The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) hosted the Community of Heroes reception at the Dalí Museum and recognized a local veteran and business leader for their commitment to helping those who served.
Tom Howell, a Marine Corps veteran and Clearwater resident, was recognized for his inspiring story of transitioning back to civilian life through his service to other veterans and their families.
Howell served in the Marine Corps from 1992-1995. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Somalia and other operations throughout Africa, where one of his main duties included communications operator with the 15 MEU Maritime Raid Force as a forward deployed Marine. After being medically discharged, he struggled to readapt to civilian life. This all changed when he found his sense of purpose by helping returning veterans. Today, Tom dedicates his time to giving back to fellow veterans through his involvement with DAV.
“By joining DAV, I found what I had been missing since being separated from the Marine Corps. I’m now a part of an organization which helps veterans and their families, and this gives my life the purpose I was seeking,” said Howell. “At the same time, my wife found a support group of people who understand what it is like to live with an injured veteran. Through talking and sharing, we now know that we are not alone with some of the struggles we face.”
“We at DAV are thrilled to show our appreciation to the Tampa Bay community for their strong support of veterans,” said DAV CEO and National Adjutant Marc Burgess. “DAV is dedicated to fulfilling our nation’s promises to the men and women who served, but we couldn’t do this without strong local partners and advocates.”
The private reception was last month during DAV Community of Heroes Week, June 24-28, as proclaimed by Governor Rick Scott and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. Attendees included veterans, public officials and business and community leaders. Popular radio personality Jack Harris of WFLA served as emcee and notable guests included the Honorable Mark Danish, Florida House of Representatives, and Largo Mayor Patricia Gerard. The purpose of DAV’s Community of Heroes events are to pay tribute to local men and women who served and say thank you to communities for supporting local heroes during their difficult transition to civilian life.