Thursday, January 8, 2009

Who's that Queer?

William White who is openly gay, is being considered as a nominee for United States Secretary of the Navy for the Obama administration. His nomination is supported by Hugh Shelton, a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and congressman Jarrod Nadler of New York. Though he's never served in the military, backers say White has extensive experience in the armed forces through his role as the current President of the Intrepid Museum and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a $100 million nonprofit set up to help military families and wounded vets.

Because the Navy secretary is a civilian job, White's appointment wouldn't directly conflict with the military ban on gays. "I certainly recommend him," said Rep. Nadler. "For the many years that I've known him, he's been an advocate for military personnel and their families, and for veterans." A source close to the talks says that incoming secretary of state Hillary Clinton has expressed support for White's nomination. White and his life partner, Bryan Eure - a commercial insurance broker at Willis - reside in New York City.

His career in public service began in college when he transformed Fordham University’s student first aid club into a New York State registered volunteer ambulance service, providing professional emergency medical care to the Fordham Community. He then served for 8 years in the Point Lookout-Lido Volunteer Fire Department.

In 1991, White established Operation Support, a charitable organization that raised money for the families of military personnel killed in the Persian Gulf War. Dedicating all his non-working hours to this volunteer organization, he led the effort that in only three months raised $400,000 for this important cause.

His accolades are extensive. In 1993 White was honored by the Lifesaving Benevolent Association for placing himself at risk to rescue an individual drowning in the Hudson River. In 1996 the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Atlantic Fleet awarded White the Meritorious Public Service Award in recognition of his outstanding support of the United States Navy. In 2003, the President of Italy bestowed upon him the title of “Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiana del Merito,” an honorary knight of the Republic; and, a year later he received the Meritorious Public Service Award for extraordinary service from the United States Coast Guard.

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