Saturday, May 20, 2017

Central Florida Veterans Events Includes Tall Ship!!

If you're a Central Florida veteran and think there is nothing to do, this should prove you are wrong. Great way to get out and meet other veterans!
About the Eagle: Originally operated by Nazi Germany to train cadets for the German Navy, the ship was taken by the United States as a war prize after World War II. In 1946, a U.S. Coast Guard crew – aided by the German crew still on board – sailed the tall ship from Bremerhaven to its new homeport in New London, Connecticut. Eagle returned to Bremerhaven for the first time since World War II in the summer of 2005, to an enthusiastic welcome.
The following is from Cathy Haynes

My Soapbox...My teeth usually start to itch this time each year…..
Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings.
  • Armed Forces Day primarily honors those persons who are currently serving our country.
  • Veterans Day primarily honors those who have served in the past.
  • Memorial Day primarily honors those who died while in service to our country, those who have given their lives for the nation’s freedom and the freedom of others.
While it is always appropriate to thank someone in our military services, past and present, Memorial Day is a day for those no longer with us.  It was meant to be a more solemn day, rather than celebratory with parties and sales….  

Fly your American flags this weekend and for Memorial Day/weekend.  If they are torn, tattered or fade you may take them to any veteran service organization post for proper retirement. See the events for Flag Day in June.  

Armed Forces Appreciation Day – May 20 – The unified recognition of all presently servicing persons in the armed forces rather than separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard and Air Force Days.  

Armed Forces Day Recognition – Sat. May 20 – The Museum of Military History hosts this event to honor our men and women who are serving our country.  There is also special recognition of the Merchant Marines.  For those interested in joining the armed forces, military recruiters will be available to answer questions. The Central Florida USO will be distributing beneficial information for service members and their families.  10am – 2pm with a ceremony at 12noon featuring a special guest speaker.  Free museum admission for all Active, Reserve, National Guard, and Merchant Marine members, reduced $5.00 admission for all others. Light snacks and drinks provided; tour guides will be present for museum tours or questions.  5210 W. Irlo Bronson Hwy (192), Kissimmee, 34746.  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!)

Europa Expo – Sat, Sun May 20, 21 – This is one of the largest Health, Fitness & Sports trade shows in the WORLD - The Central Florida Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America Inc. (PVA) will be on hand displaying all of their sporting paraphernalia regarding adaptive sports for wheelchair users. 9am - 6pm, Orange County Convention Center. $20 for one day ticket.  Info:  www. /orlando-2017 (PVA assists vets with spinal injury and neurological diseases like Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and ALS also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  They receive and distribute unwanted medical equipment to vets and civilians.  407-328-7041)  

Coast Guard Auxiliary meeting – Sat. May 20 – 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! Info: Joseph Bonaccorse  bonaccorse@ usa .net  407.222.9681.  

Veterans’ in Need Stand Down – Sat. May 20 - CareerSource Flagler Volusia will be hosting Veterans in Need Stand Down from 9 am - 2 pm in Daytona Beach, 250 N. Beach St., 32114. Homeless and in-need veterans as well as their families can receive free haircuts and food, along with information about VA services, medical care, employment resources, shelter, clothing, counseling and vocational services. In addition to CareerSource, program sponsors are the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Volusia County Veterans Services, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America, Goodwill Industries of Central Florida, Paws of War and the Salvation Army.  Info:  Joe Roberts - 386-323-7011.  

