Dennis Freytes - US Veteran - Windmere, FL
A resident of Florida for over 22 years, Dennis Freytes has dedicated his life to serving our nation, the State of Florida, the Greater Orlando Area community and has been a fervent and relentless advocate for veterans, civil rights and the advancement of Hispanic-Americans.
During his distinguished Army career, he served in multivariate command and staff positions at the battalion, brigade, division and major command levels. In these positions, he contributed immeasurably to unit combat readiness, leadership development and successful humanitarian missions.
As an executive officer and acting commander of Readiness Group Puerto Rico, he played a direct role in the effective implementation of the Total Army policy.
During his voluntary recall to active duty, Dennis continued his record of distinguished service as a “soldier-diplomat” in the planning and coordination of security assistance missions, humanitarian operations and disaster relief working closely with the U.S. ambassadors and officials of partner nations in Latin America. In recognition of his military knowledge, language skills and cultural awareness, he was selected to lead a U.S. Army South delegation to a 17 nation Conference of American Armies Peace Keeping Operations training conference and was entrusted to sign the accord for the U.S.
As an Army retiree, Dennis Freytes exemplifies the Army retiree motto of “Retired, Still Serving,” as demonstrated by his deep commitment to helping veterans through his selfless participation in veterans’ affairs at the national, state and local levels.
At the national level, Dennis’ insightful recommendations as a member of President-elect George W. Bush’s Veterans Advisory Transition Committee played an influential role in sharpening the focus on veterans’ issues and influencing veterans policies. In his capacity as the Regional Vice President of the National Association of Uniformed Services, he has been an indispensible conduit for communicating the issues of Florida veterans to the national level, translating them into legislative initiatives and enlisting the support of members of Congress.
At the state level, Dennis has been a tireless advocate for the veterans of the Greater Orlando Area and the State of Florida. A member of Governor-elect Jeb Bush’s Veterans Advisory Transition Committee, he traveled across the state listening to veterans and visiting organizations/agencies supporting veterans to identify gaps in the delivery of services to veterans. As the report writer of the advisory committee, he had a direct impact on the shaping of veterans policies by articulating identified issues into policy recommendations and briefing them to Governor-elect Bush and senior officials of his incoming administration.
At the local level, Dennis has been ubiquitous in focusing attention on veterans, advancing their interests and promoting communitywide appreciation for their service to our country. His dedicated efforts in soliciting the support of local officials and members of Congress were instrumental in favorably resolving key two veterans issues that had a direct impact on their health and welfare—the relocation of the Orlando Naval Training Center Base Exchange and the location and construction of the VA’s Regional Medical Center in Orlando. Lastly, as an advocate for civil rights and the advancement of Hispanic-Americans, he has been a passionate trail blazer.
Of particular note was his successful advocacy for congressional approval of the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal to members of the U.S. Army’s 65th Infantry Regiment who have served our nation since 1899 and saw combat during World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, but whose contributions were overlooked due to the prejudice that existed at the time. With the awarded of the Congressional Gold Medal and the recognition of their contributions by the leadership of the U.S. Congress, “The Borinqueneers” have taken their rightful place among the defenders of our nation thanks to Dennis’ dogged determination to right a wrong.
Dennis Freytes is a recognized and highly respected community leader whose deep involvement in the civic life of the Greater Orlando Area is legion. His unparalleled civic involvement includes grassroots community associations, numerous non-profit organizations, numerous governmental appointed city and county boards, a presidential appointment as an observer on the U.S. Mexico Elections Delegation and a recognized champion of minority civil rights and the advancement of Hispanic-Americans.
In sum, Dennis Freytes has selflessly dedicated his life to serving our country, the State of Florida, the Greater Orlando Area community and is a recognized champion of veterans and a trail blazer for minority civil rights. He truly epitomizes the credo of “Duty, Honor and Country.”
Dennis has dedicated his life to serving our USA, the State of Florida, the Central Florida Area Community; is a fervent and relentless advocate for veterans, civil rights and the advancement of ALL to include American Hispanics. During his distinguished Army career, he served in multivariate command and staff positions at the company, battalion, brigade, division and major command levels; served in the Infantry, Special Forces, Airborne and other Units. In these positions, he contributed immeasurably to unit combat readiness, leadership development and successful humanitarian missions. As an executive officer and acting commander of Readiness Group Puerto Rico, he played a direct role in the effective implementation of the Total Army policy.
