Major (Retired) Ellsworth “Tony” Williams-US Army(Retired)-St. Petersburg, F
Education and Training:
- Mental Health Counselor, Coalition for the Homeless, Inc., Chemical Addition and Dependency Certificate, 2013.
- Troy University, Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, GPA 3.89, 2012.
- Temple University, BS in Business Administration and Management, 1989.
- US Army Command and General Staff College, Certificate, 1998
- US Army Combined Arms and Services Staff School, 1998 • Joint Doctrine Command and Control Warfare (C2W), 1998
- US Army Advanced Military Intelligence School, 1996
- US Army Airborne School, 1993
- US Army Military Intelligence School, 1989
1. Basic Officers Course
2. Advanced Officers Course
3. Counterintelligence Course
- US Army Chemical School, NBC Officer, 1983
Professional Employment History:
- Honorable Discharge and Retired, Feb 2007
- Supported Iraq and Afghanistan War deployed and assigned as Intelligence Chief to Rapid Equipment Forces (REF), Oct 2006-Jan 2007
- Assigned to 1st Army as S3 to train Reservists and Guard on Military Intelligence Operations, 2003-2004
- Commanded III Corps USAG HHC, Fort Hood, 1999-2001
- Desert Storm/Shield, 1990-1991 • Commissioned, 1990 • Awarded 3-year Active duty ROTC scholarship, 1986
- Enlisted in the Army (high school dropout) 1979-1986
Advocacy on Behalf of Veterans:
Tony is the Founder and current President/CEO for Veterans Counseling Veterans (VCV) Inc., a nonprofit organization lead by Veterans from all branches of service in the behavioral health profession. VCV primary mission is to provide emotional support to Active Duty, National Guard, Reservists and Veterans and their family. VCV’s second mission is to provide Professional and Career Development for Veterans in the Behavioral Health Profession. VCV serves two primary functions (1) provide military veterans the option to select behavioral health providers with military experience and (2) provide a place for military veterans and spouses of military veterans in behavioral health field to collaborate, share ideas, network and advocate.
VCV advocates for the mental wellness of Veterans and their family, Military Sexual Trauma Survivors, Families or Veterans who lost a veteran to suicide or legislation that will assist the Veteran or family member in getting relief. Operated by military veterans and the spouses of military veterans in the behavioral health profession, VCV has referral services that match veterans with the appropriate counselor in the following areas; Suicide Prevention (Training, Intervention, Awareness and After suicide), Military Sexual Trauma, Mental Health for Families of Veterans, Women Veterans Mental health, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access and Mentorship.
Each year during Black History Month, VCV, St. Pete’s NAACP, Gamma Eta Sigma and Phi Beta Sigma honors our State and Nation’s Black Veterans and Patriots for the contributions to America’s Military, Democracy and Freedom. Tony and VCV highlight Black Veterans and Black Fallen Heroes for their selfless sacrifice to the Nation on his social media platforms. VCV has launched podcast series for Black History Month to address veteran’s mental health issues through the lens of the Black community. Due to gaps in services, throughout the year VCV supports military, veterans and their families statewide with outreach events and link them to veteran service organizations and healthcare professionals.
During the month of March, VCV celebrates Women’s History Month and honors the contributions of Women Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces for their sacrifices, achievements and critical roles in defending America and their ongoing civic commitment to enhancing their communities.
Due to gaps in services, throughout the year VCV supports military, veterans and their families statewide with outreach events and link them to veteran service organizations and healthcare professionals.
On July 31, 2021, CEO/President of Veterans Counseling Veterans presented Dr. Kimberly Kinsler (Army Veteran) an honorary Certificate of membership for Veterans Counseling Veterans Tribe. Dr Kinsler has participated in numerous VCV sponsored events including Women Veterans and PTSD.
On May 18, 2019, St. Petersburg College and Veterans Counseling Veterans came together to hold the inaugural Faith-Based Organizations, Mental Health and Veterans and Families Suicide Prevention Forum at St. Petersburg College EpiCenter.
