Nicholas J. Cutinha – Medal of Honor

Some things cannot be forgotten. Some things should never be forgotten. Those two realities come together in the story of a young man who lived in LaBelle for a time as a boy, and did more in his short life than can truly be comprehended. Nicholas J. Cutinha was just one of a generation of […]

LHS Graduate becomes Lieutenant Commander

I had the pleasure of running into the accomplished 2005 LHS graduate, Katherine “Katie” Fromm, and her mother, Diane Fromm, at the LHS Homecoming Game. Her proud mother told me that Katie was recently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Reflecting on growing up in […]

Meet Major Henry A. Avellaneda

(Submitted photo) Avellaneda as a JROTC Instructor, with one of his students. By Danika J. Hopper Caloosa Belle Local veteran, Henry Avellaneda, served in the Air Force for 20 years, retiring from active duty, as a Major in January, 1996. “I really enjoyed my time in the Air Force. It was a great experience that […]

U.S. Sgt. E-3 Harlee S. Harn

Being able to interview our local veterans, and share their stories has become such a wonderful part of my life. When learning about Harlee Harn’s years in the Air Force, and his life after getting out, I found out this American Hero had to wait nearly 38 years for his first Veteran’s benefits. “When I […]

A Veteran’s Story: Robert S. Kirkwood

I recently asked Bob Kirkwood, long time Treasurer of the Disabled American Veterans LaBelle Chapter 144, to tell me about himself and his military experience. Entering the Air Force in February 1963, he was sent off to standard basic training at Lackland AFB, TX. He reminisces about those first, early mornings at basic, “One morning […]

Sgt. Janine Spencer’s Story

Army Sgt. Janine Spencer, 2012 – 2018, grew up in LaBelle, and has recently returned to her hometown. She is a budding watercolor artist who loves to paint plein-air along the Caloosahatchee. She has worn combat boots, practiced shooting machine guns, led soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and throughout it all learned about the meaning […]

Remembering those who have fallen on Memorial Day 2019

Traditionally a long weekend, filled with family and friends gathering for tasty barbecues, good music, and so much fun in the sun, that it is sometimes forgotten that this federal holiday is meant to honor the brave men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. This year, I visited the Fort Denaud […]

Capt. Jeffrey L. Fornear

Jeffrey L. Fornear, a veteran of the Air Force, active member artist at the Barron Park House Gallery, and also my father, is the reason I moved to LaBelle. He introduced me to this small town by showing me all of the beautiful photos he had taken there, and I immediately fell in love with […]

A Veteran’s Story – Lance Corporal Charles Davis

Charles D. Davis, better known as Charlie to his family and friends, is a Vietnam Combat Veteran who recently sat down with me to talk about his time in the service. From battling severe malaria twice to being pinned under attack in a rice paddy, this man has an amazing story of survival and sacrifice. […]

A Veterans Story – MSgt Marlin Elroy Yelton, Jr.

Veteran, Marlin Elroy Yelton, Jr., is an active, lifetime member of the VFW, American Legion, DAV, and Moose Lodge. He chairs a Parkinson’s Support Group at Hope Hospice Center as well dabbling in wood carving, target shooting, wine making, and is even writing a book about toys from his childhood. A man of many interests […]