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Veterans Memorial Park
Fifth Annual Ceremony
Veterans Memorial Ceremony this Saturday
By CHARLES A. BAKER III
Staff Writer WINTER HAVEN – The Fifth Annual Veterans Memorial Ceremony, organized by the American Ideals Foundation, will be held in Veteran’s Memorial Park near city hall Saturday, Nov. 16.
The event starts at 9 a.m. with a veteran’s walk of honor.
The ceremony starts around 10 a.m. with honored guests and speakers.
Those with a loved one who is, or was, a veteran or first responder can request the name of their family member to be read during an honor roll call. If you cannot make it and would still like the name of your loved one honored, call 813-416-8456 or email American.Ideals@yahoo.com .
American Ideals Foundation staff and volunteers built Veteran’s Memorial Park, featuring monuments to the five branches of the military, flagpoles and plaques listing many heroes.
American Ideals Foundation is a non-profit organization specializing in humanitarian needs such as serving children, veterans, veteran families and the promotion of art in society.
PHOTO BY CHARLES A. BAKER III
Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) James Daniel Partin, 89, of Winter Haven was an honored guest at the ceremony in 2018. After 41 years in the U.S. Army, Partin taught ROTC at Winter Haven High School for more than two decades.
Veterans Memorial Park
The Hillsborough County nonprofit that helped build Winter Haven’s veterans memorial park late last year will dedicate it today in a special ceremony.
WINTER HAVEN — The Hillsborough County nonprofit that helped build Winter Haven’s veterans memorial park late last year will dedicate it Saturday in a special ceremony.
The American Ideals Foundation in Hillsborough and the Fallen Warriors Foundation of Polk County built the park in Winter Haven because of its central location in the county.
“We did a fallen heroes ceremony at Florida Southern College, a couple heard about it and wanted us to do one for their son,” said Robert Moffa, American Ideals Foundation founder and chief operating officer. “That’s when we realized there wasn’t a place to do a ceremony to give that special honor.“
The idea for the Winter Haven park came in 2012 and it opened in October.
“It took a bit longer than we expected, but this park cost less than anything we’ve ever done because so many people and businesses in the community wanted to help,” Moffa said.
There’s a special spot on Saturday’s itinerary to thank local businesses that not only donated materials, Moffa said, but also time and manpower to the project.
The dedication will include presentations by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, Winter Haven Police Chief Charlie Bird and Fire Chief Tony Jackson, and honorary presentations for women veterans and prisoners of war.
“The park is important to the community to remember and honor our veterans who have given their lives serving our country, as well as those who have served and didn’t give their lives,” Mayor Nat Birdsong said.
Eight children from families of veterans will present the flag, which Moffa said will be a very special part of the ceremony.
The American Ideals Foundation also helped Lake Alfred design its veterans memorial park, Moffa said. He started the nonprofit in the 1960s to honor people in the community for humanitarian purposes using the arts. Different branches of the nonprofit work to help veterans, children, businesses and other groups across the nation.
“Our goal is to eventually connect Winter Haven to Lake Alfred using the old railroad trail,” he said. “We’ll call it the veterans trail.”
The nonprofit’s ties to Polk County is not only members’ relatives who live here, Moffa said, but also the area’s large veteran population. The county has more than 71,000 military veterans ranging from World War II to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I saw two people walking past the park to the post office and they turned to salute,” Moffa said. “It gave me the chills.”
"........CONGRATULATION FOR RECOGNIZING OUR VETERANS THE A. I. FOUNDATION HAS BEEN AN EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR ME DURING MY COMMAND, KEEP UP THE POSITIVE EXCEPTIONAL WORK............"
"TO THE AMERICAN IDEALS FOUNDATION, THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING OUR ARMYAND I DEEPLY APPRECIATE ALL THAT YOU AND YOUR TEAM DO FOR OUR MILITARY."