On a warm November 11th, dignitaries, including General Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander of U.S. Central Command located at MacDill Air Force Base and Mayor Bob Buckhorn, joined other local and national politicians in front of the Port of Tampa Bay Terminal #2 in downtown Tampa to thank those whose efforts have placed numerous veterans in homes and to discuss community leaders’ plans to end homelessness of our veterans. Other participants included Commissioner Sandy Murman, business and civic leaders, and dozens of volunteers, sporting bright orange Operation: Reveille t-shirts, from groups fighting to eradicate homelessness among our Veterans. Operation: Reveille is in part driven by the President’s challenge that each of us have an obligation to do more to end veterans’ homelessness by the end of the year.
Kicked off by a rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, the event, organized by the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative (THHI) and its new CEO, Antoinette D. Hayes Triplett, featured impassioned speeches from the Mayor and General Austin. Mayor Buckhorn acknowledged Tampa’s link to the military saying “…make no mistake about it, Tampa is a military town.” Buckhorn continued:
“This is a city that loves its military members. They are our friends, they are our neighbors, they are our sons and daughters, they are our husband and wives, aunts and uncles…they are all part of our family… and we honor them every day for doing a job for us that we are not capable of doing ourselves…”