veteran and Service Organization Affiliations:
- 2011 – pres. National Flag Presentation Coordinator and Presentation Volunteer, Honor and Remember, Inc. 2013 – pres. Life Member, Military Officers’ Association of America (MOAA).
- 2013 .. pres. Life Member, MOAA Cape Canaveral Chapter (MOAACC). 2014 – pres. Member, American Legion Post 344, Merritt Island, FL.
- 2014 – 2020 Member, Korean War and Service Association, Brevard County, FL.
- 2016 .. pres. Honorary Member, Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), Chapter 453, Merritt Island, FL. 2017 – pres. Member, National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), Brevard County Chapter. Also, Board Member, SAR, 2022 – pres.
- 2018 – pres. Life Member, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 10138, Cape Canaveral, FL. 2019- 2020 Commander, Korean War and Service Association, Brevard County, FL.
Advocacy On Behalf of Veterans:
- Chairman, Brevard Veterans Council (BVC) currently, and previously for five, 1-yr terms since 2013. The Council is a non-profit (501.c19) veterans’ organization, composed of 500 members. It works in conjunction with ea veterans, local government, and other veterans’ organizations to support and promote the interests and welfare of Brevard County veterans and their families. According to Veterans Administration (VA) figures, Brevard County was home to 72,000 veterans in 2021.
- President (previously for two, 1-yr terms) and currently Vice-President, Brevard Veterans Memorial Center (VMC) also previously for five, 1-yr terms years since 2014. This 501.c3, created in 1978, maintains and operates a premier facility to educate the public and provide a vibrant memorial to the service and sacrifice of all military veterans and their families through a museum, memorial plaza, library and veterans park, which is located in a 82-acre park on the Banana River on Merritt Island. VMC is operated by more than 200 volunteers, and is open 7 days a week. In addition to the museum and library, the 3500 sq ft main building houses an auditorium, meeting rooms, office space and kitchen. It is used regularly for meetings of and/or support services provided by more than 13 military-related groups, e.g., Disabled American Veterans Chapter 123, and MOPH Chapter 453, as well as just as many civic, fraternal, and other service-oriented groups. The Memorial Plaza contains static displays of military equipment and Permanent Memorials to various individuals and entities, and is the backdrop for numerous veteran-related events and recurring annual ceremonies in observance of Memorial Day, 9-11 and Veterans’ Day, to name a few. The Park is jointly operated by VMC and Brevard County Parks & Recreation, is open daily dawn to dusk. It contains a fishing pier, canoe launch ramp with access to Sykes Creek, three lakes, and 1.5 miles of walking/hiking trails with exercise/play stations and support buildings.
- Director of Multi-Million Dollar Expansion of the VMC and Veterans Memorial Park (VMP) 2015-2018.
- President, Cape Canaveral Chapter (M”OAACC) of the Military Officers’ Association of America (M”OAA). 2016. Chairman, MOAACC Public Relations and Marketing Committee 2019 to pres. This Chapter (currently over 1,200 members) is the largest in the US. Chartered in 1958, MOAACC supports and advocates for active-duty military and veterans, and their families and survivors. In the last 38 years its Scholarship Corporation (501.c3) has awarded $850,000 to 293 students attending 78 different colleges throughout the US. Oversees the MOAAC’s monthly newsletter, “Intercom” which regularly wins MOAA’s National Harris 5-Star Award for Media and Newsletter Excellence.
- President, MOAACC Good Deeds Foundation (GDF) 2016 – 2019 + 2021 – pres. This is the largest MOAA chapter philanthropic foundation (501.c3), in the US. The GDF provides financial and other support to numerous Brevard County Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), ROTC, active-duty military, veterans’ relief programs, and to major Brevard veteran-related support organizations. These include Space Coast Honor Flights (SCHF), National Veterans Homeless Support (NVHS), the Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) and Wreaths Across America (WAA). In 2022, over $120,000 was raised and granted.
- Member, VA National Advisory Committee on Cemeteries and Monuments 2020- 2022. This I I-member group advises the VA Secretary on the funding for, and administration of, current VA cemeteries and the location/construction of new cemeteries. It also provides similar advice related to memorials. He led the Committee’s effort to focus the VA on the need for better policies to ensure veterans who are abandoned by their families receive full military honors and interment at National Cemeteries. (Note: This is a separate initiative from the Brevard County project that follows next).
- Brevard County Team Leader, Missing In America Project (MIAP) 2015 -2022. This project seeks out the unclaimed remains of veterans, or their spouses, in order to provide them a proper burial (with military honors, as appropriate) in the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery (CCNC), Mims, FL. To date, this 5-person team has supported six ceremonies during which 140 cremains were finally laid to rest, after an average of three decades in funeral home storage.
