John Gionet - USMC - Orlando, FL

Education and Training Accomplishments:

  • Graduated High School in June 1970
  • Graduated U S Marine Corps Boots Camp 19 Oct 1970
  • Was a graduate of Corporal’s Course in 1972
  • Was a graduate of Staff NCO Academy in 1978 (Graduated in the top 10 percent)
  • Got the highest grade on the East Coast for an IG Inspection as the NCOIC of Files and Management 1978 (earned a Navy Achievement Medal)
  • Was a graduate of 1st Sergeant Academy in 1989
  • Served on Inspector Instructor Duty and organized and participated in hundreds of funeral details and other casualty assistance requests.
  • Was either a Toys for Tots Coordinator or and assistant for more that 7 years.
  • Responsible for collection, organization, and distribution of Toys locally.
  • Tied the highest grade in WestPac for an IG Inspection as the NCOIC of the S1 Shop
  • Passed the MCDOSETT inspection with a low discrepancy rate for financial entries related to personnel
  • Was a graduate of Sgt Major Academy in 1994
  • Attended Recruiting School in 1997
  • Graduated College in 2004 with a BA in Administration with a 4.0 GPA
  •  Instituted a risk management program that helped the Recruiting Station earn the Recruiting Station of the Year in 2000
  • Received a BA Degree in Administration from the University of Arizona 2004
  • Completed Project Alert and is a certified trainer for Drug Demand Reduction
  • Received Leadership School Director Training and to-date has planned an executed more than 40 Leadership Schools graduating more than 3,500 leaders
  • Was a schoolteacher for Stonewall Jackson middle school and received the following training.
  • Teachers certificate from the University of Central Florida
  • ESOL Training
  • Kept up his certificate and attended all required annual training o Kept up his first aid and CPR qualification current

Professional or Employment History:

United States Marine Corps

  • Entered Active Duty on 21 Aug 1970
  • Retired from Active Duty 1 Oct 2000
  • Attained the Rank of Sergeant Major
  • Retired from the Marine Corps Recruiting Station Orlando, FL, was part of the team when they were selected Recruiting Station of the Year 2000.
  • Spent time reading the Gospel during Sunday Masses on base
  • Was assigned youth and worked with them on attaining confirmation

Public School System

  • Was hired as a School Teacher to start a Young Marines Program at Stonewall Jackson Middle School in Orlando, FL. Averaged 120 plus Young Marines Annually, and took them to Washington, DC to see the Capitol and our American Heritage
  • Took the Young Marines to Charleston, SC to see the History of the Civil War, American Revolution, World War II and Vietnam. In addition, they toured the Medal of Honor Museum.
  • The Young Marines provide Color Guards and other services to local veteran’s organizations, The Cpl Larry E. Smedley Museum, The Cpl Larry E Smedley Marine Corps League Detachment #064, American Legions, Mayor of Orange County, Mayor of Orlando, and other veteran activities in and around Orange County.
  • Averaged more than 10,000 man-hours annually for veterans and civic community events.

Advocacy on Behalf of veterans:

Marine Corps League:

