“My intention is to be an ambassador for the veterans,” says Richard Noel. Col. Noel is being named Chatham County’s Veteran of the Year.
The 69 year old was a young pilot when he went to Vietnam in 1966. He would serve two tours in Vietnam and become a career solider, also serving in Korea and Germany. He told me the army “was the best thing that ever happened to him because it allowed him to see and serve the world.”
Noel was awarded a distinguished flying cross and two awards of valor.
While he went on to have a long military career and is now serving his community, he does recognize some veterans of Vietnam and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are still struggling. He says he wants to make sure that local services are available and that military members are not forgotten. “The goal of every veterans organization I have seen and belong to is to give back , you really want to make sure that you help folks out,” he told me.
“I think there are a lot of organizations in Chatham County and Savannah that work real hard that have their heart in the right place that they want to focus on homeless veterans,” he says.
Noel believes he can help by working to get all parties together that offer services and coordinating those efforts.
He told us he is “humbled and honored to be named as the Veteran of the Year and surprised.”
While Noel wants to give back he also says the community can help by beefing up local veterans programs and making sure they see veterans in trouble as well as those who are not. “And thanking active duty soldiers is really important,” he said.