By Michael Isam
St. Augustine, Fla, (January 29, 2014) – Every January The Veterans Council of St. Johns County presents the Col. Ed Taylor “Veteran of the Year” award to an outstanding individual or organization for exceptional work on behalf of the veterans of St. Johns county. This year’s recipient is undeniably the hardest working veteran in the county.
"Joseph McDermott epitomizes the meaning of that term," said Ray Quinn during the Wednesday night meeting.. Known to everyone as “Mac”, McDermott is the Senior Veteran Service Officer for the Veterans Service Office in St. Johns County. McDermott and his staff assist veterans from all services with filing of claims with the Veterans Affairs.
"Besides overseeing the office and staff," continued Quinn, "McDermott is present at many of the veteran organization meetings to brief the membership on what is happening with the claim process at the present time." "He attends many of the County Board of Supervisors meetings, meets with county staff on a myriad of areas, especially the move to offices within the new Health and Human Services building dubbed the 'Gauze Mahal'."
The award was presented to McDermott by Col. Ed Taylor, name-sake of the award and co-founder of the current council.
With elections behind them, members of the Veterans Council of St. Johns County geared up for a new year of activity.
Officers for 2014 are Bill Dudley, Chairman; Ray Quinn, Vice Chairman; Michael Rothfeld, Treasurer; George April, Secretary.
Guest speakers for the evening were Theresa Andrews and Karen Burns representing EPIC Behavioral Healthcare. Andrews and Burns briefed the council about the new expanded facilities and how the organization can assist veterans dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues. With the advent of their new facility, residents of St. Johns County will have local access to care and not have to travel to other counties for help.
Dwyn Taylor spoke about upcoming events of Youth Leadership program of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce. “The young people of the program will be the leaders of future generations,” said Taylor. “Veterans, as well as business, must nurture them to instill good leradership.”
Briefings on Wreaths Across America, the 450th Military Commission, Missing in America Project, Lassen Nursing Home, Veteran Service Office and “Socks”.