Richard Hunt - USMC Veteran - Floral City, FL
A resident of Florida for over 35 years, Richard Hunt has dedicated his life to serving our nation, the State of Florida, community and fellow veterans. A fervent advocate for veterans, he personifies and lives the credo of “veterans helping veterans” with no challenge too great and no veteran’s problem too small.
As the Military order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) Department of Florida State Commander and President of the Purple Heart Veterans of Florida Foundation Inc., Mr. Hunt has been a ubiquitous force for veterans traveling across the state at significant cost in personal time and personal expense to advocate for and assist in assuring the general and individual welfare of Florida’s veterans.
Of particular note, Mr. Hunt has freely volunteered his time and assistance in guiding over 50 veterans in building VA compensation claims and appearing with them before the VA Veteran Board of Appeals achieving a remarkable 100 percent success rate and, as a referred suicide prevention counselor has deterred five veterans who were planning suicide. Also, given his tireless concern for veterans in need, he has personally secured the donation of a single family dwelling for a disabled veteran and his family, as well as the donation of four vehicles for four Purple Heart recipients.
Illustrative of Richard Hunt’s selfless service to his fellow veterans is that when a veteran who received a significant retroactive payment insisted on giving Hunt $2,000 as gratitude for his appeal assistance and representation before the VA Veteran Board of Appeals in St Petersburg, Florida, Hunt donated the entire sum to the Citrus County Veterans Foundation to benefit needy veterans or their surviving spouses in financial crisis.
Exercising noteworthy initiative, Mr. Hunt has been instrumental to the success of two significant projects—Quilts of Valor and Heartstrings for Heroes—that publicly recognize the service of our nation’s veterans and Purple Heart recipients. Additionally, he has been the driving force in encouraging and coordinating the participation of veterans in the State of Florida’s Operation Outdoor Freedom program and the creation and public display throughout the state of the MOPH Department of Florida’s Afghanistan/lraq Memorial Portrait Mural honoring Florida’s Fallen Heroes of the Global War on Terror.
In sum, Richard Hunt’s dedicated leadership, selfless service, faithful support and noteworthy initiative distinguish him as a true American Patriot who has devoted his life to serving our country, the State of Florida, his community and his fellow veterans. A recognized champion of veterans, he truly embodies the credo of “veterans helping veterans.”’
Education and Training Accomplishments:
- Baptist College at Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina.
- Daytona Beach Community College (EMT/Paramedic), Daytona, Florida.
- Tri-County Technical College, (Paramedic), Pendleton, South Carolina.
- Basic Combat Training.
- Advanced Infantry Training.
- Sniper School.
- Vietnamese Language School.
- Marine Security Guard School.
- Foreign Service Institute (German language).
- Non-commission Officer School.
- Forward Observer School.
- Graduated No. 2 from Marine Security Guard School.
- Expert Rifleman Badge.
Professional or Employment History:
Military Service History:
- Six years total active service United States Marine Corps;
- four years active service and
- two years inactive reserve.
- Combat tour of duty. Republic of Vietnam, Battalion Scout/Sniper.
- U.S. Embassy, Marine Security Guard, Bonn and Hamburg, Germany.
- Physical Therapy/Medical Assistant.
- EMT/Paramedic, Orange County, Florida.
- Rural Carrier/Instructor, U.S. Postal Service.
- Training Syllabus for Rural Carriers, U.S. Postal Service.
Advocacy on Behalf of Veterans:
- State Commander, Department of Florida, Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), 2012-16.
- President, Purple Heart Veterans of Florida Foundation, 2012-Present.
- MOPH Coordinator, State of Florida Operation Outdoor Freedom, 2011 -Present.
- MOPH Coordinator, Department of Florida Afghanistan/Iraq Memorial Portrait Mural, 2011-2016.
- MOPH State Liaison to Gold Star families (2011 -Present).
- MOPH State Coordinator, Quilts of Valor (2011-Present).
- MOPH State Liaison, Heartstrings for Heroes (2012-Present).
