Michael Bousher - US Army - Palm Harbor, Florida
Education and Training Accomplishments:
- Erasmus Hall High School – 1969
- Two Years Night School under GI Bill at Fordham University – 1974-1975
- Telecommunication Career Training – Present
- Management Training at University of Michigan – 1980
Professional and Employment History;
- Florida Veterans Council Chairman – 2018-2022
- Vietnam Veterans of America State President – 2016-2020
- Florida Vietnam Veterans Assistance Foundation President – 2012-2016
- Vietnam Veterans of America (WA) Chapter President. – Multiple Years
- VVA Various Board Positions on State and Chapter Organization – 1998-2022
- JP Morgan Chase Regional Technology Manager – 1982-2014
- Equitable Life Assurance Network Technician – 1974-1982
- Equitable Life Assurance Underwriting Analysis – 1971-1974
- Lifetime Member of Vietnam Veterans of America
- Lifetime Member of Veterans of Foreign Wars
- American Legion Member
- Advocacy on Behalf of Veterans:
As the Chairman for the Florida Veteran’s Council (FVC), Mike led theBig Six Veteran Services Organizations and many small organizations in supporting andinitiating State Veterans Legislation. The impact of Mr. Bousher’s leadership is second to none. He has worked feverishly to bring all areas of Veteran Advocacy into a one-stop shop for benefits, legislature, assistance, and mental health.
- As Chairman of the Florida Veterans Council, he works closely with the Florida Department of Veteran Affairs and the Florida Veteran’s Foundation in supportof all Veterans in the state of Florida. Mike has become the resident resource mogul for the State of Florida. He knowledge of every Veterans’ organization communities, strengths/weaknesses of each, and their effectiveness of serving their Veterans. More especially his encyclopedic knowledge of the Veterans Administration rules that govern Veterans’ service and application are second to none.
- As Vietnam Veterans of America State President, he instituted two major programs with all 31 chapters. The first program was finding pictures and names of all Florida Soldiers on the Vietnam Veterans Wall in Washington, D.C. They worked with genealogists and others in the state to accomplish this task. There is now a picture and biography of every Florida Solider on “The Wall”. The second was the Missing in America Program to find unclaimed Veterans’ remains in funeral homes to give them a proper Military funeral. A task that most would shy from!!
- As the WA State President, he also acted as Hurricane Relief Coordinator, working with the Tallahassee chapter to provide water, MRE’s, generator for operation of a well and financial assistance to Veterans in need in the Mexico City area. His energy and respected command of the chapters lent itself to the humanitarian success for not only Veterans, but for all.
- Also, working with Tallahassee Chapter 96, Mike coordinated a truck load of relief supplies to the Marathon chapter that was affected by Hurricane Irma. His example of relief to Veterans in Distress inspired many throughout the panhandle to jump in and provide service to the catastrophic need of others. Provided Financial Assistance to all chapters effected by Hurricanes during his tenure as State President. Mr. Bousher utilized the resources that he knew were available and those resources quickly responded to his “ask” because he has an exceptional way of articulating the return on investment to the communities. Mike personally called upon the Florida Veterans Foundation for their emergency financial resources. I know this because I was the President at the time and when he asked for anything we knew that there was a genuine need.
- As Pinellas County Chapter President, he instituted a Civic program where the chapter supported a handicapped children’s fishing tournament. At the tournament they provided security and the children were given medals and goody bags as they left the pier. Also, he initiated the chapter support of the “Gold Star Mothers” program by providing them with a Color Guard for their events and honoring them at a dinner. 20 years later, both programs continue to flourish.
- As Vice President at JP Morgan Chase, he was the Veteran Lead for Tampa Veteran Employees. He held monthly meetings for Veterans and coordinated the “Battle Buddy” program, linking Veteran employees of the same service with new hires. As Veteran Lead, he was involved in giving multiple houses away to Disabled Veterans. JP Morgan Chase provided the house and he worked with three 501C3 non-profits, who retrofitted the house for the veteran. Houses were given away at various concerts and sporting events.
- Spoke at the “Great American Teach In” events at local high schools and provided medals to ROTC students. A VERY well-respected Veteran throughout the Veteran and Community services.
- He was a speaker at Memorial Day and Veterans Day events and the numbers of times that Mike has spoken are many. He is a very humble servant who doesn’t journal his achievements. He performs and then goes on to the next event, not looking back for accolades.
- He is a member of the Chapter Color Guard. This service cannot be described by one lonely sentence. There is a tremendous amount of effort and time donated by this group and they can be dialed up on short notice to be there for the Veteran who is ready to be interred and the Color Guard must put life aside for that time to let the families know that Veterans are there to take care of other Veterans to the end. That can be in extreme heat or cold. And the service of the Color Guard is always there for all the Veteran Events requiring the regalia that sets us apart from others. Pride and Tradition.
- He is a most valuable member of the “Governor’s Veteran Suicide Challenge”. He has worked with state agencies, Veterans Administration and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMSA) in putting Veteran suicide prevention programs together to help eliminate Veteran suicide. Again, no small task and is the most critical need that Veterans have when they are in crisis/despair. He understands the need and has a huge connection to the Mental Health agencies throughout Florida for Veteran and Civilian communities.
