I really cannot remember a busier month than April for your Semper Fidelis Society.

A number of our organization’s membership joined Bob Adelhelm at the April 2 Vets4Vets gathering at the Veterans Memorial Arena. The main speaker was Sheriff Mike Williams, who appears to be a strong supporter of the North Florida Veterans Community. He also has a son who just completed boot camp at Parris Island and was pleased to mention that fact. The turnout of veterans was close to 200 and the speakers all offered interesting information. I urge all of you to attend the next meeting which will be held on August 6th 1100 to 1300 in the Veterans Memorial Arena.

April was awards month for the Jacksonville Semper Fidelis Society. The highlight of the year for me is the Gung Ho Awards evening at Hidden Hills Country Club. Our attendance this year was 73 and our guest of honor was Marine LtGen Richard Tryon, who had a distinguished military career.

This year we honored a Marine from the recruiting command and an outstanding Corpsman from the NAS Naval Hospital. For the last 3 years we have also honored an outstanding Jacksonville police officer and an equally worthy fireman from the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. On that beautiful evening, a new award was instituted as well. A Marine NCO Sword was presented to a squared away NCO from the King’s Bay Security Detachment in honor and remembrance of Sgt Matthew Horn USMC and Sgt Randall Hansen USMC. Marines who fought in Iraq and ended up scrumming to the wounds of war. If you were unable to attend make it a point to mark it on your calendar for next year.

On April 21, a young Terry Parker JNROTC student was presented an award (certificate of Commendation, USMC Ribbon and Bio of Dr Pearce) accompanied by a check for $500.00. On April 27, a fine young lady from the Bishop Kenny JNROTC was presented an award and also a check for $500.00 from JSFS. Both recipient awards where presented in honor of Dr Herb Pearce, Former FMF Corpsman USN,Korean War Veteran,local medical doctor and long standing member of Semepr Fidelis Society. I cannot express how proud it makes me to present these awards in honor of Doc Pearce to the young people who are preparing to be the future leaders of our country. What an impressive group of young men and women!

On Saturday, April 30, the officer commissioning ceremony took place at Jacksonville University. JU is blessed with a very successful NROTC program in a large part due to the Marine Instructors. Virtually all of the JU MOIs have been JSFS supporters,so we have a strong rapport with the program. The recipient of the Mameluke Sword this year was Staff Sgt DeGrove, now a proud 2nd Lieutenant.

HONOR, COURAGE,COMMITMENT! These words sum up what April was all about. As the president, it was was my privilege to be present at the all the April awards ceremonies and enjoy the company of our country and community’s future leaders.

Thank you to the membership for all your support in helping making these awards happen…Important that we continue to share our CORE VALUES and recognize the future leaders of our Corps and country.

Join me on May 30th Memorial Day when I place a Wreath in honor of the Marines and FMF Corpsmen at the City of Jacksonville’s Ceremony at the Veteran’s Memorial Wall and let’s not forget the Nov 10th Annual Memorial Ceremony at the Marine and Corpsmen Monument in Evergreen Cemetery. We have been doing this since 2004 every Nov 10th.

Paul McLaughlin