Don Belle, a member of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1021 in Mount Airy, N.C., was honored during “An Evening to Remember” in November. Belle is a retired as a U.S. Air Force colonel and community leader.
The surprise recognition was spearheaded by the Mount Airy-Surry County Branch of the National Association of University Women (NAUW). “We were afraid we were not going to be able to pull that off,” NAUW Past Charter President Cheryl “Yellow Fawn” Scott told the Mount Airy News. “Surprising a USAF colonel isn’t easy.”
Belle served in the Air Force for 24 years, and worked as Surry County’s director of veterans services for 10 years after retiring. He also has held leadership posts with local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2019 and VVA Chapter 1021.
The event recognized Belle for his tireless commitment to helping veterans. “Our purpose for this event was to make sure that Col. Belle recognizes the tremendous impact he has had on veterans, widows and the community,” Scott said. “As numerous people shared their stories of his intervention to resolve military problems and quietly volunteering to help with everyday challenges, we realized that he was likely unaware of the gratitude felt by so many.”
“It’s unusual in one’s lifetime to be appreciated by those who love you,” Belle said.