Saturday, October 31, 2015

Central Florida Veterans Events Part 1

Central Florida Veterans Events

From Cathy Haynes

November list #1  – Preliminary list of veteran, military and patriotic events in Central FL

Events thru Sun. Nov 8 – that I am aware of….There MAY be other events.  Please get your groups Veterans Day recognitions and ceremonies to me ASAP (like in 5 minutes!) because people cannot attend or join what they don’t know about……

Misc. info
Everyone and especially Veterans – please plan to attend the various school programs.  There MAY be events at some schools near your home that are not listed here.  Our young ones need to be aware of who veterans are and how they have served our country.  Your attendance reinforces the efforts that some teachers are trying to provide.  Be an example – be someone that the young generation will remember and model after…

Just a bit of reminder for folks - There is a difference between veterans and military.  Sometimes people get confused that veterans were once active military but they are not officially serving anymore.  And our military are serving now and will one day be veterans.  Retired veterans served a specified required time in service.  All military retirees are veterans but not all veterans are military retired.   Veterans Day honors all persons who once were in the military - especially the living.  Memorial Day honors those who died while serving in the military.  Armed Forces Day is the third Saturday in May - it was established in 1950 to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Air Force Days.  That is a day to pay tribute to men and women who currently serve the United States’ armed forces.

October was Agent Orange Awareness Month.  The organization Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) encourages your education and support of the Federal Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015 (S.901 and H.R.1769) 

Who is deployed?  - Attn. persons with any family member currently deployed to Afghanistan and other “rough areas.” - Local groups are seeking the names and addresses for warriors in such areas. Care packages would like to be sent.  Send names and addresses of Central Florida deployed military service men and women to Cyndi Landers – cyndilanders @ of AUSA (Association of the United States Army, Sunshine Chapter).

There are more than 600 deployed Soldiers (and a few Marines too) from our own local 2-124th Florida National Guard and 143rd ESC Army Reserve.  Care package groups want to send boxes of snacks, good food, hygiene items, and things that may not be readily available to warriors in those “frontlines.”  Providing names and addresses early (NOW) will allow the warriors to provide such items as gifts to their battle buddies during the holidays.  AUSA (Association of the United States Army, Sunshine Chapter) is collecting items and monies needed for shipping.  Drop off donations on Mon, Tues and Wed, November 2, 3 & 4 at L-3 Communications, 12351 Research Parkway, Orlando, 32826  (POC:  Karen Thaldorf, 407-382-4482.) Additional contacts: Daila Espeut-Jones – 407.924.0810 – daila.espeut-jones @ ; Greg Maida – 407.497.5688 – gsmaida @   Another group is  J.O.S.H. - Just Our Soldiers' Helpers Inc.  Contact Kathy at 407-314-1607  kathy @  

Shopping consideration – As we are preparing for the upcoming holidays, please consider buying items that are made in this country.  Buying “Made in U.S.A.” allows employment for more persons in this country and some of those workers may be veterans, reservists, or guardsmen/women.  UPC barcodes do not always indicate the country of manufacture.  Look for the “Made in U.S.A.” labeling.

Mentors needed - Veteran Courts ARE succeeding!  Longer term success is possible with community mentors and 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 PTS anger issues that are being rechanneled.  If you have experienced substance abuse – although not required - and came thru it, you may be very helpful to someone else.  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.

Vietnam Veterans of America Daytona Beach Chapter 1048 had a "Welcome Home" for 25 Permanently Hospitalized Vietnam War Veterans from Emory L. Bennett VA Nursing Home as new members to VVA Chapter 1048. www. vva1048. com 1920 Mason Ave, Daytona Beach, FL 32117.  After a short ceremony, VVA Chapter 1048 hosted a luncheon for all Emory L Bennett Veterans and the staff members, who are dedicated caring professionals for our Veterans.  Thank you for remembering and recognizing our former warriors!
For more information please contact Rod Phillips at 386.690.9553
Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America offers ONCE IN A LIFETIME SPECIAL, LIFE MEMBERSHIP for $100. This offer will be good between November 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015.  Contact Rod Phillips 386.690.9553  The offer is available to anyone, whether new or existing members, unless you are already a fully paid up Life Member at this time. This includes people who are currently annual or 3 year members, and it even includes those who have already signed up for a Life Membership on time payments!

