A Cornucopia of Veteran Organizations
By Kai Rambow
While most readers are still snoozing, a beautifully painted DAV (Disabled American Veterans) van is already picking up vets to take them to the VA hospital just north of the I-75/I-4 intersection. Sun City Center has many veterans – and many veteran organizations. We’re taking some time to share a little more about each organization.
Events Open to All
Four major events are open to everyone each year: a formal military ball, Veteran’s Day ceremonies, an informal dinner/dance, and Memorial Day ceremonies. All veterans’ organizations contribute and divide the lead responsibilities for these events between the MOWW, American Legion and MOAA.
In addition, the Silver Ospreys usually host interesting speakers from the military aviation community, and the public can attend these events.
DAV (Disabled American Veterans)
A nationwide organization founded in 1920, our DAV chapter provides two main services. One is to provide no cost transportation for ambulatory veterans who have medical appointments at the Tampa veteran’s hospital.
The volunteers who drive vets to the hospital may be back as early as 10:30 or as late as 1:30, depending on how many vets and appointments there are that day. At the VA itself, the van could be making as many as five different stops on the campus.
The second main service is helping veterans or their spouses/families with information on services and benefits they may be eligible for. This includes filing or assisting various VA forms and navigating the VA system. More than $33,000 a month in new and retroactive benefits has been secured for veterans here in the last two years alone.
The Interfaith Council is a big financial supporter of the chapter and volunteers, many vets themselves, fulfill the mission of the organization. This is a great organization that could always use more drivers. If you’re interested, please call Stu Swayze at (813) 642-0302.
This is the largest veterans’ organization in the country, founded in 1919. A patriotic organization set up for veterans to help fellow veterans, they are also involved with youth programs and raising funds for other veterans’ organizations.
They too, like the DAV, have service officers to help veterans get any benefits to which they are entitled and work with the VA. If a veteran passes away, the Legion will help families prepare for the funeral. The American Legion arranged for a flag and military honors for one veteran whose funeral I attended.
MOWW (The Military Order of the World Wars)
Also founded in 1919, MOWW’s motto is, “It is better to serve than be served.” MOWW promotes good citizenship, patriotic education, military and public service. Chapters often support monuments and memorials, law and order, and national and homeland security programs.
The SCC chapter supports a youth leadership program, JROTC, ROTC, Eagle Scout and Girl Scout Gold recognitions. They also hold monthly luncheons for members and guest with speakers of interest.
Membership includes former officers from all branches of the Armed Forces, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Public Health Service. It is also extended to spouses, children and grandchildren of officers. If you’re interested in joining, contact Jim Haney at (813) 642-0373 or “Jhhaney1@gmail.com”.
MOAA (Military Officers Association of America)
This organization has a balance between social and what’s of interest to members. The SCC group supports military community activities by taking the lead for the Memorial Day event. They also support a trust, which in turn supports JROTC scholarships.
Membership includes former officers from all branches of the Armed Forces, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Public Health Service. It is also extended to spouses.
Navy Seabees Veterans of America
Former enlisted Seabees from the Naval Construction Forces of Civil Engineer Corps deployed or attached to a Seabee unit meet socially, participate in community events, support scholarship programs and host guest speakers on Seabee/Navy history or events.
Former Marine Corps or Navy personnel attached to or supporting a Marine unit meet socially. The group works to support deployed active duty personnel and participates with other veteran organizations in community events.
Silver Osprey Squadron
In the past 12 years, this chapter of the Association of Naval Aviation, holds luncheon meetings featuring presentations on naval aviation. Membership and events are open to the public.
Various aspects of military aviation are presented, and speakers include local members and frequently active duty military personnel. Some past presentations included someone from the hurricane hunters and aircraft carrier operations. The Squadron meets seven times a year from October to May.