By Terry Longo, Operation Lift Hope! for Rio Vista Magazine and SouthFloridaReporter.com, Sept 8, 2015 – On Sept. 25 at the Broward Convention Center, you will be able to spend an unforgettable evening with Admiral Vern Clark (Ret.) who served on the Joint Chiefs. He was stationed in the Pentagon on 9/11 when it was attacked. Joining the Admiral will be Seal Team 6 Master Chief Sniper Rick Kaiser, who is Executive Director of the UDT Seal Team Museum in North Hutchinson Island, outside of Fort Pierce.
The evening will shed light on homeless veterans and families with small children who live on the streets in Fort Lauderdale. Over the past several years, a committed group of talented service providers, businesses, organizations and faith based churches have been working together to eliminate veteran homeless by 2016 and family homeless by 2020. It started with a conversation with a Navy Special War Operation Group (SWOG) Seals who were training in Fort Lauderdale and has grown into a movement within the community.
Almost everyone wants to help, but we really didn’t know what to do, or more importantly how to do it.
To address these issues, we solicited the help of Broward College President David Armstrong and Vice President of Community Affairs Nancy Botero to coordinate a “dream shop symposium.” Mayor Jack Seiler, County Commissioner Chip LaMarca and Andy Mitchell, President and CEO of the Fairwinds Group, began working together to develop a synergistic approach to help those left behind on the streets and neighborhoods of Fort Lauderdale This process was directed by Teri Justice, Broward College Foundation, and was an effort to build on the Broward County My Way Home plan. These 25 service providers and business leaders met at Broward College for almost six months looking to discover where we are today and to identify the gaps in services for the homeless population in our community. The report, available on our website, gave a clear way forward for the community. The simplification of the Broward Continuum of Care made it possible for all of us to get involved: Engage, Empower, Educate, Employ. We all fit somewhere on this continuum.
The time has come for all of us to help in any way we can to implement their recommendations. The money raised from this effort will be overseen by the National Christian Foundation, which is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. The Operation Lift Hope Fund will be managed by an oversight board that will distribute the funds to participating service providers.
Our September gala will be like no other in Fort Lauderdale. We are inviting World War II veterans, Tuskegee Airman and other veterans to join us. You will want to bring your family and spend an unforgettable time with heroes who keep our freedom safe. More than 60 companies are involved today and this group will grow significantly by the time of our September event.
The geographical focus for Operation Lift Hope is Interstate 95 to the beach and Commercial Boulevard on the north to the 17th Causeway on the south. All the neighborhoods, parks, schools and businesses are affected by this effort.
Find out more and register for the gala at: www.operationlifthope.org. As an individual or as group, please get involved and help us extend a hand to those less fortunate as we all lift together.
OPERATION LIFT HOPE – LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND