Local leader and WWII veteran Ted Spangenberg is said to be the man who reminded the community “there is no comma after ‘nation’ in the pledge of allegiance”.
The local leader and icon, known for his service to his nation, church, community and family, passed away Monday, May 12.
Spangenberg’s service to his country began during WWII, where he served first in the Merchant Marines and then in the 71st Infantry and 66th Infantry in the U.S. Army’s European Theater of War before receiving an Honorable Discharge. He also received a Purple Heart for his bravery and injuries sustained by shrapnel. The French Government later honored Spangenberg as well, bestowing upon him the French Legion of Honor, the country’s highest honor, for his contributions to the liberation of France during that time.
Spangenberg went on to work for the Florida Department of Transportation, from which he retired after more than 30 years as District Maintenance Engineer.
Spangenberg also served First Baptist Church in Chipley as a Deacon and Treasurer, was a Gideon, and often volunteered his services to Habitat for Humanity. He also volunteered his engineering talents to building construction on the Baptist College of Florida campus in Graceville, served with the Florida Baptist Disaster Relief and American Red Cross organizations as a shelter manager, and worked as an engineering consultant for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Spangenberg will perhaps be best remembered for his service to the Boy Scouts of America, however.
Scout Master Daniel Bradford served with Spangenberg in the scout organization.
“He spent numerous hours molding young men to become tomorrow’s leaders through the Boy Scout program,” said Braford. “His work wasn’t just here, but in Panama City also and in Pensacola. He had a wealth of information and loved to share it with you if you sat down and asked him questions.”
Spangenberg, his son, and all six of his grandsons earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honor from the Boy Scouts of America.
Ted Everett, Executive Director of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, says Spangenberg will also be remembered for his service to the Chamber, in addition to his county, family and faith.
“There were no airs about Ted Spangenberg,” said Everett. “He was an integral part of the Chamber. Not only was he a loyal member, but also a true leader and a true American. He was one of a kind, and there will never be another like him.”