Saluting all who serve

Saluting all who serve

Saluting all who serve

By E. Adam Porter, Editor

 

The dogs started barking as he came up the walk. They are always excited to see him, as are his not-so-little-anymore brothers, who got to the door just seconds after the Golden Retrievers. My eldest son, Christian, was home for a visit. 

A year removed from finishing his six-year hitch in the United States Air Force, Chris had something on his mind to share with mom and dad. After a few compulsory minutes wrestling with his brothers, he sat down at the dinner table. I offered him a beer. 

So, I’m thinking about re-enlisting, he said. No preamble, just right into it. That’s Chris. Especially when he’s pretty close to a decision about something. Into the Army this time… he said. They have the job I want, and they’ll let me keep my rank. This was offered as tentative information, but I could tell his mind was, mostly, made up. More than mostly, it turned out. 

A few weeks later, I dropped Chris off at the recruiting office. He was scheduled to fly out for Basic Training early the next day. The first of many early days in his imminent future. And, now, we wait. It will be at least five weeks before we will hear from him. He’ll miss Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Year’s. He graduates One Station Unit Training (OSUT) on Valentine’s Day. Where to next? Only the Army knows. 

As I sit here, recalling that dinner table revelation, my mind drifts back about twelve years, to the day a 14-year-old kid sat down across from me at a different dinner table in a different house with something similar on his mind. Dad, I think I might want to go into the military. He was tentative then, just feeling out the idea. At 14, four years until graduation seems like an eternity. I told him I would be proud of him, no matter what he chose, and that his mother and I loved him, and wanted him to do what was right for him. Do some research, we said. Talk with family members and friends who served. Take what the recruiters tell you with a grain of salt

As I write this, Chris has just begun his first day of OSUT, along with thousands of other recruit trainees. Unlike most of them, he enters training as a sergeant and a seasoned veteran. Which, I’m sure, the Army DIs will make sure he remembers. It’s their job to prepare these brave young men and women to join the approximately 1.4 million Americans serving in the United States Armed Forces. 

In addition to those currently serving in either active duty or the reserves, there are, depending on your source and the year, between 18 and 22 million military veterans in the U.S. population. Nearly half of these are over 65 years of age. Many volunteered, others were drafted. What every one of them has in common is that, when their country called, they raised their hand. 

On November 11, we come together as a nation to honor their commitment and their sacrifice. A service is planned in SCC at Community Hall. Many others will be held throughout the Tampa Bay area, across the country, and around the world. Like as not, my son will spend the day rucking through the woods with his platoon. 

Tens of thousands of deployed Americans will spend the day set aside to honor them aboard ships with no land in sight, or in tents far from home, or on dusty roads somewhere in the desert or in the mountains of some global hotspot. Others will spend the day in tanks stationed along the DMZ in Korea, or in administrative buildings in Kuwait, England, or Germany. Some will be on training missions in undisclosed areas or piloting aircraft to enforce no-fly zones. They live and work and play on bases set behind tall fences, a world removed from civilian life; or they live next door, sharing the same roads, shopping at the same supermarkets, and sending their kids to the same schools as you and me. 

Over the past decade or so, it’s become cliché to “Thank a Veteran,” almost as reflexive as saying, “Happy Holidays.” While the impulse is good, we should be careful not to allow the well-wishes to become mundane. Honoring veterans, no matter when, where, or why they served, is the duty of every American. Whether or not we agree with the reasons or the wars, all of us who live in the Land of the Free should appreciate everyone who swore to “support and defend the Constitution, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same…”

It’s the least we can do for those who put the most on the line. 

NOTE: Statistics taken from Pew Research, Department of Defense, the Department of Veteran Affairs, and the US Census.

Photo Credit: Military TImes (David H. Lipp/Air National Guard)

 

 

The January 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The January 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Relive the “Holiday” fun of the Cart Parade, Breakfast, and Walk. Bask in the warm glow of festive holiday lights. Celebrate another successful SCC Shrine Club Children’s Christmas party and shimmering Apollo Beach boat parade....

