Inaugural Veterans Appreciation Event

BY MARCY PALMERI, Staff Writer

CLEARWATER — The room was filled with veterans that spanned generations and all walks of life as the Clearwater Neighborhood Housing Services (CNHS) celebrated its Inaugural Veterans Appreciation Event Fri., Nov. 14.

The ceremonious dinner was held at the North Greenwood Recreation & Aquatic Center at 900 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Clearwater.

Isay M. Gulley, president and chief executive officer of the housing service was instrumental in coordinating the gala affair, with the help of the event committee and numerous volunteers.

The blue and white gym accented with sprays of red roses along with striped statesmanlike table scheme was the appropriate décor to set off the patriotic festivities.

The military’s musical roll call commenced as each of the U.S. Armed Forces rose to recognition upon hearing the harmonious anthem associated with their branch. As the music played, cheers filled the room, as did emotion and a sense of pride and accomplishment not only for those who served but also for Americans as a whole.

All five branches of the military were represented and accounted for: U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army.

Following the red carpet leading into the ceremony set the tone for the night. Pearl Johnson, first vice chairman, read letters of expression and appreciation by various dignitaries who had outlined their gratitude for the dedication of the veterans.

Robert Landis, chairman of the NCHS Board, identified many officials and declared his thanks to an eager audience.

The city honor guards who presented colors for the event were dressed to impress and stepped in sync with great pride and accuracy, followed by the CNHS board members honoring volunteers.

Later in the ceremony, Patty Campbell of CNHS, recited a letter that was written to the veterans by President Barack Obama on Oct.15.

The letter thanked the brave men and women who have protected our freedom and preserved our way of life with unwavering devotion and courage for more than two centuries. The president said our service members remind us of the true meaning of patriotism.

Bill Horne, Clearwater’s City Manager spoke of his successes as it directly pertains to those who have served, of a legacy of experience paving the way for us to travel in new freedoms and how important it is for Americans to live up to their dreams.

Teresa Conte, secretary of the Board of Directors for CNHS, revealed that the board invested a large amount of money into the community with the intent to execute a change and they will continue to assist the public with their plans to expand services and resources within their community.

The hosts ended the evening by encouraging the crowd to spend time networking with each other.

Before closing Conte said, “Our goal is to honor the veterans through different programs that will empower them to be productive and successful in our community and to display our appreciation.”

Partner/sponsor: Kevin Downes, Third Federal Savings & Loan and Teresa Conte.

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