By RICK NORTON
Military Appreciation Day organizers are looking for a few good businesses willing to step up as sponsors for the sixth annual event whose proceeds will launch the Bobby Taylor Memorial …
Military Appreciation Day organizers are looking for a few good businesses willing to step up as sponsors for the sixth annual event whose proceeds will launch the Bobby Taylor Memorial Scholarship.
Coordinated by the Lee University Flames baseball team and head coach Mark Brew, this year’s tribute to the military and to local veterans will be held Saturday, April 21.
In its first five years, Military Appreciation Day — whose primary sponsor again is Bank of Cleveland — has raised more than $45,000 in support of Cleveland and Bradley County veteran causes.
Effective this year, Military Appreciation Day is redirecting its focus: Instead of helping veterans organizations, proceeds will target individual needs by helping to provide a higher education to a veteran or to a veteran’s child or grandchild.
“The creation of a Military Appreciation Day scholarship recipient is a goal we have had since we began this event,” Brew said in a prior interview. “As we began researching someone to honor and name the scholarship after, we had two main goals: Identify someone who had served honorably in the military and someone who served our Cleveland and Bradley County community with distinction.”
In Brew’s words, the organizing committee “hit a home run” by identifying Taylor, the late co-founder of Bank of Cleveland who served his years as a businessman and volunteer advocating on behalf of veterans. Taylor served in the old Army Air Corps during World War II.
But to make Military Appreciation Day happen — as it has occurred in past years — will require the support of sponsors and business advocates. Several have already signed on to support the scholarship fundraiser, but Brew is inviting more the join the cause.
Along with Bank of Cleveland in the primary sponsor role, other supporters so far include: Cleveland Ford, Dos Bros Fresh Mexican Grill, Dick’s Graphics, Eric Evans-State Farm, Gobble’s Automotive, Jenkins Restaurant and Deli, state Rep. Kevin Brooks (24th Legislative District), Navy Federal Credit Union, Sports Clips, Stamper’s Furniture, Zaxby’s and the Cleveland Daily Banner.
“We are excited to be hosting our Military Appreciation Day on Saturday, April 21,” Brew said. “It is our sixth-consecutive year, and the growth of the event has been exciting to witness, and to be a part of in its planning.”
He added, “We once again have some great sponsors who have jumped on board and it has been exciting to see how the businesses and people in the community have embraced the event.”
Brew said he, and the event committee, are eager to welcome even more sponsors and business partners. From his perspective, veterans — and safeguarding their future, as well as that of their children and grandchildren — deserve this kind of support.
“We are honored to recognize the veterans and active servicemen and women in the community, and hope all will come out to honor these heroes,” Brew stressed.
The longtime coach and educator, whose Flames teams are bringing a distinct flare into their new NCAA Division II classification, is not alone in his excitement over the 2018 version of Military Appreciation Day.
Two sponsors who have been on board for years are just as eager.
One is Jennifer Callahan, owner of Dick’s Graphics and Printing.
“We are proud to have been a supporter of Lee University and their Military Appreciation Day for many years,” Callahan said. “Military service and veterans are very near and dear to our hearts. We feel this is a small way to give back to those who have given so much.”
She added, “This is a great community event and we hope to see lots of people come out and support our military and the Lee Flames on April 21!”
Dylan Thompson, district manager for Zaxby’s restaurants in the Cleveland area, described Military Appreciation Day as the kind of community involvement his company encourages.
“At Zaxby’s, we strive to give back to the community every way we can,” Thompson said. “We have sponsored Lee University for several years now so it only seemed fitting that we partner with them on Military Appreciation Day.”
He added, “We view this as a good way to work with our local university, and also support the men and women who have fought for our country. This will be the fifth year we have sponsored the event, and we enjoy it more and more every year.”
Sponsorship opportunities include: 5-Star General Level, $2,000; Colonel Level, $1,000; Captain Level, $500; Sergeant Level, $250; and Private Level, $100.
Sponsors are also invited to provide 200 items that can be placed in goodie bags that will be distributed to veterans attending the event. Items can include company logos.
Also, sponsors are invited to donate items for a silent auction that will be part of the afternoon fundraiser.
On tap for the afternoon (from 1 to 3 p.m.) will be free inflatables, games for the kids, military equipment for viewing and the silent auction. A veterans ceremony featuring the keynote address of [state Rep.] Brooks will take place at about 1:15 p.m. After the two-hour event, the Lee Flames will take the diamond against the University of West Georgia for a twin bill.
“We want those who serve in our community to realize we in the Bradley County community do care, and we appreciate, their service to our country,” Brew said.
Questions about Military Appreciation Day, or those interested in serving as sponsors or business partners, should contact Brew at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-8638.
More details about Military Appreciation Day will be published in the Cleveland Daily Banner print edition, and on the Banner website, as information is made available.
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