Friday, January 29, 2016

Central Florida February Veterans Events

Jan/Feb list of Central FL veteran, military and patriotic events
From Cathy Haynes
*This is a list of unique events in Central Florida – events that have been shared with me. 
*Send me your events – people cannot attend an event if they don’t know about it!
*Please share this information and events with your friends and interested others and attend.  Post where appropriate.
*Every effort is made to put a space into email addresses and websites.  
Suggested delayed New Year’s Resolutions:
·         If you moved in/to Florida and bought a home, have you filed for your 2016 Property Tax Exemption?  Deadline of March 1 at your county office.
·         Apply for your DD214 (aka: discharge papers), Service Medical Records, and Awards records. These may take several months to receive.  Get them before you really need them.
·         Join a military/veterans organization.
·         Pledge at least one or one additional hour a month in service to veterans in our communities.
NEX – Navy Exchange Special!  For persons eligible for NEX, scratch off coupon events will take place at the Navy Exchange January 27- February 2. Get an extra 5%, 10%, 15%, 25% or 50% Off with use of the coupon.  1 in 3 cards has 10% Off or better!  (Eligible persons are all branches of active duty military, reservists, guardsmen, retirees, 100% service-connected disabled veterans and their dependents. See below.)  Authorized patrons are encouraged to join the mailing list to receive scratch-off coupons and flyers.  There are two ways you can sign up: by going online to www. myNavyExchange  .com or by calling NEXCOM customer service at 1-800-628-3924, available 24/7.
 “The Finest Hours” - Fri Jan 29 – Release of Disney’s Coast Guard rescue film starring Chris Pine and based on a true story of a 1952 nor’easter off of Cape Cod, Mass. 
FOUR CHAPLAINS COMMEMORATIVE CEREMONY – Sun. Jan 31– American Legion Post 112 at 2pm - Vice Commander Jerry Dress, a Korean War vet, has worked very hard to coordinate this event with Sea Cadets and Scouts. Come support good kids with your attendance!  Four chaplains from several religions and denominations assisted military personnel and civilians before their ship, USAT Dorchester, sank in the Atlantic Ocean on Feb. 3, 1943.  The chaplains gave up their life jackets and helped persons onto life boats.  They joined arms, prayed and sang hymns before they died together. Free and open to the public.  Amer. Legion Post 112, 4490 North Goldenrod Road, Winter Park, 32792
Military Appreciation Day at UCF – Sun, Jan 31 – UCF basketball against UConn.  4pm start.  Free Tickets for all Active Military, veterans and first responders.  Free T-shirt for the first 1000 fans.  VISIT: /mbbmilitary16    Deadline to “purchase” Friday Jan 29 at 5pm.  Questions - 407-823-1000
February is Black History Month.  Review some of the historical contributions made by Buffalo Riders, Tuskegee Airmen, Montford Point Marines, and others.
Angel’s Life Baklava “Valentines” Fundraiser - Bundles of homemade "Baklava" made with freshly chopped walnuts and pistachios, sweet rich honey & light layers of phyllo dough.  $15.00 per box of 9 bundles (Gift Box & Tissue.)  Order Deadline by Tues, Feb 9, 4pm.  Orders to Pick-up in store at the Oviedo Mall (Macy’s side) OR delivery fee of $4.95.  To order go to /angels-life-foundation/ baklava-fundraiser  OR  Contact jovanna @angelslife. org   407-375-9728 by a CF Mom, Aida. Local Gold Star Mother, Jovanna Nelson, is working with Angel’s Life Foundation by raising funds and awareness for cystic fibrosis.  Her son, Army SPC Brenden N. Salazar-Nelson, was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan on July 22, 2012.  His only sibling, Hannah, has Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic life-threatening disease.   Army Reserve LCol. Jovanna Nelson also is an event planner in the Central FL area.
Marine Corps League Orlando - Tues, Feb 2 - Cpl. Larry E. Smedley, Detachment 064 Monthly Meeting, 7pm – 8pm at the Orange County Library, 4324 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32803 -- Herndon Meeting Room 1.  All interested persons are welcomed.  Info:  Sam McCloud  407-595-9508 mclcfl @gmail. com or mcl.orlando.commandan t@ gmail. com
(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.)
City of Orlando Mayors’ Veterans Advisory Council – Thurs. Feb 4 – 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
7th Annual Orlando Chili Cook Off – Sat Feb 6 – Southeast Regional Championship of tasty chili samples – From Over 100 Different Chili Booths!  Unlimited samples are included in your ticket price. Live music all day, featured bands include Wilted Chilis, The Holcomb Brothers Band and Common Man.  Kids Zone Sponsored by Fun Spot; The World Chili Eating Challenge featuring Championship eaters Joey "Jaws" Chestnut and Miki Sudo.  Gates open 12noon at Festival Park,  2911 E. Robinson St, Orlando, 32803 - just west of Orlando Executive Airport.  Advance Adult tickets: $15 (until 2/5/16) Day of Adult: $20.  BUT – you can save $5 by going to:   Enter promo code  GIVE2VETS   A portion of the ticket proceeds go to Camaraderie Foundation, which provides healing for invisible wounds of war through counseling, emotional, and spiritual support for all branches of military service members, veterans and their families. (Camaraderie Foundation:  407-841-0071  Lives and families HAVE been saved!)
Veteran Infused Employment Workshops – Tues – Thurs, Feb 9 - 11, - Various free classes offered to veterans that will assist in job searching.  Lake Nona VA Hospital site, 4th Flr, Rm 106A/B, 13800 Veterans Way, Orlando, 32827.  Feb 9 workshop – Creating your Job Search Tactics and Network;  Feb 10 – Goals, Resumes, and Interviewing; Feb 11 – Performance Excellence, Mock Interviews, and Graduation.  Workshops are 10am – 2pm, Lunch is NOT provided.  Contact Annie Artis, vhaorlhvces @va. gov  407-629-1599 x28846.
Central Florida Navy League mtg – Wed. Feb 10 - Guest speaker this month is CDR Riley Gatewood, USCGC's Vigilant Commanding Officer.  The Vigilant performs a wide variety of service based from Port Canaveral.  The Navy League is composed of citizens in support of the United States sea services – Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines.  Many members are military veterans but military service is NOT required.  The local CFNL is one of the largest in Florida with fun and educational monthly meetings with a very diverse membership.  Lunch meeting at Holiday Inn, UCF, 1724 Alafaya Trail, Orlando, 32826, at 11:30 and luncheon ends promptly at 13:00.  Luncheons are $20 prepaid by 10am Feb 9; or $25 at the door. Prepay by credit card online at  www. cfnavyleague .org    Membership inquiries: Bob Karas    407-977-7575
FAVOB After Hours – Wed. Feb 10 - Florida Association of Veteran Owned Businesses (FAVOB) sponsors this After Hours "FREE"event!!! Come join us for drinks, fellowship and networking at the Club 39 at the Rosen Plaza, 9700 International Drive, Orlando, 32819 (just north of the older section of the Orange Co. Convention Center.)  6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.  Open to all civilians and veterans alike....You don't have to be a vet to support the veteran business community!  Special reduced pricing on drinks and appetizers has been arranged.  Complimentary self parking.   Info:  jrice @ supportingstrategies. com
VA Art Show – Fri, Feb 12 – Veterans provide their hand work in a variety of Fine Arts, Applied Arts and Crafts in a competition.  Items can be seen from 12noon to 3pm in the Orlando VA Medical Center at Lake Nona, Auditorium A on the 4th flr.  Items are:  paintings, drawings, leather drafting, woodworking, metalwork, pottery, etc.  Entries are still being accepted, registration ends Jan 30, and art work should be submitted on Feb 8, 9, or 10. Info:  Jenny Danieli at 407-631-7110  jenny.danieli @va. gov
Valentine’s Day Dinner and Day – Sat. Feb 13 – A very nice fundraiser sponsored by Knights of Columbus Council 11488.  A portion of proceeds will benefit Home At Last that assists wounded warriors with local specially adapted homes. Tickets/information available by contacting Jim McQuillan at 407-877-2149.   Also available after the Masses at Holy Family Catholic Church, 5125 S. Apopka Vineland Rd, Orlando, 32819.  (Southwest Orlando.) Obtain your tickets early, this event has sold out in previous years. Event will be in their St. Patrick Social Hall.  $25 Prime Rib dinner and dance from 6pm – 11pm.  Silent auction, 50/50 raffle and more.  Flyer available.  dad @ mcquillanfamily. com 
Operation Love Letters – Sat. Feb 13 – 4th annual Valentine letter writing by military family members who are grieving their personal losses, whether the servicemen or women died in combat or not.  Letters are attached to balloons and released.  Please let other grieving military families know about this event – they move in and out of our communities and may want an opportunity to connect with others who understand.  Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) who offers long term assistance at no charge to all surviving military families, regardless of branch, in a large section of Cent. FL.  Contact Gwendolyn Hannah, 407-240-5939 X 1746,  gwendolyn.c.hannah.ctr @mail. mil  (Assistance after hours, contact the Army Reserve Family Programs Fort Family Support and Outreach Center - 1-866-345-8248. Serving Soldiers and Families 24/7/365.)
Valentine’s Day Champagne Brunch and Jazz – Sun Feb 14 – Public invited, food, music, games and prizes at Doubletree by Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront, 2080 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach, 32931. $85 per couple, $11 per child age 5-12.  Sponsor a table for 10 with your logo for $500.  Sponsor a military family (2 adults, 2 children) for $100.  Info:  kim @avetproject .org  321-373-7046.
Veterans Business Initiative Kick Off – Tues, Feb 16 – Program of veteran job matching, entrepreneurship education and training, federal employment navigation and financial training.  Many large local employers are participating to provide a one-to-one, face-to-face effort that gets the best potential employees into great jobs.  Sponsored by Central Florida Disability Chamber of Commerce (CFDCC), the Veterans Business Initiative, and CareerSource.  8:30am – Noon at CFDCC, National Entrepreneur Center, 3201 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando, 32803.  Info:  Rogue Gallart 407-420-4875  or Jaime Quarnoccio   407-531-1231 x7339
Florida Association of Veteran Owned Businesses mtg (FAVOB) – Tues Feb 16 – 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, our cities, and counties too.  See FAVOB Facebook site.  Info:  Chairman Michael Waldrop  mwaldrop @blue-cord .com
Orange County Mayors’ Veterans Advisory Council –Wed. Feb 17– 1:30pm monthly 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 
Retiree Appreciation Day – Sat. Feb 20 – Military retirees can enjoy a variety of speakers from the Department of the Army, Veterans Affairs, MOAA (Military Officers Association of America) and others.  Special guest will be Army SMA Raymond Chandler III (ret.)  Information provided by Tricare, Exchanges from the Army, Air Force and Navy, etc.  All service branch retirees and their families are invited.  9am – 3pm at The Venue at UCF (University of Central Florida) at 12777 Gemini Blvd N., Orlando, 32816 located behind the CFE Arena.  Sponsored by Fort Stewart.
Black History Month Recognition – Sat. Feb 20 – Museum of Military History   10am – 3pm.  Buffalo Soldiers, first responder displays, military reenactors, USO, and more.  5210 West Irlo Bronson Hwy, Kissimmee, 34746.  Office: 407-507-3894  sgtmccloud @juno .com 
Central Florida Veterans Inc. mtg – Tues Feb 23 – Meeting of veterans and groups in the Central Florida area.  Meeting includes a guest speaker and sharing of information that is important to veterans.  This group meets on the LAST Tuesday of every other month. (Even numbered months) in the Orlando VA Medical Center at Lake Baldwin in the Cafeteria at 5:30pm.  Info:  Greg Smith at 901-438-7734  farside53 @ gmail .com
Children’s Book Launch – Fri. Feb 26 – “Patriot Pup” the first in a series of children's patriotic books designed to educate and inspire future generations to love our country.  7pm at The Academy of Learning, 445 South Orange Blvd., Sanford, 32771.  “Patriot Pup” is written by Elisa Camara and she includes her only brother in the story.  Marine Sgt. Mecot Camara was one of 241servicemen killed in the Beirut Bombing of 1983. After launch party/reception at DAV Chapter #30, 3512 South Orlando Dr., Sanford, 32773.  Info:  elisa @americanbrother .us
Greeters needed!  FLIGHTLESS Honor Flight Welcome Home – Sat.Feb 27– Flightless Honor Flight by the Villages hub.  If you cannot attend the evening “Welcome Home” events at OIA, come to this event!  There are 15 WW2 or Korean warriors who, for various reasons, cannot make the flight trip to Washington DC to see their memorial - (hence the term “Kiwi” – a flightless bird).  They will receive a virtual trip in 5 hours – everything except for leaving the ground.  You can participate in the “Welcome Home” at 2:30pm at the American Legion Post Post #347 (Rolling Acres), 699 W Lady Lake Blvd, Lady Lake, 32159.  An Honor Flight with everything except leaving the ground.  Villages Honor Flight was recognized by the national Honor Flight Network for this unique concept!  Info: Village Honor Flight website or Liza at  860-235-7718   lizadiana@
Cape Canaveral National Cemetery opened for first interments of casketed or cremated remains of eligible Veterans, spouses or dependents.  The 318-acre cemetery in Brevard County will serve the burial needs of more than 163,000 Veterans in the cemetery’s service area for the next 100 years.  The land, located at 5525 U.S. Highway 1, between Huntington Avenue and Johns Road, was purchased in July 2012 for $2.1 million. The property is located approximately two miles south of Interstate 95, Exit #231, and approximately 12 miles north of Titusville.
