Historic City News was notified by Bill Dudley, Chairman of the Veterans Council of St Johns County, that on Thursday evening, November 23, 2023, St Augustine lost one of the Council’s founding members, Sgt Major Ray Quinn, US Army (Retired). Quinn, who previously served as Chairman, was totally immersed in the organization’s non-profit operations, currently serving as the Vice Chair.
Among many other activities over the past six years, our parent organization, Ladies Memorial Association of St Augustine Inc, has worked with Quinn through the Wreaths Across America Program for the St Augustine National Cemetery. Also, several times each year St Johns County suffers the loss of a veteran that has no next of kin. The Veterans Council of St Johns County has a policy that no veteran goes home alone. So, when this occurs, the county verifies the veteran’s service and then arranges for interment at the Jacksonville National Cemetery. Sgt Major Quinn volunteered to conduct a graveside service for every veteran who had no family.
“Our comrade and brother-in-arms passed away peacefully on Thursday evening at Flagler Hospital,” Dudley reported to the veteran community. “Ray’s passing leaves a large void in our hearts. His contributions are immeasurable, helping not only veterans but all those in need. A strong man of faith, he was a spiritual leader as well as a leader of those who walked in his path. He is deeply missed by his comrades and the communities that hold him in the highest esteem.”
Sgt Major Quinn was asked if he would serve as an Interim County Commissioner in August of 2009. He was appointed by Governor Charlie Crist and served from January 2010 to January 2011. In deciding Quinn’s appointment, the governor expressed that Quinn’s military organizational skills and leadership style “was a good fit” for St Johns County.
- Ray became a citizen soldier in 1965 while he was employed at Winn-Dixie. He retired from the Florida Army National Guard on November 30, 1995, after 30 years of service. Ray went back to work the following month for the Florida Department of Military Affairs as an Administrative Assistant. He was later promoted to Director of Executive Services, serving on the staff of the Adjutant General. He retired from the Department of Military Affairs in February 2008.
- Sgt Major Quinn has been a member of St Augustine American Legion Post 37 for more than 10 years. He served on committees as well as serving as the Post Historian and the Post Chaplain. He is Past President and Life Member of the NCO Club of St Augustine. Quinn is a Life Member of the Enlisted Association of America and of Florida. He is the Vice President for Retiree and Enlisted Affairs of the First Militia Chapter, Association of the United States Army.
- Quinn was equally proud of his place among the civic leaders of the community. He served as a Board Member of the Matanzas Bay Club, a non-political action group working to ensure the progress of St Augustine and St Johns County. He served as member and Past President of the Kiwanis Club of Historic St Augustine. While serving, he instituted a toy drive for indigent area families. He could be seen ringing the bell for the Salvation Army and picking up roadside trash for his club. He was very active from 1988 until 2008.
Ray was honored by the State of Florida and Governor Rick Scott by being presented the Governor’s Medal of Merit. This award has been presented to those veterans that have significant contributions to our state’s veterans and our communities. In January 2018 Sgt Major Quinn was named the Military Citizen of the Year for St Augustine. He was honored at the Fourth Annual Military Ball held in the City of St Augustine.