With Independence Day and the MLB All Star Game this year in Miami, July 8 tied into well for the Armed Forces Service Center’s celebration of the grand opening of its All Star Military Hospitality Lounge at Miami International Airport. Major League Baseball generously funded the upgrades for this lounge. Former Marlins players Jeff Conine and Cliff Floyd as well as Billy the Marlin were among the dignitaries who helped dedicate the newly renovated center and were welcomed by Angel Rodriguez, Executive Director of the military hospitality lounge . Staffed by more than 42 volunteers, the center has served, in 2016 alone, more than 14,000 active and retired, dependents, veterans and foreign military personnel. Beautiful recliners each with a logo from a different baseball team now adorn the lounge where traveling military visitors are able to relax, refresh and enjoy refreshments waiting for their flights. Among the many volunteering weekly are two local Coral Gables Rotarians George Reeves and Yolanda Woodbridge, both of whom consider volunteering there an enormous privilege and honor.
Speaking of Rotarians, South Miami Rotary Club President Felipe Vidal and his club are always busy with outreach efforts and continue to provide interesting speakers for the lunch meetings. Coming up next will be Jamie Perez Sutta, founder and Artistic Director of the Children’s Voice Chorus, who will address the club at their July 25thmeeting at the American Legion in South Miami. Jamie Sutta is an inspiration and will share her story since establishing her 501 ( c ) 3 non profit in 2011. The Children’s Voice Chorus has become a great resource for choral education in our community. If your child loves to sing, visit www.childrensvoicechorus.org. Singing, much like dance and other performing arts, has a way to instilling confidence in young people like nothing else. Jamie is to be commended for her dedication and changing the lives of her students.
Visiting Rotarians are welcomed to attend this club. Lunch is $25. By the way, Rotarians visiting the Thursday meetings of the Coral Gables Rotary Club should check that club’s new schedule as they have moved to the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables and will meet as usual on Thursday but once a month they will have an after hours instead of lunch, all at the Hyatt.
Both of those clubs as well as several others such as the Coral Gables Woman’s Club’s Children’s Dental Clinic, Coco Plum Woman’s Club, A Safe Haven for Newborns, Coral Gables Rotary for Veterans Programs, NPH USA, Miami Christian School, and Women’s Voice Network are selling tickets for the July 26 Scoops of Hope breakfast at the Hotel Colonnade. They will be selling tickets as a fundraiser with half of the proceeds going to their outreach efforts and the other half of the $10 ticket price directed to Give Kids the World. Even if you cannot attend, buy a ticket and get a chance to win a prize.
Finally, in other veteran related news, the Coconut Grove Rotary Club welcomed Mercy Iglesias and Military Veteran Roy Hellman , Executive Director of Honor Flight South Florida, to speak at their July 6th lunch. This non profit all volunteer organization, HONOR FLIGHT, was conceived by Earl Morse, a physician assistant and retired Air Force Captain. The first flight, in 2005, consisted of six small planes flying out of Springfield, Ohio, taking only (12) World War II veterans on a visit to Washington DC to see their memorial. As word of Honor Flight got out, the list of veterans grew and Honor Flight transitioned from a few small planes to commercial airline flights and has since flown more than 100,000 veterans to Washington DC from cities all over the country. The volunteers and guardians pay their own way, and 100% of all donations go toward honoring the veterans. Truly an amazingly dedicated group giving back to those who have protected our freedom and certainly a great program to present on the week of Independence Day.
Until next time, keep making each day count.