Legacy of Valor honors
Busy schedules, family commitments and the demands of life in general can keep one from thinking about the service of military veterans that preserve the freedom that all Americans enjoy today.
There is one organization that has taken the lead to "rally our community to honor veterans, inspire patriotism, and pass freedom on." The Patterson Foundation, an organization that connects with partners to create "new realities," has launched a yearlong Legacy of Valor campaign that is designed to educate and focus our community to use time, talent and treasures to recognize military veterans and their families through a series of events that will culminate in April 2014.
With more than 30 partners on board in the four-county region -- Charlotte, Desoto, Manatee and Sarasota -- the Legacy of Valor campaign has the potential to reach more than 900,000 residents and visitors, including thousands of veterans -- 48,000 in Manatee County alone. In partnership with The Patterson Foundation, Goodwill Manasota and Suncoast Workforce are collaborating to host two jobs and services fairs to be held Sept. 7 and Feb. 7, 2014 at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. The jobs and services fairs will be open to military veterans and their families.
Participants will include Goodwill and Suncoast Workforce business partners who are hiring and organizations that offer veteran-centric services. Further, workshops providing employment tips and educational opportunities will be available.
The Legacy of Valor campaign is an extension of The Patterson Foundation's design and construction of Patriot Plaza at Sarasota National Cemetery. This is the first time a private philanthropy has partnered with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to build the Patriot Plaza amphitheater on 1.83 acres that will be used for patriotic-themed events.
It is anticipated that the dedication of Patriot Plaza will be held at the end of the Legacy of Valor campaign in the spring of 2014.
Mary Helen Kress, president and CEO of Suncoast Workforce, a not-for-profit corporation serving Manatee and Sarasota counties, writes about the region's employment and work-force issues.