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! – The closest dates are: 
  • Sat. May 20 – Southwest flight# 5205 from BWI arriving MCO at 8:40pm.  25 veterans (10 from WW2, 10 Korea and 5 Vietnam.  23 men and 2 women; 7 vets are over age 90 with the eldest being 98 yrs young.  8 Army, 7 USAF/USAAC, 7 Navy and 3 Marines.)
  • Wed. May 24 – Southwest flight# 1838 from BWI arriving MCO at 9:20pm.  40 vets, including one woman  – 3 WW2, 36 Korean War veterans and one Vietnam Veteran.
The groups enter the Hotel end of the Airport terminal area and we greet them in front of the Starbucks - Terminal A, Airside 2 -  Oftentimes led from the Tram by a bagpiper.  Before leaving home to attend the homecoming, it is suggested that you check online to see if the flight is on time because there may be delays due to weather, mechanical or medical issues. 
Free parking has been arranged at an off airport property – FastPark and Relax (7870 N Frontage Rd, Orlando, 32812) who has been very generous to Honor Flights with free parking and shuttles to/from the airport (Tips welcomed by drivers!) Just tell the attendant upon entering that site that you are there for the veterans/Honor Flight – they try to park us together. 
New:  Parking Vouchers WILL be available for airport garage parking from a GOAA rep. in the terminal for this event – maximum of 3 hours – BUT you have to take a PAPER ticket upon entering the airport garage.  The vouchers will NOT work if you use the SunPass/EPass transponders – we cannot credit the charge back.  Seek the GOAA rep. (or ‘Miss Liberty’) early before the veterans arrive. 
Information for more Flights will be forthcoming.  Contact Cathy Haynes for those details  407-239-8468  chaynes11629 @yahoo .com    

Greeters needed!  Honor Flights - Orlando Int’l Airport – Wed. May 24 – See information in May 20 posting.  

Armed Forces Appreciation Night – Thurs. May 25 – A combined gathering of Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard personnel, veterans, and groups at the Citrus Club in downtown Orlando.  Sponsored by Sunshine Chapter of Association of the United States Army, Central Florida Navy League, and Central Florida Marine Corp Foundation.  (Dag-gone-it, Air Force Association!  Join us next year!  But Air Force personnel/veterans will not be turned away!  You are still welcomed to join us for fellowship and networking and appreciation of all military personnel!!!) Open bar, complimentary hors d’oeuvres.  6pm-8:30pm 255 South Orange Avenue #1800, Orlando, 32801.  RSVP is required. david.wood@ clubcorp .com  Info:  Jan Drabczuk 407- 448-5369  

United States Submarine Veterans mtg – Thurs May 25 – The Central Florida Base meets on the fourth Thursday of every month at 7pm, at the Casselberry Veteran's Club, 200 Concord Dr., Casselberry, 32707.  Fun and networking with membership open to all Navy personnel and veterans who are qualified in submarines.  Guests are always welcome at meetings.  Info:  Jay D Mack  407- 920-9347  jmack349@ gmail .com
FYI:  The National Convention of Submarine Veterans will be held in Orlando on September 1-6.  Any group/business that would like to post an advertisement in the convention book, contact Jay.  

VERY UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY:Coast Guard Cutter Eagle visit to Port Canaveral: May 31- June 3.  This is a tall ship – one with real masts and sails.  The Coast Guard Cutter EAGLE, provides USCG Academy cadets and officer candidates with their first taste of sea and salt air. Built in Germany in 1936 and recommissioned by the United States at the close of World War II, the EAGLE is the largest tall ship flying the Stars and Stripes.  This will be a unique opportunity!  

City of Orlando Mayors’ Veterans Advisory Council – Thurs. June 1 – 1:30pm monthly meeting of numerous organizations and individuals for the benefit of local veterans and active duty personnel.  Planning of functions (ie:  Veterans Day parade) and awareness of events is shared.  Designated representatives allow groups to coordinate efforts.  If your Orlando area vet/military associated group isn’t attending, it should plan to get involved.  Networking before and after the meeting.  See website at, Office of the Mayor, Mayor’s Committees, Veterans.   Contact Chairman Michael Waldrop for attendance and location information.  mwaldrop@ blue-cord. com  

