Statement of Col. Andrew M. Lloyd, USMC (Ret)
Subject : Mr. Cris Dosev
To whom it may concern:
It was my good fortune to become Lt. Cris Dosev’s first United States Marine Corps squadron commander in June of 1987, while deployed in the Western United States for what is considered a graduate level, multi-service training exercise. The squadron was scheduled for a 6-month Western Pacific deployment, with most aircrew established and approaching full qualification for contingency operations. In truth, there was some reservation of my senior staff about his low experience in the A-6 Intruder, and the extreme demands of the exercise missions. I was aware of the time constraints before deploying, the lack of more experienced aircrew to be assigned, but also the experience of my senior aircrew, and welcomed Cris at the airport with the assurances of his basic training squadron, faith in my aircrew to schedule him wisely and push him to the limits of safety, and the awareness that he had proven all he needed to convince me with the bars on his collar and wings on his chest.
Half way through the three-week exercise, all I was hearing were accolades from his pilots, and truth be known, he was rapidly moving into the most demanding of training missions with a confidence and “swagger” that belied his “newbie” status. To this day, I consider the faith I placed in him and the aircrew who flew with and trained him, one of the smarter decisions of a 31 year career. I would also be remiss not to mention how thoroughly I enjoyed every flight I had with him during our too-short time together.
The Western Pacific deployment was officially uneventful; we let everybody know we were there, completed every task assigned and after six months of demanding and dangerous operations, brought every person and aircraft home. During this deployment, Cris not only excelled in every duty assigned, in flight and those ever-demanding secondary duties, but became the go-to guy in a myriad of areas on his own initiative, which is the characteristic of a responsible, dedicated Officer of Marines.
As things go in the military, my time in the squadron was over and Cris got to stay, so the squadron I trained went to war without me, but I was there as the Infantry Division Commanding General’s advisor on the use of Air Support, so I was able to watch my squadron operate from a different aspect, with a special interest in how my “newbie” was doing. It’s hearsay, so I won’t dwell, but his combat record speaks for itself.
I’m making him sound like a Marine with unlimited potential, and so I want to discuss why he is running for Congress and not running the Marine Corps. I had occasion to see Cris at a reunion, and he wanted to talk about a decision weighing on him. He was an only child of a very successful businessman in the Chicago area. His father had become very ill, and the business was demanding much more attention than Cris knew he could give it and still fulfill his obligations to the Corps he so loved. We both realized the discussion was a formality, for in fact there was no decision to be made. His love of flying, of the Corps and his family were pulling in different directions, and in the end his work ethic, knowledge of the family business, and just doing the right thing led to the end of one successful career and the beginning of another, in which he still excels.
I wish I lived in his district so he could represent me. I’ve seen him work, often when he had no idea I was looking. I’ve seen his dedication to his family and work, and how he balances it. I’ve seen his determination to do what’s right, and nobody will buy the loyalty he owes his constituents. He will honestly tell you what he thinks is right and then do that, there will be no surprises. The Lieutenant never told his Colonel what he thought he wanted to hear, he told him what he thought should be done.
One last reference to his loyalty: Our squadron, Marine (All Weather) Attack Squadron 224, had the call sign of “Bengals”. I will not give out his private email, but 25 years later, it still references the fighting Bengals. That’s the loyalty you should expect from your Congressman.
CDR Thomas J. Winkler’s Open Letter to Cris Dosev
On behalf of myself and my wife, Nina Page Winkler, I want to encourage everyone in Florida’s 1st Congressional District to vote for CRIS DOSEV for Representative. Cris is a USMC combat veteran and especially sensitive to the challenges of military service. I am also a combat veteran. I served as a Naval Flight Officer for seven years of active duty and another fifteen in the Naval Air Reserve. In 2007, I was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis. My deterioration was rapid. In just a few years, I could no longer work, drive, or walk. Extreme fatigue, poor eyesight, strained speech, and “brain fog,” are my constant companions-a big change from just 15 years ago when I ran my own business and served as Executive Officer of my USNR unit.
As my multiple sclerosis progressed, I weakened to the point where I could no longer get into our family van, even with my wife’s help. Without transportation, I was trapped in my home. We could not afford a new/used van, so we had no choice but to call a handicapped accessible taxi to take me to an essential neurologist’s appointment. That trip was over $100-too expensive to use again. For almost a year, I was unable to leave my house. I missed doctor’s appointments, school events for our daughter, and just the opportunity to see the open sky and trees beyond my recliner. My father started a GOFUNDME.com account on my behalf with the goal of raising enough money for a converted handicapped accessible van for my use. Many people were very generous, but the donations had stalled out at about $9,000 dollars away from the total needed to purchase a van.
We were already aware of Cris’ generosity when it became clear a van was not going to be possible with the amount of funds raised on my behalf-it was just not enough money. Recently, Cris had arranged for his fellow Knights of Columbus from the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart to take care of household repairs and yard maintenance at our home. Cris’ son, Niko, replaced a broken sprinkler head and Cris installed a much needed new porch light. Cris also picked up a needed form from Congressman Miller’s office, brought it to me to sign, and then returned it to the office the same day. When our roof developed a leak, Cris found a fellow Knight with roofing skills, and the repairs were made.
When Cris learned about my lack of transportation and the short-fall in the funds needed to purchase a van, he made it his mission to help me. Cris found a good used van in Tampa and arranged to have the necessary conversions completed. While the van was prepared, Cris used his formidable energy to raise the money needed to complete the transaction. He encouraged his brother Knights of Columbus to make donations; called on a non-profit organization he founded in Chicago to contribute, tapped new Facebook connections by flooding the site with my Dad’s original GOFUNDME.com appeal, asked for help from our parish, and donated personally to make the purchase of the van possible. When the van arrived at our home from Tampa (just in time for Christmas!), Cris was there to make sure everything was in order. He even made sure there were enough funds to cover a hotel room and return flight for the delivery agent. Cris’ anticipation of the need for extra time, allowed my wife to be completely briefed on the many details of safely operating the converted van.
We are so grateful to Cris and his family. My wife and I hope you will give CRIS DOSEV your vote. Cris has tremendous energy and enthusiasm-he loves his family, country and LIVES his faith. Florida’s 1st District needs CRIS DOSEV as our new congressman in Washington, D.C.
CDR Thomas J. Winkler, USNR, Retired
Ellen Blackmon’s Open Letter to Cris Dosev
I have known Cris Dosev, his wife Lisa, and his eight children for over nine years, first as a neighbor for eight years, when I lived across the street from them in Pensacola, and then as a friend with whom I have stayed in touch since I moved to Idaho one year ago.
Cris Dosev is the most loving, caring family man I have ever seen. His life revolves around his family, starting with his wife, Lisa. Lisa is Cris’s anchor. Cris is very loving towards her. He talks positively about her all the time, whether she is with him or not. It is clear that he admires her greatly, and the strength of their marital bond is at the center of their amazing family. The eight Dosev children are all extremely well-mannered and behaved, and at the same time are very fun to be around. As they were growing up, I remember that the Dosev children would always be singing together so beautifully, and Sophia especially would make us smile by singing in her cute red boots. At Christmas, Cris, Lisa, and all the children would get together with our elderly neighbors and we would do sing-alongs around the piano, all of us playing various instruments. We would all laugh and sing and have so much fun. Those get-togethers helped us all enjoy the true spirit of Christmas.
Several years ago, when my husband, Bob, became ill with cancer, the entire Dosev family was a tremendous source of encouragement and hope for the two of us. My husband, who had served in Vietnam in the Air Force and had been exposed to Agent Orange, had contracted a rare form of leukemia as a result. Although Bob had begun to lose his faith, Cris was able to draw on his own experience as a Christian and a Marine Corps veteran to speak with my husband about God and service to our nation. Cris encouraged Bob to become involved with the Knights of Columbus and the Men of St. Joseph’s bible study group. As Bob’s condition worsened, Cris would drive Bob to the group meetings, even the early morning ones that began at 6:00 AM. During Bob’s fight with cancer, he spent a lot of time at the Mayo clinic in Jacksonville. The Dosev family all visited us in Jacksonville on several occasions. On Easter Sunday, they drove five hours to see him, and brought all the kids. The kids all delivered Easter baskets to Bob. They brought us so much joy during those difficult times. Once Bob was released to come back home, Cris continued driving Bob to his Christian meetings. The week prior to Bob’s passing, the girls came over with the rest of the family and put on a concert just for him. It was very moving and touching to see how much they cared for him during his final days. After Bob passed away, Cris helped me navigate some of the issues I had with the Veterans Administration. Most of all, he and Lisa were a tremendous source of support as I adjusted to being a widow. They didn’t have to go to such great lengths to care for us, and no one would have ever expected them to do so. They did it out of the goodness of their hearts and their faith in God.
In an age of phony and dishonest politicians, Cris Dosev is a true man of honor and integrity. If he and his family are willing to make such amazing efforts to help a dying neighbor and support his wife, I know that he will do the same for the citizens of Florida’s first Congressional district and the citizens of the United States.