Thursday, March 30, 2017

Central Florida Veterans Have Lots to Put On To-Do-List

Central Florida Veterans Events for April

From Cathy Haynes

Museum of Military History Anniversary – Fri. March 31 – This great, but often overlooked, treasure celebrates the end of their 5th year and the beginning of their 6th.   Soar through the air in our F-16A flight stimulator. Explore exhibits that recognize the sacrifice of our service members throughout military history eras – also Civil War, Buffalo Soldiers, K-9 exhibit, military coalition participants. Tour guides will be available to enhance your museum experience. Cake and coffee will be available all day to commemorate this anniversary! 5210 W. Irlo Bronson Hwy (192), Kissimmee.  407-507-3894. (If you no longer want your military treasures and artifacts, please consider donating them for safekeeping.  Keep them out of a future landfill.  Stories of the item(s) also appreciated!)  

Osceola County Veterans Council Awards Dinner – Sat. April 1 - 16th Annual recognition of veterans making a difference in Osceola County.  Kissimmee Elks Lodge on Kings Highway in Kissimmee. Happy hour commences at 6pm with dinner at 7pm.  Limited number of tickets available.  Contact Don at 407-507-3894.   

Car Wash – Sat. April 1 – The Military Ministry at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church is holding a Car Wash from 8am – 12 noon.  The Orlando Devil Dogs group of Young Marines will be assisting.  Funds go towards care packages for military troops overseas.  4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road, Orlando, 32819.  Office:  407.876.4991  For info about Young Marines contact SGM Gionet at 407-963-9388.  

Wounded Warfighter & Lone Sailor 5K/10K Run - Sat. April 1 – Hoping that you are participating in this great event!  Information was in the March List #2 and #3.  BUT – if you can’t actually attend, please consider the first time ever Virtual 5K/10K race sponsored by the Central Florida Navy League!!  For the first time ever, if you have a conflicting calendar or live too far away, you can participate in a virtual race!  The virtual race runs thru April 14.  All participants will receive a high quality tech-shirt and finisher's medal.  To register or to find out more information about this historic event, visit www. cfnl5k .org or the Facebook page at www. cfnl5K  

Orlando Navy Training Base - Were you aware that over 600,000 lives were changed on the site of the 5k/10k race – Blue Jacket Park - the former Orlando Navy Training Base?  From 1968 until October 1994, NTC Orlando was also the sole location for providing recruit training for female enlisted personnel.  The Central Florida Navy League is finishing the project of commemorating the enlisted persons with the bronze Lone Sailor Monument.  Efforts are starting to commemorate the women who attended Basic Training in a female bronze monument – Project Sparky.  Check out the website at  cfnavyleague .org   Also order a brick paver to commemorate your loved Navy sailor!  

Classic Car Show – Sun April 2 - The Sons of the Legion host this gathering from 11am – 4pm at the American Legion Post 19, 5320 Alloway Street, Orlando, 32810.  Come and see classic cars, listen to music, enjoy food, and baked goods. Info:  SAL Commander Gene Mills  mills.gene@ gmail .com  407-860-0301   

CFDC Veterans Business Initiative (VBI) session # 6 starts on Tues. April 4 at 8:30 am. The VBI will run for eight weeks through March and April. This is a no cost program for all Military Veterans and their spouses who are seeking employment, entrepreneurial training and continuing education paths. Partners/Employers attending this session will be Duke Energy Corporation, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Eagle 6 and Score. National Entrepreneur Center, 3201 E. Colonial Drive -Suite A-20 Orlando, 32803.  Veterans and spouses can register at: www. cfdisabilitychamber .org/vbi/  Info:  Rogue Gallart   407-420-4875    rogue@ nationalec .org  

UCF Army ROTC Military Ball – Wed. April 5 - RSVP Deadline for AUSA Members, UCF Alumni, and interested others are invited to attend the Ball on Friday, 21 April at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel, Downtown Orlando, 60 S. Ivanhoe Blvd.  Special guest speaker.  More info and Tickets at ucfarotc.redpodium .com/alumni   Info:  john.bartholomew@ ucf .edu   407-823-0403

VA Discussion – Thurs. April 6 – Updates of changes in the local VA at Lake Nona and at the Lake Baldwin facilities.  Also general discussion about the Choice program.  Q & A opportunity.  11am at the Westminster Winter Park living facility, 1111 South Lakemont Ave, Suite 101. Public invited.  Info and RSVP to Robbie at 407-647-7329, ext. 366.  

Veteran Infused Employment Workshops – Tues – Thurs, April 10 - 13 - Various free seminars offered to veterans that will assist in job searching.  Lake Nona VA Hospital site, 4th Flr conference rooms. 13800 Veterans Way, Orlando, 32827.  Apr 10 – Creating your Job Search Plan;  Apr 11 – Create a Marketable You;  Apr 12 – Define your Resources;  Apr 13 – Take Action and Mock Interviews.  Seminars are 10am – 2pm, Lunch is NOT provided.  Contact Annie Artis, ellamay.artis@ va .gov  407-646-5500 x27246  Contact her to get on future job fair lists, employer events and future employment workshops.  

Job Fair at UCF – Tues. April 11 – Job Fair from 5pm – 8 pm, UCF Morgridge International Reading Center, UCF campus at 4143 Andromeda Loop, Orlando, 32816.  407-882-6472 (407-882-MIRC)  

My bad – I made a mistake on the date of the following – it should have been April 11 instead of April 4.  Only those who show up at the meeting can vote on whether or not I should be punished… a “Code Red”?
Marine Corps League Orlando - Tues, April 11 - Cpl. Larry E. Smedley, Detachment 064 Monthly Meeting, 7pm – 8pm at the at American Legion Florida Department bldg., 1912A Lee Road, Orlando, FL 32810. Info:  mclcfl @gmail. com   or  Sr.Vice Cdr at 407-963-9388.
(Cpl. Larry Smedley was an Orange County resident and enlisted in the Marine Corps.  He was killed in Vietnam on December 21, 1967 after heroic actions were seen in battle.  He earned the Medal of Honor, awarded posthumously; he was 18 yrs old.)  

Central Florida Navy League luncheon and meeting – Wed. April 12 – All persons who support the sea services, whether civilian or military, are welcomed to attend this gathering on the 2nd Wed. of each month.  11:30 – 1pm at the Holiday Inn – UCF, 1724 N. Alafaya Trail, Orlando, 32826.  Interesting speakers and networking potential includes the simulation technology businesses.  $20 with credit card payment on website (cfnavyleague .org) or $25 at the door.  3rd largest Navy League in FL with diverse membership including nearby technology industries.  Contact Bob K. (Membership Chair.) at navleaguecenfl@ juno .com   407-977-7575
(NEW!  The Navy League offers national E-Membership for only $25 per year! Prior military service is NOT required.  Support the sea services – Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines – with membership.)  

Army Aviation Association of America, Networking Social – Fri April 14 – Join the Central Florida Chapter of 4A’s (aka Quad A) during Happy Hour for some fun and friendship at Froggers, Alafaya Square, 27 Alafaya Woods Blvd, Oviedo, 32765.  Info:   sean.c.osmond@ gmail .com  

Coast Guard Auxiliary meeting – Sat. April 15 – The Orlando-Winter Park Flotilla 17-11 meets on the 3rd Sat. of each month, 9am, at the Lake Baldwin VA Clinic, 5201 Raymond St., Orlando, 32803.  Auxiliary members are volunteers who support the Coast Guard in all its non-military, and non-law-enforcement missions. Members help to provide maritime safety, security and stewardship; to secure the homeland, save lives and property; and to protect the environment. There are several Flotillas (groups) in Central Florida and membership in the Auxiliary is open to persons 17 years of age and older – some are much older but young at heart! Info: Joseph Bonaccorse  407.222.9681.  

VFW Post 10139 Annual Easter Egg Hunt – Sat. April 15 – Enjoy Spring and Easter and bring the little ones to join in on our Easter Egg Hunt! Also face painting, a bounce house, cupcake decorating, Easter crafts, hot dogs and tons of FUN! Open to the public!  10am-12noon. VFW Post 10139, 300 Lake Mills Ave, Chuluota, 32766. (East Seminole County) This is a 100% Smoke-Free Post!   

Florida Association of Veteran Owned Businesses mtg (FAVOB) – Tues April 18 - Meeting at 10am, a “Chamber of Commerce” of sorts open to all veteran owned businesses, at American Legion Florida Department bldg., 1912A Lee Road, Orlando, FL 32810.  19 states offer contract preferences to veteran owned businesses.  Florida is NOT one of them.  Our goal is to change that in big business, and with our state, our cities, and counties too.  See FAVOB Facebook site.  Info:  chairman@ favob .org or marketing@ favob .org  

Orange County Mayors’ Veterans Advisory Council –Wed. April 19 – 1:30pmmonthly meeting  of numerous organizations and individuals for the benefit of Central FL veterans and active duty personnel.  Planning of events and awareness is shared.  Designated representatives allow groups to coordinate efforts and unite for the common cause.  If your Orange County /Central FL vet/military associated group isn’t attending, it should plan to get involved.  Mayor Teresa Jacobs is very supportive of a veteran-friendly community.  Contact Chairman Col. Edwin Marrero for attendance and location information.  emarrero81 @cfl.rr .com   

April 20 - The Holocaust Center's annual Dinner of Tribute will be honoring Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.  As a member of his Veteran’s Advisory Council, I (Cathy Haynes) would be interested in learning about our living veterans from WW2 who may have assisted with the liberation of the Nazi labor camps and death camps.  With the 75th anniversary of many WW2 events present or coming up, perhaps some students would be interested in learning, and such veterans willing to share their stories that could be collected by the Holocaust Center… Perhaps they can be honored as a defender of freedoms?  Maybe survivors or families of survivors would like to thank them for their service.  Let me know… chaynes11629@ yahoo .com  

CFMCF Social Networking – Fri. April 21 - Enjoy some time during Happy Hour with the Central Florida Marine Corps Foundation at the Buffalo Wild Wings, 11400 University Blvd, Orlando, 32817   4:30pm starts your weekend with some friends, networking, and learning how you can serve in the community to make Central Florida a better place! Look for the red shirts.  Happy Hour Info: sean.c.osmond@ gmail. com

Earth Day Beautification – Sat. April 22 – Come join the employees of Siemens when they add landscaping and other beautification to the Domicilary area of the Orlando VA Outpatient Medical Center at Lake Baldwin, 8 am – 5 pm, 5201 Raymond Street, Orlando, 32803.  

Greeters needed!  Honor Flights - Orlando Int’l Airport –After a day spent in Washington DC, veterans of WWII, Korean War and Vietnam return home thru Orlando Int’l Airport in the evening.  The nation-wide organization has three local hubs that take veterans on a single day trip to our nation’s capital where they visit the WWII, Korea, and Vietnam War Memorials, Marine Corps Iwo Jima and the Air Force Monuments, and witness the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.  Come welcome these former warriors home!  “Welcome Home” receptions at the airports make a difference!  Bring your flags, banners and signs! – This months’ dates are: 
  • Sat. April 22 – info pending on the return of 25 veterans in the evening.
  • Sat. May 6 - info pending on the return of 24 veterans in the evening.
Information on these and for more Flights will be forthcoming.  Contact Cathy Haynes for those details  407-239-8468  chaynes11629 @yahoo .com    
(Did you watch the NCIS program on CBS on March 28?  You definitely need to see the final minutes to understand what these veterans feel at these Honor Flight Welcome Home events.)  

Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall  - April 27 - May 1 - City of Eustis is the site of this touching memorial.  Volunteers, sponsors, vendors for this event are welcomed.  Also yearly music Fest event April 28-30th.  Info:  Erin Bailey  352-483-5491    

U. S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Foundation Golf Tournament – Fri. April 28 – The Florida Chapter of this group (USMCCCA) use all the proceeds of this 13th Annual event to benefit America's wounded Marines in charitable, educational and patriotic programs.  Sherman Hills Golf Club - considered one of Central Florida’s better venues - at 31200 Eagle Falls Drive, Brooksville, 34602.  12:30pm sharp, shotgun start, usual tournament benefits, and meal, awards following tournament.  Corporate sponsorships still welcomed!  Donations VERY welcomed!  Info:  James “Red” Carpenter at jcar1@ tampabay.rr. com or (352) 688-6720.  

Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall – Sun. April 30, Mon. May 1 – This replica tribute arrives on Sunday April 30 for a week at the Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion.  Large motorcycle and first responder vehicle escort leaving Eastern Florida State College, Clearlake Rd, Cocoa at 10am.  Proceeding down the highway to Wickham Park, 2500 Parkway Dr, Melbourne, 32935.  It will remain at Wickham Park thru Sun. May 7.  The cortege is a sight to behold going down the highway!  12pm:  Covered dish picnic and wall set up.
Mon. May 1 – 6pm: Presentation of Wreaths from organizations.  7pm – Opening ceremonies.

This is from last year....
Mon. May 8 – 9am Wall take down and clean up.  

Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion – Thurs. May 4 – Sun. May 7 – This is the 30th Annual Reunion - the nation’s largest veterans reunion is very well attended; military displays, reenactments and ceremonies, music, old and new friends.  All eras, all branches.  Military vendors have almost every patch or pin that you could ever need.  Last year brought 87k+ persons.  Wickham Park, 2500 Parkway Dr., Melbourne, 32935.   Additionally, the Vietnam Veterans Traveling Memorial Wall will be onsite from Sun. Apr. 30 to May 7.  Definitely check the website for the schedule of numerous and varied events at  floridaveteransreunion .com – VERY busy and interesting each day.  Free parking, free admission.  Info:  Info:  321-408-2698. Vendors call: 321-652-4185 or vet.reunion.vendor@ gmail .com      

Fantasy of Flight Museum is currently OPEN on weekends!!  It has a large collection of military aircraft.  Friday - Sunday 11am - 3pm.  Fantasy of Flight Museum, 1400 Broadway Blvd SE, Polk City, 33868 (Take exit 44 from I-4)  Ph: 863-984-3500  or check their website for more info.  

The Young Marines is a youth program open to all youth, boys and girls, between the ages of 8 to 18.  The Orlando Devil Dogs is the local group for Central Florida youth and has received many awards, do volunteer work and have lots of fun.  The national organization guides the youth by:
  • To promote the mental, moral, and physical development in its members, the principles of honesty, fairness, courage, respect, loyalty, dependability, attention to duty, and fidelity to the United States and its institutions
  • To stimulate an interest in, and respect for academic achievement and the history and traditions of the United States and the U.S. Marine Corps.
  • Their three core values are leadership, discipline, and teamwork
This past December, 20 of the local Young Marines went to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to participate in the 75th Anniversary.  They took part in the commemorative parade, visiting the USS Arizona and USS Missouri, and placing a wreath at the Punchbowl burial site.  They also assisted the 75+ remaining Pearl Harbor survivors who were attending the various ceremonies. Past trips have been made to Iwo Jima, and Arizona to honor the Navajo Code Talkers.
Note:  You don't see these young men and women in headlines for crimes or being taken into juvenile detention.  And there's a reason........... For more info contact    sgtmajgna@ earthlink .net  

Gold Star daughter needs help – It has come to the attention of a valuable resource that the 15 year old daughter of a fallen Marine needs a MAC computer.  She is being homeschooled, hopes to go into engineering, and the various associated courses and lessons are only MAC compatible.  Laptop preferred but desktop would be welcomed.  If you or your business can help, contact Ms. Baines at S.O.S. – Survivor Outreach Services at  407-240-5939 x1612.  

Villagers for Veterans reports that they would like donated bicycles to be used by veterans for therapy Bike Rides in The Villages area.  Your donation is Tax Deductible.  Call Marie Bogdonoff at 516-220-5068.  

Bicycles and bicycle repair equipment would be greatly appreciated at the Domicilary’s located at the Orlando VA Hospital at Lake Nona and the Orlando VA Medical Center at Lake Baldwin.  Some of the veterans are undergoing various rehabilitation and appreciate access to bicycles. Tools and equipment to perform repairs to tires and chains needed too.  Contact:  Jenny Danieli at 407-631-7110   jenny.danieli @va. gov   or Mike Weaver at  (Lake Baldwin) 407-646-5500 x29003  michael.weaver2@   

Wanted: Leather Craft instructor and Yoga instructor(s) – The veterans at the Domicilary’s at Lake Nona and Lake Baldwin want to learn the basics!  They already have tools and yoga mats but they need the caring people to guide the idle hands and limbs!  Contact Volunteer Services at 407-631-0135 or the above contact resources.  

Mentors needed - Veteran Courts ARE succeeding!  Longer term success is possible and proven with community mentors.  There are mentoring programs in Orange, Seminole and Osceola Counties.  Be a “battle buddy” or “foxhole buddy” by assisting someone with life challenges.  No proselytizing – just non-judgmental caring.  Most of the offenders are DUI or possession, or “minor” PTS anger issues that are being rechanneled.  No dangerous felony-accused are in the Veterans Court program.  If you have experienced substance abuse – although not required - and came thru it, you may be very helpful to someone else.  Women mentors for women veterans are needed.  If you are interested in participating as a mentor, know someone who is interested, or are a part of an organization where Mentors can be recruited, contact your local Veterans Court resource.   

Ancestors who were veterans – Have you ever wondered if you had relatives who served in the military?  It is possible to find them!  Groups like local genealogical societies, Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and others are very happy to teach you how to research those ancestors.  When you find those veteran ancestors, why not join an organization to honor their service as a regular member or associate/auxiliary?  Korean War Veterans, SAR, DAR, Sons/Daughters of the Confederacy or Union Veterans, and others.  As I like to suggest to veterans who have found ancestors who fought in the American Revolution, “You swore to uphold nearly the same Constitution that your ancestors fought to allow to get into place….”  Group membership is a nice way to honor them.  And the freedoms that were fought for and won is what immigrant ancestors wanted for themselves and their families.  It’s a neat honor to commemorate those ancestors, and a family member with military service puts a new facet on learning US History for kids and grandkids!  

Caring and sharing,  

Cathy Haynes
Member/supporter of numerous veteran and military organizations in Central FL
chaynes11629@ yahoo .com

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