Director's Corner

Director's Corner
By Sam Lauricella

A while ago I had the opportunity to read a book entitled Doctor in Blue, an autobiographical account of a remarkable individual's military career. The book chronicles the 30-year military history of retired Col. Martin I. Victor, M.D., USAF during which he served as a Resident in Aerospace Medicine, a family care physician and a hospital commander.

Dr. Victor's assignments ranged from Vietnam to England and to several Continental United States bases with his last posting being here at Patrick Air Force Base from where he retired in 1993. 

In reading Dr. Victor's account of his different assignments, one cannot help but be impressed by his dedication and commitment to military medicine. 

Throughout his entire career, with the exception of being in Vietnam, he was accompanied at each new base by his wife, Sara Jane Victor. In addition to her roles of wife and mother to their two children, she would, at each new assignment, typically involve herself working as a teacher at the base or at a local school and as a volunteer with the base's family services. 

What is noteworthy about this is that Sara Jane began her volunteering in 1964 and continues to do so today with her assignment in the Airman's Attic -- an incredible period of some 52 years of service.

In terms of the total number of years volunteering, Sara Jane is probably the longest serving volunteer at the Airman's Attic. She does; however, work with a group of volunteers who like herself, are dedicated and committed to assisting military families to make the transition and adjustment to a new assignment easier.

The list of all the Attic's volunteers would be too extensive to include here, but I have listed below the names of those who each have completed more than 1,000 hours of service. Currently these seven individuals have amassed a total of over 22,500 volunteer hours at the Airman Attic. 

For those of you who are not familiar with the Airman's Attic, it is an all-volunteer service, which has a variety of household and child care goods available. Newly arriving Airmen and their families may borrow items until their personal goods arrive. Items may also be borrowed by active duty and retired military personnel.  Additionally, the Attic maintains a “thrift shop" type service where a variety of donated items may be taken by their customers (E-5 or below), for permanent ownership at a no-cost. The donated items include: home decor, electronics, children’s clothing and Air Force military uniforms.

Another service the Attic offers is the Coupon Corner. Coupons are cut and categorized by volunteers and placed in separate baskets from which customers may use for shopping trips. Coupons are also mailed to various bases overseas to help young families with their grocery cost.

The Airman's Attic is part of Family Services, which is organizationally under the 45th Force Support Squadron’s Airman and Family Readiness Center. Volunteer recruitment and assignment for the Attic is the responsibility of Project Emeritus.

The Airman's Attic is located at the south end of building 415 and open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. They are always in need of new volunteers. If you are interested, please call Project Emeritus at 321-494-7657, or email

The following are volunteers with more than 1,000 hours serving at the Airman's Attic:

Mary M. Doonan

Marlene D. Hatfield                   

Gerald Meyer

Edward A. O'Connor    

Shirley A. Osborne    

Sara J. Victor

Esther J. Wilkerson

Project Emeritus

Volunteer Resource Program ManagerProject Emeritus is provided as a service to the Patrick AFB community in the interest of promoting public service through volunteerism. The presence of this information in no way implies endorsement, preference or obligation by the U.S. Air Force or its personnel toward any external organization. To inform the volunteer resource program manager of volunteer opportunities, email 


A Brief History

Early documents indicate that John Heronimous, a USAF retiree working in the Retiree Activities Office (RAO) in the late 1980s or early 1990s, was the originator of Project Emeritus. 

Supposedly, Heronimous had previously set up a similar program in Myrtle Beach, S.C. (records do not indicate which military installation was involved). The concept of involving retired military personnel and/or their spouses as base volunteers was supported by USAF retired Col. Don Clark, then RAO supervisor and his assistant, Art Fetskos. Two volunteers were assigned the task of calling retirees to ask if they would be interested. Heronimous brought in his own computer and this was the beginning.

The original document of organization, establishing what today is Project Emeritus, was titled The Emeritus Program Eastern Space and Missile Center Charter. The charter was approved by USAF retired Col. John R. Worthington, Eastern Space and Missile Center commander, Aug. 15, 1990. Signing as co-directors of the Emeritus Program were USAF retired Brig. Gen. William J. Crandall, and USAF retired Col. Joseph LaPanna and is when Project Emeritus was considered to official launch. 

