SARASOTA, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott today, joined by Brigadier General Frank Laudano and Mike Prendergast, FDVA Executive Director, awarded 160 Florida veterans with the Governor’s Veterans Service Award for their service to Florida and the nation.
Governor Scott said, “The Governor’s Veterans Service Award is just one way Floridians show our utmost gratitude to the brave men and woman of the military who have selflessly served our country. I am honored to have had the opportunity to recognize 160 Florida veterans from the Sarasota area during today’s ceremony.”
First Lady Ann Scott said, “I am honored to recognize and thank the brave men and women who serve our state and country. Their courage and sacrifice provide us all the freedom we enjoy, and I am proud to join Rick to present them with the Governor’s Veterans Service Award.”
Mike Prendergast, FDVA Executive Director, said “Since our last set of ceremonies, we’ve heard how many of Florida’s veterans truly appreciate our personal thanks and recognition. Today in Sarasota, we are pleased to have another opportunity to honor Florida veterans and thank them for their military service and sacrifices.”
The ceremony was held at the Sarasota National Guard Armory. During the ceremony, Governor Scott highlighted the service of Florida veteran, Ben Knisely.
Ben Knisely grew up in Southwest Florida and entered the Army directly following his graduation from the University of South Florida. Knisely was deployed to Vietnam as a Medical Evacuation helicopter pilot where he was shot down over enemy territory and was severely wounded. After being dragged to safety by his co-pilot, the two evaded capture for three days without food or water with the enemy nearby. Following his rescue and nine months of hospitalization and rehabilitation, Knisely returned to active duty and flying status. During his 28 year career, Knisely served in five overseas deployments and across the United States before retiring as a Colonel from the U.S. Army in 1993. Knisely currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Sarasota Military Academy and is the Military and Veterans Liaison Officer for the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
Florida Veterans Medal
The “Governor’s Veterans Service Award” honors Floridians who have served in the U.S. Military. The front of the medal depicts the Great Seal of the State of Florida. The back of the medal displays the five seals representing the five branches of U.S. Military with an inscription that reads “Honoring Those Who Served.”
Source: Rick Scott Press Release