The Greater Seffner Chamber of Commerce in October celebrated Thanksgiving Day so in November, at its regular monthly meeting, it could commemorate Veterans Day.
At the First Bapist Church of Brandon on Nov. 8, Jorge "Chris" Rodriguez, a major at the MacDill Air Force Base Chief, Wing Intelligence, 6th Air Mobility Wing, spoke to members about life in the military.
"I've very thankful for the things the military allows you to do," he said. "I'm very thankful for what the military allows you to be. I'm very thankful for what the military allow you to provide for your family and your community."
In his talk, Rodriguez spoke as well about the sacrifices it takes to live the life of a soldier, as well as the life of a military spouse and child.
"It is a challenging time very time you get deployed, it is a challenging time every time you move," he said.
A military spouse, he noted, typically has to uproot on a moment's notice, leaving behind a job; during deployment, the spouse must take on the full daily responsiblity for the house and kids.
"[You can] highlight the benefits of being a military child, that you get to see new cultures, meet new people, make new friends and go to new schools," Rodriguez said, but these "positives" are also "negatives" to a young child growing up.
"There are challenges, there are challenges everywhere," Rodriguez said.
How can a community help, and commemorate a soldier's service on or near Veterans Day?
Rodiriguez offered the following suggestions:
- "If you know a military spouse, invite the spouse out to dinner," he said. Ask to mow the lawn, present a gift card for a massage or a night out at the restaurant or offer to babysit for a few hours. "It's just as simple as that," he said.
- Send a care package to a soldier overseas.
- Blood is much needed. Donate blood or, better yet, offer to put a blood drive together.
- Visit an aging veteran, whose family might live in another state. Visit a veteran in a nursing home, or retirement home. "Sit down and talk," Rodriguez said. "They really will appreciate it."