Patriot Plaza volunteers show tremendous heart during dedication

Patriot Plaza volunteers show tremendous heart during dedication

Posted on July 29, 2014 by Alicia Chalmers

"Volunteers do not necessarily have the time, but they do have the heart." 

Everyone who volunteered during Patriot Plaza's Community Dedication on June 28 wore their heart on their sleeve as they contributed to make that day extra special for more than 2,000 attendees. This was a once-in-a-lifetime event and so many wanted to make an important impact by serving their community on this amazing day. Patriot Plaza is a unique and revered gift to our community to honor those who protect our freedom and their families who sacrifice at home.

For nearly two years, the team at The Patterson Foundation has been driven by the tenets of the Legacy of Valor campaign, which include honoring veterans and their families, inspiring patriotism, and embracing freedom. These tenets transcended from words to actions by more than 100 community-driven partnerships as Patriot Plaza was being constructed.

When it came to recruiting volunteers for Patriot Plaza's dedication, more than 100 individuals stepped up to participate. This was a two-day commitment as we had volunteer orientation and rehearsal the day before outside in the Florida summer heat. Again, they participated with heart and commitment.

Volunteers of All Ages

We began to identify potential volunteers by first starting with our Legacy of Valor partners and organizations, which already embody the spirit of this initiative. Freedom became front and center when word spread that we needed volunteers, and we received an outpouring of calls and emails from those who wanted to do more than attend on that day.

Our volunteers ranged in age from youth poets from Fruitville Elementary and our loyal and committed Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts to our Venice Concert Band performers, many of whom are age 80+ and everyone in between. They all came out to serve and work side by side on that special day.

Art Docents trained for weeks prior to the dedication ceremony and learned all about the importance and significance of the substantial and meaningful art at Patriot Plaza. Our military service and massing of the colors representatives had to wear their respective branch of service uniforms. (For some, that meant watching their diet a couple weeks prior so they could squeeze into their uniforms!)

The flag carriers who represented Legacy of Valor partnerships learned a choreographed routine through rehearsals with our fantastic producer, directors, and house managers. The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, along with their wonderful parents, helped with handing out water, which included keeping the coolers stocked with cold water and ice. They hauled the ice and water with a smile every time.

Our parking team at the churches arrived early in the morning to greet those arriving to catch the shuttle buses. Our volunteer bus ambassadors also had the task of standing backward on a bus and sharing information about Patriot Plaza and The Patterson Foundation.

Ushers and greeters helped as well as volunteers for onsite parking and media greeting. Our motorcyclists wore jeans and leather just to be a part of something special. Our volunteers in the Legacy Zone assisted those organizations that serve veterans. Once the ceremony began, The Jacobites, Venice Concert Band, and spoken-word poets shared their gifts and talents for the community in sentimental ways.

There were so many people behind the scenes who assisted and ensured things were running smoothly. So many volunteers went above and beyond and  helped others when needed. We are so extremely grateful for that.

The day would not have been possible without each and every volunteer who offered themselves willingly and enthusiastically by arriving ready to help with a smile and their huge hearts. The spirit of volunteering also transcends the physical structure as the beauty of Patriot Plaza and those who volunteered will live on for generations to come.


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