Nursing Professor Honors Navy Captain Father
Henry A. Gill, Jr., a U.S. Navy captain who served in Vietnam, was among a group of 16 distinguished veterans recognized on Nov. 6 at a USF ceremony honoring their military service.
Gill was inducted into the Hall of Honor within the Next Greatest Generation Veteran fund. The fund pays tribute to veterans of wars from the 20th century by giving financial assistance to 21st century student soldiers.
Gill is the father of Alicia Gill Rossiter, an assistant professor in the USF College of Nursing and director of the V-CARE program geared to student nurse veterans.
Dr. Rossiter, DNP, FNP, PCPNP-BC, FAANP, said her father served in the Marine Corps while in college to help pay for his schooling. She said she believes adding his name to the Hall of Honor and contributing to the Next Greatest Generation Veteran Fund is a fitting tribute.
“I think it would have been something that he wanted us to do — to honor the future generations of student veterans — where oftentimes having that extra funding or support is really helpful for them to be really successful,” she said.
She said she was inspired while attending the fund’s inaugural induction ceremony last year. So she, along with her siblings and her mother, Peggy, decided to honor Gill this year.
With this year’s class of heroes, the list of veterans on the honor roll expands to include 43 service members. The fund was created by the USF Office of Veteran Success and memorializes each veteran with a plaque displaying their name, rank, branch, and time of service.
After graduating from Boston College, Capt. Gill wanted to be a pilot, so he switched his enlistment back to the Navy. He attended Officer Candidate School and Navy flight training. He then served three carrier tours off the coast of Vietnam, flying the Douglas A-3 Skywarrior as a Bombardier/Navigator. After leaving active duty, he remained in the Reserves and served for a number of years as an Operation Officer in the Pentagon.
Larry Braue, director of the Office of Veteran Success, said this year’s class of 16 honorees are from various branches of the armed forces who served in four different wars.
The money is distributed to needy student veterans and can cover unexpected expenses. For example, organizers have helped out a student who lost his home in a fire, paid a student’s travel expenses to a conference, or even jumped in to help when someone’s GI Bill benefits runs out.
“We are extending a helping hand, if you will, from generations of brave veterans’ call to duty in the 20th century to our courageous USF students here who have served in the 21st century. By contributing to this fund, donors would be able to make a tangible difference in the life of a student veteran,” Braue said.
Among the inductees was Korean War veteran Frank Morsani, who attended the ceremony with his wife, Carol. USF Health’s medical college and its Center for Advanced Healthcare are named after the Morsanis. Read more about Morsani’s addition into the Hall of Honor, here.
Steve Blair, vice president of development at the USF Foundation, said it was gratifying to see the fund grow with a new class of inductees, which means more student veterans will get the help they need.
“It is such a wonderful way to honor both the past and the present veterans for the sacrifices they made to keep our country safe,” he said.
Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing