Meet The Board

Colonel Bruce Host, US Air Force (Retired)

Founder

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)

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. 

1SG Daila Espeut-Jones, US Army (Retired)

Secretary

First Sergeant Espeut-Jones served in the United States Army from 1982 until 2004. First Sergeant Espeut-Jones’ intense interest in military and community affairs is reflected in her service as President of the Association of the United States Army Sunshine Chapter (“AUSA”).  In that role, she co-hosted monthly networking socials with community partners, hosted the Army Birthday Ball, hosted an annual Military Appreciation Night and arranged a diverse group of speakers to address the Chapter on topics of interest.  She works closely with military units stationed in the central Florida region. She now serves on the Veterans  Hall of Fame Society, INC. Board of Directors as Secretary.

Colonel Benjamin F Findley, USAF (Retired)

Vice President

Dr. Ben Findley has lived in Florida for over 36 years and he has made significant contributions to Florida Veterans devoting over 9,000 hours over his 11 retirement years alone to advocate for them. He has served over 7.000 Veterans directly & over 10.000 indirectly, and contributed over $40,000 in cash in his civic, business, public service, & other Veteran areas.

In the CIVIC area, he has helped & advocated for Florida Veterans in the community by getting results in his roles for the health, safety, education, & support of military Veterans.

He now serves on the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame Society, INC. Board of Directors as Vice President. 

Captain Thomas G. Gates, USAF (Retired)

Director

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.

Commander Dennis 0. Baker, US Navy (Retired)

Director

As a Veteran’s Veteran, Commander Baker leads by example. He is a leader, collaborator, innovator,arbitrator and peacemaker. He networks with an attitude of “mutual trust, confidence, and respect” and wins just about any negotiation for the Veteran.

His creative abilities are often looked to by senior state leadership to find amicable ways to solve issues and provide results. Has the ear of senior state leadership, legislators, agencies, and communities. His success in delivery of relief to countless veterans is without peer. 

Captain Reuter (Roto), US Navy (Retired)

Director

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.