Through the years, I have mentioned or quoted Chip Hanson several times in newspaper stories and columns.
Now, I want to tell you what a spirited advocate he is for veterans here in Brevard County and elsewhere — anywhere he is needed.
He is a chaplain, a veterans’ benefits service officer and a volunteer at the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery. He does so much more for his fellow veterans.
A U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War, Hanson said he was influenced to help others by the difficulties he faced at war and the poor treatment received when his generation of warriors came home.
He saw too many of his fellow Marines killed in action.
“Everybody I started out with was killed,” he said. “I lost so many people.”
He said he wants to continue to help veterans, including this new generation of warriors, many of whom served multiple tours in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
When he returned from the war, he worked in banking, always thinking of what he could do to help his fellow veterans. So, after retirement in 2006, he became ordained as a chaplain.
He said it all evolved through the years as he became chaplain for the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center, Disabled American Veteran Chapter 123, Veterans of Foreign Wars 10148, American Legion 344 and the DAV Department of Florida.
In addition, he is a service officer helping veterans navigate through the Department of Veterans Affairs rules and regulations to claim the benefits they have earned.
There are few people that I know of that do so much for veterans as Hanson. He seems to be involved with many local groups that advocate for veterans.
Almost every time I have an occasion to stop by the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center on Merritt Island, I see Hanson advising a veteran, filling out paperwork or preparing to help the next person in line. He leads the invocation at events at the Veterans Memorial Center, conducts graveside services for veterans at the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery or wherever else he is asked to serve. You also might see him helping at a hospice organization.
He said he will serve fellow veterans in whatever way he can.
“I’ll be here if they need to talk or if they need anything,” he said.