On a recent cool evening in Tampa, an intimate group got together for an exclusive event to raise money for a veteran’s non-profit called Honor Flight. The event brought together one of Tampa Bay’s finest Chefs, a limited-edition bottle from one of the country’s finest vineyards, and a WWII veteran with an inspiring message. The event raised $23,000 for the local chapter of Honor Flight and will be touching down again in South Florida, Atlanta, New York, and San Francisco.
A Special Night and a Very Special Appearance
The event took place on April 21st at Cena, Chef Michael Buttacavelli’s Italian restaurant in Tampa’s Channel District. Only 40 tickets were offered, and they sold out in hours.
The draw was the chance to hear from Sydney Levit, a World War II veteran. He spoke to the crowd about his experience in the war and the dedication of his generation. He also offered a message of gratitude to his country. Levit was 18 years old when he was drafted into the Army. He served in the 17th Airborne Division and fought in the Battle of the Bulge from December 1945 through January 1946. According to the National WWII Museum, 16 million American men and women served in the US Armed Forces during WWII. Levit is one of only 240,000 WWII veterans still alive today.
A Toast-Worthy Bottle from Caymus Vineyards
Levit is also one of four soldiers honored on a special edition label of Caymus Vineyards Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. Released in 2021, it is the first-ever limited-edition wine label honoring our WWII Veterans. The label on each bottle features photos of four WWII veterans taken of them during active duty. A QR code on the back of the label opens an 11-minute video that tells the stories of these men.
Honor Flight Helps Those Who Served
The event in Tampa was part of a nationwide fundraiser supported by several Honor Flight Chapters. The local chapter, Honor Flight West Central Florida, was established in 2010 as a regional hub of the Honor Flight Network. They fly American Veterans to Washington, DC, to visit national parks and monuments dedicated to those who fought for the freedoms we have today. The National WWII Memorial is a highlight of the day. The Covid pandemic temporarily halted mission flights, but the next one, the first since 2019, is scheduled for May 10th.
Ryan Patton, Honor Flight Founder and event organizer, said, “It’s an incredible gift that we get to give people that literally changed our lives. You could say they saved the world. We’d be a different country if not for these people.”
There are many ways to get involved with Honor Flight. Visit their website to learn more about the organization and ways to volunteer. Honor Flight accepts donations via check or through Paypal.
Sunny and Jordan Alexander–Veterans Helping Veterans
Sunny Alexander and her husband Jordan are veterans of the United States Army. She owns the website Sunny South Tampa and is committed to building a stronger South Tampa community. This blog is all about building better connections, stronger neighborhoods, and issues facing our military community. Sunny is also a licensed Real Estate Broker and focuses on serving the unique needs of the military community and dedicates her professional life to helping everyone find the right home. Find your next home by visiting her website, Sunny Sells Tampa, or call her at 931-237-6592. At Sunny South Tampa, we work to make South Tampa stronger together!