Veteran Advocate Craig Burnette Receives Order of the Palmetto

A close-up view of a waving American flag.
Samuel Branch / Unsplash

Vietnam veteran and community leader Craig Burnette received the Order of the Palmetto on April 27 at the grand opening of Warriors Once Again (WOA), a new transitional residence in Spartanburg for veterans experiencing homelessness.

The Order of the Palmetto was presented on behalf of Governor McMaster by SC Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary William Grimsley in recognition of Burnette’s lifetime of service to his country and his community.

A Wofford graduate and former psychologist with the VA, Burnette has dedicated his life to improving services and resources for Spartanburg veterans. Much of Burnette’s work has focused on supporting veterans’ mental health and those experiencing homelessness. He was the driving force behind the annual Upstate Stand Down event where homeless veterans can access a range of stabilizing services and resources in one place. Burnette also serves as the board chair for Warriors Once Again and Upstate Warrior Solution’s Spartanburg Community Action Board.

Upstate Warrior Solution and its community action board have worked closely with WOA director, Chris Pfohl, over the past two years on fundraising, renovations, and case management for the house’s first eight residents. The ribbon cutting ceremony included a memorandum of understanding signing formalizing the partnership between UWS and WOA.

Although the transitional residence held its grand opening this month, Chris Pfohl and Upstate Warrior Solution have been working residents for over a year. During the ceremony, a current resident shared the impact WOA has had on his life. “Warriors Once Again has helped me get back on my feet,” said the veteran and trained chef who lost his job during the pandemic. “This is a new beginning for me.”