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HomeBusiness & CommunityJuly 4th Heroes Boat Parade and Silent Auction

July 4th Heroes Boat Parade and Silent Auction

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A festive celebration of those who serve their country—held on a day that celebrates the true spirit of our nation. The Hernando Beach Yacht Club (HBYC) is proud to announce the 3rd Annual Heroes Boat Parade and Silent Auction, a community celebration that both honors veterans and generates funds for the Florida Veterans Foundation. This event happens Thursday, July 4th, on Hernando Beach. The parade starts at noon; a parade party runs from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Hernando Beach Yacht Club, 4163 Shoal Line Blvd, Hernando Beach, FL 34607.

Founded in 1978, the Hernando Beach Yacht Club is a cornerstone of the Hernando Beach community, dedicated to fostering a love of boating and supporting local charitable causes.

“We aim for this year’s Heroes Boat Parade to be bigger and better,” said Ralph Kennedy, Fleet Captain of HBYC. “We want to get the community involved to help the vets.”

For three years, a proud parade of beautifully decorated boats has taken to the sparkling waters just beyond Hernando Beach. Adorned in bright patriotic colors and festive designs, this parade’s spectacle makes for the ultimate Independence Day celebration.

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“We conceptualized the Heroes Boat Parade three years ago as we were wrapping up that year’s Hernando Beach Yacht Club Christmas Boat Parade,” Kennedy explained. “We wanted to host a boat parade to honor veterans—and as Veterans Day and Memorial Day are more somber occasions, we decided to host our Heroes Parade on the Fourth of July. A time of celebration.”

“If it wasn’t for the veterans,” said Kennedy. “We wouldn’t have our independence. What better time than Independence Day to honor them?”

Aside from the much-anticipated boat parade, this year’s Heroes Boat Parade Party will feature live music from CMT Top Ten Artist Chas Collins, world-class BBQ provided by Hart’s Meat Market, and a boat watch party—with guests beholding a parade featuring the Island Rose Dinner & Cruise boat, provided by Marina Rose Enterprises of Hernando Beach, which will showcase a group of disabled veterans riding aboard, another boat featuring a crew of women veterans, and much more. Prizes will be given to the Most Patriotic, Most Military and Most Creative boats.

A silent auction will offer a multitude of fun and luxurious items, including pontoon rides and restaurant gift certificates donated by local businesses and community members.

“This is a community event for all ages,” said Kennedy. “This is for our whole community.”

All proceeds from the event will go directly to the Florida Veterans Foundation, which provides immediate assistance to veterans facing hardship.

Also, on June 6 at 5:30 p.m., a special dinner will be served at the yacht club to honor veterans. The keynote speaker will be U.S. Army Special Ops Veteran Romulo “Romy “Camargo. He spoke for the Gary Sinise Foundation, and in June 2015, Romy and his wife, Gaby, founded Stay in Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center based in Tampa, Florida. Stay in Step serves returning service members and veterans who not only have endured spinal cord injuries but also those with neurological disorders causing paralysis. Also, Stella Kelly’s Quilt of Valor will be presented to a deserving veteran. For more information and to make reservations, call Kennedy at (813) 480-3015.

“This is a worthy cause,” said Kennedy. “Our vets deserve the best. We checked out a number of local vets organizations and loved what the Florida Veterans Foundation was doing for veterans in this area.”
“Some vets try to apply for benefits that are owed to them, but they don’t know where to go—or maybe the paperwork is so voluminous, they give up,” Kennedy explained. “The Florida Veterans Foundation helps them discover and apply for the benefits coming to them. And they offer special services, like a veterans hotline for those who need to talk.”

“This is a way for us to give back to those who have given so much for us,” said Pat Coggins, HBYC Commodore.

Tickets are available for pre-purchase at $30 or $35 at the door. For more information, please visit the website at HernandoBeachYC.com, https://www.hernandobeachyc.com/heroes-boat-parade/, to buy parade party tickets, register your boat for the parade, or bid on a silent auction item.

“This is a worthy cause,” said Kennedy.

[Photo courtesy of Ralph Kennedy]
[Photo courtesy of Ralph Kennedy]

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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