Go “Home for the Holidays” with the 2019 Golf Cart Parade

Go “Home for the Holidays” with the 2019 Golf Cart Parade

The “Home for the Holidays” Holiday Golf Cart Parade begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 14. Residents, businesses, HOAs, service organizations, and clubs from across the communitywill come together to celebrate the season with festive and creative...

Don’t Miss the Holiday Breakfast & Walk

Don’t Miss the Holiday Breakfast & Walk

Mark your calendars for festive holiday fun on December 7. Plan to start your day with a delicious breakfast for only $5! The committee members have been busy planning the gathering, which will be held in Community Hall from 7:30 until 11:30 a.m. The...

The December 2019 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The December 2019 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Save the date for the Holiday Breakfast and Walk (Dec. 7), as well as the Holiday Cart Parade (Dec. 14). Find holiday lights to see in SCC, meet some local woodcarvers, potters, and bird watchers; find out what happened at “Hi,...

55 Years of Service: Our Amazing Emergency Squad   

55 Years of Service: Our Amazing Emergency Squad   

55 Years of Service: Our Amazing Emergency SquadBy Diane M. Loeffler On the afternoon of September 25, the SCC Emergency Squad held a party with cake and coffee to celebrate 55 years of helping others. What an accomplishment!Did you know that our Emergency...

The Florida Aquarium Releases Sea Turtles

The Florida Aquarium Releases Sea Turtles

The Florida Aquarium’s Animal Response Team successfully released two green sea turtles back into the Atlantic Ocean at Matanzas Inlet. “It’s always a great day when you get to see turtles go back into the wild after being rehabilitated. Izar holds a...

Candidate for Board Withdraws

Candidate for Board Withdraws

Candidate for Board Withdraws

BREAKING NEWS FROM THE SCC COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION

 

Mike Burnham has withdrawn his name from the candidates running for the Board of Directors. Since the remaining three candidates — Eric Porr, Ron Matelski, and Bob Sullivan — are running unopposed, the “Meet the Candidates Night” scheduled for November 13 has been cancelled.

To learn more about the remaining candidates, be sure to read their interviews in the November issue of The News, here. Note: That issue includes interviews with all four candidates, because Mr. Burnham’s resignation was announced after the issue had been printed. 

The January 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The January 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Relive the “Holiday” fun of the Cart Parade, Breakfast, and Walk. Bask in the warm glow of festive holiday lights. Celebrate another successful SCC Shrine Club Children’s Christmas party and shimmering Apollo Beach boat parade....

Go “Home for the Holidays” with the 2019 Golf Cart Parade

Go “Home for the Holidays” with the 2019 Golf Cart Parade

The “Home for the Holidays” Holiday Golf Cart Parade begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 14. Residents, businesses, HOAs, service organizations, and clubs from across the communitywill come together to celebrate the season with festive and creative...

Don’t Miss the Holiday Breakfast & Walk

Don’t Miss the Holiday Breakfast & Walk

Mark your calendars for festive holiday fun on December 7. Plan to start your day with a delicious breakfast for only $5! The committee members have been busy planning the gathering, which will be held in Community Hall from 7:30 until 11:30 a.m. The...

The December 2019 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The December 2019 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Save the date for the Holiday Breakfast and Walk (Dec. 7), as well as the Holiday Cart Parade (Dec. 14). Find holiday lights to see in SCC, meet some local woodcarvers, potters, and bird watchers; find out what happened at “Hi,...

55 Years of Service: Our Amazing Emergency Squad   

55 Years of Service: Our Amazing Emergency Squad   

55 Years of Service: Our Amazing Emergency SquadBy Diane M. Loeffler On the afternoon of September 25, the SCC Emergency Squad held a party with cake and coffee to celebrate 55 years of helping others. What an accomplishment!Did you know that our Emergency...

The Florida Aquarium Releases Sea Turtles

The Florida Aquarium Releases Sea Turtles

The Florida Aquarium’s Animal Response Team successfully released two green sea turtles back into the Atlantic Ocean at Matanzas Inlet. “It’s always a great day when you get to see turtles go back into the wild after being rehabilitated. Izar holds a...

Building Characters

Building Characters

Building Characters

By E. Adam Porter

Editor, News of SCC & South County

 

Halloween is right around the corner, which means the Great Debate has commenced at the Porter house. Not, thankfully, ‘Who Gets My Vote,’ but ‘Who Wears What Costume?’ My younger boys are at that perfect age where the magic of Halloween is still very real, and they are big enough to carry their own candy sack. 

When they select a costume, their purpose is to become that character, at least for the evening. To assume what, in their kid brains, these characters would be like. Their imaginations have a lot of help in the form of their favorite books, movies, and TV shows. Not to mention Dad’s stories. Hence the ongoing debate, which ping-pongs between “I’m going to be something completely new and different” to “I’m going as the same character as last year.”

This is the continual tug and pull between the familiar and the risk of trying something new. Each kid manages this challenge in a different way. Growing up, my eldest, who inherited a fathomless well of creativity from his Mama, always had the best Halloween costumes, most of them homemade. If a character called for armor, he made it. Makeup? He learned how to perfect the look. Props? Gathered in advance or built on the fly. Sometimes this led to unexpected results. The year he went as the Incredible Hulk, all his green makeup washed off while bobbing for apples, so he finished the party as “Bruce Banner.” Another year, he won the costume contest at our neighborhood Halloween party dressed as a character from the movie, Hot Fuzz. Then there was the year he and a friend were such convincing “homeless people” that other trick-or-treaters offered them cash donations, even though they insisted that they were just in costume. This year, though, will be a bit different. Chris enlisted in the US Army, after a brief stint as a civilian, when his seven-year tour in the USAF ended. So, for Halloween this year, he will be back in BDUs, rucking through the woods somewhere in Missouri.

My middle kid has somewhat peculiar and entirely specific tastes. Last year, he wanted to go as a character from a cartoon that’s been off the air for years. No costume shop in the county had anything close to the look, so we turned to Google. Fortunately, someone on the other side of the planet did not let us down. We found a movie-specific replica, which he wore at least once a week until the costume was so torn and threadbare even duct tape failed him. This year, something similar. We ended up piecing together his costume from various parts. When someone recognized what he was, he kept smiling and hasn’t stopped since.

My youngest is more experience-driven. He’s cool with just about any costume, because most of the fun, for him, is riding through the neighborhood in the back of the pickup, shouting “trick or treat” and getting gobs of gobstoppers and other sweet treats. The key, though, is that his costume must also be something he will wear for play throughout the year. Over the years, he’s been a fireman, a cop, Iron Man, and a ninja. This year, he’s weighing astronaut, pirate, Captain America or To Be Determined. Kid likes to keep his options open, which leads us back around to the endless “Who will I be?” conversations. 

As I was listening to this lively debate for the umpteenth time, I got to thinking about how it’s not too much different than the decision we all face when we wake up every morning: “Will I be the same person I was, or will I look for some way to grow, to learn, to explore?”

For many reading this, life is about the pursuit, about learning and trying new things. It’s a lesson many of us should take to heart. Far too many people never really go anywhere or do anything. We put it off for a tomorrow that never comes. Life, as they say, gets in the way. Kids, work, bills, cutting the grass every week, and other perpetual chores seem to suck all the potential and adventure out of life. 

Thing is, no matter our age or place in life, apathy, distraction, and redundancy are choices. And, if we’re not careful, those choices become habits. That’s one of the reasons, in The News, we choose to focus on stories about people doing new, fun, and interesting things: people picking up a softball bat or a basketball for the first time in decades, dusting off a musical instrument, pursuing a new craft or hobby, or heading out on an adventure. No matter what that “new” choice is, the result is a mixture of learning new things and becoming a new person. Our habits, our priorities, even our brains, are reordered by embracing something unfamiliar.