- Mike was the impetus and energy throughout Florida for the now famous Memorial Day 2022, Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans, which was attended by tens of thousands. An incredible testament to his passion for Vietnam Veterans.
- Mr. Bousher vehemently advocated for the Women Veterans in Florida through his hard work of coordination and networking within the State. His personal agenda served to connect the Women Veterans to Benefits and counseling. It was the act of caring that drew many to connect with those in the state at every level to serve this Veteran group.
- Mr. Bousher was my personal contact on countless occasions for getting action within the ranks of the many congressionally mandated Veteran Service Organizations within the state. Most significant was “Operation Forward March”, which was a key program started by Governor Ron DeSantis and supported by the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs. Mike rallied the troops throughout the state in his many networks and educated them on the importance of the scope and importance of the program. For eight months Mike collaborated and attended events to demonstrate his undaunted leadership. This was vital to energize theregional groups to find solutions to Veterans issues; Mental Health, earned benefits, Veterans Treatment Courts, Women Veterans needs and involvement. There were many critical issues identified and assigned to action. His importance cannot be understated.
- Served as a mentor and resource for Veterans Treatment Court, ultimately effecting a statewide initiative for legislation.
- Changed the face of the Florida Veterans Council to be extraordinary.
Hand picked to lead “Operation Roll Call” by the Executive Director, Florida Department of Veterans Affairs. Mike was a most obvious choice due to his incredible successes, ability to lead others, knowledge of Vietnam Veterans issues and the Veterans Administration, and the communities that would be supporting the effort. The Vietnam Veterans Outreach Program is comprised of:
- Serving the 484,000 Vietnam Era veterans in the state of Florida
- On-site coordination for 20 sites statewide Site selection
- Speaker recruitment and management
- Program development
- Coordinating immediate claims assistance for Veterans
- Local business and service organizations will be asked to provide attendance incentives
- Coordinate with B&A for VCE support
Civic Activities and Contributions:
- Former Member of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
- Instituted a Civic activity with “Make A Difference” Fishing Tournament for Handicapped Children
- Presented Veterans with new homes as part of JP Morgan Chase Veterans Program
- Speaker at high school for the Great American Teach In and presented awards of merit to ROTC students
- Member of Gus Bilirakis and Charlie Crist Veterans Liaison Groups
Awards and Honors:
- Two Bronze Stars
- Combat Infantry Badge
- National Defense Service Medal
- Vietnam Campaign Medal W/60
- Vietnam Service Medal
- M-14 Expert
- M-16 Expert
Mike Bousher is the quintessential Veteran Advocate, and then some. You will have to travel far and dig deep to find another with his excellence, successes, reputation, and respect. His existence revolves around the service of others regardless of diversity, military status, community, cooperation and so on. I have called upon him and he magically finds the time to serve. The most difficult challenge for me was to squeeze information from him to be able to write his story.
Mike was born in London, England in 1949 and immigrated to the United States in 1954 with his parents and three siblings. At the age of 18, he became an American citizen and was drafted into the US Army at 19 years old. He did his basic training and AIT Training in Ft. Gordon, GA. He received orders for Vietnam and spent a year in country with the 1st Infantry Division and the 198th Light Infantry Brigade. After Vietnam, he married and raised three children. In 1998, with his children being older, he began his involvement with Veterans and held various chapter and state positions before leading the State and Veterans Councils.
Mike’s long Veteran Advocacy stretches 24 years. Within that time, he has become a powerhouse of getting things done. He has, during his tenure at the Florida Veterans Council, literally changed the face of this organization through “nose to the Grindstone” work ethic and his exceptional, cooperative spirit. He gained the trust and confidence of the many organizations and proved the worth of the functionality of the Florida Veterans Council. In my time of 7 years knowing his work I personally watched in awe as he transcended all to become a power of Veteran Advocacy to be reckoned with. I watched a time of ineffective legislative gains by them in support of Veterans. Mike now enjoys his legacy of watching the close work between the Florida Veterans Council and the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs. I am very proud to know this “Change Agent.” He makes coming to work a pleasure to observe the forward movement of everything that he is collaboration with.
He was my personal contact on countless occasions for getting results within the ranks of the many congressionally mandated Veteran Service Organizations within the state. I can’t think of any Veteran Advocate in the state who doesn’t know his success. As I write this nomination for this exceptionally gifted soul, I called the National Gold Star Mothers Association in Washington D. C. to get the number of Florida’s Gold Star President. I happened to speak with the President of the National Gold Star Mothers Association and said that I was looking for the local leader to give me information on Mike for his nomination. Like I said, he wasn’t forthcoming about his work because he is VERY modest. The President then said, “Oh, we love Mike, he has done great for the Gold Star Mothers on the national level.” So, to prove my point, Mike Bousher has no boundaries in his work. The Florida American Gold Star Mother President, Annette Kirk just called and said that 12 years ago when her son was killed in action that Mike showed up to pay respects and from that time, he has paid honors to the Kirk family every year and more. They spoke about the compassionate warrior that most of us know.
Mike captures all those admirable attributes that set him apart and above any measure that I know of relating to service to Veterans. He has my unequivocal, strongest recommendation for induction into the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame, Class of 2022. I can’t express through words his value to our State and to ALL Veterans nationwide. Simply said, Mike Bousher is a “SUPERSTAR!” Make him your #1 Selection!!!