National Cemetery Scheduling Office at (800) 535-1117.
Univ. of Central FL Business Incubation Program – Assistance with the many aspects of starting or advancing businesses, including veteran owned businesses.  Expert advice, mentoring, and classes available – contact  michael.weiss @ucf. edu
Upcoming classes:  Tues Feb 23 - Keys to Making Your Business Grow & Reduce Taxes at Kissimmee campus.   Wed Mar 9 - HR's Role as a Vital Contributor to Your Organization's Success at Kissimmee campus.  Also:  Government Contracting Seminar Series with multiple dates and times.  Topics include: Introduction to Federal Government Contracting: Where Do I Start?; GSA and Multiple Award Schedules; Subcontracting and Teaming; and Bids & Proposals.
Mark your calendar – info upcoming; Sponsorships, volunteering, donations are likely welcomed.
Sat Mar 5 - Marine Corps PFT (Physical Fitness Test) Challenge at Blanchard Park in Orlando; benefiting the Central Florida Marine Corps Foundation.
Sun. Mar 6 – Firearms Fun Night – shooting competition presented by AVET Project in Melbourne.
Sun Mar 30 – Golf Tribute to LCol Earle Denton.  Rio Pinar Country Club.
Sun. Apr 2 – Kids on the Water – free day of activities for kids at Wickham Park, per AVET Project. 
Sun. Apr 17 – Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall arrives 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.
Thurs – Sun. Apr 21 – 24 - Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion – 29th Annual nation’s largest gathering in Melbourne.
May 8-12 - The Invictus Games, an international adaptive-sporting event for injured military members, held at Disney World's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.  More than 500 wounded or sick, with visible and non-visible wounds, serving or ex-military athletes from more than a dozen nations will gather.  10 competitive events including archery, indoor rowing, powerlifting, road cycling, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.  I have been in touch with planning staff who are currently in Wash. DC.  Possible lists for volunteering could begin towards the end of February. 
·         WoundedTimes. Blogspot .com - Veterans News Service covering news that matters to veterans and their families. Local, state and national news, events, and stories – especially with videos involving Central Florida military and veterans. Dedicated to defeating Combat PTS.
·         Shades of Green Resort – Armed Forces Recreation Center (a DOD) on Disney property provides various packages for active duty, reservists, guardsmen, 100% service connected disabled, and retired military personnel and their families.  Go to www. shadesofgreen .org  for information.  Special discounts for rooms may be available based on occupancy levels, and special ticket rates.  (407) 824-3400
·         The Navy Exchange (NEX) –NEX in Orlando is for all branches of active duty military, reservists, guardsmen, retirees, 100% service-connected disabled veterans and their dependents. It is located west of Orlando Int’l Airport, about 1 mile south of the Beachline Expy/528 on Tradeport Dr.  Competitive pricing and programs. The big white building on the west side of Tradeport -  7151 Earhart Dr., Orlando, 32827.    www. mynavyexchange .com  407-857-3550
·         MWR / ITT Ticket Office – Offers discounted attraction tickets to active duty military, reservists, guardsmen, retirees, 100% service-connected disabled veterans and their dependents. It is locate adjacent to the Navy Exchange (NEX) listed above.  Phone: 407-855-0116 or 407-851-4396 for details,   email: mwrorl @gmail .com  or Text MWROrlando to 30364 for MWR Specials.
·         Military OneSource is a free service provided by the Department of Defense (DoD) to active duty, Guard and Reserve service members, and their families with comprehensive information on every aspect of military life including deployment, relationships, economics, grief, education, parenting and child care, and much more.  www. militaryonesource .mil
INFO to keep and share - because we care
Veterans in crisis – For you or someone you know - Confidential Hotline:  1-800-273-8255, #1. 
Or:  Website at  veteranscrisisline   provides 24/7 confidential chat online assistance;
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 warriors and their families.   It works.  It has saved lives, marriages and families.  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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