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DeLouis on mission to salute vets

Community activist DeLouis Simmons, known as the founder of The Lavern Wright AIDS Corp and as a woman who gives bicycles to children to encourage them to read, is on a new quest.

She is planning a salute to veterans of all wars and to commemorate the D-Day Invasion of June 6, 1944.

The event is set from noon to 4 p.m. June 5 at the Bradenton Central Library, 1301 Barcarrota Blvd., W.

This event is for veterans and their families only. Everything is free, she said.

The only thing she asks is that anyone planning to attend confirm with her at 447-8069 for head-count purposes.

She said she feels compelled to do this, considering the magnitude of the sacrifice of veterans, who leave their families behind and risk life and limb.

“I never start anything I don’t finish,” she said. “I am kind of hyper about it.”

She is calling it a “Celebration of Life,” and adds there will be a surprise birthday party for one special vet.

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Coming up at Lakewood Ranch: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast announce it will host the first Big Blast Outdoor Recreation Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 17 at Lakewood Ranch Park, near the high school. Admission is free, but parking costs $5 per car. The proceeds will benefit the one-to-one mentoring programs of Manatee County.

Activities include miniature golf, health and safety seminars, agricultural activities, high school jazz bands, food, games and inflatables and aviation displays.

Also planned: Village of the Arts artists and tethered hot air balloon rides from ReMax Alliance Group — weather permitting.

For more information, contact Stephanie Glaser at (941) 488-4009.

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In school news, Out-of-Door Academy broke ground for its fitness center Thursday at the Lakewood Ranch campus. It will provide cardiovascular, strength and conditioning equipment when it is completed this fall.

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Congratulations to our friend Vin Mannix and his bride Sherri who got married Saturday in Palmetto. For Vin, it makes the end of 60 great years of bachelorhood. As Vin often says in his Vin’s People column of the significant personal events he reports, “His family is amused.”

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee Editor, can be contacted at 745-7021.