Pars and Stripes Golf Tournament – Fri. June 2 – Cubic sponsors this fund raiser for the local Camaraderie Foundation which helps "heal the invisible wounds of war" for even more local heroes.  This 7th Annual event has 06:30 check-in and breakfast with an 8am shotgun start.  Reunion Resort Golf Courses, 7593 Gathering Drive, Kissimmee, 34747.  Additional sponsorships available.  Camaraderie Foundation in Central Florida provides resources for private and confidential Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) counseling for Post 9/11 veterans/warriors and their families.  They also have connections in other areas, other states.  It works.  It HAS saved lives, saved marriages and saved families.   camaraderiefoundation .org   Info:  events@ camaraderiefoundation .org   407- 841-0071  

Battle of Midway Commemoration - This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway. On June 4th 1942, a vastly outnumbered and outgunned U.S. Fleet defeated the finest of the Imperial Japanese Navy in the waters off a small Pacific Atoll named Midway. The combination of intelligence, tactics, courage, sacrifice and luck forever changed the course of the war and world history.  Thank a WW2 Pacific veteran!  

D-Day Commemoration -  On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe. The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Adolf Hitler’s troops.  Thank a WW2 European theater veteran, especially one involved in D-Day.  

Coast Guard Auxiliary meeting – Wed. June 7 – The Osceola Flotilla 17-10 meets on the 1st Wed. of each month, 7pm, at American Legion Post 10, 205 Lakeview Dr., Kissimmee, 34741. 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! Info: Jim Nickles at jimnickles2@ gmail .com  407-390-9611**Recent CG Aux persons were able to assist local sheriff department and State Fish and Wildlife Dept. personnel with boat safety checks on the Lake Butler, Chain of Lakes. Way to go!

US Senator’s office offers Constituent Services – Thurs. June 8 - If you are having an issue with Social Security, Medicare, Veterans Affairs benefits, immigration, the IRS or any federal agency, a member of Senator Rubio’s staff will be available to meet with you. 10am – 1pm at The Museum of Military History, 5210 W. Irlo Bronson Hwy (192), Kissimmee, 34746.  Please plan to attend to meet your local staff and find out the services Senator Rubio’s Office offers his constituents.  Central Florida/Orlando office:  407-254-2573 or toll free in Florida 1-866-630-7106.  

Women Veterans’ Conference – Fri and Sat June 9, 10 – Sponsored by the Florida Dept. of Veteran’ Affairs to provide information  Free and open to all women who have served or are currently serving in the military.  Orlando VA Medical Center at Lake Nona, 4th Flr Auditorium 4F301-A, 13800 Veterans Way, Orlando, 32827. Learn about local and state resources, career opportunities, information & outreach booths for benefits and assistance, rotation of knowledgeable guest speakers, some different each day.  8am – 4:30, Lunch provided both days, raffles and door prizes. Free Parking.  See:  floridavets .org  Info:  Darlene – 727-319-7418 scullyd@ fdva.state.   or Sherrel - 319-727-7405    

Oviedo Veterans’ Tribute Golf Tournament – Fri. June 9 – This fund raiser is also a memorial tribute to its original planner, Mark Stockwell, who died unexpectedly only a few months ago.   The “Fountain of Service” in Oviedo’s Veterans Memorial has the military branches presented on polished granite blocks. Water flows from each into a common trough, moving slowly and seems to disappear into the lake. This represents the idea of honorable separation and sacrifice. Sponsorships are very welcomed.  10:30 registration with 12noon shotgun start at Twin Rivers Golf Club, 2100 Ekana Drive, Oviedo, 32765.  Deadline of signing up is June 1 for discounts for veterans - $25, or $80 for others. Info: Art Weaver 407-765-0255   aweaver56@ gmail .com  

Flag Retirement ceremony – Sat. June 10 – Ceremony begins at 12 noon at the Orlando Scottish Rite Center, 1485 Grand Rd., Winter Park, 32792.  Sponsored by the Knights of St. Andrews with participation by scouts and veteran groups.  Highlights include tributes to the American Flag, POW/MIA ceremony, a 21-gun salute, live band and special presentations being made to first responders.   Gather your neighborhood retired flags, those that are torn, tattered and faded.  Bring them for proper retirement and disposal.  Past years have had over 4000 flags respectfully retired.  Alternatively, any American Legion or VFW Post will welcome flags for retirement.  Info:  Keith Albright 407.657.4550
Addl’ info - Masonic Membership consideration: National Sojourners, Inc., is a national fraternal organization composed of military commissioned officers, Warrant and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (past and present) and honorary members who are Masons in advancing programs that promote love of country ...  

