TAMPA, FL — This year, Hillsborough County’s traditional salute to veterans will also launch an initiative to make a difference in the lives of more than two dozen veterans by finding them a permanent place to call home.
Hillsborough County Consumer & Veterans Services and the Veterans Council of Hillsborough County will host the 54th Annual Veterans Day Tribute on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 10 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park and Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins, Jr. Veterans Museum, 3602 U.S. 301 N. in Tampa
In addition, multiple agencies will come together at the Veterans Resource Center at the park for Operation Reveille, a partnership spearheaded by the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative to place more than two dozen homeless veterans into ready-to-move-into apartments before the sun sets on the day.
The Veterans Day ceremony will honor active and former U.S. military service members from all branches of service during with patriotic music, guest speakers and presentations.
Admission and parking for the park and museum are free. Bleacher seating will be available; visitors are also welcome to bring lawn chairs.
For the second year in a row, the Veterans Day National Committee of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has named Hillsborough County’s Veterans Memorial Park and Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins Jr. Veterans Museum to its official list of Regional Veterans Day Sites
Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, the 2018 Veterans Day tribute program will include:
Guest speaker Col. Edward "Eddie" P. Phillips, Commander, 6th Mission Support Group, MacDill Air Force BaseJROTC color guard, drill performances and tributes from local high schoolsRifle salute and tapsVeterans Council AwardsLight refreshments and social hour
For a select group of veterans, the Veterans Day celebration will be especially memorable. The Tampa/Hillsborough Continuum of Care will help 25 homeless veterans move into their own apartments as part of a program called Operation Reveille. Not only will the veterans receive the keys to new homes but will be provided furnishings and household goods.
The Tampa/Hillsborough County Continuum of Care is led by the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative and is comprised of Hillsborough County, the city of Tampa, other public agencies, faith-based organizations, housing partners and nonprofit agencies.
The day will begin with breakfast and one-on-one case management counseling with the selected veterans, who will be brought to the park by the county’s Sunshine Line transportation service.
Following the Veterans Day tribute ceremony, Operation Reveille participants will attend a workshop to learn how to transition successfully into permanent housing and meet with Veterans Service officers to access other programs and benefits.
The afternoon concludes with matching the veterans with housing choices; some participants will be able to go from the park straight to their new homes.
THHI’s February 2018 Point-In-Time Count identified 171 veterans who were either living on the streets or in temporary shelters in Hillsborough County. Since Operation Reveille began in 2014, THHI reports that 539 veterans have been placed in permanent housing.
Image via Operation Reveille