Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham is set to give the keynote speech at the Serenity Meadows Memorial Day Service of Remembrance on May 28.
Paying tribute to the valor of soldiers and the supreme sacrifice is a duty Higginbotham said he holds dear and true to his heart.
At the Oct. 15 burial service for Army 1st Lt. Ivan Lechowich, Higginbotham said he has not missed a soldier's funeral since taking office in 2006.
"This is my duty," he said, standing among the mourners. "Young men and women are willing to go out and sacrifice their lives to allow us as public and private citizens to do what we do, it's the least I can do to come out and pay my respects to them and their families."
Also scheduled to speak May 28 at the Serenity Meadows Memorial Park, Funeral Home and Crematory are Michael Whitt, commander of AMVETS Post 44 in Brandon, and Walt Raysic, president of the Veterans Council of Hillsborough County.
Serenity Meadows is in the Greater Brandon area of Riverview.
The service is set to begin 8:30 a.m., at 6919 Providence Road, and is open to the public.
Also on tap are special presentations from students, including those representing Riverview and Spoto high schools and Boy Scouts Troop No. 110.
“Memorial Day is an opportunity to offer our profound respect and utter gratitude to the military men and women who have loved their country more than themselves,” Higginbotham said in an announcement about his upcoming keynote speech. “Hillsborough County has lost 48 sons in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operating Enduring Freedom, and we are forever grateful for their sacrifice.”
The 27-year-old Lechowich was killed in Afghanistan on Sept. 28 when the truck he was riding in struck and improvised explosive device, killing Lechowich, his gunner and his driver. Lechowich was assigned to the 515th Sapper Company as a platoon leader and deployed to Afghanistan in April 2011.