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Larry Vannoy, at right, of Madison accepts the “Brigadier General Robert Drolet Service To Veterans Award” from the award’s namesake, Bob Drolet. Vannoy reached the rank of Colonel before exiting the U.S Air Force. CONTRIBUTED

Vannoy honored with Drolet Service To Veterans Award

MADISON – Heart of the Valley YMCA has honored Larry Vannoy with the “Brigadier General Robert Drolet Service to Veterans Award.”

In 2021, the YMCA instituted the award to recognize an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary patriotism, support of veterans, duty and honor, as portrayed by Brigadier General Drolet.

“I particularly appreciate this award because of the award’s namesake, Bob Drolet, who has been a mentor over the years . . . someone that I’ve leaned on many times for guidance and assistance,” Vannoy said. “This award was given to me but it’s really about our American Legion Post and all programs and services we have accomplished and provided to our veterans, their spouses and family and the community.”

“I am the commander but the real work is being done by our engaged post members,” Vannoy said. Vannoy reached the rank of Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He serves as Commander of both American Legion, 12th District with 14 posts and for Madison American Legion, Post 229.

Born in Blackwell, Okla., Vannoy completed high school in Sumter, S.C. Studying electrical engineering, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree at Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright Patterson Air Force Base in 1979.

He completed nine years of active duty in the U.S. Air Force and 21 years in reserves as electrical engineer. His last civilian job was Launch Director for Missile Defense Agency, Targets and Countermeasures before retiring in 2017.

He assists his wife Lisa with their business, Posh Mommy & Baby Too baby store, in Madison.

“We moved to Madison in 1986 because of engineering job opportunities after separating from active-duty Air Force. I wanted to reside in the South,” Vannoy said.

In the Air Force, Vannoy was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in 1977. His first assignment was to 7755th Aerospace Test Group, supporting military payloads into the space shuttle. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and Captain.

He then reported to 7113th Special Activity Squadron in Wiesbaden, Germany. His rank was Captain. Next, he worked for Defense Intelligence Agency at Bolling Air Force Base.

In reserve assignments, Vannoy served at Los Angeles Air Force Station and Arnold AFB in Tullahoma, Tenn. He was mobilized post-911 for Operation Iraqi Freedom. His promotions ranged from Major, Lieutenant Colonel, and Colonel.

Vannoy’s final assignment was to Gunter AFB in Montgomery as Emergency Preparedness Officer.

In civilian life, Vannoy formed American Legion Auxiliary, Honor Guard, baseball programs and visits to Tut Fann Veterans Home. He sponsored two Boy Scout Eagle Scout projects and three Girl Scout Gold Award projects.

In the community, Vannoy initiated Junior Shooters with JROTC at Bob Jones, James Clemens and Sparkman high schools; MLB Home Run Derby and Pitch/Hit/Run; and Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award.

Currently, Vannoy is establishing Sons of the American Legion Squadron. He holds membership in numerous military associations. Vannoy served on Madison City Council for 12 years.

The Vannoys have four children: Jessica of Franklin, Tenn., and daughters, Riley and Regan; Ashley of Toney and son Cooper; Adam, USAF Reserves Major, Colorado Springs, Colo. and daughter Charlotte; and Joshua, a freshman at University of Mississippi.

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