Caldwell Trust Company President and CEO Kelly Caldwell and his wife, Melissa, hosted a fundraiser at the company headquarters on Center Road in Venice to personally seek donations for Venice Middle Young Marines.

The goal is to raise $100,000 and the group is 60 percent there. The Caldwell’s believe in the program as their son, Zach Caldwell in his second year has grown into a well-disciplined young man possessing excellent leadership skills and much respect for his fellow young marines.

Since 2011, Venice Middle Young Marines have been teaching the values of discipline, courage and selfless service to its members, middle school students between the ages of 11 and 15 who all volunteer to be part of this full day magnet program, the first of its kind in a public school.

Every two years, the young marines seek to take a transformational trip to teach their students about the history of American’s veterans, their service and sacrifice for the country. In 2014, they were invited to the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, DC, where they carried flags, banners and supported the parade.

In 2016, attending the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor they participated in the parade and laid a wreath at the Punchbowl National Cemetery. Attending other ceremonies commemorating the event they met survivors of the attack and heard their stories.

This year 65 Venice Middle Young Marines will help to recognize and to celebrate the bravery of the servicemen who fought in the D-Day attack in Normandy, France. Laying wreaths at the American Cemetery and marching in the June 6 parade in St. Mere Eglise, honoring the bravery of the men who helped liberate Europe and the World.

This visit is more expensive and some of the students cannot participate without the financial support from local caring individuals and area businesses. For details call Sheryl Vieira at Caldwell Trust, 941-493-3600.

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