Those who act with unconditional valor when faced with exceptional challenges.

Early in the project planning, it was decided that having Heroes for the project would be essential to developing the commitment to success that would be needed to undertake a major Veterans transitional living and substance abuse recovery program in Northern California.  We chose persons to honor that best exemplified the character that our recovering Vets could admire.  Our Vets were also awarded the respect they deserve by referring to them as VIP’s (Veterans in Progress). The following heroes were nominated because they exemplify the strength of character that will be needed to make Victory Village a success and assist the Veterans we serve to recover.

Herman J. Almquist Ph.D.

Dr. Herman Almquist, father of Victory Village President Eric Almquist, is chosen to be a hero for Victory Village.  Dr. Almquist was a Professor of Biochemistry at U.C. Berkeley.  In 1939, during his tenure as a Professor, he was credited with the discovery of Vitamin K and was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Biochemistry for his work.  Vitamin K is blood clotting agent used to control bleeding.  Loss of blood, being the main cause of death in traumatic wounds, Vitamin K was used extensively in combat triage hospitals during WWII to stabilize wounded soldiers in preparation for evacuation to major hospital facilities.  The synthesis of Vitamin K and understanding of its purpose, no doubt saved many lives of combat troops.  Today, among other things, Vitamin K is used to counteract the effects of blood thinning agents such as Warfarin during surgery.

Dr. Almquist served for 12 years in the Montana State Army National Guard achieving the rank of Captain.

Almquist Military Achievement

Elmer Hugo Almquist, the son of Albert and Emily Almquist, was born at Mead, Saunders County, Nebraska, on February 5, 1893. On October 30, 1895 he was married to Victora Fredonia Williams at Chattanooga, Tennessee.  To this union were born Elmer H., Jr., who is now a lieutenant, U. S. Army; Peter W., who is now a yearling at West Point.

In 1914 he was appointed to the United States Military Academy by the Honorable C. H. Sloan, 4th Congressional District, Nebraska, entering the Academy June 15, 1914.  On August 30, 1917, he was graduated and assigned to duty with the 23rd Cavalry. He later served at Camp Fremont, California, then at the School of Fire at Fort Sill and at the Field Artillery School at Camp Zachary Taylor, Kentucky. After a tour of duty at Camp Bragg, North Carolina, he was sent to duty with the Field Artillery in the American Army of Occupation, Coblenz, Germany, having been transferred to the Field Artillery on July 1, 1920.

Returning from Germany May 4, 1922, he served with his battery at Montauk, Long Island, to August 30, 1922, and then at Fort Sill, where he remained until August 24, 1925, when he was detailed for four years as instructor of modern languages at the Military Academy.  After serving at Fort Bliss for a year, he was detailed as instructor of Spanish at the Command and General Staff School for the year 1930-31. The following year he spent taking the General Staff School course, graduating in June, 1932, one of the first of his Academy class to complete this course.  In 1940 he was ordered to duty as instructor with the 128th Field Artillery (Missouri National Guard) with station at Columbia, Missouri. This proved to be “Pete’s” last station and duty. His health had not been of the best, and he died December 30, 1939. He retired at the rank of Major.

Lt General Elmer "Hook" Almquist

Elmer Hugo "Hook" Almquist, 85, a retired Army lieutenant general who served in the Pacific theater during World War II, died Jan. 19 of complications from a stroke at Belvoir Woods Health Care Center in Fort Belvoir. He had lived in Northern Virginia since 1975.
Gen. Almquist was born in Louisville. He graduated from Auburn University in 1940 and immediately entered the Army. During World War II, he served with the 6th Field Artillery Battalion and the 135th Field Artillery Battalion, which he commanded in 1945 as a 26-year-old lieutenant colonel. He fought in the North Solomon Islands and in the Luzon campaign and helped pioneer the use of field artillery in jungle warfare.
After the war, he commanded the tank battalions in Arkansas and an armory group in Germany. He also served as assistant division commander for the 7th Infantry Division in Korea and was commanding general of the Southern European Task Force in Italy.
As commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division in Germany, he qualified as a paratrooper at age 50. He also served on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as chief of staff for the U.S. Army in Europe and as the assistant chief of staff for force development for the Department of the Army. He retired in 1975. Gen. Almquist attended the Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College, the Army War College and the Advanced Management Program of Harvard Business School.
His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters and the Joint Services Commendation Medal. 

Peter Almquist

Peter William Almquist graduated from West Point (USMA) in 1944. He entered his active military status on 6 Jun 1944. He served in WW II, Korea & Vietnam, achieving the rank of Lt. Colonel. 

Richard Judd

Richard Judd is a native Californian resident who served his Country as a US Army Combat Veteran in Vietnam with “The DRAGONS” in the 101st Airborne (Airmobile), 4/77 Aerial Rocket Artillery (ARA)1970 to 1971. He was honorably discharged and received the Army Commendation Metal, the Bronze Star and other field commendations for his service.

In Vietnam, as part of a combat ARA helicopter support team, he took his duties deadly serious to assure that the armed flight ready Helicopters were available 24/7, 365 days a year. They had to be airborne in 2 minutes no matter what conditions existed; from the NVA sappers/snipers to hostile enemy rocket fire or the extremes of tropical weather.

In support of military combat missions, “The DRAGONS” established camps and firebases for the Rocket Armed Helicopters at strategic locations in the “I Core” (Northern Province of South Vietnam). The gunships provided aerial rocket support for our troops and allies in conflicts in the mountains and jungles.

Today, Mr. Judd is a spirited entrepreneur business owner and VA Certified Disabled Veteran who operates his own consulting services business.  His mission is to help fellow Veterans make a productive transition into civilian society and live a self-sufficient life.  He is actively associated with Victory Village in pursuing that mission.

Richard, an active member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, believes its slogan says it best:
“Never Again-Will One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another” 

Don Singer

At the old age of 20, Don Singer enlisted in the Marines on 12-8-1941 and served for 4 years and three months.  Mr. Singer was in combat as a tank commander on the islands of Saipan and Iwo Jima in the South Pacific.  For his service in combat, Mr.Singer received a field promotion to Second Lt. and was awarded the Bronze Star.  He volunteered teaching first grade children at a school near their home in Modesto. 

Don and his wife, Louise had been married for over 65 years.  After his military duty, Don worked in the prison system for 25 years.  His service to his county and his service to others is what makes him a HERO.

Sadly, Lt. Singer has passed away.  Our populaion of WW2 Veterans declines each day.  Be sure to honor them while there is time.