Three members of the team who will be participating in the Tampa Bay Veterans Appreciation weekend: Pastor Ian W. Taylor Sr. (middle) of Renew & Transform Ministries; Pastor Kevin Green (right) of New Foundation Christian Assembly International, who is one of the veterans spearheading the event; and Damian Hatter (left), who will be helping with the meals for the event.

Local veterans and a coalition of churches and businesses recently came together to sponsor a new event, the Tampa Bay Veterans Appreciation weekend. The coalition seeks to help veterans transform their lives by offering information that can improve their circumstances and showing them resources that they may not know they have access to. Veterans and their families are encouraged to join in for food, drinks and fellowship as they are given thanks and served in honor of their own service to our country at this completely free event.

The first day will be about spiritual and physical wellness and include a brief sermon by a veteran in our community, haircuts for veterans who need them and medical screenings for high blood pressure and diabetes. The screenings will be accompanied by information cards about early identification and prevention of these diseases, with qualified doctors and nurses on-site to provide this service.

The second day is for mental and financial wellness. Guests can expect financial advice workshops with licensed financial planners on-site to provide education and advice; health care planning workshops, which will have a planner available to educate the veterans about their options and provide resources; and an entrepreneurship workshop, in which a veteran, who is an entrepreneur, will provide mentorship on how to start a business after completing your military career.

Each day, there will also be to-go meals and information packets, which include resources like Medicaid options, financial planning and veteran benefits, to name a few.

“We went through with the VA and a few other veterans associations to put together information for the vets that we can give to them in one robust packet,” said Maran-Atha Taylor, event coordinator of the coalition, which consists of Renew & Transform Ministries International, New Foundation Christian Assembly International, Awaken and Transform Ministries, WeGoAllPlaces LLC, Chosen Business Services, Veterans Medicare Options, Primerica Financial Services and Merr Art Inc.

Taylor added, “We’re also working with the VA to send a rep out to help the veterans with registering for services and asking questions that they might have because many people don’t know what all they have access to.”

The event takes place on Saturday, November 12 from 12 Noon-4 p.m. and Sunday, November 13 from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Gardenville Park & Recreation Center, located at 6219 Symmes Rd. in Gibsonton. For registration, visit

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Taylor Wells
Taylor Wells is a relatively recently hired news reporter for the Osprey Observer, having been with the paper only since October 8, 2018. Aside from writing articles, he helps edit and upload them to the Osprey Observer site, and is always available to help other staff members in his spare time. He graduated from Saint Leo University with a bachelor’s degree in professional writing and lives in Valrico.