2014 Nominees Section
Jack Ray Hammett
Organization: The Freedom Committee of Orange County
What role does your nominee have in senior care and senior care issues?
Jack Hammett was in the US Navy from 1937 until 1967. He was a pharmacist's mate at the naval hospital on that fateful date - Dec. 7, 1941. Jack worked four straight days helping the wounded and trying to identify the dead. It was a time he will never forget, and he's not too proud to tell you afterwards he and his friends cried "like babies."
After 1967, he was a successful businessman, a pilot, a reserve policeman and mayor of Costa Mesa.
President Ronald Reagan appointed him to two state boards.
He is currently the President of the Freedom Committee of Orange County. He formed this group with three other friends with the intention of creating a "living history" model. The idea was to get veterans into classrooms to teach what can't be seen in books – to describe what it means to serve your country.
Why should this person be nominated
Jack is the recipient of the Navy Commendation and Star, Navy Commendation 1 Star, Good Conduct Medal and 4 Stars, Pacific Theatre Star, American Theatre Star, European-Africa 1 Star; WWII: Korean Defense Medal and Victory Medal.
He served in WWII Pearl Harbor Attack; England: D-Day Casualty Care, North Africa & North Atlantic and Korea.
Jack has served Presidents and communities - with the emphasis on SERVE. And at 94, he has not lost any of his zeal. He is committed to making sure that Veterans have a purpose and school-age children have a connection to true history. That is why he formed, along with 4 friends, the Freedom Committee of Orange County.
This organization has brought together Veterans of all wars and given them a place where they feel respected and relevant. And he has given his the community a way to truly experience the truth of what it means to serve; what the term "for God and Country" really means.
I attended one of the Freedom Committee meetings and was humbled beyond words at the descriptions of the sacrifices made for people like me here at home. I felt this way not because I sat in a classroom and read it, but because there were men and women who were brought together and were being taught to describe how they lived it. I can only imagine how school-age children must react when they hear these stories.
Jack and his fellow servicemen and women are helping to instill pride in our country and the true meaning of service through his wonderful organization. Beyond all the ribbons on his chest - that is heroic!