ST. CLOUD -- A St. Cloud area veteran organization held their 5th annual awards ceremony on Wednesday night, the 74th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.

HomeFront Resource Center celebrated six local men, women, and groups selected as the 2019 Veterans of the Year. The honorees were selected across five categories including veteran of the year, service organization, student veteran, volunteer, and new this year: spouse or family member.

This year’s big award went to Clyde Lewandowski. Retired Major John Donovan is the vice-chair of Homefront. He says Lewandowski is a Vietnam veteran who volunteers at orphanages abroad.

Clyde is a Vietnam veteran, and also he has adopted an orphanage in Vietnam. Every year he goes over and provides school supplies and other items. He just got back from Vietnam, and today we are going to honor him as our Veteran of the Year.

Past recipients of the Veteran of the Year award include Larry Tillemans, Bob Nicol, and the late Dr. Earl Potter a 20-year Coast Guard veteran and former President of St. Cloud State University.

Donovan says it’s important to honor, remember, and recognize the achievements of our local veterans.

The volunteerism in our country will be dependant upon how the next generation of veterans see the current generation of veterans being treated. So it's important that we as a community honor and respect those contributions.

The award recipients are chosen based on how they exemplify duty, honor, and country both in their military service and in the St. Cloud community.

2019 Veteran of the Year Recipients:

Veteran of the Year - Clyde Lewandowski

Student Veteran (SCSU) - Dale Oeltjen 

Student Veteran (SCTCC) - Justin Hass 

Veteran Service Organization - American Legion Post #76

Spouse/Family Member - Suki Mills

Volunteer - Cynthia Garcia Magallenes

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