Dedications Recognize Men of Service

Col. Merchant on the right receiving the Bronze Star.

Lake Renamed for “Bo”

The City of Tampa renamed the lake in Gadsden Park today after a Special Operations paratrooper who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea among many overseas assignments.

Known as “Bo,” Col. James L. Merchant III, 46, died in the Gadsden park lake during a training parachute jump in 2009.

A photo of Merchant on the river he loved from an online "legacy" dedicated to his memory.

He was commissioned in the Army through the Citadel ROTC program served more than two decades being awarded many honors including the Bronze Star, a Defense Meritorious Service Medal, a Meritorious Service Medal and the Joint Service Commendation Medal. He was stationed with the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base at the time of the accident.

An online “legacy” page dedicated to the memory of Col. Merchant stated that his favorite place in Tampa was on the river below his house. He is survived by his wife, parents and brother.


Veterans Museum to be Named after Rear Admiral

LeRoy Collins, Jr. at a Collins Center Board of Trustees meeting in Tampa, September 2009.

Next week, Hillsborough County’s Veterans Museum Building will be dedicated to the memory of Rear Adm. LeRoy Collins, Jr. who was killed earlier this year while riding his bicycle near downtown Tampa.

The dedication ceremony will recognize Collins’ life and accomplishments and is scheduled Dec. 8th at  2 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park and Museum, 3602 Hwy. 301 North, Tampa.

The son of a former governor and Florida native, LeRoy Collins, Jr. received his commission from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1956, and spent the next 10 years on active duty before transferring to the Navy Reserves. He retired from the Navy Reserves as a two-star Rear Admiral in October 1990.

In 2007, Rear Admiral Collins was appointed executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs where he was a fierce advocate on behalf of Florida’s more than 1.6 million veterans and their families.

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