Offices in The Villages and the surrounding counties will be closed today, in honor of our Veterans. Though they have already served in the military, many veterans who live in The Villages are still serving their community by providing a variety of services and raising funds for groups in need. At the same time, these groups honor their fellow warriors and enjoy the camaraderie of their peers. Area residents and business, alike, show up and support these veterans in their efforts.
For example, the Phillip C. DeLong Detachment of the Marine Corps has raised funds through their pancake breakfasts, and has donated thousands of dollars to the Toys for Tots program that helps disadvantaged children at Christmas.
Another veterans’ program in The Villages is the Adopt-a-Kid, Adopt-a-Vet program. Local veterans are matched with elementary school students. The veterans visit schools and share their experiences with their student matches.
Perhaps one of the most popular activates by the veterans’ groups are sports fundraisers. Fitting in with the active lifestyle prevalent throughout The Villages, veterans’ groups host events from softball to golf.
Just recently, The Villages saw the Fifth Annual Military Veterans Softball Tournament, a four-field affair with a pre-game ceremony honoring those who have been in the military and those who are still serving.
Right now, The Villages is preparing for a November 15th golf tournament will serve as a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Program. The mission of the wounded Warrior Program is to enhance quality of life for US Service Members and their families who have been adversely affected by injuries or death in the line of duty. In conjunction with the tournament, a parade and honor ceremony will be held at Lake Sumter Landing.
Another group aiding wounded veterans is the Lake Chapter of the Military Officers Association in The Villages. For the second consecutive year, the chapter has garnered the national organization’s “four-star” banner for their work with Operation Helping Hand. The program works with active-duty wounded and injured from Iraq and Afghanistan who are being treated at James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa.
No matter which veterans’ group is holding an event or raising funds, support is effusive throughout The Villages. Participation ranges from corporate sponsorship and loans of equipment to just showing up. From the American Legion to the VFW, the Army Nurse Corps and active military, every veteran can find a fraternal home in The Villages, and a legion of Villagers, military and civilian alike, will be there for support.