Gulf Coast Village resident Halden Wernsing was recognized Wednesday, July 27 by the Hope Hospice Honor Guard for his military service in the United States Navy. The ceremony included remarks by the Hope Hospice Honor Guard, the Pledge of Allegiance and a presentation of mementos recognizing gratitude for Wernsing’s service in the Navy.

Wernsing was presented with a certificate, American flag lapel pin, star from a retired American flag, handmade patriotic quilt and a handmade “battle buddy” teddy bear, which represents the military sentiment of you are never alone in battle and always have a fellow sailor to rely on.

Wernsing’s daughter Sheri Botner and son-in-law Kevin joined him for the ceremony along with his life partner Carloyn Johnston, who is also a Gulf Coast Village resident.

“Having our father at Gulf Coast Village has given me and my siblings great peace of mind,” shared Sheri. “All of our family is out of state, so it is so important to know he is safe and cared for and it is great to see the time they have taken to honor our dad’s military service.”

Wernsing served seven years in the United States Navy first as a seaman before becoming a pipefitter. He spent time aboard the aircraft carrier USS Philippine Sea. Originally from Harvel, IL., Wernsing was a lifelong farmer and found his love of boating while in the Navy. He earned his master captain’s license through the merchant marines. Wernsing was also an avid traveler and diver making over 2,000 dives across the world.

Wernsing and his partner have been part-time residents of southwest Florida for over 35 years and have been full-time area residents for the past 15 years. He entered Gulf Coast Village as a resident four years ago and currently resides in their Palmview Memory Care community.

“It is very important for us to honor our residents’ contribution to our nation and make sure we assist with coordinating with local organizations for ceremonies such as the one for Mr. Wernsing,” said Stephanie Smith, Gulf Coast Village memory support program manager.

“The ceremony was such a beautiful tribute for both Mr. Wernsing and his family and we are proud to have been a part of it.”

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