As Veterans Day was celebrated last week, I was fortunate enough to attend the Veterans Day

Ceremony at the William R. Gaines Jr. Veterans Memorial Park. To say how inspiring it was, would not even scratch the surface for the first-hand appreciation and gratitude and hearing the heartfelt stories from those who have served and speaking randomly with many in attendance. At times our given freedoms are often taken for granted, but due to the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the armed forces, reminds us of the herculean commitment and sacrifice that is made on a daily basis. Which gives us the opportunity to live our lives in peace, being able to help others and strive to make our community we live, work and play in the best place it can be. Our veterans as well as our first

responders deserve our ultimate respect and gratefulness, as they put their lives on the line daily for us.

Did you know that there are over 25,000 veterans living Charlotte County? There is a wide range of veteran services available locally. There is 24-hour counseling service for the National Veteran Crisis Hotline at 800-273-8255, Florida Veterans Support Line at 844-693-5838, Port Charlotte VA Outpatient Clinic located at 4161 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte – 941-235-2710 or to find a Veteran Service Officer that will assist in properly completing claims and avoiding unnecessary delays by calling 941-764-5579.

#OurFutureIsNow

#honoringourveterans

#honoringourfirstresponders

#OneCommunity

Charlotte County Chamber Activities

Toys for Tots. Our Chamber office located at 2702 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte is a drop off collection site for new unwrapped toys for the youth in our community who are in need. Please feel free to swing by to drop off the toys. Toys will be collected up to Thursday, Dec. 9. There is no better way to put a smile on a child’s face during Christmas time than receiving a brand new toy.

Third Wednesday Coffee. Wednesday, Nov. 17 will be at the Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center. Please make a note, as we have adjusted our time. The event will be from 8–9 a.m. The coffee sponsor is AAA Auto Club Group and our nonprofit speaker will be Gator Wilderness Camp School. As a new feature to our program for November, we have invited all our new members from the past three months to set up a table to showcase their products and services to all the attendees. This will be a great opportunity to get better acquainted with our new members. Immediately following our Third Wednesday Coffee, we’ll have a ribbon cutting for The Punta Gorgeous Store.

Ribbon cutting, Thursday, Nov. 18 for Perfectly Polished Nail Boutique located at 121 E. Marion Ave., Suite 111, Punta Gorda. The ribbon cutting will take place at 5:30 p.m. Please plan on attending to help celebrate their 4th anniversary.

Blood drive, Tuesday, Nov.23 at the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce located at 2702

Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte – Sun Coast Blood Center will be on site from 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

Other special events

43rd Annual Charlotte County Christmas Parade (Toys, Trains & Candy Canes). On Saturday, Dec. 11, thousands of residents and visitors will line the streets with excitement to see all the floats, trucks, cars, fire trucks, marching bands and of course, Santa himself. If you would like the opportunity to promote and market your business in a holiday and fun way, visit our website at charlottecountychamber.org to complete your entry form or call the chamber office with any question at 941-627-2222.

11th Annual “Hottest Business Day in Paradise” Business Expo: Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022 at the Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center. The Expo is from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. and is free and open to the public. There will be over 100 local businesses showcasing and marketing their products and services. Traditionally, there will be between 1,000-1,200 attendees whose attention you will capture. To be in front of that many people in just a matter of five hours, would be an excellent opportunity for lead generation, sales or making those great business-to-business connections. If you are a chamber member and would like to participate as an exhibitor and/or expo sponsor, visit our website at charlottecountychamber.org or feel free contact our chamber office for all the details.

Bob White is executive director of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce.

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