Local Military Organization Raises Awareness For Fallen Soldiers

By Libby Hopkins

Tampa Area Marine Parents Association (T.A.M.P.A.) has been supporting Marine families in the Tampa Bay are for more than nine years. Its mission is to give support to its Marine family members in whatever areas are needed and whenever possible while continuing to be an active and visible presence to all branches of the military in the community, the state of Florida and wherever they are led. They continually reach out to any Marine, their parents, spouses, siblings, extended family and friends in order to give them the opportunity to become an active part of its support group, and in doing so always following its strong values of God, family, our nation and the United States Marine Corps. “We started out as a parent support group that met and held monthly pot lucks and have expanded into a military non-profit organization, with over 2500 members located all over the globe and from all branches of service,” said the organization’s president and executive director, Cyd Deathe, “Our headquarters is the Tampa Bay area, where we have military families and supporters who are active in our programs, projects and events.”

The organization recently held a fundraiser at Cork and Olive in Bloomingdale to help raise money for the upcoming Run for the Fallen (R4F) which will be held September 7-8 at the Veterans’ Park of Hillsborough County in Tampa. Benjamin Mena of Brandon is in charge of the charity team for the race and he helped Deathe coordinate the fundraiser at Cork and Olive. “I love hosting charity events,” Mena said, “ Every month I work with a different charity and this was an awesome one that I wanted to help out.”  Mena is currently training for the Marine Corps Marathon Team. R4F started six years ago with a simple one-mile fun walk/run at the Veteran’s Park. “It is a free event offered to the community in the hopes of educating and raising awareness of the daily sacrifices of our military men and women,” Deathe said, “Each year our numbers have increased with the last year’s five year anniversary event pulling in over 3,000 participants, spectators and volunteers.”

In addition to supporting military families, the organization also collects old cell phones, iPods, and iPads that are recycled with a portion of the funds collected used to help cover postage for care packages that are shipped to deployed military. If you would like to learn more about T.A.M.P.A. or if you would like to be a part of the upcoming Run for the Fallen, you can visit its website at www.USMCFamilySupport.org.