Roamy here. Huntsville may be the Rocket City, but it is home to Redstone Arsenal and many, many veterans. The Floyd E. “Tut” Fann State Veterans Home is located here, plus many active veterans’ organizations and charities. One of the leaders for military charities in this community is Joe Bongiovanni. If you live in this area, you’ve seen or heard him on commercials for Serra Toyota in Decatur, a city just west of Huntsville.
Joe Bongiovanni was recently honored as Veteran of the Year by the North Alabama Veterans and Fraternal Organizations Coalition. I knew from his commercials that he was heavily involved in the Semper Fi Community Task Force and Wounded Warriors. I thought it was amusing that a guy who manages a Toyota dealership would be involved with Vettes for Vets. What I didn’t know was that he emigrated from Sicily and served in the US Marine Corps during the Vietnam War.
More than 40 years later, he still considers himself in service to his nation and the Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen who wear the uniform today…
“The Vietnam War was not a popular war. There were no parades or any fanfare when we came back,” he said. “I want to make sure that same thing doesn’t happen to our young men and women who are returning today from places like Iraq and Afghanistan. I want to make sure they are recognized for their sacrifice and their service.”
And that’s at the heart of the work Bongiovanni does on behalf of the military today. He takes tremendous joy and satisfaction from knowing that he has helped ensure that North Alabama veterans are appreciated, respected and honored.
A number of wounded veterans and their spouses are invited to Huntsville for a week of festivities around Veterans Day. One of my co-workers, who has a son in the Marines, has hosted a wounded vet for the last few years. Joe Bongiovanni has helped organize this as a way of saying thank you and showing that, for some, the oath never expires.
Thank you, sir, for your service.
I thought I would throw in some pics of Vettes for Vets in the Veterans Day Parade held here.