Tallahassee VA clinic renamed for Jefferson County serviceman
A clinic for veterans in Tallahassee is now named after a World War II veteran from Jefferson County.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Health Care Center in Tallahassee was renamed in honor of Marine Corps Sergeant Ernest "Boots" Thomas.
"Boots" joined the Marines six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
He grew up in Jefferson County.
A Monticello native decided to document his life through a book she wrote, "Call Me No Hero."
R.A. Sheats worked with Boots' best friend to put it together.
She said she wanted to keep his memory alive and remember his sacrifice.
"To see him step up when World War II came and really play a man's role," she said. "He was only 20 years old when he landed on the shores of Iwo Jima, and he led his platoon to the top of the mountain. It's really an inspiring story. It's very exciting to see this dedication in his honor."
Sgt. Thomas was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Navy Cross.
His family received a warm welcome during a special ceremony Tuesday.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Congressmen Neal Dunn and Al Lawson, Leon County Commissioner John Dailey and Mayor Pro Tem Curtis Richardson offered a few remarks about Thomas and his service.