- Chaired/Co-chaired Teams Creating 5 Major Veteran-Related Brevard County Monuments.
Coordinated fundraising, design, and construction of:
• Memorial to Service and Sacrifice in Afghanistan (2017 at VMC).
• Memorial to Service and Sacrifice in Iraq (2018 at VMC).
•Four Chaplains and All Chaplains Memorial (2019 at VMC).
• Monument to the Fallen (VA approved in 2021 for Cape Canaveral National Cemetery).
• Monument to America’s Fallen Allies (2022 at VMC) Believed to be unique in Florida, it honors those who were killed in action while fighting alongside US forces from our Revolution to Afghanistan. To date, Allies from six countries (including Afghanistan) are included.
- Organized Five “Stand Down to Stand Up” Events. This annual program aids Brevard County’s homeless and struggling veterans and their families. The name is derived from actions to revitalize members of Marine and Army Infantry units who had endured continuous days of combat to move to the rear for a brief “Stand Down” to allow for a shower, hot chow, and the cleaning of weapons. Donations of $14,000 were raised and 250 volunteers were involved in preparing for the 2022 event, which would include transport of200 veterans in need to a local Armory for support and info on job options. Due to COVID and the Armory’s unavailability (FLANG deployment to the SW Florida Hurricane Ian Relief Mission), that event was re-scheduled. It took place January 20-21, 2023, and over 200 volunteers supported approximately 60 veterans and their families.
- Coordinated a special Gala Fundraising Event with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO). This event, which required 6 months of preparation, netted $61,000 for capital improvements to VMC. Local churches and business donated an additional $35,000.
- Wreaths Across America Project, CCNC Deputy Location Coordinator, actively supporting six annual ceremonies. Personally served as key fundraiser, program organizer, speaker, and MC for the 2022 event. That ceremony drew 1,500 guests, involved 300 volunteers, and received very positive press (including in Florida Today), as well as accolades from the public who were in attendance.
Civic Activities and Contributions:
- Key Player in Securing $6 Million-plus to improve the Brevard VMC and VMP. Was VMC’s Key Player, working in conjunction with Brevard County, its Tourism Development Council, and the Merritt Island Development Agency (MIRA), to obtain grants and create/design an environmentally friendly project. The $6M+ was either paid out or fully committed by the end of FY 2022. The total project consists of four phases. When completed, the VMCNMP Complex should be the best in Florida (and perhaps other States) that is operated by Volunteers.
The two completed phases:
- Created a completely new Veterans Military Museum (1,600 sq ft) with a State Grant of $1.5 million in 2015. This three-story museum contains over 3,000 artifacts, to date, ranging from our War for Independence to the U.S. Space Force. Most of the artifacts were donated by Florida residents. Many of the museum’s displays reflect the service of named Florida residents and/or their families. One of the newest displays, In Remembrance of the Attacks on 9/11, includes actual beams from the World Trade Center and a large piece of the Pentagon wall. First Responders are honored in the display, and by a monument in Memorial Plaza.
- Repaired and upgraded the 1990 VMC building, which had been severely damaged by many hurricanes, with $650,000 raised from the Community. Outfitted the new museun and library with shelving and labels, and added a Museum Sales Store. Additionally, the funding allowed the creation of two private rooms for DAV Chapter 123’s 20 Veteran Service Officers, enhancing its support of more than 4,000 veterans and family members. Raised donations (both money and “in-kind”) over a three-year period from businesses, orgarnjzations, and individuals.
The two remaining phases will:
- Create a major Amphitheater (est. $2.5 million) which will accommodate 6,000.
- Finalize the Veterans Memorial Park Expansion (est. $1.5 million). This will include an expanded playground, electrical power and irrigation, a new building for food service and picnics, additional restrooms, exercise stations and additional landscaping with Memorial Trees.
- Hurricane Ian and Nicole relief. Coordinated efforts of JROTC, VMC and GDF to collect and send two truckloads of relief supplies to SW Florida and several truckloads to flood victims in Brevard County. This project lasted three months and involved 15 JROTC units (over 1,200 Cadets). During the process, a template was established for future use, when the need arises.
- Created “Brevard Vets Back to Class” Program to support Brevard County Schools. Worked with the Joe Foss Institute in Arizona to create this unique program. During the busiest of the program’s eight years, presentations were made to 6,214 students in 29 schools, to include home and private schools/academies. It currently includes 12 fully-vetted veterans. This program has drawn over 40 student class visits to the VMC where the young people were able to enjoy themselves, and learn about veterans and their accomplishments at its museum, library, and memorial plaza. Donn personally oversaw the creation of a new VMC “Traveling Trunk” Program, an original program enhancement, in which conflict-era artifacts are sent to schools for “hands on” experiences. During COVID, he made required adaptations to the original program because the schools prohibited outside visitors. Donn envisioned and coordinated the creation of 19 video media modules, filmed at the VMC Library. Those modules were then transmitted to the schools’ internal computer systems, and have since been seen by thousands of students. In 2019, the Joe Foss Institute presented its “Stars in Service” Award to this Program, and continues to tout it as a model for other educators.
- Since 2013, has spent 100s of hours presenting dozens of speeches, countless media interviews and written many news stories about veteran-related issues in Brevard County.
- Led the effort to create new VMC Committees to: identify the needs of and support women veterans; support local cemeteries with US flags, wreaths, and gravestone upkeep; and achieved increased usage by veterans and civilian groups of the entire VMCNMP Complex.
- Presented more than 200 “Honor and Remember” Flags to Gold Star Families, including 19 in Florida, over nine years.
- Coordinated an initiative with Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), VMC, MOAACC and MOPH Chapter 453 to identify and support needy veterans during the holidays, 2020 thru 2022.
- Arranged/regularly provided opportunities at the VMC for at least 35 veterans (to date) to perform VTC ordered Community Service.
- Crafted a unique-type VMC Veterans’ History Project, in coordination with the Library of Congress (LOC), which now includes the videotaped stories of more than 260 More than thirty of those stories were from now deceased WWII veterans. VMC provides free copies to the individual’s family, sends one to the LOC, and retains one at VMC for research and replacement purposes.
- Supervised the training program for more than 70 VMC Museum Docents, Librarians, and other
- Hosted and supervised an average of eight JROTC Events at VMCNMP annually for the past six The typical event included participation by 120 Cadets from 10 high schools, and had 200 parents/friends cheering them on.
- Briefed attendees, at both veteran and non-veteran related events being held at the VMC, about the various veterans’ events and programs available in the area. Briefings were given, on average, 15-20 times a year.
Awards and Honors:
- Selected to be Keynote Speaker for the 2022 Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)/Gold Star Family Appreciation Day Ceremony presented at the National Infantry Museum, Ft. Benning, GA. The audience numbered over 500 active-duty military and Gold Star family members, to include some families of the 13 service members who fell during the Afghanistan withdrawal.
- The President’s Volunteer Service Award – Gold Level (PVSA) [President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation] 2021. Over 1,800 hours.
- Var,ious MOAACC Awards: Past President Award, Distinguished Service Award, Outstanding Citizen Award, Florida Council of Chapters Leadership Award (x2), Co-Awardee, MOAA National Harris Communications Award (x2)
- Silvfr Leadership Award [Brevard County Sheriffs Office (BSCO)] 2019.
- Vet ran Service Winner [Space Coast Daily News] 2019.
- Meritorious Honor (1976) and Superior Honor (2000) Awards [US Department of State].
- US Army: National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Korea), Expert Infantryman Badge 1968 – 1972.
Donn Alden Weaver is very close to being a native Floridian. Although born in Massachusetts, from the age of four he grew up in Key West, Melbourne, and Ft. Walton Beach as both a Navy and a Space Program “Brat.” After seven years in California (where he completed high school and college), he returned to Cocoa Beach, which has been his home of record, the location of his marriage and family, and his frequent legal residence.
Donn and his wife of 52 years, Jeanne, have four children and 10 grandchildren.
When asked about the double “n” in his first name, Donn acknowledges that it was–more or less–a whim of his parents. But his middle name “Alden” is a tribute to his direct ancestor, John Alden, who was a Mayflower crewmember, signer of the Mayflower Compact, and very active public servant in the 17th century Plymouth Colony.
Donn is a Gold Star Father. His 26-year-old youngest son, US Army ILT Todd Weaver, was killed in combat actiol\ in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan in 2010, while serving as Platoon Leader, A Company, 502nd Battalion, 101st ABN/AA Division. Since that tragedy, Donn has been laser-focused on serving the needs of veterans and their families, as well as honoring the legacy of the fallen and helping their families. In 2013, he completed a 28-year US Foreign Service Officer career and returned to his home in Cocoa Beach. From that time on, Donn has devoted his immense talents, extensive experience, and boundless energy to helping veterans, their families, and the community in a myriad of ways.
