And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land– God bless the U.S.A.!
Sung by Lee Greenwood
With that stirring song, the Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce (AMC) Breakfast Meeting, led by Chairman Gary Pyott of Association 1st, ended. But for the hour preceding, it was an emotional, patriotic tribute to the men and women who have chosen to put their country first. Doug Zaren, CEO of Memorial Hospital South, a retired Naval officer and AMC Board Member, hosts this annual meeting to recognize the military. “As a 20-year veteran, I am refreshed and encouraged when I see our young military here today as well as the ROTC cadets from Krop Sr. High under the leadership of Capt. Gallagher,” said Zaren. “On behalf of the Memorial Healthcare System’s 13,000 employees, 3,000 medical staff members and our six hospitals, including our crown jewel, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, it is my privilege to thank all the veterans and military members for their service to our country. Memorial Hospital South, an acute rehab and acute care hospital, will have 15% of our patients as veterans at any given time…from World War II, Korean War to the Iraqi War…….and we are proud to serve them.”
Keynote speaker was Rear Admiral Peter J. Brown, Commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District, U. S. Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security. “My Coast Guard district covers most of Florida, all of the Caribbean, South Carolina and Georgia to protect the U.S. interests there. We provide national security, homeland security and economic security. We protect the marine industry and maintain the waterways so vital to economic commerce, as we do with the Port of Miami and Port Everglades, the #1 and #2 largest cruise ship ports in the world. There are approximately 1,000 Coast Guard military members and family members and Reservists here in South Florida, with a total of 10,000 people in our entire district who work every day to ensure the security of our nation is in good hand, and I can assure you that it is!”
Peter Caspari, Florida Outreach Director for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), Dept. of Defense, and Rebecca Heinl, ESGR Broward County Chair, were instrumental in bringing Rear Admiral Brown to the AMC. “Together with Headquarters ESGR staff and a small cadre of support staff for each State Committee, volunteers work to promote and enhance employer support for military service in the Guard and Reserve.”
Aventura Police Chief Bryan Pegues said, “I want to personally thank each and every member of the military for their service to our great nation. It is not everyone that has the strength, courage and the honor to answer the call in protecting our American ideals.”
The community was also invited to join in the Sun. Feb. 24th 10th annual ANF Group Tour de Broward benefitting Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital at Miramar Regional Park. Events offered for adults, kids, physically challenged athletes and wounded warriors will include 100k & 50k rides, a 5k timed run and 3k walk. To register, visit TourdeBroward.com
For more information, visit mhs.net or call Memorial Hospital South at 954.966.4500