Robert White - US Army Veteran - West Park, FL
Sergeant Robert White was in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. Bobby’s motto is, “Keeping the Promise”. He was born in Miami, Florida and has lived in Florida for over 66 years. Robert is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Florida.
He has spent over 40 years helping Veterans as a counselor and in many other roles. He has counseled Veterans in outreach programs, screened cases and submitted recommendations to programs and court. He has held workshops pertaining to drugs and crime, and social cultural awareness. One example of this kind of Veteran Symposium workshop was given August 17, 2016. Robert put together the speakers, community organizations and Veterans to address current issues facing our communities in Broward County, Florida and across the country. The symposium featured an open dialogue focused on the growing feelings of insensitivity by Police towards the African- American community, a support system for the Police Department and concerns about Veterans taking action. The symposium also featured discussion about our local defense plans against terrorism and goals of gaining a better understanding of our local judicial system. Guest speakers were from the FBI, Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel, Broward County State Attorney, Michael Satz, and Chief Medical Officer, Philip B Greenberg, M.D. from the William “Bill” King VA Clinic in Broward County, FL.
Robert White has served the Veteran community as Commander of VFW Post 8195 for 13 years and Vice-Commander of the American Legion Post 29 for 5 years. As Commander, he has advocated for Veterans at the local level and at State VFW and American Legion meetings. He is co-founder of The Stone of Hope program at VFW 8195 and is Executive Director of the Stone of Hope Military Outreach and Wellness Center. This program enables Veterans to get benefit counseling, individual, group and family counseling, acupuncture, Reiki and massage all in a one stop Center. The Wellness Center did 556 treatments of acupuncture and massage for PTSD from February 1, 2016 to December 31,2016.
Robert White has contributed and is continuing to contribute to the Mental, Physical and Emotional well-being of Veterans. As one of the Acupuncture Physicians at the Wellness Center, I see Veterans with stories of their PTSD. One Veteran, I will call him Joe, came to me and after a few treatments of the N.A.D.A.’s (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) ear protocol of 5 needles in each ear for 45 minutes. Joe told me at the next appointment that his neighbors see a change in him. They said before CQ you would just walk by us, not acknowledge us, not talk to us, have your head down, but now you are so smiling, and stop to talk to us. “We want some of what you are getting”. Joe has made a step forward out of his social isolation. John, another Veteran, said “You were the one who introduced me to ear acupuncture in 2008, now I come for the acupuncture and massage because I feel good after the treatment”.
I met Robert White in the Summer of 2008 after an article was printed in the Sun-Sentinel newspaper explaining about how Veterans do not get the care they need for P.T.S.D. symptoms. I contacted the reporter and he gave me Robert’s phone number to contact at the Ft. Lauderdale Veterans Center. I called him to tell him I could help with ear acupuncture called, the N.A.D.A. protocol. He agreed to meet with me and I presented a folder with many facts and information about the procedure. He called me back and had me come to the Vet Center to introduce the counselors to the procedure and receive a treatment. I then volunteered on Tuesday evenings before the Vietnam Veterans had their group meetings. Many Veterans benefitted with better sleep, less anxiety, decrease in anger issues, ability to function better in day to day activities and their job and relationships. Had Robert White not said yes to this holistic modality, many Veterans would still be having problems with insomnia, social isolation, anxiety, anger, hypervigilance and depression. Robert has made a difference in many Veteran’s lives, like Joe and John.
Robert White had a vision, for the Veterans of Post 8195, and the American Legion Post 29. He presented his vision to the Board Members and members of Post 8195 and they bought another building, two doors down from their social, meeting hall. The first floor houses the benefit counseling, re-adjustment counseling, family, group and individual counseling and referrals for homeless and job-seeking Veterans. The Wellness Center upstairs provides acupuncture and massage. Once a month, Veterans receive Reiki during their Tuesday evening meeting. VFW 8195 Stone of Hope Military Outreach and Wellness Center fills a need and Robert saw that need. Veterans who would like to receive acupuncture must be on a waiting list at the VA hospital for up to 6 months to receive a treatment. The Wellness Center is available the same week they call for an appointment. The Wellness Center will expand this year to not only include Veterans from Post 8195, and the American Legion Post 29, but will also include VFW Post 2500 and any other Veterans and families in the Broward and Miami- Dade County area who would like to use the services of the Wellness Center.
Robert has many other accomplishments:
- National Chairman of the African-American Working Group,
- Commissioner for commission for Veteran Affairs
- Executive Director/President of Florida Veteran’s Chamber of Commerce.
Robert White has a large network of people, businesses, educators, community agencies and officials who he can call upon to advocate for Veterans. It is my hope that Robert White’s vision will be a state model for other VFW’s in the state of Florida to use to help Veterans with their P.T.S.D. and other issues that holistic healthcare can help. At a recent Fl. state VFW meeting in Orlando, the state Commander spoke to the convention about what is going on at VFW 8195 and that he would like the National VFW Commander come visit the program.
I feel that Robert N. White has made significant contributions as listed above to the State of Florida in the areas of business, public service and civic pursuits.
Education and Training Accomplishments:
- Florida Licensed Mental Health Counselor.