During his voluntary recall to active duty (2008-2010), Dennis continued his record of distinguished service as a “soldier-diplomat” in the planning and coordination of security assistance missions (counter terrorism), humanitarian operations and disaster relief working closely with the U.S. ambassadors and officials of about 32 partner nations in South/ Central America and the Caribbean. In recognition of his military knowledge, language skills and cultural awareness, he was selected to lead a U.S. Army South delegation to a 17 nation Conference of American Armies Peace Keeping Operations training conference and was entrusted to sign the accord for the U.S. Plus, Dennis commanded a US South Army PACCE on Humanitarian Assistance Missions (Medically-treated some 10,000 People; Engineer-renovated six Schools and two Orphanages…)
Dennis Freytes is a recognized and highly respected community leader whose deep involvement in the civic life of the Greater Orlando Area is legion. His unparalleled civic involvement ranges from grassroots community associations, to numerous non-profit organizations to governmental appointed city and county boards, to a presidential appointed as an observer on the U.S. Mexico Elections Delegation to a champion for civil rights, and Trustee of Valencia College.
In sum, Dennis Freytes has selflessly dedicated his life to serving our country, the State of Florida, the Central Florida Region, a champion of veterans and a trail blazer for Hispanic-Americans; with great distinction, works for the good of all: Family, Community, Florida, USA, and Humanity. Dennis is a Patriot of True Grit who epitomizes the credo of “Duty, Honor and Country.”
Felix E Ocasio Belen, BG (Ret), USA
• Rifle Platoon Leader & Infantry Company Executive Officer, 4th Infantry Division.
• Commander, Special Forces Operational Detachment A Team Detachments, 7th Special Forces (Panama);
• Commander SF Mobile Training Team (Engineer/Water Purification)-Venezuela
• Executive Officer, Special Forces Companies (Panama).
• Commandant Airborne School & Commander Special Forces Operational Detachment-5 (Panama).
• Assistant Battalion S-3, Battalion Adjutant, Human Resources Director, Rifle Company Commander & Division G-3 Air/Operations, 2d Armored Division.
• Division Deputy G-3, Training Management Advisor, 70th Training Division.
• Brigade S-4, Battalion S-3, 8th Infantry Division (Meeh) (Germany).
• Commander US Force (8th Inf. (M) Div.-Training with Spain’s Army
• Executive Officer & Acting Commander, U.S. Army Readiness Group, Puerto Rico.
• Battalion Commander & Professor of Military Science, University of Puerto Rico.
• Commandant, Cadet Brigade, Cadet Command, 1st ROTC Region.
• General Staff (G-3 Operations, Training and Plans) U.S. Army South.
• U.S. Army South Senior Liaison Officer to U.S. Southern Command.
• U. S. Army Chief Delegate, Conference of the American Armies.
• USARSOUTH PACCE Commander-Humanitarian Mission (Engineers & Medical) Employment History:
• Certified Researcher/Field Interviewer, National Latino & Asian American Study, University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research.
• Field Researcher, Building Strong Families Program Study, Mathematica Policy Research,, Princeton University (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration of Children contract).
• Executive Director, Central Florida Work Force/Job Development & Training Program.
• Public Information Officer and Loan Officer, FEMA Small Business Administration Disaster Field Office, Florida.
• Restaurant Duty Manager
Drawing upon his professional military and civilian education and experiences, he is a recurring contributor to The Orlando Sentinel for which he received two “Star Certificates” for his “My Word” opinion editorials and letters to the editor.
Summary of Nominee’s Advocacy on Behalf of Veterans:
• Member, President-elect George W. Bush Veterans Advisory Transition Committee.
• Member, Governor-elect Jeb Bush Veterans Policy Transition Committee.
• Regional Vice-President, National Association Uniformed Services (NAUS) (Seven southeast states & Puerto Rico).
• Chairman , Central Florida Army Retiree Council.
• Member, Fort Stewart Army Retiree Council.
• Member, Congressional District Veterans Advisory Committee (U.S. Representatives McCollum, Mica, and Grayson).
• Member, Orange County Veterans Advisory Committee.
• Founder, City of Orlando Mayor’s Veterans Council.
• Member, City of Orlando Veterans Advisory Committee.
• Chairman, Save Orlando Training Center Navy Exchange Group.
• Founder, Central Florida Veterans Association (Network of veterans organizations).
• Instrumental Stakeholder & Advocate for successful award of the Congressional Gold Medal for U.S. Army 65th Infantry Regiment-the Borinqueneers
• Vice-President, Sunshine Chapter, Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA).
• Former Member ROA/MOAA, and Disabled American Veterans
• Florida Chair Vets4Energy Independence Key Contributions (Veterans):
• Advocated for four additional state veterans nursing homes, burial space in the state’s national cemeteries, and other things as a member, report writer, and briefer for Governor-elect Jeb Bush’s Veterans Advisory Transition Committee. (Gov. Bush said: “Excellent”.
• Pushed for improvements in the VA’s delivery of care and the processing of compensation claims as a member of President-elect George W. Bush’s Veterans Advisory Transition Committee.
• Founder of the Orlando Mayor’s Veterans Council.
• Organized and served on the Central Florida Veterans Association (a network of Veterans organizations).
• Played an instrumental role in site selection and construction of the Orlando VA medical Center ($650 million); advised Governor Jeb Bush who was instrumental…
• Attained support of Orlando Mayor Hood for the relocation of the Navy Exchange upon the closure of the Orlando Naval Training Center to a site near the airport.