- MOPH Department of Florida Chairman, Vietnam War 50th Anniversary
- Commemorative Partner Program. Attends events throughout the state.
- Chairman, Citrus County Veterans Advisory Board (2012-16).
- Counselor, Brevard County Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion (Past 24 years).
- Counselor, Vietnam Memorial Annual Reunion (Past 11 years).
- Selected for and attended the American Legion National College (2009).
- American Legion Chapter Adjutant (2005-2010),
Key Contributions (Veterans):
- Secured the donation of a single family dwelling for a disabled Purple Heart veteran and his family at no cost to the veteran.
- Arranged personally for the donation of four vehicles to four combat wounded veterans.
- Initiated a partnership with the Heartstrings for Heroes program and has coordinated a number of events with 19 Purple Heart recipients and three Gold Star families receiving signed guitars from music industry celebrities, to date.
- Coordinated with Quilts of Valor and other quilting guilds the presentation of over 400 quilts to veterans with Patriot Hunt personally presenting close to 200 of the quilts.
- Coordinated and personally presented available Purple Heart Service Foundation funds totaling over $100,000 to VA hospitals and Community Based Outpatient Clinics across the state.
- Provided assistance to over 50 veterans in building successful VA compensation claims and appeared with them at hearings before the VA Veteran Board of Appeals in St Petersburg, Florida. To date, his advice and assistance has produced a 100 percent success rate before the board of appeals.
- Aids the transition of returning veterans with financial and emotional issues as a volunteer counselor.
- Department of American Legion State Investigator Veterans Assistance Program over 13- county area.
- Suicide prevention counselor on referral and has successfully deterred five veterans who were planning suicide.
Membership Veterans and Military Organizations:
- Life Member. Military Order of the Purple Heart.
- Life Member, 40 and 8 Voiture.
- Life Member, American Legion.
- Life Member, Veterans of Foreign Wars.
- Life Member, Fleet Reserve Association.
- Life Member, Marine Corps League.
- Life Member, Disabled American Veterans
- Life Member, AMVETS.
Civic Activities and Contributions:
- Past Chairman, Citrus County Veterans Advisory Board (3 years).
- Vice Chairman, Citrus County Builders Association Annual Family Fishing Tournament; principal source of income to support charitable works.
- Project Officer and Master of Ceremonies for Citrus County’s Annual Purple Heart Ceremony honoring our fallen heroes and wounded warriors, which is the Chapter 776’s signature activity and Citrus County’s premier veterans’ event, averaging approximately 450-500 attendees.
- Board Member, Selective Service Commission, Citrus County, Florida.
- Board Member, Citrus County Veterans Foundation, Inc.
- Board Member, Homosassa Veterans Memorial, Inc.
- Past Board Member, Citrus United Basket.
- Past Chairman, Citrus County Veterans Day Parade Committee.
- Master of Ceremonies for Annual Gold Star Family Tribute, Oldsmar, Florida, (2012-Present).
- Participant, Citrus County Annual Veterans Appreciation Week.
- Participant, Citrus County Annual Veterans in the Classroom Program.
Awards and Honors:
- Purple Heart Medal.
- Good Conduct Medal.
- Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/Bronze Star.
- Combat Action Ribbon.
- Marine Security Guard Ribbon.
- National Defense Service Medal.
- Vietnam Campaign Medal.
- Vietnam Service Medal w/4 Stars.
- Presidential Unit Citation w/2 Stars.
- Meritorious Unit Citation.
- Naval Unit Citation.
- Vietnam Cross of Gallantry Unit Citation w/Palm.
- Vietnam Civil Action Unit Citation w/Palm.
- Military Order of the Purple Heart, U.S.A. National Patriot of the Year (2016).
- Military Order of the Purple Heart, Region IV Patriot of the Year (2016).
- Military Order of the Purple Heart, Department of Florida Patriot of the Year
- Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 776 Patriot of the Year (2016).
- American Legion Post Legionnaire of the Year (2009).