FKCC President Gueverra: Memorial Day Remembrance of Late Army Air Corp Veteran, College Foundation Director

KEY WEST, FL, May 26, 2016— “As we prepare to usher in the unofficial start of summer with backyard barbecues, boating, and fireworks, I ask the community to join the FKCC family to reflect on why this day is special to all of us.  Memorial Day is a day to celebrate and honor the memories of those who died for our country.  It is a time for heroes—both those who have fallen and those who are still living.  Enjoy the holiday with family and friends, but also give a moment in gratitude to those whose sacrifices allow all Americans the privilege to live in the greatest nation while helping others to fight for and to share in the principles of democracy.  I salute all of our veterans as well as current servicemen and women, and express my sincerest thanks to them and their families for their dedication, commitment and sacrifice, and for their continued service to protect our freedom.

The College has benefitted from the services of many veterans over the years.  Each one deserves special recognition. Today, however, I honor the late John Koenig, a successful bank CEO, public servant, and advocate for strengthening the Keys.  Before he embarked on a lifetime of service to our community, he served our country during World War II.

The day before his eighteenth birthday, Koenig voluntarily left his studies at the University of Florida to enlist in the military as many of his generation did with gusto.  As a U.S. Army Air Corp Pilot, he was tasked with flying much-needed supplies to soldiers during the war.  He served approximately six years, flying throughout the Mediterranean and African Theaters of Operation.

After the war, he finished his collegiate pursuits at the University of Miami.  He then began a career in banking that would take him and his wife Nora to Key West, where they would raise four children.  Koenig was instrumental in the establishment of several Keys banks, which he would also go on to lead as the respective president and CEO of each.  At the state level, he served as the president of the Independent Bankers of Florida.

Many years after his time as an Air Corp Pilot, Koenig continued his military work by helping to create the Key West Military Affairs Committee in 1965.  He recognized the mutual value in maintaining a strong network and open dialog between the local military leaders and the local civilian leaders in the community.

Koenig spent many years on the board of the fundraising arm of Florida Keys Community College, the FKCC Foundation.  In 1999, he and his wife established the Koenig Scholarship, which has helped numerous students pursuing degrees in business.

‘When considering what he wanted his legacy to be, he wanted a scholarship to support the development of future business leaders, who would eventually contribute to the local economic structure like he did,’ explained his son, Tim Koenig, a Circuit Court Judge and former FKCC Trustee.

‘As a banker, he looked at the community from the perspective of a businessman.  He saw how the economic health of the Keys depended on many factors, which drove him to contribute to such a wide variety of efforts, organizations, and services in his lifetime.’

Koenig served as the chairman of the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority for a total of 12 years after helping to advocate in Tallahassee for access to potable water.  He gave 30 years of service to the Key West Chamber of Commerce, including time as president and a board member, which earned his induction into the Key West Hall of Fame.  Koenig was also on the boards of Key West Public Works, Key West Art and Historical Society, Monroe Association for Remarkable Citizens, Key West Direct Advisory Council of the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, and Key West Yacht Club.

This Memorial Day 2016, FKCC remembers and salutes John Koenig.  We continue to value his leadership and service to our Country, State, and Community.”

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