Military Heritage Museum
Fishermen's Village
1200 West Retta Esplanade, Unit 48
Punta Gorda, Florida 33950
Mon - Sat: 10am to 6pm
Sun: noon to 5pm
Admission is free

Museum Leadership

Kim Lovejoy

The 25-year military career of executive director Kim Lovejoy, MSgt, US Air Force Retired Reserve, began in the Regular Army, during which time she was stationed in Heilbronn, Germany, and Fort Huachuca, Arizona, working as a food service specialist. Years later, she joined the Army National Guard, serving in three units in Manchester and Concord, New Hampshire, first as food service supervisor and then as a broadcast journalist. After moving to Florida, she remained with the Army National Guard as a senior food service supervisor with a unit in Sarasota until transferring to the Air National Guard and into the personnel field. She retired in January, 2009, following two deployments to the Middle East in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

Kim holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English from the University of New Hampshire. She has worked in public relations, marketing and communications for more than twenty-five years, including as public relations manager with a large law firm in New Hampshire, before moving to Florida, and, for more than seven years prior to her position with the Museum, as communications director with the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce. She is the immediate past-president of the Charlotte County Veterans' Council and is a graduate of Leadership Charlotte, Class of 2001.

Bill Minerich

President Bill Minerich was a commercial pilot for 32 years, flying for various airlines and, for the last 22 years with Airborne Express, flying internationally throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America. In addition, he was the chairman of the 401k, pension and insurance advisory committee for Teamsters Local 1224. He initiated and administered a program for the 600+ pilot group that provided funding for COBRA health insurance for pilots who were disabled and whose insurance was terminated after one year on disability.

Bill served in the U.S. Army in1970 and 1971, during which time he went to jump school and then spent 14 months in the Central Highlands of Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade as a gunner in the 319th Artillery Battalion. He was honorably discharged as a sergeant, E-5.

Bill and his wife, Janet, own Jack's on Marion Restaurant in Punta Gorda, in addition to farming blueberries. Bill is a director of the Peace River Rotary Club, has served on the "Charlotte County Teacher of the Year" selection committee for Charlotte County, and has assisted with and supported numerous fund-raising events for various nonprofit organizations.

Peter F. Taylor

Peter F. Taylor, board vice president, is the Founder of Taylor Contractors of Florida, Inc. He is a past chairman of the Charlotte County Fire Advisory Board, the Charlotte County Code Enforcement Board, Charlotte County Economic Development Council and the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce.

Peter received the Florida Council on Vocational Education Award in recognition for Outstanding Achievement by an Individual and is a recipient of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce Pace Setter Award in recognition of Outstanding Service and Achievement in Charlotte County.

Community activities include president/founder, Charlotte BMX, Inc., 1988-1997; board member of Habitat for Humanity; past vice president, Punta Gorda Historic Mural Society; past board member, Charlotte County Vocational-Technical Center Advisory Board; board member, Revitalization Committee - City of Punta Gorda, 1991-2000; past member, St. Joseph Hospital Advisory Committee.

Peter served in the US Marine Corps from 1944 to 1946 and was a firefighter in Stony Brook, New York , for almost ten years. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce from The Citadel, Charleston, S.C., 1950.

Robert M. DickinsonBoard secretary Robert M. Dickinson, COL, US Army, Retired, is the Museum's fifth inductee to the Museum's "Wall of Warriors." He and his first wife Gayle moved to Charlotte County in 1991. Bob retired from the Exxon Corporation in 1982 as a senior executive, responsible for evaluating and advising Exxon Corporation and its world wide affiliates on the introduction of the new "Office of the Future" technology that was sweeping the world. Eventually Bob became a financial advisor with what is now Ameriprise Financial Services. Over time he acquired the prestigious designations of Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC). He became licensed in many states and acquired his Series 24 Registered Principal license from the SEC. Most importantly, he earned the trust and confidence of a large number of satisfied clients.

Bob had a third career, in the military. It started in 1954, when he graduated from college and was commissioned an Army second lieutenant in the Artillery branch. Bob spent four years on active duty, which included attending flight school and becoming an Army aviator. After that, Bob spent the next 27 years in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve. He retired from the National Guard in 1985 as a Colonel assigned to the Aviation branch and as a Master Army Aviator.

Bob is a graduate of Harvard College (AB Magna cum Laude) and Harvard Business School (MBA with High Distinction). He is a past president of the Arts and Humanities Council of Charlotte County and currently serves on several of that organization's committees. He is vice president, secretary, and newsletter editor of the Reserve Officers Association Chapter 6. He is on the board of the Military Officers Association Charlotte Harbor Chapter and is personal affairs chairperson. He is president of the Sun Coast Council of the Navy League, which covers Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties. He is also a board member and treasurer of the Fred Lang Foundation, which helps fund mental health services. He and his wife Sharyn live happily in Deep Creek.

