More than 200 attend picnic supporting American troops

The fifth annual Thinking of You Services picnic took place on Saturday, July 7, and was considered a success by event organizers, Freddie and Sonia Ambrose. More than 200 people attended.

Hosted at the U.S. Coast Guard Station, 16001 SW 117 Ave., with the goal of showing support for American troops overseas by gathering needed items for care packages to send those in the service, the event drew a crowd that enjoyed the favorable weather and festivities.

The event featured a variety of Latin, Caribbean and American music by deejay Luis Fundora and Level 5 Entertainment. A Blue Grass band provided a short interlude. In keeping with the Latin theme, guests feasted on rice, black beans, chicken, Arroz Imperial, hamburgers, hot dogs and a variety of desserts, all of which were free.

“We are truly indebted to our sponsors CarePlus and Humana Health Plans, InSource Insurance, Cutler Auto Repair, Pollo Tropical, Golden Rule Seafood, Costco, Community Bank of Florida, Country Inn and Suites, and Playville Party Rentals for their contributions to the success of this event,” said Freddie Ambrose, a Vietnam veteran who knows how much it means to let service men and women know they are remembered.

Guests had been asked to bring small personal care and non-perishable food items to donate for the annual project.

Attending for the first time was Karen Nercess from All Star Event Photography, who said, “My compliments to you for organizing a wonderful event and not to mention a wonderful cause. I was overwhelmed by all the love and support. I saw a lot of familiar faces. It’s good to know we are helping each other.”

Youngsters enjoyed a watermelon-eating contest and bounce houses. All ages tried their hands at Miami Disc Golf while the seniors enjoyed bingo provided by CarePlus. The couples dance contest was a crowd favorite.

“The day was spectacular,” said Corey Gold, Homestead Hospital vice president. “It was a great way to bring the community together to support the military. The food, activities and camaraderie were great.” Ambrose gave special thanks to Miami- Dade Commissioner Lynda Bell for taking time from her busy schedule to attend. He also appreciated and thanked U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s office for sending representatives.

“Guests, thank you for all the care package items you donated,” Ambrose said. “We have already mailed out 26 packages to our service men and women so far and are waiting for more confirmed addresses. To all our volunteers, a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for all your help. We could not have done it without you. Let’s do it again next year.”

For additional information, call Ambrose at 786-252-2798 or visit the website at

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