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Veterans hope to begin introducing school flag program this year

Bradenton Herald - 2/17/2017

Feb. 17--The Manatee County Veterans Council hopes to introduce its Veterans Educating Today's Students program in Manatee schools this spring, and fully implement it in the new school year starting this fall.

Army Lt. Col. Gill Ruderman, a Vietnam War veteran, has headed up planning of the 10-lesson program on respect, proper display, and history of the American flag. Veterans made their first contact with the Manatee School District about the program in 2015.

Thursday, Ruderman began the handover of the implementation stage of the program to Chris Nothdurft, a Gulf War-era vet, and co-founder of the Student Veterans Society at USF Sarasota-Manatee.

In setting up the veterans club at USF Sarasota-Manatee, Nothdurft said the vision was to get club members out in the community to help other veterans.

Nothdurft said he similarly wants to meet, continue planning, and implement the flag program in schools.

Carl Hunsinger, chairman of the Manatee Veterans Council, said Veterans Educating Today's Students program is extremely important, "because that is our future. I appreciate all the effort. Now it is time for action."

Also at Thursday's Veterans Council meeting, held in the parish hall of Christ Church, Bradenton, retired Rear Admiral Richard A. Buchanan, a Bradenton resident who serves as Florida relationship manager for the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, introduced himself.

His job is to help improve the veteran experience beyond health care, to include employment, education, and more, Buchanan said.

"One of the most important things you can do for people leaving the service is to help them get the best job possible, one that is a good fit for them, and which they can be proud of," Buchanan said.

"They need someone to help mentor them," he said. "The most important aspect is where they will go for their next job when they leave the service."

Buchanan said he sees his job as working through other veterans organizations, and local support staff, including the office of the Manatee County Veterans Service Offficer.

"There is an opportunity for enhanced cooperation. It takes all of us supporting veterans," he said.

Hunsinger called the VA relationship manager another part of the "spoke and hub concept" of veterans organizations working together to assist vets, and their community.

In other business Thursday, Hunsinger presented a certificate of appreciation to Manasota Elks Chapter 2734 for pressure cleaning Veterans Park, located between Manatee Memorial Hospital and the Bradenton Riverwalk.

For more information on the Manatee County Veterans Council visit Manatee County Veterans Council

James A. Jones Jr.: 941-745-7053, @jajones1


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