Military Recognition Program by Orlando Solar Bears – Solar Bears Hockey Team is seeking active military/veterans/guard or reserve personnel from all branches to honor at their home games for the 2015-16 season.  He/she should be in uniform or wear their military branch themed clothing and provide a short bio.  Contact the office to nominate yourself or someone else and to get further information.  Recognition will include complimentary game tickets & parking for that game! Wheelchair seating available upon request (based on availability); Numerous home games.  Contact Taylor Bartz, Community Relations Coordinator for Orlando Solar Bears,  407.951.8200 x124  tbartz  


Nam Knights & Monster Challenges Mud Obstacle Benefit Run  - Sat. Oct 31 - This Green Swamp Nam Knight event is for the sole purpose of supporting “Home at Last”, the organization constructing a specially adapted house for Marine Staff Sergeant Brandon Wittwer.  He is a Marine Corps Scout Sniper, injured in Iraq and medically retired in Nov 2014. 100% of the proceeds will go to “Home at Last”.   Registration is now closed for competition but spectator admission is $10.  Monster Challenges is a 4+ mile, 28+ mud obstacle event including snow and zip lines!  Little Monster's course is nearly 3/8 mile and is designed for children under the age of 10. With safety being the most important aspect, there is plenty of opportunity for the Little Monsters to get down and dirty just like their folks! All children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Arnold Groves and Ranch, 15000 Frank Jarrell Rd, Clermont, 34714.  Info:  Monster Challenges  352-978-2898   contact
The mission of the Nam Knights is to honor the memory of American Veterans and Police Officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty, to assist Veterans and Police Officers in their time of need, and to promote community awareness through sponsorship and participation in various community and fund-raising events.”
“The Nam Knights Motorcycle Club continues to grow and thrive due to the extraordinary dedication of its members, their families and our benevolent supporters.”  Nam Knights Info:  contact is needed!
Info:  Home at Last Project, Inc.  dad @  407.876.2472

Halloween Party Military and Family Friendly – Sat. Oct 31 - There will be a Haunted House, treats, snacks and games for the children.  Free. Children must be accompanied by an adult.  3pm – 5pm at American Legion Family at Post 286 Pine Castle, 529 E. Fairlane Ave., Orlando, 32809 (north of Sand Lake Road on Orange Ave. in south Orlando.)  The American Legion Post 286 Pine Castle Department of Florida members, the Legionnaires, American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of The American Legion, make up what is known as The Legion Post 286 Family.  “Working Together as ONE”,  all three organizations place high importance on preserving our American traditions and values, improving the quality of life for our nation's children, caring for veterans and their families, and perhaps most importantly, teaching the fundamentals of good citizenship and  better places in which to live.   
Children and Youth Committee embraces all activities for improvement of conditions of life in the community where the American Legion Family is located. It has been a major activity of The American Legion and Auxiliary since 1926, and has resulted in the completion of a vast number of projects to make American communities.  This is a very pro-active and involved Post!  407-859-1460

Daylight Savings Time ends – Sun. Nov 1 – Turn your clocks back one hour.  Use that bonus time to do something nice for our veteran and service personnel!

Election Day – Tues. Nov 3 – Become educated and do your civic duty – VOTE!  Our local elections tend to have a more direct impact on us.

Student Veteran Story Day – Tues. Nov 3 – event presented by the UCF History Dept. and the Community Veterans History Project, Colbourn Hall, UCF Main Campus, UCF Main campus, 9am to 5pm.  The UCF Community Veterans History Project is collecting, preserving, and making accessible to the public the experiences of Central Florida's veterans so that future generations will better understand the realities of conflict. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by multiple departments and offices at UCF. The histories, which students began recording during the fall 2010 semester, are archived and made digitally available through the UCF library and selected veterans' histories to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.  Pre-registration required, visit:  Info: Program Coordinator of Veterans Academic Resource Center (VARC) Joshua.Johnson @  407-823-5874

The First Academy Veteran’s Day Celebration – Wed. Nov 4 – The students of Wounded Warrior Club of The First Academy would like to honor members of the Armed Forces.  10am in Faith Hall.  First Baptist Orlando, 3000 S. John Young Parkway, Orlando, 32805. (North of I-4 and John Young Pkwy, exit 79.)  Info/RSVP’s appreciated for head count planning to 407-206-8659  or  marygooseman @      Shared by Brian Rose, Principal.  Event flyer available.