  • Drafted and executed a Veteran’s relief fund to aid Veterans in Need
  •  Started Operation Mobility—where handicapped equipment was awarded to veteran’s who could not afford.
  • Has provided more than $5,000 in scholarships to Veterans and children of veterans. 
  • Visited Patients Weekly in the Domiciliary
  • Visited Patients in local nursing homes
  • Department of Florida Chapel of Four Chaplains Chairman—responsible for recognizing veterans who make self-sacrifice in their local community. Has awarded more than 75 recipients.
  • Organizes an award ceremony to recognize recipients all over the State of Florida and has collected over several thousands of dollars that is given to the National Chapel of Four Chaplains Foundation in, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Is a member of the 50th Anniversary of Vietnam veterans and has pinned over 1,500 members in the last 6 plus years.
  • Has participated or attended numerous funeral and burial ceremonies in the State of Florida
  • Held the POW/MIA billet: Was responsible for setting up the POW/MIA table and present the ceremony before each banquet meal.
  • Was the Marine Corps League Detachment Chaplain for 5 plus years from 2017 to 2021. Was responsible for sending get well cards, working with bereaved spouses and family members.
  • Assisted in obtaining service documents and filling out paperwork and providing information on updating dependent ID cards.
  • Currently the Marine Corps League Department of Florida’s Jr. Vice Commandant since 2020 and successfully complete the duties as Judge Advocate.
  • Currently the Smart Dog (Judge Advocate) for the Department of Florida Military Devil Dogs, Florida Pack.
  • Eagle Scout Liaison—coordinated and presented numerous Eagle Scouts their MCL Certificate of Commendation
  • Chaplain for the MCL Detachment Young Marines Regimental Commander Young Marines March 2003 through July 2012
  • Responsible for 1 Regiment 5 Battalions and 20 Young Marine Units
  • Under his leadership and mentorship 2 Units were National Young Marine Units of the Year and 2 Young Marines were National Young Marines of the Year
  • Under his command from March 2003 to July 2012 they performed more than 280,582 hours of community service. This equates to $7,384,942 paid service hours based on the Florida Corporate rate for one hour of volunteer service, which is $26.32 per hour.
  • Annually (last 20 years) attends the Adult Leaders Symposium for adult volunteer training. Covers child risk management, leadership, instructing, physical fitness, program updates, etc.
  • Has volunteered more than 15,000 hours to veterans in the last 10 plus years.
  • Wreaths Across America, Chapel of Four Chaplains, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, POW/MIA Day, Gold Star Mother’s Day, Veterans Day, etc. 
  • Trained and organized Color Guards for significant events in Orange County,
  • Grand Opening of the Joint Armed Reserve Center in Orlando, FL
  •  Organized and provided Color Guards for funerals in Bushnell, Cape Canaveral and local cemeteries in and around Orange County.
  • Organized 3 trips, fundraised over $50,000 and averaged about 24 Young Marines each trip to march in the Pearl Harbor Commemoration Parade and visit and honor World War II sites, like the USS Arizona, the USS Missouri, Pearl Harbor, and other local historical events. They were assigned to escort the survivors of Pearl Harbor and carry flags with photos of veteran’s from Pearl Harbor. 2011, 2014 and 2016.
  • Organized and fundraised over $9,000 for a trip to take about 14 Young Marines to participate and recognize the Navajo Code Talkers from WW II. They marched in the parade and were able to meet and talk to WW II Navaho Code Talkers. 2015
  • Was a chaperone to 16 Young Marines who visited Iwo Jima for the 70th Annual Re-Union of Honor trip in 2015
  • Was a chaperone to 14 Young Marines who visited WW 1 and WW II sites in France. Belleau Woods, Normandy, and other significant battle sites in France in 2018
  • Selected and served as a National Chaperone for Leadership Schools, National Encampments, UN Trip to NY
  • Was the National Leadership School Director for Advanced leadership and planned and executed 6 National Advanced Leadership Schools graduating over 300 Advanced Leaders from across the Nation.
  • Was awarded The Enrique “Kiki” Camarena Award (for a Unit that contributed to Drug Demand Reduction in honor of FBI Agent Enrique Camarena 5 times. Two (2) 1st Places, two (2) 2nd places and one (1) third place.
  • Annually sponsored 2 Leadership Schools for Junior and Senior Young Marines and graduated over 1000 Young Marines
  • Annually planned and executed summer camp that accommodated up to 300 Young Marines and Adult Volunteers
  • Annually planned and executed Regimental Competition for Physical Fitness, Close Order Drill, Color Guard, and a Regimental Field meet for up to 250 Young Marines and Adult Volunteers
  • Planned and executed an Adult Volunteer Symposium for professional training, program updates, and the status of the Young Marines and where we want to be.
  • Grew the Young Marines program from 11 Units to 20 Young Marine Units.
  • Started a Scholarship Program under his wife’s name Cpl JoAnne B. Gionet for Young Marines graduating out of the program. To-date more than 50 $500 checks have been issued and enough funds are available to administer another 50 plus checks to Young Marines entering any institution of higher learning.
  • Published Drill meet regulations and Field meet regulations (that were previously non-existent)
  • Partnered with numerous schools in several counties by having Young Marines teach Drug Demand Reduction to the students and faculty.
  • Raised $10,000 to erect a monument to recognize the sacrifice of the 4 Chaplains who gave their life during WW II. Working with a local monument company to finalize the last process.
  • Responsible for up to 7 States which had 5 Regiments, 15 Battalions and 52 plus Young Marine Units.
  • Under his leadership and mentorship 5 Units were National Young Marine Units of the Year and 1Young Marine was National Young Marine of the Year title.
  • Under his command from July 2012 to April 2022 they performed more than 950,672 hours of civic community service. This equates to $24,451,283 paid service hours based on the Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee,
  • Young Marines Division Three Commander from July 2012 to Current
  • Alabama, North Carolina, and Mississippi’s Corporate average rate for one hour of volunteer service, which is $25.72 per hour.
  •  In addition, all the Young Marines and Adult Volunteers attended or provided more than 202,124 hours of drug demand reduction classes in order to promote a healthy drug free life.
  • Travels and speaks to veteran organizations about the Young Marines.
  •  Works with Marine Corps league detachments on starting a Young Marine Unit.
  •  Plans and executes Division Summer camps in odd number years that accommodates up to 350 Young Marines and Adult Volunteers. Has held several in the State of Florida and several in Georgia and North Carolina.
  • Recognizes veterans Organizations that take the time to either sponsor a Young Marine Unit or provides funds to Young Marine units. 
  • As the Division Commander overseeing up to 52 units that provide more than 75,000 hours of civic community service annually. 
  • In the State of Florida, he over sees 1 regiment, 5 Battalions and up to 20 Young Marine units and they average more than 35,000 hours of civic community service.
  • During hurricane Ida 2021 which affected Louisiana, Alabama, and Tennessee, organized a disaster relief program that was able to provide more than $15,000 worth of needed supplies. Utilized Amazon prime and created a list where anyone could purchase items on the list. This Relief Fund assisted local Young Marine Units, Marine Corps League Detachments, Veterans, and local first responders.
  • Arranged and locked on the Young Marine Color Guard and Chaperones for the Florida veterans Hall of Fame inductees Class of 2021 at the State Capitol.
  • Marine Corps League VAVS Officer
  • Was assigned the VAVS officer for the Marine Corps League since 2018
  • Has fundraised and collected items to be provided to veteran’s living in the CLC.
  • During the pandemic was able to assist and provide more than $8,000 of items, Teddy Bears, Christmas Stockings, Lap Blankets, Gift cards, etc.
  • Attends quarterly meetings and can assist when a volunteer is needed
  • Has earned over 20 Awards from the Marine Corps League Veterans Service Officer for donations, funds, volunteer hours, and in-kind donations.
  • Under his leadership the following was recorded for the Cpl Larry E. Smedley’s MCL Detachment #064 commitment to veterans and submitted to the department of Florida MCL VAVS Officer: 2016 to 2021

