Volusia County had two veterans inducted into the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame on Tuesday, Dec. 4, in Tallahassee.
U.S. Air Force MSgt. (ret.) Joe Rosa of Daytona Beach Shores and U.S. Army Cpl. (ret.) David Rose of Daytona Beach, both Vietnam Veterans, joined 18 other inductees from across the state for the prestigious honor.
Florida established the Veterans Hall of Fame in 2013 to recognize and honor those military veterans who, through their works and lives during or after military service, have made a significant contribution to the state in civic, business, public service, or other pursuits.
Jose “Joe” Rosa found out he was selected for the honor in August. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War and Operation Enduring Freedom. He is serving his second term on the Vietnam Veterans of America Daytona Beach Chapter 1048 Board of Directors and also is senior vice commander of Florida District 19 Veterans of Foreign Wars. He served two terms as commander of VFW Post 3282 in Port Orange.
Mr. Rosa retired in 2011 from the Florida Air National Guard and again in 2012 from the Federal Aviation Administration after 28 years of government service.
Mr. Rosa also serves on the Port Orange Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, the Our Lady of Hope Knights of Columbus, VFW Post 3282 House Committee and is president of the Cloverleaf Homeowner’s Association Board. He serves on the board of the Veteran’s Village in Fort McCoy and the Veterans Museum and Education Center in Daytona Beach. He is the VFW state historian and is a Legacy Life Member of VFW Post 3282.
Mr. Rosa focuses much of his effort on supporting active duty reservists. His wife, Martha, and he have four children, Jessica Anderson (a retired USAF reservist), Nancy Pujols, Ann Marie Gerlock and Jose Rosa III.
“We have a good community and it only stays strong if you are involved,” Mr. Rosa said. “If I am known for anything, it is that I helped my community in any way possible to stay a good community.
“I am very honored and humbled (for getting the award),” he said. “I just did what comes naturally to me. Just getting involved.”
SSgt. (ret.) Rod Phillips, president of VVA Chapter 1048, nominated Mr. Rosa for the honor. “I was honored to have nominated Jose ‘Joe’ Rosa to the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame this year. Joe contributes many volunteer hours to our VVA 1048 chapter, assisting our veterans in many ways.”
He also has volunteered many hours networking with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and local high school J/ROTC units, local business supporters, and with the chamber of commerce.
“I am extremely proud to call Joe Rosa my friend.” said Mr. Phillips, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year.
Mr. Rose was drafted into the U.S. Army as a conscientious objector and served as a medic in the Vietnam War, even volunteering on his days off to help in the villages there.
“After the war, I continued doing the same thing in civilian life I did in the war. I worked in surgery for 35 years,” he said. “I retired from surgery in 2000 and started a .com business that was very successful and sold it seven years later. I went back to college at age 58 and became a park ranger at Yosemite National Park.”
Mr. Rose worked as a park ranger for five years, but realized during that time he had post traumatic stress disorder.
“I was medicated heavily for three years, (weaned) myself off of that, and now we use natural alternative coping to deal with my post-traumatic stress,” he said. “I also have agent orange complications and am 100 percent disabled from the Vietnam War.”
Through it all, Mr. Rose did a lot of volunteer work and wrote four military books. He travels to Washington D.C. six times a year to serve as a mentor for post-war veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD. He has also written songs about his military experience.
“It took me a few days of actual shock to let it sink in that I was selected,” he said. “I was very humbled and felt extremely honored. At first, I thought it was a culmination and finality of a lifetime of service, but I realized recently that this is not the end, this is just the beginning. I plan to use this Hall of Fame title as a tool, as a door opener, to do more services for veterans now than I ever have before.”
Mr. Rose also is known in the area for his Vietnam Veteran Tribute Truck. The truck is unique, a 1946 Chevrolet made into a hot rod, which he invites veterans to view and sign. There are thousands of veteran’s signatures on it.
“Many times, the act of being invited to sign the truck is very powerful for veterans,” he said. The tribute truck is a U.S. Department of Defense Vietnam War 50th Commemoration partner.
Capt. Derek Rose, who is an ERAU associate professor, nominated his father for the hall of fame.
Mr. Rose also is a member of VVA Chapter 1048.
“When I first met David, he explained his dedication of helping veterans with his Tribute Truck and PTSD techniques and methods,” Mr. Phillips said. “I immediately invited David to bring his truck to our next meeting, which he did and it was awesome!”