A View from the Top

Congratulations to Coconut Creek resident and retired Air Force Lt. Col. Leo R. Gray on his induction into the Dr. Nan S. Hutchinson Broward Senior Hall of Fame, which celebrates the exceptional volunteer services of Broward County residents over the age of 60. Gray joins other Coconut Creek honorees: former Mayor Sam Goldsmith, former Commissioner Abe Asofsky, Gertrude Weinberg, Paula Layne and myself. Since 1978, the Broward County Aging and Disability Resource Center has inducted 377 members. 

Gray is one of the original members of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of black pilots who flew combat missions in WWII. You may have seen the movie “Red Tails,” which dramatizes the true-life stories of African-American pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group. If not, I highly recommend it.

Gray has an impressive bio: He made significant contributions to the warfare of this country throughout his military and civilian careers. Soon after high school graduation, he joined the Army Air Corps, and in 1943, he began his aviation cadet training. A little more than a year later, he graduated from the Tuskegee Army Airfield as a second lieutenant, single-engine pilot. While stationed in Italy as a fighter pilot, Gray flew 15 combat missions in P-51s for a total of 750 hours flying time. He left active duty in 1946, but remained in the U.S. Air Force Reserve until 1984. During his 41 years of military service, Gray earned a coveted Air Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster and a Presidential Unit Citation.

Gray earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts in 1950, a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska in 1952, and did post-graduate work at the University of Maryland from 1962 to 1964. He began his 30-year career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1953 as a technical assistant at the University of Massachusetts’ agricultural extension service.

Gray wore many hats during his USDA career. He served as an agricultural economist with the Economic Research Service, as an economist with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in California and as director of the program-planning office for the Food Safety and Inspection Service, to mention a few. He was also an economic consultant to the USDA in West Africa. 

Gray’s professional and civic life reflects his deep commitments to the Tuskegee Airmen, agricultural economic research organizations and civil rights. He mentors minority youths for several organizations, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County. His advice to seniors is: “Keep the faith, and keep your mind focused on what you want to do. Just because you are old, doesn’t mean you can’t play ball.”?

Lt. Col. Gray, thank you for your service! 

You May Also Like

The Federal Opens at The Baptist Health IcePlex in Fort Lauderdale

The Iceplex is also home to the new Florida Panthers practice arena.

Olive & Sea Offers Monthly Master Mixology Class 

The Fort Lauderdale restaurant offers 156 indoor and outdoor waterfront seats, including a 14-seat bar facing the Intracoastal.

American Lung Association Hosts Annual Lung Force Soirée 

The fundraising event in Boca Raton supports lung cancer research.

Anticipated Return of Miami Swim Week Approaches

The event aims a global spotlight on fashion, culture, and sustainability.

Other Posts

A View from the Top

Mother’s Day will be celebrated on May 10th this year. Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1870 by Julia Ward Howe. However, it was not until 1914 that President Woodrow Wilson made the first official announcement proclaiming Mother’s Day as a national holiday that was to be celebrated each year on the second Sunday in

A View from the Top

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I am here to remind you to perform self-exams once a month and to get a mammogram every year. Early detection saves lives. Just ask me; I am a two-year survivor and had no history of breast cancer in my family.  Did you know that one out of

The Lifestyle List

What’s the buzz in South Florida?  Friday, Aug. 18 Pinot & Pasta The Atlantic Hotel & Spa is debuting a new event on the 5th floor Oceanfront Terrace that will feature a pasta buffet, two glasses of wine and live music by DJ Zach. Complimentary valet is included. When: 6–8 p.m. Where: 601 N. Fort Lauderdale