The third annual Homestead Military Appreciation Day, a yearly event that unites military families with their civilian counterparts and celebrates their service to our country, delivered on its promise to exceed expectations.
During a special presentation at the June Homestead City Council meeting, Vice Mayor Stephen R. Shelley, who spearheads the event, recognized the concerted efforts of the planning committee and sponsors that helped make his vision a reality.
Among the organizations that participated in the planning of the event were the Military Affairs Committee, the Homestead/Florida City Chamber of Commerce, Homestead Main Street, the Homestead Air Reserve Base, the Homestead Police Department and City of Homestead staff. Among the sponsors honored were the South Dade News Leader, the Miami Herald, Value Place Lodge, Sports Authority, Rotary Club of Homestead, and Doug Hitchcock.
This year’s event attracted a wonderful mix of civilian and military personnel and their families by the thousands and featured brand new attractions that were big hits with the spectators. There was a scavenger hunt aimed at the younger demographic that had them running to and fro holding balloons of various colors, interacting with our men and women in uniform as well as other festival organizers. While they busily collected information for a chance at a prize, they became educated on the deep ties the military has with the community in which they live. There were more raffle drawings this year and an impressive Blackhawk helicopter flyover in addition to all the spectacular food, live entertainment, military vehicles and displays, and student art and essay exhibit.
“Since we started this event, I look forward to it every year,” said Event Chair, Vice Mayor Shelley. “The months of planning, the sacrifice and hard work required to execute an event with so many moving parts is never easy. I was fortunate enough to work alongside some very professional, committed people from all sorts of organizations that came together as a team and were able to execute this very special event with great precision and tonight I would like to show my appreciation for all they have done.”
Vice Mayor Shelley then called on all the members of his committee and the participating sponsors to receive their certificates of appreciation. Committee members were Rick Ammirato, Carlos Batista, Jeniffer Bravo, Rosa Brito, Begoñe Cazalis, Erik Fabregat, Anthony Gorman, David Hebert, Christopher Huss, Major Scott Kennedy, Yvonne Knowles, Dennis Maytan, Heather Palmateer, Pedro Reynaldos, Ron Mongole, Timothy Norton, Joshua Rhodes and Colonel Elwin A. Rozyskie, Jr. Among the sponsors were Miami Herald, Rotary Club of Homestead, South Dade News Leader, Sports Authority, Value Place, and Doug Hitchcock.