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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Honoring our Heroes

HART salutes our military, past and present
At the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month in 1918, armistice was declared, effectively ending four years of battle that would come to be known as World War I.

By 1954, a veteran of another war, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, signed a bill recognizing November 11 as a day to honor the brave men (and women) who fought in all of America's wars.

That's why we recognize veterans on November 11 each year. Today, we take a page from history and salute our own heroes on this Veterans Day. HART is proud to provide free service to all active and retired military personnel today, along with their dependents.

A House of Heroes
Not long ago, a veterans' advocacy group approached HART with a request: could we offer free rides for veterans in need? From those conversations, a special salute to veterans on their day of honor was born.

One of the local organizations that we've been working with is Liberty Manor for Veterans, a "non-profit organization with the objective of promoting the developmental and social needs of veterans who have served our country and fought for our independence...but fallen victim to homelessness."

Liberty Manor, which declares "the home of the free because of the brave" on its website, provides transitional housing to homeless veterans, helping them with job skills and connecting them with sources of financial support such as military pensions or Social Security disability compensation, putting them back on the road to self-sufficiency.

Stories of people helped by Liberty Manor range from an 86-year-old member of the "Greatest Generation" who fought in World War II, to a young Iraq War veteran who developed a severe medical condition while serving - along with veterans of every war in between.

In fact, one of Liberty Manor's success stories is a veteran who was eventually hired as a HART bus driver!

Having veterans behind the wheel of our buses helps us understand how important reliable transportation is for men and women who bravely served and have now fallen on hard times. The James A. Haley VA Hospital in the USF area is one of our most requested destinations, with former military personnel making frequent medical trips there.

HART is honored to play a small part in making the lives of our veterans a little easier. We thank all military personnel, past and present, for your sacrifice and your service.

For more on Liberty Manor for Veterans, visit their website here.

We also thank our other military partners, including the Veterans Advocacy Council, the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County, and Friend of Families Foundation.org.

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