By Tamas Mondovics

Members of the Hillsborough County Veterans Memorial Park and Museum Committee along with local officials and community leaders successfully dedicated the newest memorial in honor and memory of those that made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Afghanistan Memorial dedication ceremony was held on Saturday, October 7 at Hillsborough County’s Veterans Memorial Park and Rear Adm. LeRoy Collins, Jr. Veterans Museum at 3602 N. Hwy.301, in Tampa.

The long-awaited memorial honors Hillsborough County’s 16 and Florida’s 135 fallen and veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

“The Veterans Park Committee is grateful for the success of its recent war memorial dedication ceremonies,” said Afghanistan Memorial Committee member Mark Goujon.

Also in attendance was Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White (District 4) who emphasized the reason for the memorial when he said, “This memorial recognizes 16 of our very own from Hillsborough County who made the ultimate sacrifice in Operation Enduring Freedom.”

The ceremony was also joined by Scott Bill, CEO/Founder of the Brian Bill Foundation, a 501 c3 national nonprofit organization providing therapeutic programs for Special Operations Forces, active duty, veterans and their families.

The Foundation was established to honor the memory of Navy SEAL Brian R. Bill, a member of Navy Special Warfare Development Group, and all of his fellow Special Operations Warriors who have died in service since the onset of hostilities after 09/11/2001.

“We will always remember the sacrifice of all those brave solders in Afghanistan and the ones that have come before them,” Bill said.

The event’s keynote address was given by General Joseph L. Votel, who attended the United States Military Academy and was commissioned in 1980 as an Infantry Officer.

Following his attendance at the Army War College, General Votel commanded the 75th Ranger Regiment and participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq.

For more information, please contact Hillsborough County Consumer and Veterans Services at 246-3170.

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