Monday, December 7, 2009

A Celebration of Community Spirit, Character and Leadership: Community Inspired by “A Soldier’s Story”

Country music artist Keni Thomas, who received glowing reviews for his rendition of the National Anthem at this year’s opening game of the World Series, gave an encore presentation at the Legacy Speaker Series fundraising event on Veterans Day in Fort Myers. The event was hosted by Hope HealthCare Services and the Uncommon Friends Foundation.

Thomas was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor for his Army company’s mission in Mogadishu, Somalia. The Mogadishu mission of Thomas and his Army colleagues was detailed in the best-selling book and movie, “Black Hawk Down.” Thomas’s experiences led him to become a nationally acclaimed motivational speaker who stressed the importance of values, teamwork and leadership in his presentation, “Salute to Valor: A Soldier’s Story.”

“Keni’s inspiring motivational message was relevant to all of us and was well received by the attendees, many of whom were veterans,” said Hope President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith.

The Veterans Day event highlighted Hope’s VALOR Program: Veterans’ Access to Life Opportunities and Resources. “VALOR ensures that the veterans in our care receive all of the support they deserve, including assistance in accessing and receiving their VA benefits,” Beckwith said. In addition, Hope holds a ceremony for each veteran and their families, at which they are presented with a certificate of appreciation, a lapel pin and a patriotic-themed stuffed bear. Veterans are also given the opportunity to participate in the Library of Congress Veteran’s History Project.

“The event was a way to say thank you to our veterans for serving our country,” Beckwith added.