Cruise to honor veterans and encourage job opportunities
Jul 15, 2012, 9:41 p.m.
By Maria Sonnenberg
Most of the board of the Corporal Larry E. Smedley National Vietnam War Museum are veterans and thus know what a soldier most wants when returning home after the long fight.
“We know that when you come back after a long deployment, the thing you most want is to spend some quality time with your significant others,” said Al Schroeder, president of ARCapital and on the advisory board at the Orlando war museum.
“We also know that it’s good to be with the people who’ve shared the same experiences you’ve had. Anyone who comes back, comes back changed.”
To thank the Central Florida Reserve and Guard members returning from recent tours of duty in the Middle East, the Museum has initiated a three-day cruise to the Bahamas. Returning Central Florida soldiers, chosen by their individual command units, will receive a stateroom for two with all taxes, port charges and gratuities paid for this year’s Dec. 7 sailing from Port Canaveral of Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas.
“We chose Dec. 7 because it is Pearl Harbor Day,” explained Schroeder.
The cruise is more than some well-deserved R&R, for gaining strength from each other and networking with well-connected veterans also taking the voyage are important parts of the plan. Many of the soldiers’ jobs disappeared before they returned and they are facing an uncertain future.
“We have representatives from the national defense industry who will be sailing along with the veterans, so it will be an excellent opportunity to network,” said Schroeder.
The museum, a 501(c)(3) charity, welcomes donations from individuals and businesses to purchase the goal of 500 staterooms for the returning veterans. Gifts are tax-deductible. The community, particularly veterans, is invited to participate in the cruise.
“We will purchase as many staterooms as we can, but the cruise is definitely going to happen,” said Schroeder.
To contribute towards the Thank You, Veterans cruise or for more information on reserving a stateroom, visit thankyouveteranscruise.org or call Al Schroeder at 407-679-6674.