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BBQ fundraiser to benefit local veterans organization

By Staff | May 18, 2016

To the editor:

Mantanzas by the Bay will host the third annual Memorial Day BBQ and Blues Festival for Operation Open Arms on May 28. This is an all day event until 10 p.m. Prizes, auctions, 50-50, and $15 BBQ plates. All donations to OOA are 100 percent tax deductible.

Unlike some charities in our news these days, Operation Open Arms pays no salaries. OOA takes no lavish vacations to exotic destinations. OOA has no payroll. OOA has no employees. To date, 3,297 U.S. troops returning from combat and Purple Heart recipients (please excuse me for not using the term “wounded warriors”) have received $13.1 million in direct benefits.

OOA has been nominated for the highest medal the US Army awards to a civilian.

OOA has received countless awards for excellence including two Department of Defense Seven SEALS Awards, Lee County Junonia, Lee County E-Award “Honor of Distinction,” Key to the City of Fort Myers, Al Miles Citizen of the Year Award, Paul Wilson Rotary Fellow, and Honorary American Legion + Gold Brigade recognition. Operation Open Arms was named the 2012 SW Florida Charitable Organization of the Year by Florida Weekly.

Eleven years have passed since the Today Show (NBC) featured OOA on Memorial Day 2005. In 2009, OOA was yet again featured on the Today Show being the first charity to offer free PTSD counseling.

Honored by two sitting US Presidents, Operation Open Arms is licensed in Florida and Maryland. U.S. troops from all 50 states are eligible for benefits. Donations are 100 percent tax deductible and can be made at www.operationopenarms.org and by check at OOA/P.O.Box 101, St James City, Fl 33956

The IRS has designated OOA a 501(c)3 public charity.

Semper Fi

Capt John “GiddyUp” Bunch

Founder/Operation Open Arms

St. James City