World War II and Korean War veteran Don Van Beck, 89, was inducted into the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee.
Joined by his family, he was presented with a special medal and photographed with Gov. Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott.
“It was very flattering. I was humbled to be honored this way,” says Don, a Tavares resident who was commended for establishing Veterans Memorial Park in Leesburg, the park with granite panel walls engraved with names of local veterans.
“I am most proud of the Huey helicopter for the veterans of the Vietnam War,” Don says of the chopper and crew displayed on top of a 15-foot pole. He also was instrumental in a World War II monument at the park and new smaller monuments honoring women who served in the war and those who worked in factories back home to support the war effort
“The monuments in the entire park can now be used to teach kids about the wars,” Don says. Educational tours may be arranged by calling Don at 352.343.1529.