Veiga-Milton: Family Style Philanthropy | Veterans Day Edition

Philanthropist Ana VeigaMilton reflects on the cost of freedom and her support for a strong military.

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava holds up the Military Service Coin minted by Miami-Dade police to commemorate Veterans Day 2023. Cecil and Ana Milton join the Mayor and a few of our dedicated police officers.

Veterans Day encourages us to reflect on the cost of freedom and express our gratitude to those who have served and continue to serve to protect that freedom we, as Americans, value so dearly. Without support for a strong military to secure our borders, fight terrorism and cyber threats, and safeguard our interests abroad, I believe our freedom, economy, and lifestyle would undoubtedly be at risk. Additionally, most would agree, our military provides humanitarian aid in times of disaster, upholding democracy, human rights, and liberty around the globe.

My family, the José Million Foundation, and the Cecil & Ana Milton Family Foundation honor our veterans, military families, and police through sponsoring and hosting several events including: the Annual Police Veterans Appreciation Luncheon: Honoring our Bravest; the Miami-Dade County Veterans Appreciation Dinner and, through our support of the American Red Cross, Services for Military and Veteran Families Programs.

Representing US Southern Command stationed in Doral are Capt Nathan King, US Navy, and military service women and men from US Army with Commissioners Kione McGhee, Chair of the Military Affairs Board, and JC Bermudez, who led the charge to keep SOUTHCOM in Doral.

This year, in addition to police from Miami-Dade, Coral Gables, Medley, City of Miami, and several other municipal police departments, we had the honor to host active military personnel from US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). We heard Mayor Daniella Levine Cava express her gratitude to first responders and military personnel, proud that our county is among the safest places to live. Highly decorated Capt. Nathan King, US Navy, represented SOUTHCOM and spoke about how fulfilling military life is for him. He also thanked all the veterans in the room, many of whom also serve as police officers. Commissioner Kionne McGhee, Chairman of M-D’s Military Affairs Board, reiterated his commitment to the military and veterans. Commissioner Juan Carlos (JC) Bermudez reminded us of how he, as the founding mayor of Doral, and his colleagues fought to keep SOUTHCOM in South Florida, ultimately convincing the powers that be that Doral is the perfect place for the SOUTHCOM campus. Retired Major Grace O’Donnel from Quilts of Valor, a national organization of women who make personalized quilts to welcome our servicewomen and men home, presented quilts to three police officers, a very moving display of affection and gratitude. Our community is blessed to have such insightful and committed leaders! Cecil Milton thanked all who serve our country and community and expressed my family’s admiration and commitment to those who serve and sacrifice so that we can enjoy living in the best nation on earth.

Ivon Mesa, founder of the Veterans Appreciation Dinner, Ana VeigaMilton, one of over 90 veterans receiving a Certificate of Appreciation plus a gift card, Retired Sgt John Hearn, Miami-Dade Veteran Services Program Coordinator, celebrate our Veterans.

When the Miami-Dade Department of Community Action & Human Services lost its sponsor for the 6th Annual Veterans Appreciation Dinner, the event’s founder reached out to me, and of course, I stepped up to ensure we could show some love to our veterans. We presented Certificates of Appreciation and gift cards to over 90 veterans who attended with their families. We shared a beautiful evening of camaraderie, family, and community while expressing gratitude to our veterans. I felt very moved to meet so many heroes living in our community.

I was honored to visit SOUTHCOM for the October Red Cross Miami & Keys Chapter Board Meeting. After receiving a briefing on the activities of SOUTHCOM and the challenges faced in Latin America, my appreciation for our military grew exponentially. I was distressed to learn the extent of malign influence China (spying, extracting essential resources) and Russia (using propaganda and misinformation through social media) exert in Latin America and the Caribbean, determined to undermine US democratic influence. We are blessed to have General Laura J. Richardson, the first woman to lead SOUTHCOM, and her team combatting these forces through forging partnerships, providing humanitarian medical aid, and building trust with neighboring nations. Helping nations be resilient and stable with the support of the US military is the best way to combat harmful influences. Red Cross helps members of the military like those heroic women and men who serve through SOUTHCOM during deployment, while serving, and when they return home as veterans.

My family is proud to bring together our military, police, veterans, and community leaders to celebrate Veterans Day by thanking our heroes and breaking bread together. I hope I have inspired you to be intentional in honoring and thanking our veterans and those who serve.

Retired Sargeant Paul Hernandez, Assistant Police Director Rosanna Cordero-Stutz, Eric Milton, Comm Kionne McGhee (Chair of the Military Affairs Board), Comm JC Bermudez, Ana & Cecil Milton, Vice Chair Anthony Rodriguez, Alec Milton, and two of our finest Miami-Dade police officers at the Honoring our Bravest Military Appreciation Luncheon.
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