Transportation group organizes fundraiser for SWFL Military Museum, repairs needed

A local museum that pays tribute to the men and women who serve our country is in need of help to stay open. Community members heard its call and came together to hold a fundraiser to help the museum keep its doors open. Little by little, the museum is receiving the assistance.

When Josh Mavrogeorge, an 11-year military veteran, heard the Southwest Florida Military  Museum & Library in Cape Coral was in need of repairs, he decided to step in and take action, as he says serving the community is part of who he is.

“That’s part of what made me a military veteran in the first place,” Mavrogeorge. “When my brother and sisters are in need, we band together and help each other out.”

Mavrogeorge is an account manager at the Scotlynn USA location in south Fort Myers, a multinational transportation and agricultural group, and he is also part of the company’s Military Resource Management Group (MERG), a group for veterans at Scotlynn.

Mavrogeorge and his coworkers organized the event, “Pints for Patriots,” at Palm City Brewing in south Fort Myers to raise money for the museum Saturday, where community members had the chance to bond over beer and raise money for the museum.

“We are a community-based organization,” said Nicholas Napolitano, the museum director and treasurer. “And we’ve brought it as far as we can. Now, we need the community to step in and give us a hand.”

Napolitano said the museum’s air conditioning unit was fixed temporarily, but it and other parts of the museum need to be replaced.

“It’s an old building,” Napolitano said. “And what we’re doing is like a Band-Aid.”

Permanent fixes come at a high cost — close to $85,000 — to replace the museum’s AC unit and lights.

“We’ve approximately raised about maybe $10,000,” Napolitano said.

But the museum still has more costs to account for to keep precious artifacts protected.

“Uniforms and things like that,”” Napolitano said. “Some of them are irreplaceable.”

Mavrogeorge hopes the weekend event gives more people perspective for the museum and the actions of men and women it hopes to preserve for years to come in Southwest Florida.

“I hope this brings the community closer to the museum,” Mavrogeorge said. “And the way we can all help the museum and preserve the artifacts and the history of what my generation and generations previous to mine have done for our country.”

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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