Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April Veterans Events in Central Florida



From Cathy Haynes

April list of military, veteran and patriotic events in Central Florida
 
*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.

 
Greeters needed to Welcome Home military – Sometimes VERY, VERY short term notice is received about local troops coming home thru the airport.  Recently, there was less than 24 hours of advance notice.  Ideally there would be more time but we never know, and with security operations being what it is, we have to go with the flow.  If you and your organization(s) are able to respond with such short notice, PLEASE let me know!  Florida has a large number of Central Florida guardmen who will be returning.  Our returning warriors would welcome a cheering group of persons with flags and banners.  Let’s form a responding list NOW!       chaynes11629 @yahoo .com
 
Fantasy of Flight Museum is currently OPEN through April 10th!!  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.
 
Coast Guard Auxiliary meeting – Wed. April 6 – 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
 
City of Orlando Mayors’ Veterans Advisory Council – Thurs. April 7 – 1:30pm monthly meeting (first Thurs. of each month) of numerous organizations and individuals for the benefit of local veterans and active duty personnel. Planning of functions (ie: POW/MIA ceremony, Veterans Day parade) and awareness of events and services 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  cityoforlando. net  Office of the Mayor, Mayor’s Committees, Veterans.   Contact Chairman Michael Waldrop for attendance and location information. mwaldrop@ blue-cord .com
 
28th Annual Central Florida Marine Corps Foundation Golf Tournament – Fri. April 8 - The annual golf tournament, CFMCF’s only fund-raising activity, is an opportunity to support our organization’s projects through golf.  8am Shotgun Start at Timacuan Golf Club, 550 Timacuan Boulevard, Lake Mary, 32746. Proceeds provide scholarships to deserving students who are the sons and daughters, and in some cases, grandsons and daughters of those who served the Corps.  Support also provided to other veterans in Central FL area.Register at www. CentralFloridaMarines .org   Info: Vince Dees at 407.456.3314, julian.dees@ gmail .com, or Jan Baka at 407.758.0968, jan.baka@ ecs-federal .com
 
Women’s Health Center Open House and Health Fair – Fri. April 8 – Learn more about our women’s health services, and get information on VA and community programs that offer special female Veteran services. Orlando’s Lake Nona VA Medical Center, 13800 Veterans Way, Orlando, 32827 in the Campus Courtyard.  10am – 3pm.  Tour the Women’s Health Center, kid-friendly activities, visit VA & Community Information Booths.  Contact Lisa Martel, Women Veterans Program Manager, 407-631-4088.
 
AVET Project feeding of troops –Fri April 8 – Volunteers and donations welcomed! NOT open to the public – Near Patrick Air Force Base - Over 100 service personnel of the National Guard are being treated to a nice meal before they deploy.  Coordinated efforts by AVET Project. Volunteers are needed to help setup, cook and serve.  You may want to be involved with future similar efforts as AVET Project honors Air Force, National Guard, and Coast Guard forces mostly on the east coast of Florida.  Contact Kim at kim@ avetproject .org   321-373-7046  Not-for-profit website at  avetproject. org  
And catch their American Warrior Radio Show  from 11am-noon EDT on Saturdays, radio station WMEL - AM 1300  Or thru your computer on the nationwide broadcast:  www  1300wmel .com
 
Veteran's Remembrance Rucksack March – Sat. April 9 – The Museum of Military History is sponsoring this 12K (almost 8 miles) event - Are you up for the challenge?  Saint Cloud Preparatory Academy parking lot, 3101 Progress Lane, Saint Cloud, 34769.  Opening Ceremony at 7:45am. $30 if registered before April 9, $35 day of event.  Three classes: 
·         Ranger Ruck, 8am start – 12K, 35lbs, boots & fatigues; Timed event (2 hours or less.) Over $400 worth of Backpack/Assaultpacks prizes for top 3 finishers only in this timed class:
1.       USMC Molle ll FILBE US Marine Coyote Rucksack
2.       Condor 160-003 MOLLE Coyote 3-Day Assault Pack
3.       CONDOR MOLLE Coyote Tactical Ambidextrous Solo Sling Bag Pack Backpack
·         Basic Ruck, 8:30am start – 12K, 15lbs, sports/casual wear, not timed.
·         Family Ruck, 9am start – 6K, backpack, not timed.
First 100 participants get free event t-shirt and goody bag.
These prizes will be handed out to the top three times in the Ranger Ruck. 8 miles, 35 lbs. boots and fatigues, all in less than two hours. Info:  Museum website or premierkenpo .com  407-507-3894
 
