Marco Island's veterans were celebrated in a big way at Marco Lutheran Church on Friday morning. The event drew hundreds of vets and supporters to the church sanctuary.
The annual Veterans Day gathering was held at the church again this year due to Hurricane Nicole, delaying the rededication of the newly refurbished Veterans’ Community Park. However, the day turned out to be sunny and beautiful despite the threat of bad weather.
Lee Rubenstein, post commander of American Legion Post #404 on Marco Island and master of ceremonies, introduced speakers such as Collier County Undersheriff Jim Bloom and Carl Steinhoff of Rolling Thunder.
Not only were two members of "America's Greatest Generation" present at the ceremony, but they are also longtime residents of Marco Island - Donald Mills and Sal Sciarrino. Even members of the Marco Military Family who have died since 2022 were honored when Past Commander Bob Boone of the Marco Island Civil Air Patrol called out their names.
Both spoke about the importance of remembering POW and MIA service members who have not been forgotten. Rick LoCastro, Collier Commissioner and retired Air Force Colonel, spoke about the United States Space Force - a recent military division whose objective is to help protect the US in space.