Photo: City of Homestead Military Appreciation Day honorees with Homestead Vice Mayor Stephen Shelley (suit coat)

Big events like the annual Military Appreciation Day can’t happen without a great many people involved. Attendance has steadily grown since Council member Stephen Shelley launched the first celebration seven years ago. As he said during the opening ceremonies, “When families connect great things happen. That’s why I look forward to this event every year. Seeing our military and civilian families come together really shows you what the Homestead community is all about.”

Members of the Military Affairs Committee (MAC), part of the South Dade Chamber of Commerce, are an integral part of the City’s Committee that comes together well before the busy day takes off. They coordinate for months ahead of time to bring in specialized

military vehicles such as boats, aircraft, weaponry, and other interactive

displays. As has been in the past, a crowd always cheers while watching the fitness challenge, an intense, custom-designed course to strain strength and endurance.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018, Vice Mayor Shelley recognized the Committee and special sponsors who made May 12th another big success. “This was our seventh year for this event. It was planned well, executed well, and unfortunately Mother Nature didn’t cooperate as she has in the past,” he said in opening his remarks.

“We did have rain, but people came out anyway.” He spoke of the rebuilding of the base after Hurricane Andrew for Homestead Air Reserve Base to once again become an economic engine of the community. “This event is near and dear to my heart,” he said and honored Best Studios and Eagle Brands Distributor as longtime major sponsors as well as Texas Roadhouse Grill in their first year of major sponsorship and Dairy Queen.

He pointed out Special Operations Command, of U.S. Southern Command (SOCSOUTH), as the ones who “put up the big tent” with the weapons and other military equipment. He thanked the Monroe Marauders for bringing their vintage military vehicles, popular as children and adults alike sit in or stand close to the vehicles to have their photographs taken.

The Vice-Mayor read the text of the Certificates of Appreciation, “In recognition of your commitment to our military members and their families by providing support, services, and participation in our 7th Annual Military Appreciation Day. The City of Homestead Salutes you!”

He then presented certificates to Colonel Tracey Onufer, First Sergeant Erik Birch and Sergeant First Class Pedro Horta of SOCSOUTH; Carlos and Sylvia Batista of Best Studio Inn; George Halper and Jonathan Borgert of Eagle Brands Sales; Mary Montanez of Texas Roadhouse Grill; David McKean of Dairy Queen of Homestead; Ana Maria Jaramillo of Laura C. Saunders Elementary School; Anthony Gorman, Christopher Huss, Ron Mongole, and Pastor Brock Shiffer of the Military Affairs Committee, along with Hugh Hudson working with the MAC; Bob Asher of the Monroe Marauders; Yvonne Knowles of Homestead Main Street; Sue Loyzelle of the Homestead YMCA Family Center; Rotary Club of Homestead; Mickey McGuire of the Seminole Theatre, Kerry Black of the South Dade Chamber of Commerce, and Dale Machesic of the South Dade News Leader.

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