Four Korean War heroes were recognized for their service to our country during the event held at Indian River State College on Oct. 18: Pastor Walter F. Montz, Major Daniel Fennel Jr., Sgt. James C. Bass and Johnny McCullers. Each of these men was presented with a plaque as the crowd gave them a standing ovation. Afterward, everyone who attended the luncheon and had served in the military was asked to stand. A round of applause circulated for them as well.
The other awards distributed went to Dr. Trinidad Garcia — Healthcare and Medical award; Okeechobee County Fire Rescue — Emergency Services Award; Okeechobee Education Foundation — Education and Academic Award; Economic Development Corporation of Okeechobee— Community Development Award; an,d Rotary Club of Okeechobee — Community Service Organization Award.
Taking the podium as guest speaker, retired Marine Corps Lt. General Frank Libutti, gave a rousing "Hoorah!" to wake up anyone who might have fallen asleep after enjoying a wonderful lunch. Shockingly, the 78-year-old man even dropped to the floor and did 10 pushups during his speech.
In a surprising coincidence, Sgt, Jack Nash of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office realized he served under Libutti in Somalia. The two had a short but sweet reunion.
Libutti runs a non-profit named Horses & Heroes on the Treasure Coast. According to their website, https://www.hhsef.org/, “Horses & Heroes of South East Florida is lead by a talented group of folks with a variety of backgrounds all dedicated to facilitating Equine Assisted Learning for our Veterans and First Responders. They are a team of professionals who are committed to helping veterans and military families through the challenges of reconnecting with their community.”
Thank you for your service Hometown Heroes of Okeechobee.