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Welcome home, veterans

April 22, 2024

On Tuesday, April 16, I had the privilege and honor to participate in the Southwest Florida Honor Flight and represent the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce.

There were 99 veterans along with their guardians who had the opportunity to tour Washington, D.C., for an exhilarating day visiting the Iwo Jima Memorial, WWII Memorial, Koran Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the Military Women’s Memorial.

On a personal note, I had the pleasure of accompanying Albert Perna, a Korean War veteran from 1952–1954, through our travels from Punta Gorda to Washington, D.C., and back. He is an amazing gentleman, and it was an incredibly special and memorable full day for all of us.

The homecoming was like nothing I had ever seen before. When we landed late Tuesday evening at the Punta Gorda Airport, there were thousands of family, friends, neighbors and community leaders there for the “Welcome Home” of a lifetime. It is difficult to put it in words to see the tears and full array of emotions from all the veterans as we all went through the terminal. This was a huge surprise orchestrated by the Southwest Florida Honor Flight organization.

I’d like to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation for the veterans who have served our country with honor, courage and sacrifice. As we reflect on the invaluable contributions of our veterans, I am reminded of the debt of gratitude we owe to these brave men and women who have selflessly defended our freedoms and way of life.

The sacrifices made by our veterans, both on and off the battlefield, have secured the liberties and opportunities that we enjoy today. Their unwavering commitment to duty and service exemplifies the highest ideals of patriotism and sacrifice. It is because of their dedication and bravery that we live in a nation that cherishes freedom, democracy and human rights.

On this day, and every day, let us honor our veterans not just with words of appreciation, but with actions that demonstrate our unwavering support. To all the veterans who have served, past and present, I offer my heartfelt thanks for your service and sacrifice. Your courage and dedication inspire us all, and your legacy will forever be etched in the fabric of our nation’s history.

Chamber activities

Business Card Exchange (member event): 5–7 p.m., Thursday, April 25, Parkside Assisted Living and Memory Cottage, 2595 Harbor Blvd., Port Charlotte. Appetizers, beer, wine and soft drinks will be provided. Fun and games, of course. Bring a gift to promote your business. Don’t forget your business cards.

Registration is requested for all events. To RSVP, visit or call the chamber office at 941-627-2222.

Ribbon Cuttings

Ribbon cuttings are an effective way to meet the business owners (and fellow chamber members) in an informal atmosphere and develop great connections. Plus, you get familiar with their products and services provided. Please take the time to show your support and attend our ribbon cuttings!

Registration is requested for all events. To RSVP, visit or call the chamber office at 941-627-2222.

Bert’s Black Widow Harley-Davidson: 4–5:30 p.m. (ribbon-cutting at 4:45 p.m.) Tuesday, April 30, 2224 El Jobean Road, Port Charlotte. Appetizers, beer, soft drinks from the Twisted Fork will be provided. Gather in the showroom for a raffle ticket for a Black-Widow/Harley-Davidson gift basket.

Charlie Foxtrot Brewing (grand opening): 4–8 p.m. (ribbon-cutting at 5 p.m.) Thursday, May 2, 1700 Tamiami Trail, Suite A5, Port Charlotte. Special offer: buy one pint, get one pint free. Raffle: Pint Platoon Membership (one pint of beer free weekly for one year). Food truck available for purchase. This will be a joint ribbon-cutting with our friends from the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce.

Special events

Celebrate National Karaoke Week: 5:30–7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 23 at Gilded Grape Winery & Wine Bar, HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

Bob White is executive director of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce.