We are so thankful for our veterans! As we prepare Christmas visits to VA hospitals around Florida, here’s a reminder of how The Salvation Army celebrated our vets on Veterans Day this year.
The Salvation Army of East Volusia & Flagler Counties was very active in several events throughout the two counties. We participated in events celebrating our Veterans in Flagler Town Park, Daytona State College, Edgewater Library as well as the Deland Veterans Day Parade. We are blessed to have the area’s only “Supportive Services for Veteran Families” (SSVF) Program whereby we are able to assist Veterans who are at risk of homelessness and to help those who are chronically homeless. During these events we were not only able to celebrate these brave men and women who deserve so much, we were also able to screen many for services. We received much praise, appreciation and thanks for the presence of The Salvation Army and the availability of the SSVF Program for Veterans.
Our canteen went out to an apartment complex with five UF Students serving hot dogs and drinks. We served approx. 130 men, women and children.
Lt. Matt Hedgren was invited on Sunday Night to be a part of The Veterans Association meeting in downtown Bushnell, FL(The location of our service center). This was an outdoor meeting in front of city hall and celebrated all the different branches of the military. He opened their meeting in prayer and thanked the veterans for their service. They had about a 12 piece band of guitars, drums, and singers and the program consisted of patriotic songs and readings and honored each specific veteran and their branch of service.
On Friday, November 7, 2014, The Salvation Army – Orlando Metropolitan Area Command was invited to participate in the 4th Annual Veterans Day Celebration. The event was held at the Ruby Ball Amphitheater in Winter Park, Florida and honored a slew of remarkable veterans including those from the Army, Navy and Air Force. On hand to feed and converse with the attendees was The Salvation Army of Orlando who served Krispy Kreme doughnuts from the Army’s state-of-the-art mobile feeding unit. Krispy Kreme donated over 20 dozen doughnuts to The Salvation Army to be served to all veterans.
In addition to several musical selections, the event also featured a motivational speech from Lieutenant Charles Nadd of the United States Army, a salute to all patriots, and the planting of the Veterans Memorial Oak Tree in front of the amphitheater. There to represent The Salvation Army of Orlando was Major Tim Williford along with volunteers Brian Smith, Bill Sweet and Susan Williams.
Pensacola Celebrated the veterans by giving free coffee and donuts which were made out the canteen from scratch. We did this on Friday at the building and we look forward to serving at next year at the Veterans Day Parade.
The Salvation Army in Tampa participated in a very large event called Operation Reveille. It was sponsored collaboratively by the City, County, Homeless Initiative, Public, Private, and Non-Profit organizations. The event was set up to house 50 homeless veterans within the one day process. The veterans came to the Port of Tampa, where a process was set up for them to complete necessary forms, be screened, and eventually end up with the key to a fully furnished apartment. The event was attended by the Mayor, County Administrator, County Commissioners, and many other dignitaries.
The Salvation Army was well represented with a Mobile Canteen, Shower Unit Truck from EDS, the ARC trucks delivering furniture to the apartments used to house veterans, and accepting the overflow of veterans who did not obtain housing during the event.
The soldiers of West Volusia corps marched on the city’s parade and gave away free donuts and coffee to all the public from the canteen. The corps was also nominated by the public and received the most votes in our coffee and donut/cookies give away as their most favorite charity. To God be the Glory!