Editor's Note: Mike Mansfield is the executive director of the Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity. Habitat affiliates in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties have partnered to provide home repairs and build homes for veterans through the Legacy of Valor campaign.
It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining brightly and there was a gentle breeze in the air. We were off to our first Veteran Home Repair dedication ceremony and the car was full of excitement.
As we rounded the corner, Leonard’s home was easy to spot. We were impressed with how great it looked -- clean white paint with a striking shade of blue trim. Leonard must be so proud!
Pastor Rich Webb of Faithlife Church in Port Charlotte opened our ceremony with a scripture reading, prayer and led the group in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Leonard, our veteran homeowner, was beaming with gratitude as he was introduced by Jan Nick with Charlotte County Habitat.
Ryan Simonson, a Legacy of Valor fulfillment coordinator from The Patterson Foundation, greeted the crowd and shared about the Legacy of Valor campaign honoring veterans and their families throughout Southwest Florida.
As it was my turn to make remarks, I thanked everyone for attending the ceremony and explained that Leonard was one of 10 veterans we were able to help this year though our Veteran Home Repair Program.
Charlotte County Commissioner Stephen R. Deutsch was in attendance and on behalf of Charlotte County congratulated Leonard.
The ceremony continued with a presentation of gifts from other community organizations. The American Red Cross was represented by three Armed Forces caseworkers who gave Leonard a first aid kit with hopes he would never have to use it -- but just in case. Leonard also received a resale store gift certificate from Charlotte County Habitat as well as a basket of cleaning supplies from Proctor & Gamble and a prayer blanket from a local church.
As a final gift, Larry Hurley from the Sons of the American Revolution, dressed in full Revolutionary uniform, presented Leonard with an American Flag and holder to be hung proudly from his newly renovated home.
Leonard shared his sincere thanks and appreciation to Charlotte County Habitat, The Patterson Foundation and Legacy of Valor, as well as the supervisor and volunteers who worked on his home.
After closing the ceremony by singing "God Bless America," everyone gathered for cookies. How blessed we all were to take part in such a simple act of kindness to say ‘thank you’ to someone who gave so much for our country.
Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.
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