"Debt of Honor" Movie Screening – Wed. Nov 4 – WUCF presents this FREE movie screening followed by a panel discussion with local veterans and support providers. 6:30pm – 9:30pm.  Orlando Science Center, 777 East Princeton Street, Orlando, 32803.  Free parking!  Kindly register your attendance at WUCF website.
The movie is scheduled to be on WUCF TV at 9pm on Wed. Nov 10.
“Debt of Honor: Disabled Veterans in American History” is a new documentary film by six-time Emmy Award-winning director Ric Burns.  It will “examine the way in which the American government and society as a whole have regarded disabled veterans throughout history, beginning in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War and continuing through today’s conflicts in the Middle East. The film combines personal stories, told by distinguished disabled veterans, with deep history narrated by leading scholars in the fields of disability studies, history and psychology to illustrate the human cost of war and the enormous sacrifices of military service. These sacrifices are brought to life through hundreds of carefully curated still images and archival footage from across the country.“  Info: catherine.hiles @   407.823.5554  Event flyer available.

US Army Field Band & Soldier’s Chorus Live Concert - Wed Nov 4 – FREE concert in Lake County begins at 7:30 pm, at the First United Methodist Church of Clermont, Wesley Center, 715 W. Juniata Street, downtown Clermont, 34711. The Concert Band regularly travels and performs with the Soldiers’ Chorus, together presenting a powerful and diverse program of marches, overtures, popular music, patriotic selections, and instrumental and vocal solos.  The Band has invited 16 outstanding students from the local high school bands to perform with them on stage. Reserve FREE tickets at  armyfieldband114. eventbrite. com. Limited seating. Tickets must be presented at the door for entry.  Info:  352-394-2412   Source:  Found by accident at The News Ledger Four Corners news.

Veterans Day Golf Tournament – Fri. Nov 6 – Fairways for Warriors (Orlando Chapter) sponsors this four-person scramble at Eagle Creek Golf Club, 10350 Emerson Lake Blvd, Orlando, 32832. Registration deadline November 1st. Maximum entries 120. If you’re not able to attend, PLEASE consider making a donation to this great cause. All donations are tax deductible.  Registration 7:30 am, Shotgun start 8:30 am.  F4W provides golf equipment, instruction, and outings to wounded warriors and their family members. Golf has proved to be an excellent tool for mental and physical rehabilitation. It has given these brave men and women the opportunity to heal from their significant injuries (amputations) and some injuries that we can’t see such as depression, post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and others. F4W is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity and is dependent on tax-deductible financial donations with 96% of the monies going toward the program!  Info:  Tom Underdown   tom @ 407-399-0977   fairwaysforwarriors. org

Winter Park Veteran's Day Celebration - Fri Nov 6 - Col. Lance Kildron, USAF is the guest speaker at the Ruby Ball Amphitheater located outdoors at 721 West New England Avenue, Winter Park, 32789. He is Commander of Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 159 and professor of Aerospace Studies at UCF (University of Central Florida.)  The veteran informational gathering will begin promptly at 9:30 am, and the official program will commence at 10am thru 11am with music, anecdotal speakers and recognition of veterans.  Info: Clarissa Howard, Communications Director at 407-599-3428  choward @

Veterans Day Weekend Open House, Sat and Sun Nov 7 and 8 - The Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum will provide free admission to the museum for all military, active or retired.  Also, ALL Florida residents will be admitted free.  ID is required.  A highlight of the open house will be your first look at the massive cockpit of a combat veteran B-52, the world’s famous jet bomber.  In addition to our collection of vintage aircraft, we will be featuring plastic modelers and radio controlled modelers, and a visit from Jungle Jim with his Florida wildlife.  If you have a classic car that you would like to show on Saturday and/or Sunday, please contact the museum.  9AM-5PM, Saturday and Sunday.  Food and refreshments will be available for purchase.  Space Coast Regional Airport, 6600 Tico Road, Titusville, 32780.  Info:  Ron Davis, Public Relations Officer, 321-268-1941. Publicrelationsofficer @

“Freedom Isn’t Free” and "One Nation Under God"– various dates and locations - By Your Side Ministries produces this celebration of Christian Patriotism.  It is a live musical Program with video and live testimonials honoring our 1st Responders and all branches of the military and veterans, and in partnership with Operation Safety 91.  Check Operation Safety 91website for specifics:  www.   407-484-4506
November 7 - Lake Ridge Village, Eustis.
November 8 - First Christian Church, Kissimmee.
November 11 - "One Nation Under God", BYSM Theater, Winter Garden (see below.)
November 20 – Apopka VFW/Community Center, Apopka.
November 21 - Atria at Lake Forest, Sanford.
By Your Side Ministries Theater, 13355 W Colonial Dr., Winter Garden, 34787 (in the strip mall behind Taco Bell.)  Doors open at 6 pm. Dinner starts at 6:30 pm.  50 minute program "One Nation Under God" starts at 7:15pm. Donations for the dinner will be accepted.  Reserve Tickets for free dinner and program at  www. byyoursideministries. com/ boxoffice     Info:  Dave Gillum at: dave @   321-305-1111

Veteran’s Day Parade – Sat. Nov 7 – in Kissimmee, Osceola County.  Units still welcomed to participate.  Contact ASAP.  Parade line up starts at 8am at the Osceola County Courthouse, 2 Courthouse Square, Kissimmee, 34741.  Parade starts at 10am.  Numerous units including pick-up truck with seats for Purple Heart recipients.  Sponsored by the Osceola County Veterans Council.  Contact TJ Palmer at  tpalmer44 @  407.552.7124  or Gary at 301)275-5403.     Shared by TJ Palmer.

4th Annual Ruck Sack March – Sat. Nov 7 - "Walk a Mile in Their Boots" at Medical City in Lake Nona.  Sponsored by Camaraderie Foundation to benefit warriors, past and present, and their families who seek counseling for PTS issues.  3, 6 or 12 mile challenge at Lake Nona. You can participate as a Walker or a Runner; or compete for prizes as a Warrior, in which you must carry at least 35 lb. in your ruck sack or backpack.  The first 400 registered receive a Ruck Sack March shirt & commemorative dog tags. This event is chip timed and top finishers will be awarded with a medal. Prizes will also be awarded for top finishers and fundraisers. The goal is not only to raise awareness about Camaraderie Foundation’s mission of helping to heal the invisible wounds of war for our Military Service Members and their families, but to raise funds to help implement our counseling scholarships and programs for them.  Marriages, families, and LIVES HAVE BEEN SAVED.  Registration and Sponsorships available at www. rucksackmarch2015 .kintera. org   Contact Jackie at 407.841.0071    camaraderiefoundation. com 

Concert to honor veterans – Sun Nov 8 – The Orlando Concert Band and the pipe organ of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke will be joined by a choir of over 200 singers from The Episcopal Cathedral Church of St. Luke, St. James Catholic Cathedral, All Saints Episcopal Church, Lake Brantley and Colonial high schools.  Free concert at 2pm, 130 N. Magnolia Ave., Orlando, 32801.  Info: 407-849-0680.  Source: Orlando Sentinel.

Mount Dora Patriot Cruise and Salute - Sun. Nov 8 – 23 veterans, many of whom are wounded, ill or injured, and their families will be taken on a scenic boat ride, this 4rd Annual event.  At 12noon, after their return, a patriotic ceremony and picnic will be held. Gilbert Park in downtown Mt. Dora. 310 S Tremain St, Mount Dora, 32757.  Details: www. mountdorapcs. org  Info to volunteer or help:  Rozann Abato  fra10 @  305-772-5246  

Veteran’s Day Luncheon – Sun. Nov 8 – First United Methodist Church of Oviedo Military Support Team sponsors this to honor all who have served.  ALL Veterans and their spouse or guest(s) are invited.  Lunch is FREE but reservations are requested by Thurs. Nov 5 for proper planning. A “turkey with trimmings” lunch will be served at no cost in the Christian Life Center / Gymnasium, 263 King Street, Oviedo, FL 32765.  The luncheon will include a Color Guard and Missing Member Table ceremony, beginning at 12noon.  Guest speaker is the Colonel Todd Wasmund, Commander, 3d Infantry Division Artillery and son of member Charlotte Wasmund.  Hot meal and the fascinating talk! RSVP to the Church office (407-365-3255) or to Bronco7a @

Wounded Warrior Appreciation Dance - Sun Nov 8 - Orlando Chapter of USA Dance and Macy’s Furniture Gallery present this “Gala in the Gallery” fundraiser. Come dance in a beautiful, unique, new dance venue where you can dance down the aisles and in the center court of the Macy's Furniture Gallery.  7pm – 9:30pm at 820 West Town Parkway, Altamonte Springs, 32714 (From SR's 434 & 436, go 2 traffic lights South on SR 434, East on West Town Parkway.) Army Specialist B.J. Jackson and his family will be recognized for service and sacrifice while serving in Iraq.  DJ's Bobby & Judi Chapman (The Dancing Chapmans) will play your requests for any style of dance.  ALL DANCERS INVITED! Entertainment includes the exciting "Spartan 300 Warriors' Salsa Performance by Ultimate Alliance Team.  USA Dance has served the Central Florida dance community for 24 Years with teaching, exhibitions, and an outlet for having fun with ballroom, swing, and Latin dancing.  Also providing programs for special needs and and senior dances. Admission  $10   Info:  407-614-3472  twelvedancer @   Also see:  orlando-usadance. com  

Caring and sharing,

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