Minority Veterans Town Hall Meeting and Veterans Information Seminar – Sat. April 9 - 10am till complete.  Dr. James R. Smith Neighborhood Center, 1723 Bruton Blvd., Orlando, 32805.  Come with your questions about your VA Benefits.  Department of Veterans Affairs Representatives will be on site to provide information on programs and services available in the VA.  Spouses, families and loved ones of Veterans are encouraged to attend!  Sponsored by RAFMAN Club of Orlando – Retired Air Force, Marines, Army and Navy, a 501(c)3 Non-profit.   (407) 734-5794  RAFMANclub@ bellsouth .net   www. rafmanclubfoundation .org/  (Thank you for the info, Arthur!)
 
Military Care Package packing – Sat. April 9 – Hosted by Kids in Support of Soldiers (KISS).  This is 7th anniversary of a group of children touching military lives!  Packing starts at 10am (probably earlier as the kids get impatient!) at Longwood VFW Post 8207, 1520 N. Ronald Reagan Blvd., Longwood, 32750.  KISS is a non-profit program run by children to send care packages to the troops overseas to bring a piece of home.  Packages are sent every month.  Items brought in to send are welcomed but monetary donations for postage is even more welcome!  Want some statistics?  70 boxes to pack this month, 780 service personnel sent almost 7000 packages over 7 years (actually about 6800+ boxes, but they’re on a roll with the 7’s!  Play some 7’s on the Lottery and donate your winnings to them!) Joe Mattei 321-279-6092 akissfromhome@ yahoo .com
 
“It’s Spirit is Our Spirit” patriotic event – Sat. April 9 - In recognition of National Children and Youth Month, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 286, Pine Castle, sponsors this Americanism program on Our Country’s Flag. “When we respect the Flag, we respect the men and women who sacrificed to build this country and protect its FREEDOM.  When we honor the Flag, we honor the country, our people, and OURSELVES.”  Free patriotic event with games, lunch and an “Our Country’s Flag” comic book for each child.  Children must be accompanied by an adult from 12noon to 2pm at American Legion Post 286, 529 E. Fairlane Ave. Orlando, 32809. (Just north of Sand Lake Road on Orange Ave. in Southeast Orlando.) RSVP’s requested to:  407-859-1460  or alaunit286pinecastlefl@ gmail .com
 
Wounded Officers Initiative Fundraiser Concert – Sat. April 9 - The SolisBravo Band will be performing a benefit concert with the proceeds going to Wounded Officers Initiative (WOI) which assists seriously injured law enforcement first responders.  (Remember OPD Officer Will Anderson who was run over and seriously injured last year near Universal Studios?) Unlike some of the military/veteran organizations, there is not much to assist LEO’s, Firefighters, etc.  And many First Responders also served in the military. This world-class group of musicians performs a night of jazz, swing, big band, bossanova, Latin, blues and beach music. Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center, 201 Magnolia Ave, Sanford, 32771 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $23, $25, and $30 and can be purchased at the Center website at wdpac.com/ upcoming-concerts   Info:  Jimmy.Brown@ WoundedOfficersInitiative .org  352-415-0074.
 
Orlando Predators arena football special – Sat. April 9 and other dates – Florida Department of American Legion, in partnership with Gov Vacation Rewards, invites all current and former members of the military to take advantage of an exclusive offer.  Orlando Predators arena football tickets for home games are available at discounted pricing - $15 tickets (retail price $35) all season long, with 100% of the net proceeds being donated to Project: Vet Relief.  American Legion provides many facets of assistance in this project.   Home games are played at the Amway Arena beginning at 7:30pm.  Sat. April 9 against Portland; Sat. April 23 against Los Angeles; Sat. May 7 against Arizona; Fri. May 13 against Tampa Bay; other dates too – see the Florida Department of American Legion website.  To purchase tickets please contact Allyson Capeca at 407-295-2631. 
 
