Leon County Honors America's Heroes Through Volunteer Service [GALLERY]

By: Lanetra Bennett
September 4, 2013

Leon County, FL - Leon County officials want to reshape the notion of 9-11 as one of tragedy and sadness-- to thoughts of honor, triumph and service.

They're urging the community to get into the spirit of volunteerism.

Leaders are helping a local veteran and first responder through the county's flagship service project.

Leon County resident Jerry Allen, says carpenters that he's hired in the past skipped town on him.

He says the ceiling they put up in his home stayed up for only six months. "It fell down, so all my ceiling was gone." Allen says.

But, the workers at his home Wednesday, he calls heaven sent: "Commissioner Kemp, he has really done miracles. All of these volunteers, they're just great, really great."

During the week leading up to September 11th, Leon County employees are honoring America's heroes by joining volunteers to repair the homes of disabled residents and veterans.

Allen, who is a first responder in Woodville and served two tours in Vietnam, was beyond grateful for the volunteers at his home Wednesday.

He says, "It means the world to me because I'm getting something that I couldn't afford. i thought that they had forgotten us Vietnam veterans.

Leon County Commission Chairman Nick Maddox "This is what it's all about--35 million volunteers coming together to do something special."

Commissioner Maddox and other volunteers put down sod in Allen's backyard Wednesday. Other volunteers did landscaping, painting, general clean-up, and much more.

Allen says, "I had a lot of problems, the ceiling, floors. I've been trying to figure out a way--I've tried to borrow money from the banks, but, my credit score was too low. If it weren't for Commissioner Kemp, I wouldn't have anything because my place was falling apart. He has really done me a good job."

There are six additional housing repair and rehabilitation projects taking place during the week. To volunteer and/or get more information, please see the press release below.

Press Release: Leon County

WHO: Leon County

WHAT: Housing Repair and Rehabilitation Service Projects benefitting Low-Income Disabled and Veteran Homeowners, leading up to the "9/11 Day of Remembrance and Service Ceremony"

WHEN: September 4 - September 11

WHERE: 2662 Low Ridge Lane and other locations

Leon County Government wants to reshape the notion of 9/11 as one of tragedy and sadness to thoughts of honor, triumph and service. The County is spearheading a grassroots movement of recovery and renewal by urging its employees and the community to get involved in service projects and a remembrance ceremony in response to the events of 9/11. Leon County wants the spirit of volunteerism to expand to a year-round commitment. The annual 9/11 Day of Remembrance and Service ceremony is a positive, forward-looking way that the community can come together through volunteerism. The ceremony focuses on paying homage to those we lost, embracing those who survived and paying respect to those who rose in service in the aftermath of the attacks.

September 11 has now emerged as the nation's largest single day of charitable engagement. Last year, a record 35 million people observed 9/11 by engaging in service projects.

Consistent community service efforts create a positive cycle that rekindles the spirit of unity that ignited Americans immediately after September 11, 2001. During the week leading up to the ceremony, Leon County employees will join forces with volunteers to help low-income homeowners by repairing the homes of disabled residents and veterans throughout Leon County.

The County's flagship service project will be held on Wednesday, September 4, beginning at 9 a.m. Leon County is taking on the housing repair and rehabilitation of 2662 Low Ridge Lane - a home that belongs to a veteran who is a first responder at the Woodville Fire Station. County employees and community volunteers will be painting the home, staining cabinets, landscaping and providing general clean-up.

In addition to this service project, there are six additional housing repair and rehabilitation projects taking place during the week that could benefit from the time and talents of more volunteers. To join the team in service, the community is encouraged to log on to www.VolunteerLEON.org and choose the date, time and service project that best fits schedules and talents. Additionally, Leon County Volunteer Services can be reached at (850) 606-1970.

On Wednesday, September 11, Leon County will host the third annual Day of Remembrance and Service Ceremony at The Florida State University School of Law, 425 W. Jefferson St. Volunteers will be asked to sign up to assemble military care packages and also write notes of encouragement for local soldiers deployed overseas. Volunteer sign in begins at 10:30 a.m. and the formal ceremony begins at 11 a.m. with service activities immediately following. Volunteers will be treated to lunch served by Leon County Public Works employees.

Leon County Commission Chairman Nick Maddox is scheduled to provide remarks. This year, the ceremony will also include the first annual presentation of Holland & Knight's Glenn J. Winuk Humanitarian Service Award, presented by Bob Martinez, former Governor of Florida. Community partner Holland & Knight created the Glenn J. Winuk Humanitarian Service Award to honor its former partner, a New York-based attorney, volunteer firefighter and EMT who was killed on 9/11 in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

After helping to evacuate Holland & Knight's New York City office, which was located just two blocks from the towers, Winuk entered the South Tower with a borrowed medical bag to render medical assistance. He died when the South Tower collapsed. Winuk was posthumously awarded the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor by President Barack Obama and the United States Department of Justice.

For more information about the ceremony or how to volunteer for these service projects, contact Jeri Bush, Director of Leon County Volunteer Services, at (850) 606-1970 work / (850) 228-5052 cell / BushJ@LeonCountyFL.gov or Jon D. Brown, Director of Leon County Community and Media Relations, at (850) 606-5300 work / (850) 694-1405 cell / cmr@LeonCountyFL.gov .

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