Veterans Day, observed on November 11th, is a day to celebrate and honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Eugene Andresen: Willingness to Serve
The willingness to serve never seemed to leave Oakland Park’s Eugene Andresen, who spent five years in the Navy serving his country during the Vietnam era. Andresen enlisted in 1957 and served on the USS Hugh Purvis as a payroll clerk, responsible for payroll upon the ship until 1962. In that time, he toured Europe, the Mediterranean, and the North Sea.
He remembers the first few days after enlisting as hard to be away from his family. He was just 19 years old. He also recalls the boot camp experience as being “made to toughen you up.” When asked how he got through it, he replies: “Grin and bear it.” It appears that determination never escaped Andresen.
An Active Community Member
Andresen has been a member of the Kiwanis club for 37 years; 33 of these years spent in the Oakland Park Kiwanis Club. He is also an active member of the Thomas P. Jackson American Legion Post 222. On top of that, he also volunteers over 20 hours a week of his time to a senior companion program, formerly known as Impact Broward, which is now called SOFIA – The South Florida Institute on Aging. Volunteers for SOFIA work with elderly clients who need companionship and respite care.
Two of his past clients were legally blind. He would read with them, read their mail for them or sit and watch TV. He also assisted with Impact Broward’s food drive to benefit veterans, serving on the advisory council. He was also inducted into Broward County’s Areawide Council of Aging Senior Hall of Fame for his volunteer work.
In 2015, Andresen was featured in the Sun Sentinel, Society Scene, for his volunteerism. Now slightly over 80 years old, Andresen does not plan on retiring his activism anytime soon. Now that COVID-19 restrictions have relaxed, he plans on volunteering with new seniors in need.
No Excuses to Help
In a time of a million excuses and overloaded schedules, a glimpse of the life of Andresen can inspire many to find the time to give back. Oakland Park thanks Mr. Andresen and all Veterans for their service to our community. Volunteer work deserves thanks and praise, but our senior, veteran volunteers are national treasures.
To find out more about the Thomas P. Johnson American Legion Post 222, located at 425 NE 5th Avenue, Oakland Park, you can visit their website here: americanlegion222opfl.org.
Do you want to honor a veteran? Tell us about who they are in the comments section of this post.
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About the AuthorRhiannon Samoyedny was born and raised in South Florida. She has lived in Oakland Park for over 25 years and purchased her home in Garden Acres in 2012 where she resides with her husband, two teenaged boys, a few rescue cats, and her dog. Her professional career began as a project manager and estimator for a small Oakland Park construction company and she later went on to earn her degree in Court Reporting, where she later incorporated her own small business RS Reporting, Inc. She has a passion for gardening and attends many horticulture classes and workshops. She is also an LGA (local government academy) graduate, class of 2019, and an active community volunteer and activist. You can usually find her around town a various Oakland Park meetings and events with her notebook, so be sure to say hello.
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