Greeters needed!  Welcome Home Honor Flight veterans - Sat. April 9 – Orlando Int’l Airport –After a day spent in Washington DC, veterans of WWII, Korean War, and the Vietnam War return home thru Orlando Int’l Airport.  The nation-wide organization has three local hubs that take veterans on a single day trips 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.  THIS group will return at about 11:20 pm and enter the terminal area at about 11:45-12 midnight.  Postpone your beauty sleep while you welcome these former warriors home!  Take a nap earlier in the day or on Sunday!  It’s well worth it!  “Welcome Home” receptions at the airports make a difference!  Bring your flags, banners and signs!
Demographics of THIS group have not been shared but this group has 50 veterans, 50 guardians and admin./medical staff making the trip.
Southwest Airlines # 2627 from Baltimore-Washington (BWI) with 11:20pm arrival, Terminal A, Airside 2 (hotel area in front of Starbucks.) *Before leaving home, 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 at 7870 N Frontage Rd, Orlando, 32812 – They have been very generous to Honor Flights with free parking and shuttles to the airport (Tips are welcomed by drivers!)   Just tell the FastPark and Relax attendant upon entering AND exiting the property that you are there for the Honor Flight veterans.  Your parking fee will be waived.  And you will certainly remember them when you need to park for your next trip, won't you!
New:  Vouchers are 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/card upon entering the airport garage.  The vouchers will not work if you use the SunPass transponders – we cannot credit the charge back. Airport personnel in the terminal have the vouchers – or ask “Miss Liberty”.
For the Early Birds - you can wave these veterans off in the morning no later than 5am – same Terminal location.  FastPark and Relax parking available.  The Honor Flight group processes thru Security early and quickly.  Wave them off for a wonderful day!
The next Honor Flights at OIA are on Sat. April 23 with 25 veterans, plus their guardians and staff; Sat. May 14 with 25 veterans, plus their guardians and staff; Wed. May 18 with 35 veterans, plus their guardians and staff. More flights are scheduled.  Contact Cathy Haynes for those details -  chaynes11629@ yahoo .com   407-239-8468.
 
American Legion 6th District Memorial Bowling Tournament – Sun. April 10 – This event is a memorial to Bob and Diane Koger who were long time leaders in the Legion in Central Florida.  Colonial Lanes, 400 N. Primrose Dr., Orlando 32803.  Registration begins 8am, bowling starts at 10am.  5 people per team, $125/team includes lunch.  Awards, door prizes, and awards for best team spirit costume! Coordinated by Clermont Post 357  Info:  floridapost357@ yahoo .com
 
April’s Veteran Infused Employment Workshops (VIEW) – Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs April 11-14 – Workshops to provide veterans with updated job skills and information to obtain gainful employment.  Lake Baldwin Outpatient Clinic, Auditorium A, 5201 Raymond St., Orlando, 32803.
Mon. April 11:  10am – 2pm “Creating your Job Search Tactics and Network”;
Tues. April 12:  10am – 2pm “Applications, Resumes, Networking”;
Wed. April 13:  10am – 2pm “Veteran Benefits”;
Thurs. April 14: 9am – 4pm  “Mock Interviews”.
(Lunch is NOT provided).    Registration online is appreciated but not required at:. Veteraninfusedemploymentworkshoporlandoapril .eventbrite .com  Info:  Ellamay “Annie” Artis, Veteran Community Employment Coordinator, Phone:  407-646-5500 x28846,  Mobile:  517-862-1434, ellamay.artis@ va .gov
 