- M.S., Psychology, Biscayne College, Miami, Florida, June 1978
- B.A., Psychology, Florida International University, Miami, Florida.
- A.A. Social Work, Miami Dade College, Miami, Florida.
Professional or Employment History:
- Executive Director of VFW 8195 Stone of Hope Military Outreach & Wellness Center-West Park, FL
- Post Commander of VFW Post 8195, West Park, Fl., Member of American Legion 29 and Vice-Commander, Miami, Fl.-2011- present Manage/renovate newly acquired facility (2015). Coordinate new Veteran Outreach Wellness program. Oversee entire VFW Post operations. Coordinate outreach activities. Research and procure grant opportunities.
- Team Leader/Director of Ft. Lauderdale Vet Center, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. Managed operation of this mental health agency. Prior to becoming team leader, had role as Licensed Mental Health Counselor.
- Dade County Comprehensive Drug Program, Miami, FL Conducted individual, group and family therapy.
- Veteran’s Counselor, Florida International University.
- Drug abuse, individual and group, academic and informational Counseling, Miami-Dade Community College.
Advocacy on Behalf of Veterans:
As early as 1974 Robert White was involved with counseling Veterans. He was responsible for counseling Veterans in outreach programs, worked with social agencies to assist Veterans in providing information on various social services. The team leader position at the Ft. Lauderdale Vet Center brought the duty of overseeing and managing a staff of Social Workers, Clinical Psychologist and Counselors who were advocates for the Veterans. Robert served as Commissioner of the Florida Commission for Veteran’s Affairs (appointed by Governor Graham). His counseling duties included working with Vietnam era Veterans, assisting with job placement, crisis interventions, couples and family counseling and referring Veterans to social and community based agencies so they could get the help they needed.
Robert White and another Vietnam Veteran started the VFW 8195 Stone of Hope program. The Stone of Hope program was an extension of the one offered at the Veterans Affairs Center. It was geared primarily to the African-American Veteran Community.
Mr. White helped to introduce holistic modalities for wellness and meditative practices for deep relaxation and self-awareness. This has helped the Veterans gain mental and emotional well-being. The Stone of Hope program has helped Veterans who have gone more than 20, 30 or 40 years without full compensation for their disabilities. Robert White’s next project through The Stone of Hope program was to add a Wellness Center to offer Reiki, acupuncture, and massage for P.T.S.D. symptoms. Battlefield acupuncture is also offered for chronic pain and general acupuncture is also offered. Robert’s vision has enabled Veteran’s to receive 556 acupuncture and massage treatments at the Wellness Center from February 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016. Robert White was the facilitator of the Tuesday night group counseling sessions for Vietnam Veterans. They talked about their experiences associated with the Vietnam War and 23 of the Veterans were able to express their feelings and experiences in a book that Robert White edited, “Post 8195 Black Soldiers Tell Their Vietnam Stories”. The best way to allow someone who can’t verbalize their traumatic experience, is to allow them to write it down and put it out for others to know and understand. The Veterans go to libraries and other venues to do a “book reading”. They share with the people gathered where they are speaking, the chapter of the book they wrote.
Robert advocates for the Veterans when he co-chairs monthly Veteran’s Symposiums. He brings in people who can give advice and help on issues the Veterans may be having. In September 2016, Robert White put together a seminar on the research that is being done by Dr. Sisley (Arizona) on use of Medical Marijuana for PTSD and the seminar also included use of ear acupuncture for PTSD and battlefield acupuncture for chronic pain. Transcendental Meditation was also discussed for helping with PTSD. Dr. S. Sisley is the only research physician approved by the FDA to run a trial on using Medical Marijuana for PTSD. Patients can only join study if all other avenues have failed to treat the PTSD. Robert made this seminar available to the Veterans if they wanted to find out more information.
Civic Activities and Contributions:
- Robert White established The Florida Veteran Chamber of Commerce. He is Executive Director/President. The meetings are in West Park, Fl. He has collaborated with local businesses to get this Chamber up and running. The Florida Veteran Chamber of Commerce (FVCC) was established as a business support for Military Veterans, Veteran owned businesses, Service Disabled Veterans, and transitioning service members. The FVCC will provide technical assistance, educational programs, business opportunities and marketing materials to Veteran Owned Businesses to support the military Veteran business community.
- Member of VFW 8195 Golf team
- He edited, “VFW 8195 Black Soldiers Tell Their Vietnam Stories”
- Commission for Veteran Affairs – Commissioner
- Broward Industry Council – member
- Vice-commander American Legion #28, Miami, Fl. 2011-present
- Post Commander VFW 8195 – 2003-2016
- Broward County Workforce Development – Board Member
- National Chairman of the African-American Working Group – held position for 20 years
- Minority Business Owner – he owned and operated a transportation shuttle service and advertising and marketing agency; he contracted with several South Florida Malls to provide transportation and security for mall patrons; he had advertising contracts with mall retailers. He supervised twelve employees, including shuttle drivers and marketing representatives.
Awards or Honors:
- Veterans Administration commendation 1983
- Veterans Administration Special Contribution Award – 1984
- Veterans Administration Performance – 1984