On October 30, 2015, Post 5’s Veterans Counseling Veteran Inc. set up a booth in James A Haley VA’s Primary Care Annex’s for Domestic Violence Awareness. VCV provided materials on Women Veterans and domestic violence, as well as offered counseling services for victims of domestic violence.
On October 14-15, 2015, Post 5’s Veteran Affairs and Rehabilitation (VA & R) Chair/ Post Service Officer (PSO) Ellsworth “Tony” Williams, attended the two day Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshop on suicide prevention held at the St Petersburg U.S Coast Guard Station. ASIST is a DoD required training for every service member responsible for suicide prevention in their unit. Tony provided a statement wanting the Post to play a more active role in preventing the 22 a day suicides by our veterans. Veteran Service Organizations represent veterans in the local community. VSO members can be the “Boots on the Ground” needed to help identify veterans who are at risk for suicide. VA&R is asking for volunteers to train on ASIST and be a point of contact for someone who either suspects someone is at risk or may be at risk themselves. The volunteer will receive a training on ASIST, use ASIST approved techniques and follow up with contacting their local VA Suicide Prevention Coordinator or their Post Service Officer.
Most recently, Tony and his team provided counseling services and support to veterans and their families impacted by Hurricane Ian.
Civic Activities / Contributions:
Tony serves on many Veteran Boards and Council including:
- Hillsborough Veterans Council • Florida Mental Health Counselor Association
- Crisis Center of Tampa Bay’s Regional Veterans Advisory Council
- American Legion Post 5 Veteran Affairs and Rehabilitation Committee Chair
- Military Affairs Committee Chair
- Suncoast Mental Health Counselor Association’s Military Interest Committees,
- Florida American Legion District 15 Veterans Affairs’ and Rehab (VA&R) Chair
- U.S. Veteran Affairs’ Veterans Engagement Council (VEC) Member – Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (CINDRR) at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, FL.
- Gamma Eta Sigma, Military Affairs Committee Chair
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
Oct 2022 – Present, 6 months
Hillsborough County, Florida, United States
Military Committee Chair leads a committee of Military, Veterans, and Veteran advocates with the mission of service and support to Hillsborough, Florida’s military and Veteran community. This service includes support for the military and veteran families.
Veterans Counseling Veterans, Nonprofit
Feb 2014 – Present, 9 years 2 months
Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL
- Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committee Chair
Jul 2021 – Present, 1 year 9 months
St Petersburg, Florida, United States
- American Legion Florida Central Area Command Veteran Affairs and Rehab Chair
The American Legion
Jul 2021 – Present, 1 year 9 months
Tampa, Florida, United States
- Keynote Speaker
Veterans Counseling Veterans INC
Jul 2021 – Present,1 year 9 months
3810 West Kennedy Blvd Tampa Florida
Keynote Speaker for: Veteran Suicide Military Suicide Veterans mental health Family of Veterans mental health Military Sexual Trauma Diversity Equity and Inclusion
- Florida Mental Health Care Association Military Interest Group Member
Florida Mental Health Counseling Association
Jul 2013-Jan 2014, 7 months
Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida Area
FMHCA’s Military Interest Group advises and supports FMHCA on military matter related to counseling. All members of MIG have a passion and commitment to serve our military veterans and their families.
- Member Veteran Interest Network 2012 – 2013, 1 year
- Clinical Mental Health Counselor Intern
James A Haley VA Medical Center
Apr 2012 – Oct 2012, 7 months
James A Haley A. Medical Center, Tampa, Florida
Tony interned at JAH VA Suicide Prevention Team, providing individual and group counseling, suicide risk assessments and evaluation on veterans who are at risk for suicide. He was involved with outreach activities, training and coordinated with MacDill AFB Mental Health providers; Florida National Guard and 81 Regional Support Center (RSC). He also provided presentations on Suicide Prevention for 81 RSC Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP).
