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Posted November 7, 2019 | 10:54 AM

55th Hillsborough Veterans Tribute Includes Debut of New Fitness Stations at Veterans Memorial Park

Annual Veterans Day event combines ceremony and Operation: REVEILLE

Hillsborough County, Fla. (Nov. 7, 2019) - Hillsborough County Consumer & Veterans Services and the Veterans Council of Hillsborough County will host the 55th Annual Veterans Day Tribute on Monday, Nov. 11, at 10 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park and Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins, Jr. Veterans Museum, 3602 U.S. 301 N. in Tampa.

This year's event includes a special celebration: the formal debut of five fitness stations along the park's recreational trail. The new equipment, including an outdoor fitness bike and rowing machine, was funded by a $17,365 donation from the Clearwater-based Armed Forces Families Foundation. The fitness stations are along a section of the Tampa Bypass Canal Trail, which connects Veterans Memorial Park and Bypass Canal Park.

And while park visitors gather for the celebration, the nearby Veterans Resource Center will serve as headquarters for Operation: REVEILLE, a partnership spearheaded by the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative (THHI) to place veterans experiencing homelessness into ready-to-move-in apartments.

Here are the details:

55th Annual Veterans Day Tribute - 10 a.m.
For the third consecutive year, the Veterans Day National Committee of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has named Hillsborough County's Veterans Memorial Park and Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins, Jr. Veterans Museum to its list of official Regional Veterans Day Sites.

Monday's ceremony will honor active and former U.S. military service members from all branches and eras of service during a ceremony that will include patriotic music, guest speakers, and presentations. Admission and parking for the park and museum are free. Bleacher seating will be available; visitors are also welcome to bring lawn chairs.

In a salute to all branches and eras of military service, the 2019 Veterans Day Tribute program includes:

  • Keynote speaker Col. Stephen Snelson, Commander, 6th Air Refueling Wing, MacDill Air Force Base
  • JROTC color guard, drill performance, and tributes from local high schools
  • Rifle salute and taps
  • Veterans Council Awards
  • Light refreshments and social hour

For more information about the 55th Annual Veterans Day Tribute or Veterans Memorial Park, visit HCFLGov.net, or call (813) 635-8316.

2019 Operation: REVEILLE - 8 a.m. to approximately 2 p.m.
Throughout the year, the Tampa/Hillsborough Continuum of Care works to find homes for veterans experiencing homelessness. On Veterans Day, Operation: REVEILLE aims to present 25 veterans with keys to apartments that include furnishings and household goods.

The Tampa/Hillsborough County Continuum of Care is led by the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative (THHI) and is comprised of Hillsborough County, the City of Tampa, and many other public agencies, faith-based organizations, housing partners, and nonprofit agencies. On Monday, they'll come together at the Veterans Resource Center, on the grounds of Veterans Memorial Park, to work with the veterans who have been selected to participate in this year's Operation: REVEILLE.

The day begins with breakfast and one-on-one case management counseling with the selected veterans, who will be brought to the park by the County's Sunshine Line transportation service. Participants will attend a workshop to learn how to transition successfully into permanent housing, and meet with community providers - including Veterans Service Officers - to determine eligibility for other programs and benefits. The afternoon concludes with matching the veterans with housing choices; some participants will be able to go from the park straight to their new homes.

THHI's February 2019 Point-In-Time Count identified 149 veterans who were either living on the streets, or in temporary shelters in Hillsborough County. Since Operation: REVEILLE began in 2014, THHI reports that 638 veterans have been placed in permanent, supportive housing during the event on Veterans Day or within the three months following.

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