Rex KochBoard treasurer, Rexford R. Koch, CPA, is President of Koch & Company, CPA, P.A. He holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Miami. Rex is a member of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He has been serving individuals and small businesses in Charlotte County, Florida since 1995.

Rex is an active leader and member of numerous organizations throughout Charlotte County. These include: Charlotte County Homeless Coalition, Charlotte County and Punta Gorda Chambers of Commerce and many more over the past 17 years.

Most recently, Rex was recognized by the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants and received an award for "Outstanding CPA in Public Service." Rex is a proud veteran of the U.S. Army.

Fred BuckinghamTrustee Fredric Buckingham, the fourth inductee to the Museum's "Wall of Warriors," served in the United States Air Force for 30 years, retiring as a Brigadier General. He entered the Air Force in 1964 as a distinguished graduate of the Indiana University Reserve Officer Training Corps program. During his career, Fred commanded a C-130 flying squadron and all three stateside C-130 flying wings. He also was the senior YC-14 operational test pilot responsible for a qualitative evaluation of the YC-14 prototype to perform the tactical airlift mission.

Fred served as theater commander of airlift forces for both Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operation Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia. A command pilot, he has flown more than 6,000 hours including 680 combat hours in South Vietnam.

The numerous awards Fred received include Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters and Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters.

He retired from the Air Force in July of 1994 and moved to Punta Gorda. Since 1996, Fred has served on the Board of Directors of the Florida International Air Show and held the position of chairman from 1999 through 2012. He also served on the Board of Directors of the International Council of Air Shows. He is a past director of the National Board of Advisors to the Museum of Aviation Foundation in Warner Robins, Georgia. Fred is a member of the First United Methodist Church where he is Chairman of the Administrative Board, serves on the Pastor’s Discernment Team, leads a Bible study group, and an usher.

Fred and Diane have been married for 49 years and have a son, Todd, who lives in Forney, Texas.

Gene GeronimeTrustee Gene Gernomine, CPT, U.S. Navy, Retired, is the Museum's second inductee to the Museum's "Wall of Warriors."  Gene was in carrier aviation during a military career that spanned almost thirty years, beginning with graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1954, followed with advanced degrees in Aeronautical Engineering from the Naval Post Graduate School and Stanford University. He operationally flew planes that included the F9F-6 Cougar, the FJ3/3M Fury, the F8 (series) Crusader and the F4J Phantom II. During two combat tours to Southeast Asia on the USS Oriskany he flew the F8E Crusader. Other carriers upon which he deployed were the USS Hornet, the USS Ranger, USS Saratoga, USS Kitty Hawk and the USS Constellation. He had 850 carrier landings and 4000 jet hours during his career. Gene also managed three major programs during his Washington tours, including the F/RF-4 Joint Program Office, the Harpoon Project Office and the Tomahawk Project Office. In addition, he was a test pilot in Carrier Suitability at the Naval Air Test Center.

Gene was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, seven Air Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals – with device for combat valor, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Navy Unit Commendation Medal, the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, four Republic of Vietnam Service Medals, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Medal.

After retiring from the Navy, Gene spent 15 years with McDonnell Douglas in various executive positions. In 1998, he and his wife Jane moved to Punta Gorda, where he became actively involved with the Florida International Air Show. Gene is an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and he is a trustee of the Athletic and Scholastic Division of the United States Naval Academy Foundation.

Gene and Jane have been married for more than 50 years and have three children and eight grandchildren.


Rufus C. LazzellTrustee Emeritus Rufus C. Lazzell, BG, US Army, Retired, was the Museum's first inductee to the Museum's "Wall of Warriors." He came to Charlotte and Punta Gorda in 1983, following a thirty-year career in the Army. He was in infantry combat in Korea and Vietnam . At one point in his career, he had the unique assignment of commanding a British parachute infantry company as part of an officer exchange program.

Rufus’ military awards and decorations include the Army Distinguished Service Medal, two awards of the Silver Star for gallantry in combat, three awards of the Legion of Merit, three awards of the Bronze Star Medal (including one for valor), Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, four awards of the Air Medal, two awards of the Army Commendation Medal and the Purple Heart.

Rufus served on the Punta Gorda City Council for eight years, including four years as the city’s mayor. Other governmental bodies with which he has served or still is serving include the Punta Gorda Community Redevelopment Agency, Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, Lee County Port Authority, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, and the Peace River Basin Board (Southwest Florida Water Management District).

Boards of civic and community nonprofit organizations on which Rufus has served or still is serving include the Charlotte County YMCA, Executive Council of the SW Florida Region of the Boy Scouts of America, Charlotte Regional Medical Center, Florida International Air Show, Punta Gorda Historic Mural Society, Charlotte County Arts & Humanities Council, and the Cultural Center of Charlotte County, for which he currently serves as president. Recently, Rufus was the first inductee into the Military Heritage Museum ’s Wall of Warriors.

He and his wife Jo Jacquilyn (Jo-Jac) have two grown daughters who live in Alaska and Massachusetts .

