ST. CLOUD -- A St. Cloud area veteran organization has announced the winners of their annual Veteran of the Year Awards.

HomeFront Resource Center has selected four local veterans, one local military family member, and one local organization to be honored.

The Veteran of the Year Award went to Mary Jo Pine who served as a Naval Corpsman from 1973 until 1977 during which time she served at a naval communications station in Puerto Rico. She faced sexism head-on in order to become cross rated after initially being denied. She currently works at the VAMC in St. Cloud.

This year’s Family Member of the Year is Melony Butler. Butler is a military wife with three sons in the Minnesota National Guard. She says there are some services available for veterans, but the system is broken.

You know they have all of these programs except a lot of times they have red tape. In my experience with my own son, the VA did turn him away when I called. If a service member or anyone is calling a suicide hotline, there's a reason that they're calling, and sometimes it's just to talk.

Butler created Eagle’s Healing Nest in Sauk Centre after her son was diagnosed with PTSD and was unable to receive help from the VA. In addition, Butler volunteers at various other events and organizations.

Hoa Nguyen was selected as the Unsung Hero of the Year. He served in the 7th Infantry Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam and then was sent to a re-education camp after the fall of Saigon. Around the age of 30, he moved to St. Cloud and was instrumental in the creation of the Vietnam War Memorial at Lake George.

 

Scott Vosen was selected as the Student Veteran of the Year from St. Cloud State University. Vosen graduated from Little Falls Community High School in 2006 and then served in the Army from 2006 until 2010 during which time he served in Korea and Afghanistan.

He then went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in Travel and Tourism and his master’s degree in College Counseling and Student Development both from St. Cloud State. He says he hopes to have the opportunity to work with some veteran organizations in the future.

I hope to be more of service to them in some capacity and fellow veterans transitioning out of the military and getting into school or just in life in general.

The Student Veteran of the Year from St. Cloud Technical and Community College is Jessica Busby. She served in the Army as a 12C Bridge Crewmember. Busby is currently the treasurer of Student Veterans of America and helped found Support Our Students.

The final winner is Marine Corps League Valhalla Detachment 171. The group was selected as the Veteran Service Organization of the Year for their work with numerous different organizations including Toys for Tots.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app