Honoring Our Veterans

On Friday, November 11, John Knox Village of Central Florida recognized the military men and women who have served our country with a special Veterans Day Program. Music for the program was provided by the Village Notables and the Village Voices.  We are grateful to the members of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s ROTC program for joining us for the posting of colors.




“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ John F. Kennedy



Alan Paul

Resident Alan Paul enlisted in the Army shortly after high school graduation with training accelerated at Ft. Lewis, Washington. By fall, he was in Japan in the Occupation, prior to the official end of World War II stationed in Tokyo with the Area Engineers. His three main assignments included working with local labor on project management of a dike protecting a radio station on an island in Tokyo Bay, construction of a power plant for civilian housing in the Tokyo area, and working with Aviation Engineers at the main Tokyo airport. What an experience! Prior to enlisting, he had never been away from home for an extended time, seen a mountain, an ocean, a big ship or fellow soldiers from all over the United States; not to mention a foreign country, different people, new language and customs. All of this at eighteen years old! Alan was recalled to active duty in the Korean War. and served at Ft. Riley, Kansas. According to Alan, his experience was, “1). I grew up while in the Army. 2). I funded my college education. 3). I was introduced to the real world from a small city life in southern Wisconsin. I cherish every day of the experience.”



Bob Bryson

Bob Bryson had a varied and satisfying 23-year career in the U.S. Air Force. He left home for the first time when he was sixteen and a very naïve farm boy. At the time, he left for college where he enrolled in engineering school and the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

A little over five years later, he was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 306th Bomb Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, near Tampa, Florida. He  had full intentions to leave the service and make money after three years. The Berlin Wall and the cold war interfered and he found himself assigned to a Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Wing in Montana as a launch crew member. Their duty station was a concrete hardened capsule buried 70-feet underground in Montana, 150 miles from the base from which we commuted each duty cycle.

While they were finishing training, the Cuban Missile Crisis happened and they were put on emergency launch readiness. Each capsule was assigned

ten Minuteman Missiles with nuclear warheads. Bryson  was a 1st Lieutenant and Deputy Combat Crew Commander of a two-man crew. They were also required to attend school and study for a master’s degree in engineering. The entire crew force were engineers. This was a stressful time, but he graduated with the degree and went on to another 16 years as a rocket propulsion engineer. Late in his career, he was assigned to the Western Test Range and was Mission Director for 26 launches of the same Minuteman Missiles supporting tests of new technology.





Dan Lucey

According to Dan Lucey, as we proceed through life we have many experiences but not many leave a lasting impression. Thanksgiving Day 1965, was departure date from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, to Mactan Island in the Philippine Islands and then on to Saigon, Vietnam.

He was assigned duties on the C-130 aircraft and one of our scheduled flights was to fly body bag corpses to Clark Airbase in the Philippine Islands. The normal procedure for handling the bodies was for the Army helicopters to land close to our C-130 and transfer the bodies to our aircraft. As this was being done one day he saw that the bodies were being shoved from the landed helicopter onto the concrete. He was overwhelmed at what he considered disrespect and  loudly voiced his displeasure to those doing the unloading.

Today he can still recall the stress, stifling heat, and red dust that clung to their bodies. But he gave no consideration for the combat stress that they were experiencing. He was stopped in his protest by the heartfelt words, “Sarge, if you want to go with us and gather bodies you’re welcome. If not, leave us alone.” Yes, he left them alone.



Elaine Kornspan


Elaine Kornspan was an Army Nurse. She joined in 1959 and got her senior year of college paid. She served from 1960-1962 and was stationed in Newport, Rhode Island, and Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.






Ed Reiger

In 1942, Ed Rieger enlisted in the Army Air Force after seeing a war documentary hosted by Jimmy Stewart. In 1944, he was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, and went on to flight training in B-24 and B-26s. As part of the 5th Air Force he was stationed on the Island of Mindoro where he ran bombing in the South Pacific. Several missions included the Philippines, Okinawa, Borneo and Formosa. After the Japanese negotiated the Peace Treaty with General MacArthur he flew home.




Pati Mitchell

Pati Mitchell enlisted in the Marine Corps at the recruiting station in Orlando, Florida, on March 23, 1973. Her first duty station was at Parris Island, South Carolina, where she served as an administrative clerk at an Automated Services Center for three years. She was then stationed in Iwakuni, Japan, where she served as a COBOL Programmer and a Customs Inspector; this is also where she met her future husband.

Kansas City, Missouri, was her next duty station where she served as a computer programmer and as a supervisor of the Marine Corps’ new Scan Data System.

In January 1979, she was discharged from the Marine Corps and married Steve Mitchell. She re-enlisted in the Marine Corps in December of that year as a drilling reservist. In 1987, when their youngest child began school, she went back on active duty, stationed as an Administrative Chief in Twentynine Palms, California. I was then transferred to Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 1991, and then back to Kansas City, Missouri, in 1994. While in Missouri, she served as a Systems Analyst updating the Marine Corps Pay and Personnel System. In 1996, she was transferred to the Marine Corps Reserve Support Command as the Staff Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the Order Writing Branch.

In October 1999, she retired from active duty and went on to serve the Marie Corps for the next 20 years as a Civilian Systems Analyst. She retired from the Marine Corps a second time in April 2019.




Steven Mitchell

Steven Mitchell enlisted in the Marine Corps in Spokane, Washington, on October 19, 1970. His first duty station was Iwakuni, Japan, where he worked as a Motor Transportation Operator. From there he was stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, for a year before being transferred back to Iwakuni to work in their Customs Office as an inspector and where he met his future wife, Pati McLaughlin. After six years in Japan, he was stationed back to the states to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. On the way there, he and Pati were married.

In 1981, he was transferred to the Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he supervised the motor pool for the Marine Corps Reserve unit. After three years there, he was sent back overseas to Okinawa, Japan, for a year and then on to Twentynine Palms, California, where he was the Motor Transport Chief for a grunt unit, 1/4.

After three years his whole unit was sent to Okinawa, Japan. They floated over on an LSD ship for 30 days, stopping in Hawaii for a couple of days. After a year in Japan, he was transferred back to Twentynine Palms, California, where he retired in October 1991.




Doug Hench

Doug retired from the U.S. Navy following 22 years of active service as Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman (HMCS, USN E-8). He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” as well as other Unit Citations in Vietnam.






Frank Knight

Lieutenant Colonel Frank Knight, Chief Clinical Lab, was always interested not only in what he was doing, but in everything going on around him. There was always a medic or inspector in the area and he would follow them around to gain an understanding of what they dealt with on a daily basis.

As the planes came in, it was his job to check the crew and inspect the equipment, which put him in the line of fire all the time. Major injuries were caused by Agent Orange because it was a spray. Frank is one of Agent Orange’s victims and is still dealing with the effects.

On a lighter note, he walked across the famous bridge in Thailand that appeared in the movie, The Bridge Over the River Kwai. He brought home many beautiful carvings and furniture made in the Philippines.