Annual picnic to support U.S. troops set June 25

By Gary Alan Ruse….
An annual picnic to help American military men and women overseas is in its fourth year of operation. Hosted by Thinking of You Services and Concerned Citizens, the picnic will take place on June 25, from noon to 4 p.m.

Freddie Ambrose, a Cutler Bay resident and community activist, has for years been committed to his project of sending packages to U.S. Troops to let them know people care.

“It got started when our not-for-profit organization, Thinking of You Services, realized that purchasing the goods and then mailing them to the troops was a very expensive undertaking,” Ambrose said. “We decided to sponsor a picnic and ask the public to donate items, then the organization took on the expense of packaging and mailing them overseas.”

The location for this year’s picnic will be the U.S. Coast Guard Station at 16001 SW 117 Ave. Entry is at the 117th Avenue gate by the traffic light between 152nd and 160th streets.

If you dial 001 at the gate, the Officer of the Day will answer and open it. You must RSVP to Ambrose at 786-252-2798.

There will be free food, raffles, and for entertainment two bands, “The Mosquito Heads” and “Seizurely,” have volunteered to play, with a pianist tentatively on the list as well. Sports also is on the agenda.

“We have been contacted by two baseball leagues who are interested in helping us out but we are still awaiting a firm commitment,” Ambrose said.

Admission to the picnic is free, but attendees are asked to bring care package items for the troops. Needed are coffee (l6 ounce bags), energy bars, Slim Jims, disposable razors and foot care items.

“We also need items to raffle and would love to have someone donate a bounce house for the kids to play in,” Ambrose said. “Let us know if you have a talent you’d like to share. Do you know someone in the armed forces overseas? Let us know, and we will send them a free care package.”

In addition to sending packages overseas, Thinking of You Services also sends cards for holidays and birthdays to improve the quality of life of our troops, their families, veterans, and other community members.

Ambrose and his wife, Sonia, began sending cards to those in the service in 2004 so no one would feel neglected at mail call. His efforts have grown and continued over the years.

For additional information call Ambrose at 786-252-2798 or visit the organization’s website at

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