Bonita Springs community and Lee County deputies honor veterans

Community members in Southwest Florida spent the day giving back to those who served our country to protect our nation’s freedoms.

Nearly 200 neighbors at the Southern Pines community in Bonita Springs were joined by deputies with Lee County Sheriff’s Office to honor veterans both living and fallen Saturday.

“I was in Vietnam, 1966,” said David Hinds, the president of the Naples Museum of Military History. “And I was wounded three times.”

Everyone at the event, especially the veterans, enjoyed food, music and community bonding.

And everyone held in their thoughts the memories of those who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“Our nephew Heath Robinson was killed in Afghanistan in 2011,” Kate Collins said.

Event organizer Jayne Clark said these types of gatherings are important to the veterans in our communities.

“I just think that they deserve our recognition and I don’t think they get enough,” Clark said.

And Richard Cohen, the community manager at Southern Pines, said it adds joy to the lives of veterans who were able to join the event.

“It brings them out, so we can just see them,” Cohen said. “And it probably brings up their spirits.”

The event honored veterans who served during the conflicts in Vietnam, North Korea and Afghanistan. It also featured a special award for World War II veterans.

“I think they’re important, especially for the younger generation,” said James Matthews, a WWII veteran. “Give them some idea of what happened, how many people sacrificed during World War II.”

These events serve as reminders about the sacrifices our fellow Americans and loved ones have made and continue to make Americans.

“We can go through the entire week, month, year without really thinking,” Collin said. “Because not all of our families, not all of our young men are serving.”

Organizers said the event received its biggest turnout this weekend since they began holding the event to celebrate veterans.

“We have this freedom here in our country because of them,” Clark said.

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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