EAST MANATEE -- Moved by the service of the United States military since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, residents of Rosedale Golf and Country Club felt they needed to do something to support those who have sacrificed so much.
Four years ago, Rosedale volunteers signed on with Homes for Our Troops, which builds mortgage-free, specially adapted homes nationwide for severely wounded veterans of the post-9/11 era.
To date, Rosedale volunteers have raised more than $60,000, contributing to building homes for wounded warriors in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Navarre.
This year's recipient is Army Capt. Robert Withers of Winter Garden. Withers was wounded on his third deployment to Afghanistan when he stepped on an anti-personnel mine, losing the bottom of his right leg, and the back of his left leg.
"Homes for Our Troops is committed to helping these service members rebuild their lives," said Deb Kehoe, one of the Rosedale volunteers leading the local fundraising effort.
The nonprofit was chosen after Kathi Skelton, also a Rosedale volunteer, contacted her active duty son and asked for recommendations on a charity benefiting veterans.
"He immediately recommended Homes for Our Troops," Skelton said.
Even though none of the homes have been built at Rosedale, the East Manatee volunteers have gotten to know each of the Florida recipients the past four years.
"Robert Withers went into the service after 9/11. He went not to get the bad guys, but to help the good guys," Kehoe said.
The Rosedale community has raised money for Homes for Our Troops primarily through an annual golf tournament, set for Jan. 30.
Although the tourney is sold out, the public is invited to the inaugural Military Appreciation Bash at the Rosedale Golf and Country Club, 5100 87th St. E., set for 5 p.m. Jan. 30.
Those who attend the bash will have an opportunity to meet Capt. Withers, and
hear a presentation by Major Gen. Timothy P. McHale, CEO and president of Homes for Our Troops.
The bash will include live music, a silent auction, dancing, ribs, chicken, barbecue, and craft beer. Admission is $35 and reservations are required at 941-753-6200. Donations will be accepted at the event for Homes for Our Troops.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter @jajones1.