2018 Niceville Valparaiso Civic Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

Lt. General Gordon “Gordy” Fornell, USAF Retired, nominated By Van Fuller, Mid-Bay Bridge Authority, is well known in Northwest Florida and is widely respected for the significant contributions he makes to the Niceville Valparaiso area. His vast military experience and knowledge is matched only by his credibility, influence, and ability to bring people together for a common good.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, General Fornell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University in 1958 and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, in 1978. While at Michigan State University he was a member of the 1957 Big Ten Conference championship swim team.

General Fornell has a wide range of operational and test experience. He has flown over 50 types of aircraft, logged over 7,000 hours of fly time, wears parachute wings and is a Certified Level III program manager.

He has received numerous decorations and awards including: Defense Distinguished Service Medal; Distinguished Service Medal Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster; Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters; Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster; Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters; and the Air Force Commendation Medal. He also wears the Basic Parachutist and the Missile Crew Member Badges.

General Fornell served in senior acquisition leadership positions in Air Force Systems Command and Air Force Materiel Command which included two commands; one as Commander, Armament Division at Eglin from 1985-1987 and second as Commander, Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom from 1988-1993. These organizations developed and acquired all non-nuclear munitions and communications, command and control, and intelligence systems for the Air Force.

He retired in 1993 as a three-star general and after traveling to almost every corner of the world he settled with his wife, Barbara, in Bluewater Bay. He currently serves as Chairman of the Mid Bay Bridge Authority and the Air Force Armament Museum Foundation. He is also the Vice Chairman of the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast Board and serves as the Vice Commodore of the Eglin Yacht Club.
He is an active member of Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee, Emerald Coast Military Affairs Council, Enterprise Florida, Defense Support Initiative of the Okaloosa County Economic Development Council, University of West Florida President’s Council, a life-time member of the Air Force Association, and adviser to Florida’s Great Northwest.
General Fornell has led 5 visits to Washington, DC advocating for military personnel, families and veterans in Northwest Florida. He is also the founder of the Gate-to-Gate Run at Eglin Air Force, a 33 year old Memorial Day Weekend tradition where runners place flowers at the Veterans’ Memorial along the route in honor of those who served.

Here is a link to the complete article.

Eglin Fisher House gets new furniture

New Furniture Arrived in July, thanks to our generous community. It is so lovely and our guests are so worthy of the best love and care!  Awesome photography courtesy of Marc Ambrose.  

Just get it done – “absolutely stellar stuff”

Sharing words from one of our non-medical attendants regarding our care of one of our guests…..who agrees that the trend to accept mediocre and applaud exceptional needs to change?

“It’s been a pleasure to know you as well; you get it done and I respect that. No one seems to just get it done anymore. This experience has been amazing and has given me a whole new perspective on Fisher house and what you guys do (which I’ll admit I’ve never had first-hand experience with). Absolutely stellar stuff. I’m very comfortable leaving (my guest) here knowing this will be the right place for her to recover and you guys have her back. ”

Always have someone’s back and make a difference in some small way every day……

Words from Guests

April 12, 2018

“Thank you so much for being here while my son is in ICU due to health serious issues.  He is special needs and can’t communicate so I can’t tell you how much this place means to me.  Having a place to come and rest, wash clothes at night and a place to lay my head – I never worried I was bringing any kind of unclean things to him.  Thank you for being there.”

Words from Guests April 11, 2018

March 23, 2018
“Unbelievably blessed to meet the staff who are awesome and very friendly and have the opportunity to stay here.  Last night was the first night, I hadn’t slept in 4 days but slept so peacefully here.  Everyone offers to pray for you although they are dealing with something as well.  Extremely grateful! Day One”

April 11, 2018 – Still with us
“Praying for healing, peace and blessings to all those currently residing and future residents of the Fisher House.   A special prayer goes up for the staff who are amazing.  I can’t thank everyone enough for their kindness.  God Bless and thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

 

Words from Guests March 20, 2018

“My grandson and I enjoyed staying and playing at the Fisher House. Thank you so much for your caring and sharing. It made us feel so special. We really appreciate everything. God bless!” March 20

The Ruffner Family contribute $5,000 as a suite sponsor in honor of their son, Matt, Chief Warrant Officer 3.


Chuck and Diane Ruffner have joined as a suite sponsor in memory of their son, Matt who was killed in action, April 9, 2013 while serving our country in the Pachir Wa Agam district, Afghanistan, when his AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed. Also killed was Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jarett M. Yoder, 26, of Mohnton, Pa.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew P. Ruffner
11-18-1978 4-09-2013
Many honors have been bestowed upon Matt, honoring his service and love of country and flying Apaches. A painting by military artist Larry Selman hangs at Fort Indiantown Gap in Annville, Pennsylvania honoring Matthew and his co-pilot CW2 Jarett Yoder on their final mission in Afghanistan.
He was awarded the Bronze Star (posthumously) for his actions of saving a ground unit that had come under fire, and was awarded the Aviation Mission Survivability Officer Award for 2013 by the AAAA for his life saving mission planning.
In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania a bridge has been named after Matt.
Matthew served a total of 16 years, the last 7 as an Apache Pilot and also as an instructor pilot. at the 1st Bn.,104th Avn. Regt., 28th CAB
He excelled at sports, was a talented guitarist and was a graduate of Indiana University Pennsylvania with a BA in Criminology. All gave some, some gave all.

Words from Guests February 12, 2018

My daughter and son-in-law had a scheduled C-section on Monday.  I wanted to be close and packed my bag with the thought that I would sleep in labor and delivery waiting room.  My son-in-law contacted the Fisher House and secured me a room and what a blessing the Fisher House has been.  It has been so convenient!  My oldest daughter and granddaughter came down from South Caroline and it was nice to bring my granddaughter over for a break.  We enjoyed the board games, corn hole and the library, snacked while playing.  The house is amazing, down to every detail!  I had the pleasure to spend time with the staff; Marc, Don and Judy were so welcoming!  This would be a wonderful place to volunteer or work!  Thanks again for helping me be comfortable welcoming my granddaughter!