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    Local business leaders inducted as honorary members of 7th Group Special Forces Association

    Local business leaders inducted as honorary members of 7th Group Special Forces Association

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Brian Ragin | (Pictured left to right) Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Thibeau, the senior enlisted advisor...... read more read more



    Story by Maj. Kimbia Rey 

    7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

    EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Part of the lore of Special Forces is the dynamic organizational culture that leaders have passed on throughout its history to maintain the close-knit bond within the community.

    As part of keeping the legacy, traditions and bonds of those who serve within its ranks, leaders of the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) converged at the Red Empire Center for an informal social hosted by the Special Forces Association Chapter 7.

    The socials started five months ago, to discuss “family business” and provide an informal venue also open to Veterans, wounded warriors, and members of the local community to get together.

    “There’s a sense of nostalgia when you enter the hallowed halls of the Red Empire Center,” according to Command Sgt. Major Mark Thibeau, 7th SFG(A) senior enlisted leader while reflecting on the rich history, culture, and lineage of the Group. “You can’t walk in without feeling a sense of pride being a part of such a tight-knit unit.”

    After opening remarks from SFACH7 President Johnny Moses and SFACH7 Treasurer Sam Smith; the two guests of honor Toby Baker and Jay Odom were introduced to the audience and recognized as Honorary Members of the SFACH7. The honor is given to those whose contributions have significantly enhanced the well-being of Soldiers and Family members of the Group.

    Toby Baker

    Baker, the owner of Baker’s Construction Services, was inducted as the 11th honorary member for his generosity in offering 10,000 acres of his Shoal River Ranch, located east of Crestview, to Soldiers for dove and deer hunting as a way for them to relieve stress.

    “I’m grateful for what you men and women do on a daily basis,” Baker said. “Donating my time and resources is how I choose to give back. The trips to the ranch offer Soldiers an opportunity to leave their cares behind. I look forward to supporting SFACH7 for years to come.”

    Jay Odom

    Odom, owner of the Jay Odom Group, is a local business developer, was inducted as an honorary member earlier this year.

    He has been an avid supporter of 7th Group and SFACH7, and donated to the construction and installation of the 7th Group Memorial Wall honoring the fallen Soldiers in the unit.

    Odom, who was born into a military family in Japan, moved to the northwest Florida area as a two-month-old infant. His father was career Air Force, and his brother recently retired as a colonel in the Air Force Reserves.

    Following his induction, Odom presented a check to SFACH7 for $50,000 for educational scholarships for 7th Group families.

    “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do,” Odom said. “I have lived in this community my entire life. I will continue to be involved with this unit, and support in any way that I can. I have two teenage sons that wouldn’t have the opportunities they have now without the freedom that the military and special forces provides.”

    Serving the Group

    SFACH7 supports all Soldiers of 7th Group and their families with fund raisers by the association that goes directly back to the group.
    Smith said, “Most of the time we can assist by bridging the gap with funds that the Army may not be able to cover due to policy.”

    SFACH7 recently assisted in funding the travel of the Group Support Battalion members of the Army ten-miler team. Annually, they provide back to school supplies and holiday gift cards to the Group's junior soldiers.

    “We can’t thank the Association and our Honorary Members enough for what they do for our Soldiers and families,” Thibeau said. “We have some great ambassadors outside the gate who truly care about us and it doesn’t go unnoticed.”



    Date Taken: 10.18.2017
    Date Posted: 10.23.2017 18:04
    Story ID: 252717

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