Tag Archives: military

Military Vehicles and Demos at Renninger’s this weekend

Guest Post by: Matt Sharkey, Florida Warbirds

This weekend, February 25–26, 2017, the First Florida Chapter Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA) will be hosting their yearly vehicle rally, vendor event and World War 2 battle re-enactment known the “Southern Outpost” at the Renninger’s Antique Center in Mount Dora. The club will judge military vehicles in many different categories during the course of the weekend.

Special guests at this year’s event are members of the WW2 Armor group, based in Central Florida. They’re planning on bringing some of their WW2-era tanks and vehicles to the show. In addition, the plan is to do near-dusk firing of the Goog Gun – gun weapons on the tanks for photo opportunities. WW2 Armor has a M4A1 Sherman Grizzly, 2 M18 Hellcats, M5A1 Stuart, 2 M20 Armored Cars and long list of others. What may be at the show is subject to change, but visitors can expect a nice variety. In its three years at Renningers, vehicle attendance has steadily risen from all groups.

On Saturday, at 1pm and on Sunday at 11am, the WW2 Battle Reenactment and Weapons Demonstration will take place. This is usually a battle between Allies and Axis, with weapons, cannons and tanks. They shoot blanks and/or have staged pyrotechnics in a designated area, so the noise during this time could be loud. If you are bringing a child, consider ear protection for them.

Speaking of children, they may be called forward by the Officer-in-Command (OIC), aka “The Colonel,” for an inspection and possible PT. My son stood in formation last year and had fun. Don’t tell the Colonel he had “fun.” (PT isn’t supposed to be fun!)

Food and drinks are available on-site, whether at the rally grounds or in the main flea market. Sunblock and comfortable shoes are suggested as there is plenty of walking outdoors. Vendors will be on hand selling military surplus and related items throughout the event, as well.

The weekend activities are part of the Winter Rally and Swap Meet that runs February 22–26 at Renninger’s. Come out and support these dedicated individuals as they pay respect to America’s Greatest Generation.

#PushupChallenge for #MissionUnited and Heart of Florida United Way

As Kelly mentioned yesterday, we love our Veterans – local vets, United States Vets, all Vets. So when Heart of Florida United Way challenged me to the Mission United Push-up Challenge, I had to accept.

Giving $20 is the easy part for most people, and anyone who’s able could (and SHOULD!) do that, no problem. The other part of the #20or20 challenge was a little bit more challenging. Twenty push-ups. Non stop, no breaks. Probably not as painful as it sounds.

I can’t tell you the last time I did a pushup, let alone twenty in a row. (Sad, I know.) If my laughable efforts in doing twenty pushups can raise awareness or even $20 to help make a Vet’s life a little easier, then it’s the least I can do for them. THIS was the challenge for me, or so I thought. Our veterans (and their families) voluntarily give up so much for our freedom and are not given due credit – or a break – when they return home. This definitely needs to change and NOW.

I’m totally out of shape but still, arguably, strong and… youngish. To hold myself accountable I decided to take the Push-up Challenge even further and tripled the challenge;

  1. Do said push-up challenge in the middle of your driveway where all of your neighbors – who are mostly gone at this time of the afternoon – are ALL conveniently home and ALL outside. With their kids. And their dogs.
  2. Dedicate each push-up to Veteran. Twenty Push-ups, Twenty Veterans.

Number Two was more of a challenge than I thought initially. I mean, I know a bunch of Veterans including two of our Central Florida Top 5 writers and contributors, Nando Torres and Gerald Clark, but for some reason I blanked after nine?

So I posted on Facebook, asking my military friends (female, male and canine) for their branch of service and rank but didn’t tell them what I was doing, other than they’d get a laugh in the end. Not with me but at me – and I’m totally fine with this!

Heart of Florida United Way is hoping Mission United will be a sort of hub for veterans and their families to dial and locate services. A simple call to 2-1-1 “serves as a central contact for veterans to access community support, ensuring that service members and their families are never more than two steps from the help they need,” says the website.

Also, according to local stats on the Mission United site, 118,000 veterans call Central Florida home, where a staggering third of the homeless population in Florida is made up of homeless male veterans. The State of Florida also has the third largest population of veterans, after California and Texas.

Listed below, in no particular order, are twenty Veterans I dedicated my (pathetic yet slightly comical) push-ups to in the video above;

  1. (My Grandfather) Private First Class Walter Steib, United States Army, World War II (even though I said WWI)
  2. (My Uncle) David Steib, United States Air Force
  3. (My Great Uncle) Private First Class Clay Cain, United States Marine Corps
  4. Captain Sara Kirstein, United States Marine Corps
  5. (CFLT5!) Staff Sergeant Fernando Torres, United States Air Force
  6. EM2 David Kuskie, United States Navy
  7. First Lieutenant Paul Reickhoff, United States Army and US Army Reserves
  8. E4 Louis James Sellitto, United States Navy
  9. Staff Sergeant and Cancer Survivor Shirley Desiree Rincon, United States Army
  10. Specialist 4 and Cancer Warrior Larry Klein, United States Army, Vietnam
  11. Sergeant Tom Santiago, United States Army, Desert Storm Vet @OrangeBuickGMC
  12. MM2 Jamie Nestrick, United States Navy
  13. ET1 DJ Nestrick, United States Navy
  14. Master Sergeant Don Eggert, United States Army
  15. E5 Sergeant 82nd Airborne and Cancer Survivor Roland Seidel, United States Army
  16. Robert Spar, United States Navy Medical Core
  17. United States Navy Captain and International Space Station Commander Scott Kelly
  18. (CFLT5!) Specialist Gerald Clark, United States Army Reserve
  19. Lieutenant Colonel Donald Briere, 82nd Airborne, 5th Special Forces Group & Founding Member of Delta Force
  20. Sergeant First Class Robert E Dolim, United States Army and United States Air Force

If I can do twenty push-ups, you certainly can! Do a quick video, share it on social media and challenge others using the hashtags; #MissionUnited #PushupChallenge #20or20. Make sure to tag @HFUW too on Twitter!

Not into sweat, potential public embarrassment or physical exertion? Donate $20 to Mission United here.

Fallen Floridians Memorial Cross Tribute

The Lawton House of Oviedo will host a Memorial Day ceremony to honor fallen Floridian military members. This free event is open to the public and includes the Presentation of Colors preceding a short program in memory of and to honor all U.S. service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our freedom.

The ceremony begins May 25 at 9 a.m. Guests are also invited to walk the grounds May 16-25, where hundreds of crosses represent lost Floridian military members. On May 15, volunteers will set up the crosses, and there will be a prayer vigil at 6:30 p.m. for the fallen service members. Local Girl Scout Troop 538 will also lay wreaths on the crosses as part of the vigil.