But even Donn’s 2019 Presidential Award (PVSA-Gold Level), which recognized his outstanding volunteer contributions (over 1,800 hours) of community service to the United States, does not do him justice. In addition to his “full time” volunteer leadership positions in BVC, VMC, MOAACC and GDF, Donn has spent, on average, 30 hours per month for the last ten years planning/supporting special projects. Just a few examples of those projects are:
Keynote speaker for National Infantry Museum’s 2022 GWOT/Gold Star Family Appreciation Day.
- Developed special teams for Veterans’ History Project, Vets Back to Class, and Missing in America Project, which operate to meet Brevard-unique requirements and challenges.
- Guided the MOAACC’s monthly newsletters for five years, to receive multiple
Although Donn has many personal accomplishments, his most amazing and impactful ones are the result of a team effort, or many teams’ efforts. To successfully guide a team is often extremely time consuming, frustrating, and exhausting, but can produce spectacular results. Donn has achieved those results again and again! He has seen possibilities, made connections, brought together seemingly unrelated groups or individuals, been flexible/pivoted as needed, kept pushing, and orchestrated results that not only met individual needs, but were greatly beneficial to all. Some examples are:
Donn’s fingerprints are all over the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center and Park, both literally and figuratively. For ten years he has been the guiding hand and driving force behind the phenomenal growth of the VMC into a show place and umbrella facility providing multiple services for veterans and their families, as well as resources for the community at large.
- Organized the efforts of BVC’s pool of 500 members and VMC’s 75 Active Volunteers and Museum Docents to create an impressive, multi-purpose venue that can educate, inspire, resource, nurture and memorialize. Since 2016, it has welcomed, on average, 110,000 annual visitors. VMP has provided recreational opportunities for countless others.
- As the result of a six-year effort to expand fundraising and outreach, in 2022 GDF raised $120,000 for support of active-duty military and provided a record of $38,000 to 15 JROTC Programs, as well as separate grants to support local US Space Force, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard units.
Formed, in 2020, a VMC-based Women Veterans Support Committee and recruited 8 women veterans to staff it. Since then, the committee has helped more than 30 women veterans and families, with Donn ensuring that GDF funds were available when needed in special cases.
An attached photo, taken the morning after Veteran’s Day 2022, epitomizes just one of many, many similar GDF :presentation ceremonies. This one was notable because it capped a two-year effort between GDF, SCHF, and tq.e Florida Institute of Technology (Florida Tech) to create a unique grant what will fund the cost often Guardians to accompany (escort/support) veterans (WWII, Korea &Vietnam) on seven flights a year to visit their Memorials in Washington, DC. Five of the Guardians on the next Honor Flight will be Florida Tech ROTC Cadets, who will soon graduate and join the ranks of the military, and five will be veterans, who are currently enrolled in Florida Tech’s PhD Psychology Department, preparing to for jobs with the VA.
- Donn’s exceptional ability and experience in seeking grants, making contacts, and collecting donations led many successful community-wide They raised an average of $100,000 annually for non-profits and individuals in need.
Donn’s flexibility and persistence have been particularly invaluable when projects had to be delayed or modified, and cooperation had to be maintained between groups who were operating under different rules. Examples of his accomplishments:
During COVID’s severe restrictions: 19 videotaped modules of the Brevard Vets Back to Class Program were created and distributed to schools when outside visitors were not allowed.
During the aftermath of Hurricanes Ian and Nicole: The 2022 Stand Down to Stand Up at the FLNG Armory was smoothly rescheduled; multiple truckloads of relief supplies were delivered to stricken areas; and over 1,200 JR.OTC Cadets were able to take advantage of Service Opportunities.
Donn definitely inherited that Alden service gene! I have had to update this nomination many times because of yet another success or award for Donn or one of his organizations. For example, in December 2022 alone:
- GDF’s annual Golf Tournament raised an impressive $23,000 profit after expenses, which is more than doubled the amount of its previous most successful year.
GDF was recognized by 211 Brevard, Inc. (local community resource data base) as the Number One Superstar among 3 veteran related organizations present at their 8th annual “Stars of the Space Coast” Ceremony.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Donn Weaver is a one-man “force multiplier.” His many personal achievements are impressive, and his even more numerous team-effort accomplishments are world-class. This is even more remarkable because Donn’s efforts have been hampered by his Agent Orange-related disabilities. The State of Florida and its people have enjoyed innumerable, significant benefits from Donn’s laser-focused efforts, which are truly exceptional, and make him worthy of selection to the Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame.