Veterans Day Featuring S2S Law Ambassador Dean Bunch
Dean Bunch is one of the most senior, in terms of age, of S2S’s ambassadors. He was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, and graduated from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida in 1968, having been elected as editor of the student newspaper. He earned his commission in the Army Signal Corps through ROTC.
Believing that he wanted to pursue a career in the newspaper world, he went on to the University of Florida and obtained a second bachelor’s degree in journalism.
He entered active duty in the fall of 1969 as a Second Lieutenant, completing the Signal Officer’s Basic Course at Fort Gordon, Georgia, before being assigned to the 2nd Armored Division (“Hell on Wheels”) at Fort Hood, Texas. He was assigned to the Information Office and supervised soldiers writing for the post newspaper, The Armored Sentinel.
He departed for Vietnam in October 1970 and was assigned to the 23rd Infantry Division (“Americal”) in Chu Lai, 90 miles south of Danang. He served as editor of the division newspaper, The Southern Cross. He returned to the United States and completed his active duty obligation in August 1971. While in Vietnam, he had applied for and been accepted to the University of Florida Law School, in Gainesville. He began school immediately upon his release, and graduated in December 1973.
He was appointed as an assistant dean at UF, responsible for alumni affairs and placement, and taught in the college’s legal ethics program. He began practice in Tallahassee in 1976, and retired after 40 years of practice there in 2017. His professional career was focused on representing automobile and truck manufacturers and importers in litigation against their dealers.
His volunteer work was in the area of ethics. After teaching legal ethics at UF, he served as a member and chair of the Florida Commission on Ethics, which is responsible for ethical complaints against all state employees other than judges. He then served for 8 years as a member and chair of the Florida Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, which issues ethics opinions to state judges regarding their responsibilities under the Code of Judicial Conduct and while campaigning for judicial office.
Obviously, having made the transition from military to civilian life during the 1970’s, Dean heard of S2S many decades after he completed that evolution. His interest in veterans affairs, and in S2S, was sparked by his diagnosis of prostate cancer in 2010, and resulting entry into the Veterans Administration medical system, as a result of that disease and Vietnam service.
In addition to his service as an ambassador, Dean served for a period of time as S2S’s volunteer general counsel. His proudest moment was being asked by one of advisees to attend his law school graduation and place the JD hood on his shoulders. Dean continues to advise soldiers making the transition from active duty to law school.