          o VA Hours: 6,684 hours
          o Non-VA Hours: 43,210 hours
          o VA Donations: $14,549.99
          o Non-VA Donations: $284,429.28
          o Donations made to a VA Center: $9853.8
          o Donations made to a non-VA Center: $49,174.47

Civic Activities and Contributions:

Mayor of Orange County Veterans Advisory Council:

  • Is a member of the Mayor of Orange County’s Veterans Advisory Council 10 plus years.

           o Provided Color Guards for Orange County veterans Events, Memorial Day, Parades, Wreaths Across America, Gold Star Mothers Events,
          o Has participated and helped coordinate Orange County Veterans events, Memorial Day, Wreaths Across America, Gold Star Mother’s Events, POW/MIA Day, Flag Day, Armed Forces Day, WW II, Korean, Vietnam and Iraqi/Desert Storm events.

  • Is a lifetime member of the Central Florida Marine Corps Foundation 10 plus years 

​          o Has assisted with their Golf Tournament          o Attends their monthly general meetings
          o Provides assistance to the programs they support, scholarships, veterans, and their annual birthday ball.
Mayor of Orlando Veteran’s Advisory Council: Was a member for a couple of years and organized Color Guards for events sponsored by the council. For example, Memorial Day, veterans Day, etc.

Azalea Park United Methodist Church

  • Is currently serving as the Lay Leader since 2018
  • Held Board of Trustee ‘s position for 4 years 2014 – 2018
  • Works with Santiago and Friends and Autism School
  • Organizes and conducts events to recognize our Veterans on significant National Events, like Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Flag Day, etc.
  • Created and presents Certificates of Remembrance to Families who have lost a veteran.
  • Was a founding member and helped organize Bingo events at the VA Hospital in Baldwin Park and at Lake Nona
  •  Organized and executed car washings to fund raise monies for veteran outreach.
  • Helped organize care packages for military family members of St Luke’s

Personal Leadership Opportunities: Is frequently asked to be a guest speaker for Marine Corps Birthday Balls, Veterans Events, Churches, Schools, and other civic based organizations.