242nd Army Birthday Ball – Sat. June 19 – The local Sunshine Chapter of AUSA (Association of the United States Army) coordinates this great celebratory event that is open to ALL interested persons- regardless of service branch or civilian.  Special guest speaker.  RSVP required; Special invitations to Wounded Warriors, Soldiers, Gold Star families and our senior war veterans from Central Florida. This years’ theme is “Over There! A Celebration of the WWI Soldier”.  6pm – 11pm at Rosen Centre, 9840 International Drive, Orlando, 32819.  Discount for early ticket purchase.  Sponsorships very welcomed.  See chapter website.  Info:  Dee  at 407- 924-0810  daila.espeut-jones@ zeltech .com 
Addl’ info - Interested in becoming an AUSA member?  Sunshine Chapter has flexible general meeting dates.  See the website or contact  john.reams@  407.571.9920  

Unique event: Free offshore fishing for wounded warriors – Tues. June 20 - Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam is inviting wounded veterans to a free offshore fishing trip. The boat will be launching from Carrabelle ( in the FL Panhandle near Tallahassee). All eligible veterans can register now by going to OperationOutdoorFreedom .com  Limited space.  This ongoing program provides wounded veterans with the outdoor activities that they enjoy at no cost. Designated state and agricultural lands throughout Florida grant these veterans unique opportunities for recreation and rehabilitation.  Requirements:  30% or more service connected disability, or Purple Heart recipient.  


Central Florida Veterans – There are approximately 65,000 military veterans just in Orange County.  And only 17,000 are receiving ANY kind of benefits that they are entitled to receive.  Enroll in the VA Healthcare system, even if you think you are not eligible.  Laws change, rules get updated and you may have some service related situations that appear years after you left service.  If you are already enrolled, it will decrease possible delays.  Healthcare is not the only benefit of your service to our country.  See your County Veterans Service Office.  Every Florida county has a VSO, some have multiple offices – they are FREE and very knowledgeable about benefits claims and possible appeals.  See  floridavets .org for locations.
(Want to know a secret?  Many of the attorneys who advertise to assist with veteran benefit claims and appeals actually consult with these same VSO’s!  And then charge the client for it!)  

Hepatitis C – It is imperative that veterans get tested!  If positive, get treated.  The VA will test you, and treat you – for free.  Consult your primary care team if you are already enrolled in the VA Healthcare system.  If you are not currently enlisted in it, do it.  One in 10 Vietnam veterans, and one in 30 baby-boomers, will test positive for this liver problem - a possible “time-bomb” that may lead to liver cancer. Blood Banks already test for this – if Hep C negative, your blood will help save a life. 
(FYI – Hepatitis C was formerly known as Hepatitis Non-A, Non-B until the 1980’s.)  

Veterans in crisis – For you or someone you know. 
Suicide is a medical emergency.  If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, know that you are not alone and care should be sought immediately by calling 911.  Free, confidential resources are instantly available through the Military Crisis Line to aid you if you are in crisis. 
Call 800-273-8255 and press 1,  
OR chat online now for 24/7 access to trained counselors who understand what service members and military families are coping with.  Website at  veteranscrisisline 
OR:  text 838255  for 24/7 confidential assistance. 
They are there because they care….  

Camaraderie Foundation in Central Florida provides resources for private and confidential Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) counseling for Post 9/11 veterans/warriors and their families.  They also have connections in other areas, other states.  It works.  It HAS saved lives, saved marriages and saved families.  camaraderiefoundation .org   Contact 407-841-0071      

Caring and sharing,  

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

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