Brevard County Honored as a Veteran Friendly Community

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — The Space Coast community is known for supporting the U.S. military, and a veteran says it’s a big reason she decided to call the area home for good.

Kristi Blanchard served 10 years in the US Army, rising to the rank of captain.

What do you want to know

  • The Space Coast has just been named the 2022 “Great American Defense Community”
  • More than 3,800 active duty, reserve and guard personnel call Brevard County home
  • There are also 68,000 vets living on the Space Coast.

She was in the third class accepting women at West Point in 1978. Blanchard eventually served in Korea.

“This is my United States Military Academy full dress uniform,” says Blanchard. as she showed off her donated uniform at the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center on Merritt Island, where she volunteers and oversees the vast collection of military artifacts.

The plaque over there shows a photo of Blanchard and his parents at his graduation, where they pinned on his bars.

“Everyone was so welcoming, everyone got along,” she recalls.

Fittingly, the Space Coast was just named the 2022 “Great American Defense Community”, one of five recognized across the country by the Association of Defense Communities.

It was her father Charles, who served in the Air Force for two decades, who brought her to the Space Coast.

And almost 15 years later, she is still there, with her mother, Sandra.

“People are so friendly,” says Blanchard. “You can automatically tell who’s been in the military by how they approach you or you approach them.”

Brevard’s recognition underscores the community’s commitment to improving the lives of service members, veterans and their families.

Disability and widows’ assistance programs are available, with more than 3,800 active duty, reserve, and guard personnel calling the area home.

Blanchard is one of 68,000 veterinarians living in Brevard County.

And she’s proud to be part of one of the most military-friendly communities in one of the most military-friendly states.

“It’s amazing,” says Blanchard. “It’s so deserved.”

Another benefit to the region is the Hiring Our Heroes Space Coast Military Spouse professional network.

The program helps military spouses get a head start on employment before arriving at their partner’s new posting.

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