Boy Scouts of America 10 Years

  • Scoutmaster
  • District Chairman-Organized multiple camporees for up to 1200 scouts and adult volunteers
  • District Commissioner
  • Eagle Scout Advisor—helped mentor 30 plus scouts to Eagle Scout
  • Merit Badge Advisor
  • Completed Wood Badge Training
  • Completed Scoutmaster Training
  • Train the Trainer-Planned, conducted and executed leadership training for adults and scouts
  • Planned, organized, and executed a weeklong trip on the Appalachian Trail for 30 scouts and adults. Traveled from Springer Mountain, GA to Unicoi Gap, GA.

Awards or Honors:

  • Detachment Marine of the Year Marine Corps League 2014
  • Department of Florida Marine of the Year Marine Corps League 2016
  • Department of Florida Marine Corps League Commandant of the Year 2020
  • Distinguished Order of Merit Young Marines 2012 (highest Award given)
  • Chapel of Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Humanitarian 2016
  • Unit Commander of the Orlando Devil Dogs when they were selected as the National Young Marine Unit of the Year 2012 and 2004
  • Young Marines Division Three Adult Volunteer of the year
  • Presidential Service Award-Life Time Achievement several times.
  • Distinguished Citizen’s Gold-Marine Corps League (National Award)
  • Distinguished Citizen’s Silver-Marine Corps League 6 times (Department of Florida Award)
  •  Distinguished Citizen’s Bronze-Marine Corps League 7 times (Department of Florida Award)
  •  Scoutmaster of the Year for the Scouts of America
  • Pack Leaders Meritorious Commendation 3 awards
  • Awarded Military Order of Devil Dogs, Dog of the Year for the Sgt G. B. Reasner Pound #124 in 2019
  • Selected as the Orlando Business Journal’s Veteran of Influence 2021
  • Awarded the Department of Defense Fulcrum Shield Award 2014 (only one Youth group is selected in the Nation for Drug Demand Reduction)
  • Earned Roman Catholic St Georges Catholic Medal for working with the scouts of America
  • Earned the Wood Badge from the Scouts of America
  • Was awarded Recruiter of the Year Department of Indiana
  • Was selected as the Tri-County Service Person of the Year in South Carolina
  • Was honored as Volunteer of the Month by United Way in South Carolina
  • Requested and received over 400 Red Ribbon Week Proclamations for Drug Demand Reduction in Orange and surrounding counties in the last 10 years.
  • Received plaques and awards from Mayors and Police Departments for mentoring today’s Youth to stay of Drugs and making significant contributions to help reduce drug usage.
  •  Recognized by Whose Who of America in 2022.
  • Was awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
  • Was Awarded the DOD Meritorious Service Medal
  •  Was Awarded the Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal 3 times
  • Was awarded the Navy Marine Corps Achievement medal


I have known and worked with Sgt. Major Giont for years on both the Orange County and Orlando Mayors Veterans Advisory Councils. John is a professional volunteer whose passion is taking care of our veterans and making today’s youth tomorrow’s leaders. Under his mentorship hundreds of youths have joined the military and hundreds have attended college.

Performed well over 50,000 hours of community service in the last 28 years

Has trained and mentored thousands of youths not only in Florida but all 50 states in the United States of America. His leadership has impacted not only America’s youth, adult volunteers, his community, but has significantly assisted in veterans and service men and women on active duty.

Has participated in the Toys for Tots program for over 8 years in multiple states to include the state of Florida. His dedication and commitment met the spirit and intent of the Toys for Tots program servicing over a 1,000, 000 children.

His significant contributions and impact in his local community goes above and beyond what is expected of a volunteer.

He is an advocate for our veterans and those servicemen and service women who are serving our country. His countless hours of service, dedication and loyalty to today’s youth, America’s veterans and those currently serving the United States of America is more than commendable.

More than doubled the number of veteran’s organizations supporting Young Marines from 23 percent to more than 68 percent.

I am Nominating Sgt. Major John Gionet because of his exemplary service to the Central Florida Veterans Community and impeccable history doing so. I don’t know of anyone whose achievements are more deserving of this nomination!