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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Our "Telling the Navy League Story" series takes a look at what makes our members so passionate to volunteer their time and support the sea services.  

Name: Patricia "Pat" Du Mont
Navy League Council: Fort Lauderdale Council
Council Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Years a Member: 30 years

What’s your personal connection to the sea services before you became a Navy League member?

My husband served in the Navy just four years. But I think the personal connection for Fort Lauderdale is we, for such a long time, have been a Navy city and we have an understanding of the Navy. We welcome them to our community. We're happy when they're there, and we want to show them a good time and do what we can to support their families.

And we have Coast Guard, we have SOUTHCOM [U.S. Southern Command] down in southern Florida. We have so many military people down there. And they're important to our economy, so as a past chair of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber [of Commerce], we look at those economic numbers too. I think all of those reasons make you want to be supportive of the military.

How did you first learn about the Navy League and end up joining?

It was because of neighbors who wanted to get my husband involved. And once you go to a meeting and you hear about the good work that's done, you hear about needs, you get involved in the legislative affairs aspect. And then a few years later I attended Sea-Air-Space. It is, not only is it a learning experience, but you are doing good for the men and women and their families that keep our country free and keep our lines of commerce open. So how can you not be supportive?

Can you tell me about a time or event you recall where you felt like your work as a volunteer made a real difference?

In Fort Lauderdale, we commissioned the USS Cole. And then of course several years later there was the bombing. And in Fort Lauderdale, because we had commissioned the Cole and we felt such a close association with the crew members of the ship, we put together a community commemoration service for the folks who had lost their lives and in honor of the work that they do.

And it was amazing to see the turnout in our community, because sometimes we think in the Navy League that we're serving a small group of people and people aren't paying attention. The performing arts center opened their 2,000-seat theater for us. Through the city, we were able to get that venue donated to us. And it was filled, so that was a very touching moment, recognizing and bringing together all around the world. We think of the military, we think of this incident when it had happened, and the fact that that ship was commissioned in our own community.

And the turnout that we had honoring the crew and the people who lost their lives and their families — it was pretty touching moment.

How have you personally been affected by your work through the Navy League?

I guess I don't really look at it as personal benefits except that you make really good friends. You know that you're making a difference. It allows you to do special and unique things where you really feel that they're making a difference. I've been involved as a national vice president of legislative affairs. I've been involved as an NVP [national vice president] for communications. [Editor's note: Since the time of this interview, Pat Du Mont has become senior national vice president.]

I think it's the people that you meet, whether it's the civilian people, the Navy League members or the military people that you work with. It's putting all of that together. And I think it's an enriching experience, and we all need to be giving back to our community. I'm very involved in my local council, but it's interesting to me to be involved in the national level.

If someone's not a Navy League member why should they join?

Our country is dependent upon commerce, and that is besides the men and women who protect our freedom every day. They also keep the commerce flowing in and out of our country. And I think that people forget the importance that the military plays and how huge those numbers are.

No. 1, for freedom in the world. And No. 2, for the commerce that it brings to our country. We would be a very different country if we didn't have the military out there keeping those shipping lines open for us and protecting us.