CFDC - Veterans Business Initiative– Tues. April 12 and 19 – Program of veteran job matching, Actual job interviews, 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. 8:30am – Noon at CFDCC, National Entrepreneur Center, 3201 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando, 32803.  Info:  Rogue Gallart 407-420-4875  rogue@ nationalec. org -  www. cfdisabilitychamber. org  or Jaime Quarnoccio   407-531-1231 x7339  jquarnoccio@ careersourcecf. com
 
Orlando Marine Corps League mtg –Tues April 12 - Cpl. Larry E. Smedley, Detachment 064 monthly meeting, 7pm – 8pm at the Orange County Library, 4324 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando, 32803 -- Herndon Meeting Room 1.  Info:  John Gionet  sgtmajgna@ earthlink .net    407-963-9388
(USMC Corporal Larry E. Smedley was an Orlando resident who posthumously received the United States' highest military decoration — the Medal of Honor — for his actions in December 1967 in Quảng Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam.  The actual Medal of Honor hangs in the Orange County Courthouse as a community gift from his mother.  It will be taken down and on display for the Memorial Day Ceremony at the Courthouse on Mon. May 30.)
 
Congressional Gold Medal Award – Wed. April 13 – A ceremony will take place at 3pm in Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 65th Infantry Regiment known as the Borinqueneers.  House Speaker Paul Ryan has announced the ceremony based upon the legislation presented by U.S. Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) and Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR) to formally recognize the service and sacrifices made by the Borinqueneers. The 65th Infantry Regiment was created by Congress in 1898 as an all-Puerto Rican segregated unit and was called upon to serve our nation in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, where they fought some of the fiercest battles to date and became known as the Borinqueneers. During the now-famous Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War, the Borinqueneers fought alongside the First Marine Division, covering them through what is recognized as one of the greatest strategic withdrawals in military history.   They will join the ranks of those who have also been belatedly recognized:  World War II members of the Tuskegee Airmen, Civil Air Patrol, "Doolittle Tokyo Raiders", Montford Point Marines, Women Airforce Service Pilots (‘WASP’), Native American “Navajo” Code Talkers, and others. 
If you, your parent or grandparent, friend, neighbor or church member served with the Borinqueneers and have not been in contact with a local planning group, please do so by contacting dennisfreytes@ hotmail. com    Borinqueneers Registry - 65thcgm@ gmail. com or call: 239-530-8075. (Maybe this ceremony will be televised on CSpan???)
 
Central Florida Navy League mtg – Wed. April 13 - Over 600,000 lives were changed due to presence of the former Naval Training Base in Central Florida, and that doesn’t count the impact on the civilian community.  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 Mon. Mar 7; or $25 at the door for space available attendance. Prepay by credit card online at  www. cfnavyleague .org    Membership inquiries: Bob Karas  navleaguecenfl @juno .com    407-977-7575
 
FAVOB After Hours – Wed. April 13 - Florida Association of Veteran Owned Businesses (FAVOB) sponsors this After Hours event!!! Come join us for drinks, fellowship and networking this month at Caribe Blu, 2822 A. Alafaya Trl., Orlando, 32828.  6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.  Free for FAVOB members, $10 donation from non-members.  Open to all civilians and veterans alike....You don't have to be a vet to support the veteran business community!  www. FAVOB. org  Info:  jrice @ supportingstrategies. com
 
Hiring Our Heroes – Thurs. April 14 – Job Fair/Hiring event – especially for the Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, Veteran, military spouses and Gold Star Spouses.  Across the highway from Patrick Air Force Base at Tides Club, 1001 N Highway A1A S Atlantic Avenue, Patrick AFB, 32925.  FREE Career Development Workshop, and Hiring Fair   Open to military spouses, transitioning military members, veterans, employers, and service organizations.  Open to all branches.  Complimentary child care, resume review and professional head shots.  Pre-register online at:  hiringourheroes .org  Coordinated by US Chamber of Commerce Foundation.  Info:  Gillian Russell at grussell@ USChamber .com
 
CFMCF Happy Hour – Fri. April 15 - Enjoy some time with the Central Florida Marine Corps Foundation at the Miller's Oveido Ale House312 W Mitchell Hammock Rd, Oviedo, 32765.  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.  And we can smirk at the people who are racing to get their taxes postmarked by April 15 – not knowing that they have until April 18 this year! But Marines will have their Tax Forms in before this date anyway!  (See April 18 info) Happy Hour Info: sean.c.osmond@ gmail. com
 
