110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Al Everson
posted Jan 11, 2013 - 1:49:03pm
A Vietnam War veteran living in Deltona is poised to begin a new broadcast venture in cyberspace.
Gary Bugnacki said he will hit the Internet airwaves with American Heroes Network next week.
“Actually the first show is going to be the 15th of January,” he told The Beacon.
The first one-hour live broadcast is slated for 11 a.m. Eastern time.
“Americanheroesnetwork.com is going to be an hourlong show every week,” Bugnacki said. “It will be archived and available on iTunes.”
Bugnacki wants to feature “the true stories of American heroes,” he said.
The show will be broadcast live from Deltona.
According to the American Heroes Network mission statement, “It has been said that we are only a generation away from forgetting our history. You will hear firsthand the personal accounts of heroes whose unselfish actions have contributed to the traditions and values that represent the soul of America.”
Personal remembrances won’t be the only programs.
“The reason I call it a network is because we’re going to have other shows,” Bugnacki said.
He envisions his Internet broadcast station growing with time and in coverage of veteran-related issues, especially the concerns of military personnel who have returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We’re going to be helping out the veterans, the homeless, their medical problems,” Bugnacki said. “We’re going to play advocates, as well.”
American Heroes Network, Bugnacki said, will join with government agencies and private organizations known for their interest in veterans’ affairs.
“We’re partnering with the USO, the U.S. Department of Defense,” he said.
Bugnacki brings to his new company experience in both broadcasting and veteran-related information.
“I used to be president of the Armed Forces Radio Network,” he said.
Despite its public-service focus, American Heroes Network is a business, Bugnacki said.
“We need everyone’s support. We are a for-profit company. A percentage of all our proceeds is going to be donated to our veterans,” he said.
The company’s revenues will come from local advertisers and corporate sponsors, as well as memberships purchased by listeners and supporters.
Bugnacki said American Heroes Network will create “five or six” jobs at the start, and “probably more.”
He expects his sales force to increase by the end of this calendar year.
The network plans to establish scholarships for the children of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, or perhaps future conflicts.
Bugnacki said his interest in veterans and their needs began when he entered the U.S. Army in 1966.
“I was drafted with two band members and the postman,” he said.
He was sent to Vietnam in late 1967. After about 30 days there, however, Bugnacki’s Vietnam tour was cut short because of another crisis elsewhere in East Asia. Bugnacki and fellow soldiers were quickly sent to South Korea, as tensions mounted after North Korea seized the USS Pueblo, a Navy spy ship, in January 1968. Fears of renewed fighting on the Korean
“We were up along the DMZ [Demilitarized Zone],” Bugnacki said.
An aspect of the Vietnam War legacy motivated Bugnacki to start American Heroes Network.
“My brother-in-law died from Agent Orange,” he said.
Agent Orange is a defoliant that was dropped from planes between 1965 and 1971 to clear vegetation in the thick jungles of Southeast Asia, to deprive the enemy of cover and sanctuary. Agent Orange has been linked to cancer and birth defects in people exposed to it.
Asked why he selected Deltona as his base for setting up his new broadcasting firm, Bugnacki noted the area has a large number of veterans and plenty of opportunities for helping them.
“Deltona is a good area. Orange City is a good area, and Sanford is a good area to find homes for the disabled,” he said.
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