James W. Mallonee Trustee Jim Mallonee of James W. Mallonee, P.A., holds a B.A. from the University of South Florida and an M.S. from Rollins College.  He obtained his J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, in Sacramento, California.  Prior to returning to Florida to practice law, he was employed by Intel Corporation for 22 years in locations including New Jersey, Florida and California.

Jim has been a member of the Florida Bar since 2003.  He serves on the Charlotte Community Foundation Committee for Asset Allocation.  He also teaches business law at State College of Flordia and courses in estate planning at the Life Long Learning Institute.

Jim's law firm has offices in Port Charlotte and Venice, and the firm's legal services include business law, estate planning, probate administration, real estate and related matters.

Bob Melvin Trustee Bob Melvin lives in Boca Grande where he established (in 1999) Gasparilla Properties, the Island's premier real estate company. Mr. Melvin has brokered multi-million dollar properties including luxury beach, bay golf, residential, multi-family, commercial, and land. He has been an elected board supervisor for the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority, board member of the Boca Grande Child Care Center, chairman of the Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association -Bike Path Committee, member of the Fire Department, Gasparilla Inn, Boca Grande Club, Boca Bay, Boca Grande Pass Yacht Club, Lemon Bay Golf Club, Lemon Bay Conservancy, as well as the Placida Rotary Club. Bob was the original founding member of the new Tom Fazio golf course in Placida, Coral Creek Club.

He gives generously of his time and resources to many local organizations, including the Boca Grande Health Clinic, the Island School, Boca Grande Child Care Center , Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association, Placida Rotary Club, Englewood Area Y.M.C.A. and the Lemon Bay Conservancy.

Garnette SchollTrustee Emeritus Garnette Scholl and her husband, Lester, now deceased, moved to Punta Gorda in 1984 from Illinois, where they ran a national sign company. There, Garnette served on a regional board of Hadassah that encompassed 55 chapters throughout all of Indiana and Illinois, and she started an Interfaith Circle in Skokie.

Once in Charlotte County, Garnette's community service continued in a major way. She currently serves or has served on the Lang Foundation Board (charter member), numerous committees with the Charlotte County YMCA and C.A.R.E, the Saint Joseph and Edison College Foundation boards, and the Captain Don Cerbonne Scholarship Fund. She was on the Centennial Committee in 1987, which was the genesis for Punta Gorda's annual Block Party.

Garnette is an avid bowler, once bowling in three leagues a week. She is also a pistol shooter who fired in competitions up and down the coast of Florida and holds a "Marksman" rating with the NRA.

Lester was a registered race driver with the Sports Car Club of America, and the two of them were charter members of SCCA in the Miami and Jacksonville Chapters.

Garnette has two daughters, Patty and Carol.

Marilyn Smith-Mooney

Trustee and Past President, Marilyn Smith-Mooney, moved to Punta Gorda in 1993 from Long Island, NY, where she attended St. Joseph 's College School of Business Administration and earned her Certificate in Leadership & Human Resources Development. The first half of her 30-year private-sector career focused primarily on the field of architecture and construction, with the latter half focusing on executive management team positions in human resources, corporate development and materials management. She added flight training as an additional pursuit and operated a flight training and aircraft rental business after receiving her FAA Commercial Pilot certificate and being certified as an FAA "Gold Seal" Flight Instructor/Ground School Instructor.

Marilyn held the Punta Gorda City Council's District #2 Seat from November 1996 through October 2007, serving twice as Mayor in 2001 and 2002 -- the city's first and only female mayor. She is a graduate of the Advanced Institute for Elected Municipal Officials, Leadership Charlotte and Local Government Leadership Florida.

Marilyn has been recognized in the Charlotte Sun’s annual list as one of "the county's most influential, involved, charitable, powerful and important people." She is married to Jack Mooney, and between them, they have three sons, one daughter and four grandchildren.
Cheryl Vanande

Trustee Cheryl Vanande is the president of CNO, Inc. She possesses more than 25 years of experience in human resources, training and organizational development and is a retired Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve. Her extensive service enabled her to travel and train in a wide variety of situations and cultures that include 17 countries.

Directly prior to establishing CNO, Inc., Cheryl served Charlotte County Florida's Board of County Commissioners for approximately 12 years, where she managed the Training and Organizational Development Department. Her educational background includes a Masters’ Degree in Public Administration from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts from the University of Iowa.

Among her current certifications and licenses are Professional Human Resources; Performance Leadership Instructor; Integrated Leadership Concepts, Applications and Practices Instructor; Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Certified Administrator; Emotional Intelligence Authorized Instructor; and Achieve Global Leadership and Customer Service Instructor.

Cheryl’s vast experiences have enabled her to develop expertise in a wide number of areas resulting in her being a sought-after trainer for nearly 60 courses in: Personnel Proficiency, Professional Development, Facilitation, Leadership, Communication, Organizational Assessments and Process Improvement, as well as Computer Skill Development.

Administrative Assistant:

Laurie Vullo
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