The Fernandina Beach Rotary Club recently welcomed the founder and CEO of Gratitude America, Lewis Jordan, and Executive Director John Henry November who spoke to the club about the non-profit organization’s goal to provide support and assistance to military veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Jordan, whose 50-year career in commercial aviation included co-founding ValuJet, which later became AirTran Airways, explained that after the sale of AirTran to Southwest Airlines, he knew he wanted to spend his retirement giving back to the country that had given him so many opportunities for success. Toward that goal, he founded Gratitude America to help veterans – the one percent of our population dedicating their lives to protecting our country. The organization was originally begun in Fernandina, but has already expanded to encompass all seven counties in northeast Florida. Gratitude America’s mission is to champion an alliance of service and support organizations that partner to provide comprehensive community resources for veterans, their families and the families of the fallen. The organization’s initial outreach efforts include a retreat to be held at Marineland June 7-9. Members of the Florida military and their spouses or other support person will enjoy a free weekend of relaxation coupled with forums and seminars about local support services and other assistance available to help those who face the challenges of combat-related injuries or illnesses. In closing, Jordan and November said their ultimate goal is to provide whatever care and assistance local vets need to regain a normal life because our nation owes them a debt we can never fully repay.