In The Fellowship of the Ring, JRR Tolkien has his reluctant adventurer, Bilbo Baggins, tell his impetuous nephew, Frodo: “You step into the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.” It’s a truism Bilbo experienced first-hand. He went There and Back Again and became a new person. A dynamic that World War I veteran, Tolkien, was intimately familiar with. And that’s the point. When we set out to experience something new, we’re not entirely sure who we will become along the way. 

Kids find it easy to wear and shed different costumes, because their young brains thrive on experimentation. We tend to have a harder time with it. Comfort and routine, and memories of past mistakes, keep us from stepping out onto the proverbial road. Sometimes, though, it helps if we dress the part, and there are plenty of opportunities to do just that this month.

 

The January 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The January 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Relive the “Holiday” fun of the Cart Parade, Breakfast, and Walk. Bask in the warm glow of festive holiday lights. Celebrate another successful SCC Shrine Club Children’s Christmas party and shimmering Apollo Beach boat parade....

Go “Home for the Holidays” with the 2019 Golf Cart Parade

Go “Home for the Holidays” with the 2019 Golf Cart Parade

The “Home for the Holidays” Holiday Golf Cart Parade begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 14. Residents, businesses, HOAs, service organizations, and clubs from across the communitywill come together to celebrate the season with festive and creative...

Don’t Miss the Holiday Breakfast & Walk

Don’t Miss the Holiday Breakfast & Walk

Mark your calendars for festive holiday fun on December 7. Plan to start your day with a delicious breakfast for only $5! The committee members have been busy planning the gathering, which will be held in Community Hall from 7:30 until 11:30 a.m. The...

The December 2019 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The December 2019 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Save the date for the Holiday Breakfast and Walk (Dec. 7), as well as the Holiday Cart Parade (Dec. 14). Find holiday lights to see in SCC, meet some local woodcarvers, potters, and bird watchers; find out what happened at “Hi,...

55 Years of Service: Our Amazing Emergency Squad   

55 Years of Service: Our Amazing Emergency Squad   

55 Years of Service: Our Amazing Emergency SquadBy Diane M. Loeffler On the afternoon of September 25, the SCC Emergency Squad held a party with cake and coffee to celebrate 55 years of helping others. What an accomplishment!Did you know that our Emergency...

The Florida Aquarium Releases Sea Turtles

The Florida Aquarium Releases Sea Turtles

The Florida Aquarium’s Animal Response Team successfully released two green sea turtles back into the Atlantic Ocean at Matanzas Inlet. “It’s always a great day when you get to see turtles go back into the wild after being rehabilitated. Izar holds a...

Fall Health Symposiums

Fall Health Symposiums

The January 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The January 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Relive the “Holiday” fun of the Cart Parade, Breakfast, and Walk. Bask in the warm glow of festive holiday lights. Celebrate another successful SCC Shrine Club Children’s Christmas party and shimmering Apollo Beach boat parade....

Go “Home for the Holidays” with the 2019 Golf Cart Parade

Go “Home for the Holidays” with the 2019 Golf Cart Parade

The “Home for the Holidays” Holiday Golf Cart Parade begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 14. Residents, businesses, HOAs, service organizations, and clubs from across the communitywill come together to celebrate the season with festive and creative...

Don’t Miss the Holiday Breakfast & Walk

Don’t Miss the Holiday Breakfast & Walk

Mark your calendars for festive holiday fun on December 7. Plan to start your day with a delicious breakfast for only $5! The committee members have been busy planning the gathering, which will be held in Community Hall from 7:30 until 11:30 a.m. The...

The December 2019 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The December 2019 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Save the date for the Holiday Breakfast and Walk (Dec. 7), as well as the Holiday Cart Parade (Dec. 14). Find holiday lights to see in SCC, meet some local woodcarvers, potters, and bird watchers; find out what happened at “Hi,...

55 Years of Service: Our Amazing Emergency Squad   

55 Years of Service: Our Amazing Emergency Squad   

55 Years of Service: Our Amazing Emergency SquadBy Diane M. Loeffler On the afternoon of September 25, the SCC Emergency Squad held a party with cake and coffee to celebrate 55 years of helping others. What an accomplishment!Did you know that our Emergency...