Hiring Our Heroes –Sat. April 16 - Job fair for service members, transitioning members, veterans, and military spouses at the U.S. Army Reserve Center, 9500 Armed Forces Reserve Dr., Orlando, 32827. Starting at 8:30am with an Employment Workshop, followed by 10:30am – 1:30pm with a Hiring Fair. Pre-register online at:  hiringourheroes .org  Coordinated by US Chamber of Commerce Foundation and WorkForce Central Florida.
 
Seminole County Area Veterans Advisory Council (SCAVAC) mtg – Sat. April 16 - 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 Seminole County /Central FL vet/military associated group isn’t attending, it should plan to get involved. This month at 1pm at Longwood VFW Post 8207, 1520 N. Ronald Reagan Blvd., Longwood, 32750.  Info:  Magi Hosford, 407-340-9780, magicaretakers@ yahoo .com.
 
Wounded Officers Initiative Dinner Fundraiser – Sat. April 16 - 2nd Annual Dinner Gala, A Night with Heroes.  This is semi-formal evening of entertainment, a sit down dinner, and a key note address from one of our Wounded Heroes, Tim McCarthy.  Proceeds going to Wounded Officers Initiative (WOI) which assists seriously injured law enforcement first responders.  (Remember OPD Officer Will Anderson who was run over and seriously injured last year near Universal Studios?) Unlike some of the military/veteran organizations, there is not much to assist LEO’s, Firefighters, etc.  And many First Responders also served in the military.  Dinner in honor of wounded law enforcement officers from 5-10pm at the Shriner's Auditorium near Maitland, 2300 Pembrook Dr., Orlando, 32810. Ticket and info at website: woundedofficersinitiative.org    Info:  Jimmy.Brown@ WoundedOfficersInitiative .org  352-415-0074
 
Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall – Sun. April 17 – This replica tribute 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.  Proceeding down the highway to Wickham Park, 2500 Parkway Dr, Melbourne, 32935.  It will remain at Wickham Park thru Sun. April 24.  The cortege is a sight to behold going down the highway!
 
CFDC - Veterans Business Initiative– Tues. April 12 and 19 – Program of veteran job matching, Actual job interviews, 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. 8:30am – Noon at CFDCC, National Entrepreneur Center, 3201 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando, 32803.  Info:  Rogue Gallart 407-420-4875  rogue@ nationalec. org -  www. cfdisabilitychamber. org  or Jaime Quarnoccio   407-531-1231 x7339  jquarnoccio@ careersourcecf. com
 
April 18 – Tax deadline instead of April 15.  But you’ll have yours in before this day, won’t you?!?  You can thank Washington, D.C., for the gift of three extra days. Washington will celebrate Emancipation Day on April 15.  Emancipation Day typically is celebrated on April 16. It’s the day President Abraham Lincoln signed into law a bill ending slavery in Washington, D.C..  April 16 falls on a Saturday in 2016, so Emancipation Day will be celebrated on April 15.  And Tax Day will be pushed back to April 18.
 
Florida Association of Veteran Owned Businesses mtg (FAVOB) – Tues April 19 – 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. April 20 – Changed time of meeting this month to 1pm; normally 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 Edwin Marrero for attendance and location information.  emarrero81 @cfl .rr.com 
 
Vietnam Veterans of America mtg – Wed. April 20 - Daytona Beach Chapter 1048 meeting at 6:30pm.  Port Orange VFW 3282, 5810 S. Williamson Blvd., Port Orange, 32128.  All Veterans welcome, join now, bring your DD214.  Info:  Rod Phillips  cobra101st@ gmail .com 386.690.9553.  vva1048 .com
 
Coast Guard Auxiliary meeting – Sat. April 23 – 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.
 
