99th Birthday Party at Bob’s Vets

99th Birthday Party at Bob’s Vets

99th Birthday Party at Bob’s Vets

By Diane M. Loeffler

On the morning of December 16, a party was held at Bob Evans Restaurant for Maurice (Mo) Lanouette. Mo’s actual birthday was Saturday, but the Bob’s Vets group decided to honor Lanouette during their weekly breakfast get together on Thursday.

There was a cake, balloons, and a huge birthday card signed by 52 Bobs Vets attendees. Lanouette was presented with congratulatory letters from Vern Buchanan and Governor Ron DeSantis. He also received a framed commendation signed by all Hillsborough County commissioners and a commemorative coin from Mike O’Dell of Veterans Helping Veterans.

Mo Lanouette was born in New Hampshire. He later moved to Louis, Massachusetts. The Army sent him to the Beacon Hotel for basic training. He practiced his drills on the Florida beaches. Mo served as a Supply Technician during WWII. He served in England, France, Germany, Okinawa, Alaska, and Massachusetts. He retired from the military after 20 years of service as a staff sergeant.

Lanouette met his first wife, Molly, in England. After retiring from the Army, they lived in Dunstable, England, where he worked for General Motors.  Lanouette says, “Our house was a ten-minute walk from the bus. The bus trip only cost twenty cents, so I never had a car until I was 62 and was given one by General Motors.”

Lanouette returned to the United States after his wife passed away in 1988 or 1989. He moved to Kings Point in 2001. His second wife, Madelyn, passed away in 2006. In 2016, Joanne Campbell became Lanouette’s caregiver. She took him on an Honor Flight in 2019.

Mo and Molly had two children, a son and a daughter. His son is deceased. His daughter, Diane, lives in England. She flew to Sun City Center to see her father in the Veteran’s Day Parade last year.

Lanouette says, “I have a sister who will be 100 on December 30 and a brother who is 95.” Lanouette also belongs to a coffee group. They meet at McDonalds. He says, “Last birthday my coffee group friends came to my house with a band.”

Congratulations, Mo, on reaching age 99. It certainly would be great to write another article next year when you reach 100!

In the photo: Mo Lanouette and George Tamburello at the Bob Evans.

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Veterans Fair Draws Tremendous Response

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Veterans Fair Draws Tremendous Response

By Kai Rambow

 

“I went all the way around, and I probably stopped at ninety percent of the tables,” commented wheelchair-bound veteran, Patrick Clarahan.  “Just about every table, people were very easy to talk to.  There were a few tables at which I had to wait, but it wasn’t that bad.”

The wait was due to the tremendous response from community veterans. Hundreds showed up to learn about services available to them. Pam Smith-Beatty, a 21-year veteran herself, is the Women Veterans Program Manager with the VA.  When asked about the focus on women, Smith-Beatty illuminated: “A lot of times they don’t think of themselves as veterans. Women do so many things, they often push their service to the side and we don’t think about it. In reality, that service means that you’re eligible for health benefits, care, loans and the GI bill. If you’ve ever served in any service, you should look and see what you’re benefits might be.”

Not knowing what is available was a common theme. Manuel Guevara with The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay shared how very few veterans knew about their center. “It is the epicenter for crises or referral.  We answer the 211 calls, the substance abuse hotline, and the suicide prevention line.” Just about any question related to mental health and well-being can probably be answered by this center.  More importantly, they can let veterans know where to find help.

Clarahan was enthused to learn about some extracurricular activities that should help him get out of the house more.  “Because of my disabilities, I spend a lot of my time watching TV.”  This well attended event was clearly helpful to many veterans.

 

In the photo: Bud Brubaker and Bill McKiernan volunteered to let Marine veterans know about the Leathernecks club.

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