On June 14, 2016 William R. “Bill” Talcott was elected into the VFW Post 9400 Honor Wall. The Honor Wall recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the welfare of Post 9400, the Veteran community and the community at large.
Born in Highland Park, Michigan in 1944, Bill was a Distinguished Military Graduate from Central Michigan University in June 1966 and completed his Master’s Degree in Business Administration at Western Michigan University in 1967. He entered active duty in February 1968 and completed Infantry Officer Basic, Airborne School and Ranger School. He served in Vietnam as an Infantry Platoon Leader and received an Honorable Discharge as a Captain in 1971.
Bill spent 40 years in Employee Benefits sales and sales management positions where he rose to Vice President of a major insurance company. He was named Sales Manager of the year in 1974 and managed their Chicago Sales office consisting of 10 people from 1975 to 1984. He moved to Phoenix in 2006 and retired in 2010.
Veterans Advocacy Contributions
Bill joined VFW Post 9400 in 2006 and became its Hospital Chairman in 2011. As Youth Activities Chairman he led the development of a relationship with the local Community Center and Boy Scout Troop. His goal was to assist underprivileged children at the Community Center by providing productive outlets for their energies.
As Post Buddy Poppy Chairman since 2011 he has been instrumental in raising over $150,000 to assist hospitalized Veterans and other Veterans’ causes. As Chairman, he gains storefront permission and organizes a volunteer force that grew from 5 to 35. In addition, he has solicited Buddy Poppy donations in front of stores during the Memorial Day and Veterans Day weekends.
In 2006 he founded the Post 9400 Cootie Pup Tent 11. For the first three years he led the growth of this organization that serves hospitalized Veterans. At the Phoenix VA and the Arizona State Veteran Home he has served as master of ceremonies at monthly Cootie entertainment events for over 500 veterans each year. He has worked with the VA and State Home on projects for Cootie donations of over $100,000 that directly benefitted hospitalized Veterans. In recognition of all his work in 2015 Bill was named “Cootie of the Year” by the Arizona State Military Order of the Cootie.
At the Phoenix VA, separate from the Cooties, he has volunteered for over 3000 hours in Guest Services as an Escort for Veterans in wheel chairs or on gurneys.
He has supported Veterans in need by volunteering at the Maricopa County StandDown.
His lifetime memberships include the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Military Order of the Cootie, Military Order of the Purple Heart, 82nd Airborne Association and the U.S. Army Ranger Association.
Civic Activities and Contributions
At his church in Illinois he served as a Small Group Leader every two weeks for five years. This consisted of prayer and fellowship for three to five couples. He also led one of the church’s largest ministries for three years. This was a group of about 45 volunteers who were greeters and ushers at three services each Sunday.
He has also been recognized by the VFW for his work over the years with children through the VFW Veterans in the Classroom project. He has spoken to elementary school children near Veterans Day for seven years.
Awards and Honors
In 2016 Bill was selected from among more than 1,000 volunteers and named “Volunteer of the Year” by the Phoenix VA Healthcare System.
Inducted into the Central Michigan University “ROTC Hall of Fame” in 2014. This was based on his military service and his service outside the Army.
“Cootie of the Year for Arizona” (out of about 400 Cooties) in 2015 for service to hospitalized Veterans.
Bill was inducted into the 16th Class of “Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame” in 2016. The Hall recognizes and honors Arizona Veterans who have honorably served their country through their military service and who serve and inspire their fellow American citizens with civic deeds and accomplishments outside their military service.
Combat Infantry Badge, Purple Heart, two Bronze Stars for Valor, one Bronze Star for Service, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Ranger Tab and Parachute Badge.