Vietnam and All Veterans Reunion – Thurs. Apr 21 – Sun. April 24 – This is the 29th 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. Wickham Park, 2500 Parkway Dr., Melbourne, 32935.  Additionally, the Vietnam Veterans Traveling Memorial Wall will be onsite from Apr.17 – 24.  Check the website for the schedule of events at  floridaveteransreunion .com – VERY busy and interesting each day.  Free parking, free admission.  Info:  321-652-4185
 
Orlando All Veterans Job Fair – Thurs. April 21 - Over 40 exhibitors have job openings locally and across state lines.  11am to 3pm at the Main Banquet Hall of Heaven Event Center, 8240 Exchange Dr., Orlando, 32809. (W. Landstreet Road becomes Exchange Drive.  This site is within a triangle formed by Sand Lake Road on the north, FL Turnpike on the west/south and OBT/Florida Mall on the east.) Sponsored by Recruit Military.  Go to their website to register.
 
Family Readiness Group Golf Tournament – Fri. April 22 – Join the local Army’s 143rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) (ESC) and Family Readiness Group (FRG) in golfing fun!  Sign-In starts at 7am with 8am Shotgun Start.  Royal St. Cloud Golf Links, 5310 Michigan Avenue, St. Cloud, 34772. $50/pp (lunch NOT included) Limited to first 72 players.  RSVP to  justin.k.mirkovich.mil @mail .mil  317.989.2925.   
 
U. S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Foundation Golf Tournament – Fri. April 22 – The Florida Chapter of this group (USMCCCA) use all the proceeds to benefit America's wounded Marines in charitable, educational and patriotic programs.  Sherman Hills Golf Club, 31200 Eagle Falls Drive, Brooksville, 34602.  1pm sharp, shotgun start, usual tournament benefits, and a picnic fare meal, awards following tournament; silent auction.  Corporate sponsorships still welcomed!  Donations VERY welcomed!  Info:  James “Red” Carpenter at jcar1@ tampabay.rr. com or (352) 688-6720.
 
Greeters needed!  Welcome Home Honor Flight veterans - Sat. April 23 – Orlando Int’l Airport –After a day spent in Washington DC, veterans of WWII, Korean War, and the Vietnam War return home thru Orlando Int’l Airport.  The nation-wide organization has three local hubs that take veterans on a single day trips 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.  THIS group with 25 veterans, plus their guardians and staff will return at about 9:50pm and enter the terminal area at about 10:15 – 10:30pm. “Welcome Home” receptions at the airports make a difference!  Bring your flags, banners and signs!
Southwest Airlines # 2238 from Baltimore-Washington (BWI) at 9:50pm arrival, Terminal A, Airside 2 (hotel area in front of Starbucks.) *Before leaving home, 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 at 7870 N Frontage Rd, Orlando, 32812 – They have been very generous to Honor Flights with free parking and shuttles to the airport (Tips are welcomed by drivers!)   Just tell the FastPark and Relax attendant upon entering AND exiting the property that you are there for the Honor Flight veterans.  Your parking fee will be waived.  And you will certainly remember them when you need to park for your next trip, won't you!
New:  Vouchers are 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/card upon entering the airport garage.  The vouchers will not work if you use the SunPass transponders – we cannot credit the charge back.
For the Early Birds - you can wave these veterans off in the morning no later than 5am – same Terminal location.  FastPark and Relax parking available.  The Honor Flight group processes thru Security early and quickly.  Wave them off for a wonderful day!
The next Honor Flights at OIA are on Sat. May 14 with 25 veterans, plus their guardians and staff; Wed. May 18 with 35 veterans, plus their guardians and staff. More flights are scheduled.  Contact Cathy Haynes for those details -  chaynes11629@ yahoo .com   407-239-8468.
 
Osceola County Veterans Council – Mon. April 25 – Gathering of various organizations to share information at 7pm, at American Legion Post 10, 200 Lakeshore Blvd, Kissimmee, 34741.  The next month meeting will be on Tues. May 31 at V.F.W. Post 3227, 915 New York Ave, St Cloud, 34769 (location alternates monthly.)  Info:  TJ Palmer at tpalmer44@ cfl.rr. com  407.552.7124. 
 
