Meet 2014 Veterans of Influence honoree Dick Batchelor
Dick Batchelor, who served in the Marine Corps for two years including a stint in the Vietnam War, was elected to the state House of Representatives at age 26 and spent eight years in the Legislature. A strong proponent of education and children’s causes, he now has his own firm, Dick Batchelor Management Group Inc.
In 2002, he led the charge to establish a 1/2-cent sales tax in Orange County to help fund public school construction, renovations and maintenance. He helped get that renewed in 2013, and also has been active in fighting domestic violence.
Why did you join the military? I had lost a few friends in Vietnam and such losses encourage me to volunteer for the Marines and Vietnam.
What were your first impressions of your military unit? Parris Island (boot camp) was a very intimidating place at that time. The unit was disciplined.
Highest rank achieved? E-4 (after only 13 months of service)
Most important lesson you learned in the military? Discipline
One skill you learned in the military that you use every day? Staying focused
Best thing about being in the military? Camaraderie
Worst thing about being in the military? The food
How you transitioned into a civilian career? Very well
Biggest challenges facing veterans? Health, job and housing challenges
What your firm and/or you have done to help veterans? Support Wounded Warrior Project
Advice you give to veterans? Your nation is grateful. Don’t be afraid to ask for direction, assistance and support.
Commendations/medals/honors received? National Defense, Vietnam Service, Meritorious Mast
Favorite place you were stationed? Okinawa
What role veterans play in developing Central Florida’s economy? General leadership throughout industries, using the skills they learned in the military
Qualities that make veterans great job candidates? Used to demands of time and talents/discipline
What should be done to help veterans with business ownership and job creation? Job creation credits, corporate tax incentives for hiring veterans, etc.