VIDEO: Cape Canaveral Ladies Honor Veterans, Offer Comfort and Condolences To Grieving Families
By Central Florida Humanitarians // May 25, 2017
CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN AWARDS
ABOVE VIDEO: Two years ago, during the burial at Arlington of Lieutenant Colonel Sylvester Merritt, his wife, Cozette, noticed a woman standing as silent witness during the solemn ceremony. When Merritt learned of the opening of the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery, she wanted to start in Brevard an organization similar to the Arlington Ladies, to gather a group of volunteers to pay final tribute to veterans buried at the new cemetery.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Two years ago, during the burial at Arlington of Lieutenant Colonel Sylvester Merritt, his wife, Cozette, noticed a woman standing as silent witness during the solemn ceremony.
Afterward, she approached Cozette and introduced herself as one of the Arlington Ladies, volunteers who accompany all the burials at the national cemetery.
“Her sincerity really moved me,” said Cozette Merritt.
When Merritt learned of the opening of the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery, she wanted to start in Brevard an organization similar to the Arlington Ladies, to gather a group of volunteers to pay final tribute to veterans buried at the new cemetery.
Talking to local women’s groups, she soon found more than 40 willing volunteers.
“These wonderful, amazing ladies started to come forth,” said Merritt.
They’re young, they’re old. Some are military wives. Others are businesswomen. Some have never worked outside the home.
“Many have no military connections,” said Merritt.
Their one connection is their desire to honor the veterans and offer comfort and heartfelt condolences to the grieving families. They work as two-women teams at all funerals, which are held rain or shine five days a week.
Debra Gray, one of the Canaveral Ladies, also offers her magnificent gypsy vanner horses and a specially made caisson for the funerals.
Since the members of the young organization began attending funerals at the National Cemetery in May of this year, they have not missed one.
Merritt estimates that the Canaveral Ladies have attended the funerals of 800 veterans and their spouses.
“We believe that no soldier should be buried alone, and there are many in that situation out there,” said Merritt.
The rich and the poor are buried at the new cemetery, as are the well-loved and the friendless. Members of the Greatest Generation lie peacefully next to veterans of conflicts in the Middle East.
It’s not unusual to have the Canaveral Ladies as the only persons present at a funeral. Some of the deceased are homeless and with no family. Others have families who choose to forget them, or for some other reason, cannot make the ceremony.
Merritt recounts the story of a veteran married 70 years. The man was burying his wife at Cape Canaveral, but none of his children or other family attended.
The Canaveral Ladies were the only ones there. For that veteran, on that very dark day, the Canaveral Ladies offered priceless solace, as they do for all the funerals at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery.
FOR MORE INFORMATION about the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala call 321-323-4460 or 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com
Recognizing Outstanding Individuals & Organizations Who Dedicate Their Time, Talent and Treasure
CENTRAL FLORIDA, USA – The 2016 Central Florida Humanitarians have been announced and include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities.
Also announced today was the honoree for the Lifetime Achievement. Information about the hospital and hospice volunteers will be released Oct. 1.
The Central Florida Humanitarian honorees will be recognized during a Gala event on Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.
The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards were created seven years ago by Space Coast Daily to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that dedicate their time, talent or treasure to help people in need locally – and around the world.
TIME: In this category consider candidates who have selflessly and consistently devoted their time as volunteers at hospitals and nursing homes, in activities for the less fortunate and as organizers, administrators or operatives in the many other altruistic endeavors in our community.
TALENT: In this category give consideration to those who have volunteered their special talents and expertise to address specific circumstances in which the lives of those in need are improved.
TREASURE: The humanitarians in this category will include those who have generously shared their monetary good fortune and/or volunteered their time and efforts in fund raising for the advancement of a philanthropic cause.
All 2016 honorees will be featured in the Oct/Nov 2016 edition of Space Coast Daily magazine and online at SpaceCoastDaily.com. The magazine will be available the first week of October in both print and digital editions, which will also be available on SpaceCoastDaily.com.
ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS SELECTED TO BE HONORED INCLUDE:
• 211 Brevard
• Advocates For Aging
• Rusty Buchanan
• Steve Bunker
• Cape Canaveral Ladies
• Stop the Bleed Team
• Junior League of South Brevard
• Space Coast Iceplex Disabled Sled Hockey
• AJ Hiers
• Sharon James
• Keep Brevard Beautiful
• Janet Marks
• Paws and Stripes College
• Port Canaveral Commission
• Col. Danny McKnight
• Rolling Readers Space Coast
• Leo Roselip
• Space Coast Health Foundation
• Space Coast Paratroopers
• Central Florida Animal Refuge
• BCSO Chief Deputy Doug Waller
• Jarvis Wash
• Dr. Carlos Woodward
• The 2016 Central Florida Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement honoree is Bernie Simpkins.
HONORING SELFLESS VOLUNTEERISM
As always, the Central Florida Humanitarian committee will also honor hospital and hospice volunteers from Health First Hospice, the Dr. Jey Pillai Center for Hospice Care at Wasdin Woods, VITAS, Hospice of St. Francis, Health First Cape Canaveral Hospital, Health First Viera Hospital, Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center, Health First Palm Bay Hospital, Wuesthoff Medical Center – Melbourne, Wuesthoff Medical Center – Rockledge, the VA Clinic in Viera, and Sebastian River Medical Center.
“Over the years, our editorial team has had the distinct honor and pleasure of identifying and featuring the many members of our community who give back so much and are dedicated to reaching out and helping others, here and throughout the world, in a multitude of ways,” said Space Coast Daily Editor-In-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo.
“For the seventh consecutive year, we will once again produce the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala on the first Thursday of November. This year, more than 30 deserving humanitarians will be honored during the Gala.”
The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards will be part of Space Coast Medicine Week, a comprehensive series of health and educational events produced by Space Coast Daily.
JOIN US FOR AN INSPIRATIONAL EVENING
This inspiring and compelling event is sponsored by Parrish Medical Center, SOAR, BioCellular Therapies, Brighthouse Networks, First Choice Medical Group, Clear Choice Health Care, Community Credit Union, Lake Nona Medical Arts, Brevard Geriatrics, Knudson Brain & Spine Law Injury Office, Dr. Mark Pinsky, Space Coast Daily magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com. Each honoree or organization will be presented the Central Florida Humanitarian Crystal Globe.
“We would like to thank our long list of sponsors who support the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards and who make this wonderful event possible,” said Giles Malone, a partner with Space Coast Daily and Brevard Productions, who annually produce all the events of Space Coast Medicine Week.
COMPELLING MULTIMEDIA TRIBUTE VIDEOS & STORIES
Stay tuned to Space Coast Daily magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com for exclusive and comprehensive multimedia coverage of each honoree as we present their compelling stories.
“Please join us on Thursday, Nov. 3 to celebrate and be inspired by these incredible individuals and groups,” said Space Coast Daily President & Publisher Tom Palermo.
“In the meantime, please click the link below that showcases the distinguished Central Florida Humanitarian Alumni.”
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN ALUMNI
FOR MORE INFORMATION or to make a reservation to attend the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala call 321-323-4460 or 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com
ABOVE MAP: The 2016 Central Florida Humanitarian Awards will take place Thursday, Nov. 3 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, located at 200 Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.