Central Florida Veterans Inc. mtg – Tues. April 26 – 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
 
Vietnam War Day and Black April Commemoration – Sat. April 30 – The Vietnamese-American citizens of Central Florida invite all to commemorate the service of the warriors – the Americans and Vietnamese – in their former country.  The also remember this date Black April – the date remembering of the fall of Saigon.  Local, state and national Proclamations of service appreciation will be read, along with music and wreath laying.  9am – 10:30am at the Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park, 2380 Lake Baldwin Lane, Orlando, 32814 at the Vietnamese American Memorial statue.  This site is adjacent to the Lake Baldwin VA clinic.  Free and refreshments provided.  Info:  vn3kt@ yahoo.com  407-489-2936.
 
Veteran Appreciation “Welcome Home” and Job Fair – Sat. April 30 – Lake Baldwin VA site at 5201 Raymond St., Orlando, 32803 (the ‘Old’ VA Clinic site) from 10am to 3pm (weather permitting).  Also included are services for homeless veterans, free LYNX bus transportation available.  Many services, Children can enjoy sno-cones, bounce house, cotton candy, popcorn and fun!  Info for Welcome Home: nestor.rodriguez@ va. gov  Info for Job Fair:  ellamay.artis@ va .gov
 
The Invictus Games - May 8-12 – Orlando and Central Florida will be in a spotlight for this 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, actively serving or ex-military athletes from 15 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.
 
Armed Forces Week – May 14 -21   Please consider recognizing our active duty military personnel at our workplaces, churches, etc. 
 
Brews for Barks – Sat. May 14 – Event to promote K9’s for Warriors.  Orlando Brewing, 1301 Atlanta Ave., Orlando, 32806.  1pm – 6pm.  For a minimum $5 donation to K9’s for Warriors Orlando Brewing is offering $1 off all of their beer; the more you donate the more perks you get (details to follow). There will also be entertainment throughout the day and a local food truck set up in the parking lot. 
 
Military Order of the Purple Heart mtg – Wed. May 18 – Local Chapter 400 is offering to pay the Life Time membership for new members!  Meetings are currently scheduled for the third Wednesday of every other month with the next meeting being on May 18 at 7 PM at the Orlando Elks Lodge, 12 N. Primrose Dr., Orlando, 32803.  Activities include parade participations, and currently working on getting out the JROTC Purple Heart Awards for the local high schools and college ROTC units. It’s always nice for a member to personally present the Award Certificate, Medal and Ribbon at the school awards ceremony. Info:  Marcus at mmichles@ att. net   407-382-9737
 
Aloha Tennis Fundraiser - Sunday, May 15 - Tennis Thanks the Troops sponsors this fundraiser with Proceeds will go directly to the ThanksUSA organization, a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization. ThanksUSA provides need-based college, technical and vocational school scholarships for the children and spouses of U.S. military personnel. Since 2006, nearly 3,700 scholarships have been awarded totaling more than $11 million.  Activities will include a tennis round robin, silent auction fundraiser, and Hawaiian luau at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, One Grand Cypress Blvd., Orlando, 32836. Corporate/organization sponsorships available; donated items, gift certificates, or donation checks payable to ThanksUSA.  Info:  Tweet Coleman, Event Coordinator – tweetcoleman@ gmail. com; or Mike Dombrowski, Event Promoter – michaeladombrowski@ gmail. com
 
Memorial Day/weekend - Send me your organizations’ Memorial Day/weekend plans so that they can be shared with others.  Perhaps your organization can join with others to share the work and gather a larger audience.  And perhaps times can be better staggered to allow more people to attend more ceremonies.  chaynes11629 @yahoo .com
 
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
·         Thurs. June 9. This is the tentative date for the Ribbon Cutting of our USO Welcome Center at the Orlando International Airport! 5:30 PM (Thank you for the info, Tweet Coleman!)
·         Sat. June 18 -  241th Army Birthday Ball at the Rosen Centre Hotel.  Hosted by AUSA Sunshine Chapter.  Sponsors welcomed – contact  delloyd.voorhees@ gdit. com
·         Oct 1 – Cent. FL Marine Corps Foundation Physical Fitness Challenge (PFT) – Crunches, Pull-ups, & 3 mile ran, Oh my!  Who’s up for the challenge?  Info: sean.c.osmond@ gmail. com
·         Oct. 12-16 – Recruit Training Command (RTC) Orlando reunion for all Navy recruits, staff and interested persons are invited.  More than 652,000 former Orlando Navy boot camp attendees from 1968 to 1994!
 
