Meet The Board

Colonel Bruce Host, USAF (Retired)

Founder and President

Retired Air Force Colonel Bruce J. Host is a distinguished aviator and Vietnam War Veteran who has lived a life of noteworthy public service and elected Leon County Commissioner. He worked to complete major infrastructure in public works projects benefiting all services.

A former president of his local Kiwana‘s Club and homeowners association, he helped create the FSU Student Veteran Center and establish in perpetuity a Florida Veterans Hall of Fame and the Florida Veterans’ Hall Of Fame Society, Inc. 

First Sergeant Thomas S. Rice, US Army (Retired)

Vice President

Retired Army First Sergeant Thomas S. Rice has made Okaloosa County a premier destination for veterans of all ages. From establishing the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast at Elgin Air Force Base to escorting 900 World War II veterans to the National World War II Memorial in Washington DC, his remarkable service to veteran related causes has garnered him many national honors. A local restaurant owner. He serves on the Veterans Florida Board of Directors.

David Rose, US Army Veteran

Secretary Chair 50th Commemoration - Webmaster - Author - Videographer - Photographer - Chair Presidential Awards - Chair Operation: Interview - Chair County Plaques Project - Society Representative Heroes Honor Festival

David was drafted after college and served in the US Army as a Conscientious Objector Combat Trauma Medic during the Vietnam War. After 45 years of running from his feelings and thoughts, David met his PTS head on.

Lieutenant Commander Herlena Washington, USN (Retired)


Herlena Washington served in the US Navy for 25 years as a Healthcare Administrator. Her leadership experience involved all facets of Naval Operations, Strategic Planning, budget, resource management, change management, supply training and leadership development.

  • Herlena is Community Chairperson for Jax Chapter of the National Naval Officers Association. Spearheading all community events – feeding the homeless, serving vets.
  • She was Immediate Past President of Beta Alpha Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. (3 yrs)
  • She spearheads the week long military events held in Nov for 3 years. Feeding and providing clothing for the homeless, wreaths across America, Veterans parade, and serving the VA clinic of Jax.

Captain Thomas G. Gates, USAF

Chair Special Projects

Thomas G. Gates is an aviator who served two combat tours with the Air Force during the Vietnam War. An Eagle Scout and graduate of the University of South Florida, he spent a distinguished career in the FBI following active duty service.

Returning to his USF roots, he campaigned for institutional and community support for veterans programs at the university, which led to Military Times ranking USF as top in the nation in supporting student veterans.

Dr. David L. Goetsch, USMC Veteran


After voluntarily serving his country in the United State Marine Corps, Dr. Goetsch has spent the rest of his life to date serving the people of Florida, with an emphasis on veterans and military personnel.

In our region of the state, no one is better known or more respected for his contributions to veterans, military personnel, and the state through higher education and economic development.

Captain Reuter (Roto), US Navy (Retired)


Although his “life’s plan” has been filled with successes and blessings, growing up as a young boy, Roto watched our space program grow, and wanted to be an astronaut. It was on THAT path to fulfilling his dream, he joined the NROTC, and was commissioned into the Navy, later designated as a naval aviator. And even though he gave it his best shot, his “dream” of becoming an astronaut never came to fruition, however in the process of trying to reach it, he became a successful and respected Navy pilot and officer.

One of his more demanding positions was as a test pilot, where his focus and that of his team’s, was ensuring the safety for our nation’s pilots who would eventually use the same equipment after it was fielded

Gregory P. Holder - USAF - Tampa, FL

Legal Counsel

“Service to the Nation, Community, and to our Veterans and their families” – if one would look this up in a dictionary, one might very well see a picture of retired Air Force Colonel and retired 13th Judicial Circuit Veterans Treatment Court Judge, Gregory P. “Greg” Holder. The son of a WWII/Korean Conflict and Air Force SMSgt Paul Holder, and Air Force veteran Alice Holder, Greg quickly excelled in school which led to Presidential and Senatorial appointments to West Point, the US Naval Academy, and the US Air Force Academy. His attendance to West Point, and follow-on commissioning in the US Air Force, later led to his selection to the Air Force Funded Legal Education Program and receiving his Juris Doctor Degree in 1981 from Stetson Law School. Throughout his military career (both active and reserve) he served in a variety of legal and judicial positions of increasing responsibility in Florida, and in global assignments.