Two local veterans — former Army medical officer Dr. Eddie Zant, and the late Air Force Col. Michael Flynt — were inducted into the Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame on Monday.
TALLAHASSEE — Two local veterans, one nominated posthumously, were inducted into the Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame in Monday ceremonies.
The Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame, established in 2013, is unlike a traditional military hall of fame because it focuses on veterans’ post-military contributions to the state and their communities.
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Retired Air Force Col. Michael Flynt of Miramar Beach, who died in December 2017 at the age of 72, was selected for the Hall of Fame in part for his founding role with the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance.
The other local inductee, Dr. Eddie Zant, was recognized in part for providing free hyperbaric oxygen treatments to veterans dealing with concussion injuries.
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“I’m humbled, and I know he would be,” Flynt’s widow, Charlotte, who was on hand for Monday’s induction, said late last year after learning that Flynt had been selected for the honor.
“Just to be put up for it is an honor,” Zant said late last year after learning he had been selected for inclusion in the Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame.
During his military career, the late Col. Flynt was a command pilot on both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, among other awards. He served as a faculty member and commandant at the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School.
Flynt also was noted for his educational pursuits. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in zoology, he held master’s degrees in urban and regional planning and coastal zone studies.
Charlotte Flynt once gave her husband a thermometer as a gift “because it was the only thing that had more degrees than he did,” she quipped in last year’s interview.
In addition to his work with the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Flynt served on the Northwest Florida State College board of trustees and with South Walton Utilities, the Choctawhatchee Military Council and the Air Commando Association.
The hyperbaric oxygen therapy offered by Zant increases the amount of oxygen going to all cells of the body, including the brain, by up to 15 times, according to Zant’s website, flhbot.com. Treatments have a positive effect on many organ systems and the body’s immune system, according to the website. To date, Zant has provided free treatments to dozens of veterans at a value of more than $100,000.
The other 14 veterans inducted into the Hall of Fame on Monday included Air Force Sgt. John Brinkley; Army Reserve Maj. Edward Copeland III; Army CWO4 Donald Courtney; Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond “Ray” Cralle; Army Capt. Matt Franz; U.S. Navy Reserve Petty Officer 3rd Class Irving Friedman; and retired Air Force Lt. Col. Ali Frohlich.
Also, Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Kathryn Gates-Skipper; Marine Corps Capt. Dale Leslie (posthumous); Navy Capt. Norman Olson; Air Force Reserve Capt. Robert Phillips; Army Sgt. 1st Class Juan Santiago-Seda; Army Reserve Capt. Michael Waldrop; and retired Air Force Brig. Gen. William Webb were inducted into the Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame on Monday.
Anyone can nominate a veteran for consideration for induction into the Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame, by completing a nomination form available online at www.floridaveteranshalloffame.org.
The Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame Council, a seven-member advisory panel, is responsible for accepting annual nominations to be considered for induction into the Hall of Fame. The board sends its list of selected nominees to the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, which submits the nominations to the governor and state Cabinet for final action.
The council gives preference to veterans who were either born in Florida or adopted Florida as their home state.