Leadership of the program began with the May 1, 1990 appointment of LaPanna as the first director of Project Emeritus. LaPanna held the assignment until Oct 1, 2006. Upon his retirement, the director's position was assumed by USAF retired Chief Master Sgt. Harold "Jerry" McAnulty, until March 31, 2010. USAR retired Col. Salvatore "Sam" Lauricella, is the current director as of April 1, 2009.

The number of retirees and their spouses enrolled as Project Emeritus volunteers in the past 20 years has varied from a reported high of 250 in the mid-1990s to the existing roster, June 2010, of nearly 155. A number of factors are thought to have contributed to this decrease in the number of volunteers and include: privatization of base work areas eliminating existing volunteer assignments; increased gas prices making is more costly for retirees residing at extreme distances from the base to travel to and from the base to perform volunteer duties; and an aging pool of retirees and spouses with medical conditions that often preclude volunteer participation. 

In a recent charter revision, however, Project Emeritus obtained Wing leadership approval to expand volunteer eligibility to include active-duty personnel, dependents, military veterans and civil service. The change is designed to attract a larger number of volunteers and allows individuals to complete community service hours in support of programs such as Florida's "Bright Futures" scholarships. 

During its 22-year history, Project Emeritus volunteers have been assigned to work in numerous base locations. In a July 21, 1994, a USAF press release (No. 94-77), citing the location of assignments, said, "You'll find them at the base's visitors' center, the commissary, the pharmacy, graphics and even the Cape's military traffic management command, where volunteers have been known to work 40-hour a week in support of Desert Storm/Desert Shield." 
More recently, Project Emeritus volunteers are likely to be assigned to the Airman's Attic, the ID office, the Chaplain's office, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance service, the JA Office, the Director of Staff's office, the Fitness Center and the base golf course. 

Project Emeritus was initiated and developed as an augmented mission to support pilot programs that could be used as a prototype for establishing similar volunteer efforts at other USAF bases. Although Project Emeritus has received, and responded to numerous requests from other military installations for information regarding the project, to our knowledge no other base has to date initiated a volunteer program based on the Project Emeritus prototype. 

(Current as of July 2013)

Volunteers needed

Project Emeritus, a volunteer organization at Patrick AFB, is a program to solicit volunteers from the retired, active duty, dependents and civil service, to assist base personnel in mission support operations. Project Emeritus volunteers have been assigned to work at numerous base locations, including base personnel, the Wellness Center, the Visitor's Center and the Golf Course. Volunteers are used at Patrick AFB, Cape Canaveral and the Warbird Museum in Titusville. Volunteers give a minimum of four hours a week to support Team Patrick. Volunteers set their own schedules and select work in their area of interest or expertise. Many agencies on base are in need of assistance. 

Retired military (all services), active duty, dependents and civil service who are interested in volunteering four hours per week supporting the Air Force and the 45th Space Wing's mission can contact a volunteer coordinator at 321-494-7656, email, stop by 514 Falcon Rd, Building 415, Patrick AFB, Fla., 32925 or log on to Facebook.

· Designated parking at BX and Commissary
· Riverside Dining Facility privileges, guests are also welcome
· Community Involvement, networking
· Build experience, add to resume

Check here to fill out a Project Emeritus Application

Volunteer Opportunities

The following list are base agencies which utilize a number of volunteers but the demand of volunteers is not limited to:

Airman & Family Readiness Center
Airman's Attic
Auto Hobby Shop
Child Development Center
Civil Engineer/Safety Office
Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI)
Golf Club 
Health and Wellness Center
Project Emeritus Office
Project Emeritus (Recruiting)
Retirees Activities Office

Project Emeritus Awards

The following have received the EAGLE AWARD, identifying them as having over 2500 hours of volunteer service at Patrick:

Retired SMSgt Art Fetskos

Retired Lt Col Louis Mentillo

Retired LCDR Don Winterich

Retired MSgt Pete Koch

Marlene Hatfield

Retired MAJ Shirley Osborne

Retired Lt Col Jerry Meyer

Retired Col John McDunnough

Retired Lt Col Ed Roscoe

Sara-Jane Victor

Retired CMSgt Larry Sherman

Retired CDR John England

Mary Doonan