For Your Information…
Traveling abroad to visit your service member?  Passport Week - from April 18 - 23 - Orange County Courthouse, Passport Division is making getting a passport more convenient during this special time for anyone, regardless of which county a person lives in.  The office will stay open an extra hour and a half until 5:30 pm to allow customers to apply for a passport without having to take time off of work or school. In addition, passport services will be available at our Winter Park and Apopka branch locations on Saturday, April 23rd, from 10am to 2pm. Remember that proof of citizenship and proof of identity is required to apply for a passport. The United States Department of State no longer accepts Puerto Rican birth certificates issued prior to July 1, 2010, as primary proof of citizenship.  Passports now required for traveling to Canada, Bermuda and the Caribbean (that is, IF you want to come back into the United States!) Regular processing time takes 4-6 weeks; $60 MORE for expedited processing.  (Save those extra monies to donate to a veteran/military charity!!!)  For information on the passport application process, please visit www. myorangeclerk .com.  Orange County Courthouse: 425 North Orange Avenue, Room 355; Apopka branch: 1111 North Rock Springs Road; Winter Park branch: 450 North Lakemont Avenue.   The Goldenrod and Ocoee branches will process passports only on their regular hours.
 
Unique PTS Therapy – Warriors, past and present with service in Iraq and Afghanistan, experiencing life altering Post Traumatic Stress may wish to inquire about a local clinical research program.  The UCF (Univ. of Central FL) RESTORES is still investigational but over three years of results reported by warriors are VERY encouraging. Two separate therapy programs are available at NO COST use sights, sounds and smells to reduce fear and anxiety. One program lasts 17 weeks, and the other is an intense, shorter termed one. Both instruct you to deal with and manage your anger, depression, and re-adjustment after deployment. Contact the Program Coordinator Dr. Sandra Neer at 407.823.1668 for a confidential telephone interview.
 
Lake Nona VA Domiciliary – Residents undergoing various medical and counseling issues need bicycles, bicycle repair equipment, inner tubes, bicycle pumps and tools.  Also needed are craft supplies, games and sports equipment.  Idle hands need/want to be occupied in constructive ways!  Contact:  Jenny Danieli at 407-631-7110  jenny.danieli @va. gov
 
Veterans should remain on high alert for IRS impersonators.  As the tax-filing deadline approaches, veterans should be aware of people contacting them who claim to be from the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury. These IRS tax impersonators have been using phone calls and emails to take millions of dollars from taxpayers in every state in the country. The callers tell intended victims they owe taxes and must pay using a pre-paid debit card, money order or a wire transfer. The scammers threaten those who refuse to pay with being charged for a criminal violation, a grand jury indictment, immediate arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver's license.  To prevent taxpayers from falling victim to these scams, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has expanded their outreach efforts to make sure people remain on high alert. (Thank you, Ed Burford, Seminole County Veterans Service Officer; VA Blog, January 26, 2016)
 
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
 
NOTE:  Middle aged former Marine is seeking a Security Mgr type job in Central FL – preferably Orlando area but will consider other.  Use to process security clearance via eQIP, JPAS, and EPSQ.  Had to move to FL and having a tough time finding new job; experiencing many life challenges (divorce, teenaged daughters, etc.)  If your business needs a good employee, send me an email and I will connect. chaynes11629@yahoo.com
 
Caring and sharing,
 
Cathy Haynes
Member/supporter of numerous veteran and military organizations in Central FL
407-239-8468
chaynes11629@ yahoo .com