The Florida Aquarium Releases Sea Turtles

The Florida Aquarium Releases Sea Turtles

The Florida Aquarium’s Animal Response Team successfully released two green sea turtles back into the Atlantic Ocean at Matanzas Inlet. “It’s always a great day when you get to see turtles go back into the wild after being rehabilitated. Izar holds a...

Flexible Upright Replaces Crash-Prone Cart Path Post

Flexible Upright Replaces Crash-Prone Cart Path Post

Area residents who drive their golf carts along the path to and from Walmart will be relieved to see a new, flexible center upright in place of the long-broken wood stanchion near the US-301 crossing. Hillsborough County crews originally installed sturdy 6-by-8-inch posts at each end of the path to deter vehicle traffic. 

About two years ago, the post nearest the highway was broken off by some kind of large vehicle.  The Sun City Center Leathernecks Club, which has “adopted” the path, reset the broken, now much shorter post, and SCC Community Association government liaison Sam Sudman requested that the county install a replacement.

After many months of waiting, the Leathernecks fashioned a new post from 4-by-6 timbers.  That replacement was struck repeatedly by wayward golf carts over the ensuing months, and ultimately destroyed. 

Though several golf carts were damaged, no injuries have been reported.  A traffic cone has served as a temporary lane divider for the past few months, and the new golf-cart-friendly “flexible tubular delineator” was installed in early July.  A wood post remains at the other end of the path.

 

In the photo:  A new flexible “delineator” has replaced the oft-thumped wood post dividing the lanes of the golf cart path linking East Del Webb Blvd. and US 301.

Getting Wet in the Dry Tortugas

Getting Wet in the Dry Tortugas

Getting Wet in the Dry TortugasBy Kai Rambow Key West may be the end of the road, but you can head 70 miles farther west by taking the ferry to the Dry Tortugas. People love taking this day trip. It is a national park, so that means it’s on many people’s...

Learn About IRS Scams

Learn About IRS Scams

Our Community Resource Deputy Jeffery Merry is speaking on Government Imposter Scams and IRS Scams this month. Don’t miss this important, informative seminar.Three times, and locations to choose: Tuesday, January 14, at 10 a.m.The Caper Room, Sun City...

The January 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The January 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Relive the “Holiday” fun of the Cart Parade, Breakfast, and Walk. Bask in the warm glow of festive holiday lights. Celebrate another successful SCC Shrine Club Children’s Christmas party and shimmering Apollo Beach boat parade....

The December 2019 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The December 2019 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Save the date for the Holiday Breakfast and Walk (Dec. 7), as well as the Holiday Cart Parade (Dec. 14). Find holiday lights to see in SCC, meet some local woodcarvers, potters, and bird watchers; find out what happened at “Hi,...

55 Years of Service: Our Amazing Emergency Squad   

55 Years of Service: Our Amazing Emergency Squad   

55 Years of Service: Our Amazing Emergency SquadBy Diane M. Loeffler On the afternoon of September 25, the SCC Emergency Squad held a party with cake and coffee to celebrate 55 years of helping others. What an accomplishment!Did you know that our Emergency...

The Florida Aquarium Releases Sea Turtles

The Florida Aquarium Releases Sea Turtles

The Florida Aquarium’s Animal Response Team successfully released two green sea turtles back into the Atlantic Ocean at Matanzas Inlet. “It’s always a great day when you get to see turtles go back into the wild after being rehabilitated. Izar holds a...

Saluting all who serve

Saluting all who serve

Saluting all who serveBy E. Adam Porter, Editor The dogs started barking as he came up the walk. They are always excited to see him, as are his not-so-little-anymore brothers, who got to the door just seconds after the Golden Retrievers. My eldest son,...

Home for the Holidays with the 2019 Golf Cart Parade

Home for the Holidays with the 2019 Golf Cart Parade

Home for the Holidays with the 2019 Golf Cart ParadeBy Bob Sanchez Mark your calendars for the Home for the Holidays Golf Cart Parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 14. CA Director Larry Smith, the event coordinator, says that residents from Sun City...