• Key advocate in securing congressional support and approval for the awarding of Congressional Gold Medal to members of the U.S. Army 65th Infantry Regiment who served during the Korean War (Dennis’ father and two uncles served with the 65th Infantry during WW-II and the Korean War).
Membership Veterans and Military Organizations:
• National Association for Uniformed Services.
• Association of the U.S. Army.
• The Military Officers Association of America.
• American Legion.
• Reserved Officers Association.
• Central Florida Veterans Association.
• Disabled American Veterans.
Summary of Nominee’s Civic Activities and Contributions:
• Member, Mexican Elections Observer Delegation (2000) (Appointed by President George W. Bush; Gov. Jeb Bush).
• Trustee, Valencia Community College (Gubematorial/FL Cabinet appointment; FL Senate Confirmation-Twice).
• Chairman, 500th Florida Discovery Council; worked with FL Sec. of State—Viva Florida.
• Chairman, Orange County & City of Orlando Citizens Review Panel for Human Services.
• Member, Citizen Corps Council, City of Orlando.
• Member, Orange County Human Services Council.
• Member, Superintendent Search Advisory Committee, Orange County Public Schools.
• Program Organizer/Director, Community Emergency Response Team, Cypress Pointe.
• Emergency Volunteer, American Red Cross.
• Chairman, Orlando Sentinel Critique Committee.
• Member, Orlando Regional and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.
• Ambassador and Board Member, Florida Hospital Foundation.
• Member, Hispanic Leaders Roundtable.
• Board of Advisors Rural/Metro Ambulance Service, Orange County.
• Advisory Board Member, Channel 24 TV/FM 90.7 Radio (WMFE).
• Master, Board of Directors, Hunter’s Creek Community Association (Population: 25K+).
• Chairman, Hunter’s Creek Community Council (50 neighborhoods).
• Chairman, Cypress Pointe Neighborhood Committee.
• Chairman, Orange County & City of Orlando Citizens Review Panel for Human Services.
• Vice President & Director, Westover Club Community Association, Windermere.
• Member, Community Associations Institute (CAI).
• Member, Orange County Home Owners Association.
• Member, Orange County Citizens First Neighborhood Partnership Program.
• Stakeholder, Healthy Community Initiative.
• Organizer and Block Captain, Neighborhood Crime Watch.
• Chairman, Legislative Committee, Florida Civil Rights Association.
• Chairman, Seniors First, City of Orlando.
• Member, Citizens Commission for Children, Orange County.
• Director, United Way Heart Of Florida.
• Chairman, Housing & Transportation Committee, Commission on Aging, Orange County.
• Member, School Board Re-Apportionment Committee, Orange County.
• Member, Alliance for Children & Families, Orange County.
Key Contributions (Civic) :
• Gained legislative approval for the “Florida Salutes Hispanic Achievers” license plate to recognize the contributions of Hispanic citizens to the State of Florida, which is the first in the nation.
• Establish the YMCA Hispanic Leaders Achievers.
• Evaluated over 56 non-profit agencies and recommended to the Orange County Board of Commissioners and Orlando City Council funding distribution as chairman of the Orange County & City of Orlando Review Panel for Human Services.
• Forged a partnership between Valencia College and Orange County Citizens Commission for Children for a federal grant (o/$200K) to fund computers at Orange County Neighborhood Centers.
Awards and Honors:
• Meritorious Service Medal (5 Awards).
• Army Commendation Medal (2 Awards).
• National Defense Service Medal w/Bronze Star.
• Humanitarian Service Medal.
• Army Service Ribbon.
• Overseas Ribbon (3 Awards).
• Expert Infantryman Badge.
• Special Forces Tab.
• Ranger Tab.
• Parachutist Badge.
• Senior Parachutist Badge.
• Distinguished Warrior Award, National Association Uniformed Services (NAUS).
• El Josco Community Leadership Award, Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida.
• 25 Most Influential, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Metro Orlando.
• National 100 Puerto Ricans for Historic Preservation, City University of New York.
• “Honor Patrio” Leadership Award, Hispanic Arts and Culture International Association.
• Don Ponce de Leon Award, United Third Bridge, Inc.
• Leadership Recognition Award, 500th Florida Discovery.
• Distinguish Humanitarian Service Award, International Rotary Trinidad & Tobago.
• Parliament Humanitarian Medal, Trinidad & Tobago.
• Trustee Service Award, Valencia College.
• Honorary Deputy Sheriff, Orange County Sheriff.
• Orlando Citizens Corps Award.
• Good Citizenship Award, Orlando Police Department.
• Letter of Commendation, Governor Jeb Bush for service on Transition Team.
• Commendation Certificate, President W. Bush for service on Transition.
• Over 100 letters, certificates or plaques of Commendation /Appreciation for his civic contribution from US President, Members of Congress, Florida Governor, Mayors, County Commissioners, Civic and Community Organizations.