Nominate someone for St. Louis Area Veteran of the Year

News-DemocratSeptember 2, 2013 

There's no money involved in being the St. Louis Area Veteran of the Year, or no plaque either, but there is some prestige.

And a free lunch, courtesy of the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.

The club sponsors the award and also honors veterans at its annual veterans luncheon Nov. 7. The veteran of the year also will get a lot of cheers with a place of honor in the St. Louis Veterans Parade the following Saturday.

Mel Burkart, a retired U.S. Navy captain, is the chairman of the Veterans Day Committee of the MAC and he hopes a lot of people will nominate veterans for the honor.

"We will honor a military veteran who demonstrates support of veterans in everyday life and who serves as a role model for all citizens," he said.

While "St. Louis" is in the title of the award, so is "Area," which means many veterans on the east side of the Mississippi River may qualify as well.

All active duty Reserve and National Guard members as well as retired service members who live or work in St. Clair, Madison or Monroe counties in Illinois, the city of St. Louis or St. Louis, St. Charles, Franklin and Jefferson counties in Missouri, are eligible.

Although the club sponsors the honor, nominees do not have to be members of the Missouri Athletic Club.

Last year, the honoree was Charles Rohde, of Florissant, Mo.

And even if you don't get a nomination in this year, you still may qualify. Nominations from last year also will be considered again this year along with new nominations.

You can call the athletic club at 314-539-4402 to receive a nomination form. The forms are due back by Sept. 30.

Burkart said the lunch will have about 350 people in attendance, many of them veterans.

"We have people from Pearl Harbor veterans to modern wars," he said. "We try to recognize veterans who we know will be there and tell their interesting stories."

Have a column idea? Call Wally Spiers at 618-239-2506 or 800-642-3878; or email:

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