Veterans Day (copy)

Boaters take part in the 2018 Veterans Boat Parade in Madeira Beach.

Patriotic boats heading to Intracoastal

MADEIRA BEACH — American Legion Post 273 and the City of Madeira Beach will host the 24th annual Veterans Boat Parade on Saturday, Nov. 14.

Boats will muster in the cove adjacent to the Legion docks along the east side of the Tom Stuart Causeway beginning at 10 a.m. Opening ceremonies start at 10:30, and boats will travel the Intracoastal Waterway through Madeira Beach channels to John’s Pass and into the Isle of Palms in Treasure Island before returning to the Madeira Beach Municipal Marina on the west side of the Causeway.

An after-party will be held at the marina, 503 150th Ave., Madeira Beach. There will be a cornhole tournament for charity and a $1,000 prize for the best-decorated boat.

The captain’s meeting will take place Thursday, Nov. 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the Madeira Beach marina.

American Legion Post 273 is open to the public on the day of the event. Other viewing areas include ROC Park at the Madeira Beach municipal/recreational complex; the Elks Lodge at 14111 E. Parsley Drive in Madeira Beach; the John’s Pass Boardwalk; and along the south side of John’s Pass near the site of the former Gator’s Café and Saloon in Treasure Island.

Organizers are trying to top last year’s record of 54 boats involved in the patriotic event. For more information and a route map, see veteransboatparade.org.

Largo to honor veterans, employees who served

LARGO — The City of Largo will honor veterans with a virtual presentation at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11. Viewers can stream it live on Facebook.com/CityofLargo or tune into Spectrum cable channel 639, WOW channel 15, or Frontier Communications channel 45.

It can also be viewed on demand once it has concluded.

The city will also honor veteran employees with a video series throughout the month of November, which can be viewed on the city’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

Veterans Day marked at Bay Pines VA

The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System will commemorate Veterans Day with a virtual ceremony at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11. Spectators can watch the ceremony via Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/VABayPines.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to providing outstanding health care and service to veterans, but it is also our duty to honor and pay tribute to them regardless of the current circumstances surrounding the pandemic,” said Paul Russo, director and chief executive officer of the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System. “While it is important that we continue to comply with social distancing guidance from the CDC, we are fortunate to be able to continue to show our respect and appreciation for their sacrifice and service to America in this virtual capacity.”

Retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. James S. “Hammer” Hartsell will provide the keynote address. Hartsell was appointed as the deputy executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs in April 2019.

St. Petersburg celebrates, honors 2 vets

ST. PETERSBURG — The city’s annual Veterans Day Celebration will return for its seventh year in a row at Williams Park in St. Petersburg. At 8 a.m. on Wednesday Nov. 11, Mayor Rick Kriseman will pay tribute present the Honored Veteran Award to two outstanding local veterans.

The park is at 330 2nd Ave. N. Capacity will be limited and attendees will be expected to maintain social distance. All city guidelines and recommendations for assembly referenced in The St. Pete Way toolkit on RestartStPete.com will be followed.

Those interested in attending are encouraged to watch the Facebook Live stream of the event at facebook.com/StPeteFL.

This year's Honored Veteran Awards will be presented to the late Bill Heller, former dean at USF St. Petersburg and Army veteran Jim Nixon, LGBTQ liaison with the City of St. Petersburg and Navy veteran.

Harold William "Bill" Heller passed away in St. Petersburg in September 2020. He was a longtime leader in the community, an educator, state representative, philanthropist, and volunteer for countless organizations. He served as the dean and chief executive of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg for ten years, transforming the university from a small, commuter school serving only upperclassmen and graduate students to the place it is today.

Heller was a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, and was interred at Bay Pines National Cemetery.

James "Jim" Nixon serves as the LGBTQ liaison in the Office of the Mayor for the City of St. Petersburg. He is the former marketing manager at Metro Inclusive Health and has been a constant marketing force in the LGBTQ community throughout Tampa Bay through his time at the Dali Museum, Ruth Eckerd Hall, and the Watermark newspaper. Jim has raised thousands of dollars to combat HIV and AIDS through his participation in The SMART Ride from Miami to Key West.

Nixon is a veteran of the Navy, serving as a Seaman Recruit Quartermaster aboard the USS Raleigh in 1984. Jim was discharged for being gay and denied the opportunity to fulfill his dream of a career in the U.S. Navy.

As a leader in the community, Jim has shared his story of resilience with others, pointing out the discrimination our LGBTQ service members faced and why the fight for equality and justice must continue.