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Rotary Club plans Key parade to honor veterans, families

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  • | 4:00 a.m. October 29, 2014
  • Longboat Key
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The 2010 census found that Longboat Key had 1,476 veterans, representing 22.1% of its population 18 years and older. Yet despite the fact that nearly one quarter of residents have served their country, the Key hasn’t had a regular, islandwide Veterans Day event.

That’s something the new Rotary Club of Longboat Key plans to change.

The Rotary Club will hold its first Veterans Day Parade and Recognition Program at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 11, on Bay Isles Road, ending at Temple Beth Israel, 567 Bay Isles Road. A program inside the temple will follow the parade, honoring veterans and their family members and survivors who live, work or worship on Longboat Key.

“When one member of the family goes into the military service, they all go into the service in one way or another,” said Rotary Club President Sydelle Pittas.

Approximately 60 veterans have signed up to participate in the parade.

The Rotary Club is also seeking owners of convertibles to drive a veteran or survivor of a veteran in the quarter-mile parade.

The Longboat Key Town Commission approved the Rotary Club’s request to close Bay Isles Road from 4 to 5 p.m. Nov. 11. Mayor Jim Brown and Commissioner Phill Younger are among the veterans who plan to participate.

The route will follow the same path as the Longboat Key Freedom Fest parade that takes place each year on the Fourth of July.

The Rotary Club participated in Freedom Fest earlier this year by sponsoring the “Hot Diggity Dog Parade.”

“We were just delighted with our doggy parade on the Fourth of July,” Pittas said. “That just put the idea of a parade in our heads as we were thinking about what types of service projects to get into that would get people involved on the Key.”

Other Rotary Club projects have included sponsoring Mote Marine Laboratory’s visit to a kindergarten classroom at Tuttle Elementary School in Sarasota; working with All Faiths Food Bank’s Campaign Against Summer Hunger; adopting a room at Selah Freedom House in Sarasota; and exploring the feasibility of a dog park on the Key.

Parade participation
Those who served in the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard or National Guard in times of war or peace, and their family members and survivors who live, work or worship on the Key are invited to participate in the parade.

The public is invited to line the roadway for the parade, attend the service and enjoy light refreshments.
To participate in the parade, contact Marine Corps veteran Nick Kovalakides at [email protected] or veteran paratrooper Philippe Koenig at 487-7328.

To drive a veteran or survivor in the parade, contact Sydelle Pittas at [email protected].



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