List of Awards and Honors:
- Bronze Star Medal (3 Awards)
- Meritorious Service Medal (3 Awards)
- Army Commendation Medal (2 Awards)
- National Defense Service Medal (2 Awards)
- South West Asia Service Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- Army Commendation Medals (2 ARCOMs)
- Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon
- Army Service Ribbon
- Overseas Service Ribbon (2 Awards)
- Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
- Parachutist Badge • Good Conduct Medal (2 Awards)
- Noncommissioned Primary Leadership Development Course (PLDC) Ribbon • Awarded 3-year ROTC scholarship
- Member of Chi Sigma Iota (CSI) Honor Society
- Mental Health Counselor and Volunteer at the Coalition of the Homeless
- Recipient of numerous mental health counseling awards
- 2014 National Award “Social Service” from American Mental Health Counseling Association
- Won Florida Mental Health Counselor Association (FMHCA) 2015 Poster Award
Ellsworth “Tony” Williams is an awe-inspiring and dedicated Veterans’ Advocate and Counselor that has supported hundreds of thousand military servicemembers, veterans and their families in the State of Florida. His commitment to sift out reclusive servicemembers and veterans that are suffering from hardships and trauma continues to be effective and far-reaching with the help of like-minded organizations. Tony’s willingness to advocate for America’s Heroes likely stems from his childhood, as a dependent of a career Vietnam Army Combat Veteran. Born in Fort Hood, Texas, Tony was introduced to a military lifestyle of commitment, sacrifice and being his brothers’ keeper at an early age. I say this because a great deal of responsibility is placed on military children “AKA Military Brats” to excel and stay on a straight course to become successful. Well, Tony’s course would curve and he became a high school dropout that eventually earned his GED, enlisted in the U.S. Army from 1979-1986, earned a 3-year Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship in 1986, enrolled in Temple University earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Management and later earning a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Troy University.
Tony Williams has spent over 52 years of his 61 years in a military environment and in service to others. He is a Combat Army Veteran, having faithfully and honorably served on active duty in the U.S. Army for over 24 years (8 enlisted and 16 Commissioned), including combat tours during Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He received numerous military awards including a Bronze Star and 3 Meritorious Service Medals (MSM). After he retired in 2007 at the rank of MAJOR, he still longed to continue to serving his fellow service members, veterans and their families.
Major Williams has never accepted the norm or standards of being a high school dropout but rather anticipated an uphill battle, struggles and stigmas that would shape the Man, Leader and Entrepreneur he is today. In search of better opportunities for individuals struggling in similar situations, Major Williams would lean on his military background and service, clinical academics and community involvement to make positive advancements in the lives of others. As an example of his perseverance, commitment to positive change and powerful leadership, the following is testimony to his impact. After graduating from Troy University and earning his master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Tony founded Veterans Counseling Veterans (VCV) Inc. in Tampa, FL to serve his community through counseling. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit is dedicated to connecting Veterans and dependents of Veterans with mental health profession through collaboration, networking and mentoring. VCV’s primary service is Veteran Suicide Prevention (Training, Intervention, Awareness and Postvention), military sexual trauma (MST) and providing support to families who lost a Veteran to suicide. He provides early intervention and treatment for veterans who had mental health and substance issues, often as a direct result of their service. President/CEO Williams and his professional team, positively impact the lives of servicemembers and veterans that find themselves suffering with mental illness, substance abuse, homelessness and suicidal thoughts.
His efforts to identify and treat this national pandemic has contributed to the enhancement of veterans’ wellbeing by linking them to professionals that specialize in health and wellness programs and services that ultimately save and improve their quality of life. Major Williams’ credentials, individual and group work with Florida’s Veterans and noteworthy philanthropies goes beyond the normal civic duty and social responsibility of a fellow neighbor, soldier and friend. His eagerness to promote diversity, inclusion and equity to all servicemembers and veterans to ensure they are heard, valued and receive the assistance they need to thrive in a better Florida directly supports the Governor’s statewide initiatives. Major Ellsworth Williams is rare and the few amongst the many that I have ever known to do all he does without self-praise or personal financial gain. Tony’s dedication and devotion to serving veterans is his own personal reward. He has given his life to service the Nation and this Great State on every level of government by advocating for countless veterans in the past, present, and will do so in the future. Major Williams is the embodiment of Veterans’ Advocate. He will serve as an impeccable ambassador and is without hesitation truly deserves the honor of induction into the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame, Class of 2023.
Tony resides in Tampa and is married to Thelma William, a retired Police Detective from Plainfield, NJ.