Champions by Year
On August 23, 2009, at the age of 78, Sol Gothard achieved a major victory in his battle to save the New Orleans-area chapter of the oldest veterans’ organization in the United States of America. In a ceremony conducted during the national conference of Jewish War Veterans of America (JWV) at the World War II museum, Sol was recognized for his astounding success at reviving Louisiana’s Jules Lazard Post 580 following the disastrous effects of Hurricane Katrina.
From a previous high of 85 members, the number of veterans involved had fallen to only 17 after Katrina. But just three years later, Sol’s steadfast determination and leadership as post commander had grown the chapter to an unprecedented 120 members, plus 55 patrons, earning the national headquarters’ recognition as the fastest growing JWV post in the entire country.
Through more than four decades as a military veteran, social worker and well-respected judge, Sol developed a deep commitment to service and a keen ability to recognize vital community needs. One of Sol’s most significant life lessons was the extent to which we depend upon others for our own success. We all need guidance, support and encouragement at various times in our lives, and Sol recognized the significant value that local veterans groups bring to a community. For veterans, they maintain an emotional outlet and communication with others who have military experience. For non-veterans, these groups fortify national pride and foster our appreciation for the sacrifices made to uphold our values and quality of life.
Life experience taught Sol that simply wanting something to happen isn’t enough. You have to act – and develop a plan that works. Sol beat the odds using highly personalized and diligent recruitment techniques to grow the local post’s membership to numbers far above and beyond its former glory.
Sol Gothard … Peoples Health Champion