By Adam Musgrave
Just over a year ago, Nick Fazio and Peter Adams sat down to create a group to promote and assist veterans in the budding Valencia Lakes community in Wimauma. Today, their Military Veterans Club has more than 60 members from Valencia Lakes who work to support both each other and any veterans who need them.
Fazio and Adams set out with three goals in mind.
“We wanted to recognize, honor and showcase our community’s vets, educate and inform them of available benefits and share with all residents what’s going on with the club and what we have available,” said Fazio.
Since its inception, the club has expanded its initiatives. Fazio has helped to guide it into community partnerships with groups such as GL Homes, the Valencia Lakes West Women’s Club and the James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital. These mutually beneficial partnerships have allowed the Veteran’s Club to provide active assistance in addition to information for its veterans.
Among the services the club provides, it donates quilts to disabled veterans at the Tampa VA hospital. It has also created a small volunteer force that provides transportation for doctors appointments and hospital visits.
Fazio himself is one of those volunteers.
“I can’t imagine a better way to spend my time,” he said. “Some of these guys wouldn’t have any way to get to their appointments without us, and it’s so great to be able to help them after all that they did for our country.”
The club also sponsors monthly social lunches for its members with a variety of guest speakers, holiday celebrations, a community-wide flag-flying contest and is working with GL Homes to create a monument to the armed services and their veterans.
“We’re calling it the Circle of Honor,” said Fazio. “We’re going to have the flags for all five military branches there; it’s going to be a place where people can sit and show their respect.”
Fazio said that other projects are in the works for the Veteran’s Club. Among those events is a Veteran’s Day celebration, which he hopes will include some well-known guest speakers.
For more information about the Valencia Lakes Military Veteran’s Club or to find out how to donate, contact Fazio by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.