By Keith Oliver / Correspondent
Posted Nov 24, 2018 at 12:05 PM
HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS — George Wanberg and wife Cindy head a “veterans serving veterans” ministry at their church and his calendar’s as full as a State Department envoy or Wall Street stockbroker. But when it comes to serving those who have taken up arms in defense of his nation, Wanberg finds the time.
And on Tuesday, the Vietnam War Marine received an invitation to Tallahassee for the Dec. 4 state Cabinet meeting. There all 20 presumptive 2018 Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame nominees will be presented to the Governor and Cabinet for an expected induction ceremony.
The Hall of Fame “recognizes and honors those military veterans who, through their works and lives during or after military service, have made a significant contribution to the State of Florida,” according to spokesman Steve Murray of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs.
“It is not a traditional armed forces hall of fame,” explained Murray, “as it focuses on post-military contributions to the State.”
The Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame Wall of Honor is located on the plaza level of the Capitol.
Wanberg, 74, is well-known among Lake and Sumter veterans for his high energy level, optimistic outlook and find-anybody rolodex.
The Pennsylvania native is the former state chaplain of the Florida Marine Corps League and is a past Commandant of Leesburg Chapter 1240. Wanberg chairs Lake County’s Elder Affairs Council and serves on the executive board of Mid-Florida Community Services in addition to his work on Mission United’s Advisory Committee.
Even his “day job” has him advocating for and honoring veterans: Wanberg oversees Cornerstone Hospices’ Veteran Salute Program in seven Florida counties and is highly regarded as a mentor to any group or individual interested in honoring veterans in the latter stages of life.
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“Fantastic,” said an exuberant Navy Cdr. Linda Dunn of Tavares when she heard the news of the former corporal’s selection. The Cornerstone volunteer called Wanberg “the consummate Marine” and said that “his concern, and love and appreciation for veterans shows in everything he does to help them.”
“He lives to honor others,” the retired officer said.
Dr. Angelo Cruzsein, Director of MissionUnited, a milvet-focused subset of Lake and Sumter United Way, was also delighted at the announcement.
“George’s service is all about veterans,” Cruzsein said. “His focus on this season of his life is a great blessing for all of us.”
Wanberg himself was “surprised and humbled” at the honor; and he emphasized “Cindy’s full support and partnership” in every initiative, noting her particular focus on “the sacrifices that military families make.”
Cindy told the Daily Commercial in an interview last spring that “being married to a Marine for 30 years” informed her own commitment to helping veterans and their families.