Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Military Family Appreciation Day

Military families to share their burdens

After her son, John, visited the family at Christmas, Donna McPherson said goodbye relieved to know he was heading to Arizona, not Iraq.

"He might be deployed to Iraq in the future, but right now, he's still studying the A-10 aircraft at the Air Force base in Tucson, thank goodness,'' she said.

An old friend is not so lucky.

"My girlfriend in Ohio told me her son was redeployed to Iraq last week, and that's incredibly hard,'' McPherson said. "I just wonder: Does America realize how hard these second deployments are?''

The Largo mother hopes she finds answers, or at least some solace Saturday at the Military Family Appreciation Day in Central Park.

"There needs to be a whole bunch of people coming out. We all need to keep showing support.''

For a second year, the program is being coordinated by the city of Largo, Veterans of Foreign War Post 10094, the post's Women's Auxiliary and the Disabled Americans Veterans Clearwater Chapter 11. It will be a chance for families to enjoy the park while receiving valuable information.

The day begins with a kickoff by Mayor Pat Gerard followed by a posting of the colors. Raymond Dempsey, national commander of the Disabled American Veterans, will make the keynote address.

A tent will be set up dubbed "Vet2Vet.'' Organizations offering information include Department of Veterans Affairs, WorkNet Pinellas, Tampa Area Marine Parents Association, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Silver Star Families of America.

"Many people don't realize some of the benefits that are available to both the families as well as to vets themselves,'' said James Orndoff, commander of VFW Post 10094. "I remember when I learned how to file for funeral benefits since I'm a Navy veteran. People just don't know, or don't know who to ask about something like that, and Saturday will give them a chance to sign up for veterans' funeral care,'' he said.

Scott Hood, the DAV chapter commander, stresses the need for those coming back from Iraq to transfer their work experience in the military to a civilian job. "For example, if they worked as a tank driver, how does that career translate? There will be groups on hand who can help members of the military pursue what they need,'' he said.

As for McPherson, she's hoping to visit with other parents of those serving in the current war.

"When you think about the strength parents need to have while a loved one is serving," she said, "the best thing we can do is network with each other to help encourage that.''

If you go

Military Family Appreciation Day

When: 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive, Largo

Admission: The event, free for both active military and veterans, as well as their families, is open to the public. Donations will be encouraged. Proceeds will be applied toward next year's gathering.

Entertainment: At 11:30 a.m., Steve Roberti, a Largo-based Elvis impersonator who won the Spirit of Elvis Award in Memphis last month, will perform, followed by Annointed Voices, a gospel choir.

For the kids: Along with interactive games and inflatables, the Largo Central Railroad train will be running and a rock climbing wall will be set up.

Military families to share their burdens 09/23/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 8:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Quiet college dropout turned bomber: Who was Salman Abedi?

    World

    LONDON — He was quiet and withdrawn, a college dropout who liked soccer — and, some say, showed alarming signs of being radicalized years before he walked into a pop concert at Britain's Manchester Arena and detonated a powerful bomb, killing himself and 22 others.

    Salman Abedi was identified by British authorities as the man behind Monday’s attack.
  2. Soldiers launch attacks in besieged Philippine city

    World

    MARAWI, Philippines — Backed by tanks and rocket-firing helicopters, Philippine troops launched "precision attacks" Thursday to clear extremists linked to the Islamic State group from a city that has been under siege since a raid that failed to capture one of Asia's most-wanted militants.

    Soldiers fire at enemy positions Thursday while trying to clear the city of Marawi, Philippines, of armed militants.
  3. Back to .500, Rays feel ready to roll (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Who wants to be mediocre? Middling? Average? Run-of-the-mill?

    Rays catcher Jesus Sucre tags out the Angels’ Mike Trout trying to score from second base after a perfect peg from rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. in the first inning.
  4. Seminole man accused of fracturing 8-month-old baby's leg

    Crime

    Deputies arrested a Seminole man Thursday after he fractured an 8-month-old baby's bones, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

    Gary G. Gibeault of Seminole was arrested on a charge of aggravated child abuse.
  5. St. Petersburg's ballooning sewage debt could threaten credit rating (but there's a Hail Mary plan to avoid that)

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The city needs a lot of money — $435 million over the next five years — most of it to fix its leaky sewer pipes and aging sewer plants.

    In September 2016, signs at St. Petersburg’s North Shore Park warned people to stay out of the water due to contamination from sewage released by the city’s overwhelmed sewer system. The City Council on Thursday learned that the very expensive fix for its sewage woes could hamper the city’s credit rating. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]