Sergeant Dewayne C. Thrift, Jr.-USAF(Retired)-Windermere, FL

Community impact of US Air Force Veteran Dewayne C. Thrift, Jr.:

  • Member of the Year Award, American Legion Post 55 Clermont Florida VFW Post 4305, Winter Garden All American Honors (Dewayne processed all paperwork)
  • Veteran of the Year, Fraternal Order of Elks Lodge #2165
  • Board Member, Home at Last (provided mortgage-free homes to the following US Veterans:

(These homes were specially designed with the unique physical challenges of each Veteran)

  • Cope Family 2008
  • Griffin Family 2009
  • Corcoran Family 2010
  • Kelley Family 2012
  • Barnes Family 2013
  • Tovet Family 2015
  • Winfield Family 2016
  • Rivera Family 2016
  • Beck Family 2020

Achievements and Recognitions:

  • Officer, West Orange VFW #4305 2009-2012
  • Officer, American Legion Post 55, Clermont Florida 2013-Present

  • Code Enforcement Board, Town of Windermere 2007-2012

  • South Lake County Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge #1615, 2014-Present

  • Winter Garden Order of the Elks, Lodge #2165, 2015-Present

  • Home at Last donated $54,500 to Camaraderie Foundation in 2021
    (this Foundation is involved with Mental Health and Suicide Prevention among Veterans)

  • Active in Boys State nomination process 2023

  • Active in Mathews Hope dedicated to assisting the homeless, many of them Veterans

  • Dewayne has for years assisted his wife with fundraising for Central Florida Women’s League

  • Dewayne assisted his wife with fundraising for West Orange Junior Service League

  • Dewayne works with The Fisher House at Lake Nona VA (he attends all Board Meetings)

  • Dewayne has assisted the Clermont Veterans Center

  • Dewayne has been active in Wreaths Across America at Florida National and local Cemeteries Dewayne has been a volunteer with Hope Center of Central Florida Food Pantry

  • 1994-2000 While a private employer, Dewayne assisted many people through the Florida Department of Corrections Prison Work Release Program

  • Dewayne is a Life Member of Florida VFW, At large

  • Past Member of Amvets Post #1992, Lake County Florida House of Representatives

  • Officer of the Sons of the American Legion, assists with fundraising

Nomination Narratives:

It is with great enthusiasm that I am nominating and submitting a Letter of Support for Florida United States Air Force Veteran Dewayne C. Thrift, Jr. to be considered for your esteemed Florida Veteran’s Hall of Fame.

Dewayne Thrift proudly served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. It was during his service that he began to volunteer to go to the combat zone of Vietnam from the Philippines where he was based. By doing this, Dewayne allowed many other United States Air Force members to have breaks from the tension of serving in the war zone at Pleiku Air Base and go on breaks during Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s celebrations.

I first learned of Dewayne’s extraordinary community service exploits from the testimony of Florida Veteran’s Hall of Fame Member General Jay Garner. I then interviewed Dewayne first-hand to learn of his role as a Veteran’s Advocate assisting Veterans with the complex procedures involving applying for benefits to the United States Veteran Administration. I also learned of Dewayne’s outstanding record of achievements assisting the homeless, and being a tremendous force for good for others including autistic children and helping build mortgage free homes for Veterans.


From interviewing Dewayne Thrift, I have calculated he has been for almost 20 years donating over 500 man-hours per year in assisting Veterans with gaining Veteran’s Administration benefits. One of his most precious achievements in this regard was recently he assisted a World War II Veteran with disability and thus helped him gain several hundred dollars a month in benefits. This aid has truly benefited the Veteran and his family! Dewayne is a tireless force for good in Florida!

Thank you for your consideration of this application. Warm Regards,

Fred Hawkins
State Representative House District 35


lt is with honor that I recommend Dewayne Thrift for induction into the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame. Dewayne, a Viet Nam veteran, has been one of the most prolific community servants in West Orange County. For the past thirty years, he has been tireless in assisting our citizens and our veterans in a variety of charitabIe and personaI community projects and activities. He was among the first volunteers to organize and assist in the establishment of Matthew’s Hope for the homeless; he was instrumental in the formation of “Home at Last”, building and donating nine custom homes for severely disabled Florida Combat Veterans; as the American Legion’s VA volunteer, he has personally guided an incredible number of veterans through the bureaucracy of the VA system, successfully gaining for each the medical care and disability levels that they have earned.


In this large section of our county, there are dozens of veterans that would stand in long lines, drenched in the Florida Sun, in order to shake his hand in sincere thanks for the care and devotion that Dewayne has invested in both them and their families. I am aware that Dewayne has participated and energized dozens of other significant community volunteer organizations; however, the above that I have cited are from my personal knowledge and admiration.

Consequently, I plead that you favorably consider Dewayne Thrift for inclusion in this year’s inductees into our Florida Veterans Hall of Fame.

With respect and warmest regards,
Jay M. Garner, LTG US Army (Ret}