Local residents and city staff celebrate veterans

— To recognize their service and defending the country, city staff recently presented a special banner to the military veterans at the C.W. Bill Young Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

The banner, labeled “Clearwater Thanks You,” features more than 200 signatures and hand-written personal messages from individuals that attended the city’s annual fourth of July event, Clearwater Celebrates America, at Coachman Park.

The idea was conceived by Kris Koch, a member of the city’s Special Events team.

“During the 4th of July we think about what it means to be an American and celebrate those who have made such sacrifices for our country,” Kock said. “We thought it was important to create an opportunity for Clearwater citizens to share their appreciation for these men and women during Clearwater Celebrates America.”

Most of the signatures on the banner were written by children. A sample of the messages includes: “Zackery Willard, Good Luck Dad,” “Happy Birthday Popa,” “Thank you fellow veterans. We pray for you every day,” and “You have served us well, good sirs and ma’ams!”

The banner was accepted by Director of Healthcare System Suzanne Klinker. The 3-foot by 5-foot banner will hang in the VA Center’s Community Living Center, which provides long-term care for up to 85 veterans.

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