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JAX Chamber hosts Military Appreciation Luncheon

More than 900 people attended the Military Appreciation Luncheon hosted by the JAX Chamber at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.

A Chamber tradition, the annual luncheon brings the business community together to honor the brave men and women from all branches of the local military community, including active duty, reservists, veterans and their families.

“We are privileged to live in a country where our freedoms are protected by millions of individuals who have served in the past or are currently serving in one of the branches of our country’s uniformed services,” said Chamber Military Issues Chair and retired Rear Adm. James Stevenson. “It is truly wonderful to witness the support the Northeast Florida community gives to our military – at this event and throughout the year.”

Rear Adm. John C. “Jack” Scorby, Jr., commander, Navy Region Southeast, was the event’s keynote speaker. He spoke about what the Navy is doing to conserve energy and water resources, how they are working with the communities outside the fence line to strike a balance of compatible land use and their need for the judicious use of resources.

“I am so thankful for everyone who came today to pay tribute to the people I consider to be some of my personal heroes, our military men and women,” Scorby said. “We are a team – the city of Jacksonville and our military men and women and their families. The fact that you hosted a luncheon like this today and that so many dignitaries were present shows just how much you care. And let me tell you, it does not go unnoticed.”

The master of ceremonies included 2009 Chamber Chair Mike Hightower, who is also the immediate past chairman of the Board of the United States Naval Academy and an Air Force and Vietnam Veteran; Jerome Cayangyang, lieutenant commander and command chaplain for Naval Station Mayport, and Ted Hewitt, board chair of VyStar Credit Union, the presenting sponsor for the event.

The 125th Fighter Wing of the Florida Air National Guard based at Jacksonville International Airport presented colors, and Navy Region Southeast Band performed during the event. Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown also spoke, thanking the military for the outstanding service to its country and the community.

The Chamber hosts the annual luncheon not only to recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by military personnel but also to honor the military’s presence in the community and its impact on the local economy. Northeast Florida’s military installations have a combined total of more than $14.2 billion in annual regional economic impact, employ more than 46,000 people and account for more than 250,000 residents living in the region between active duty, reserves and retired veterans.

“It is important that we come together and show our appreciation and gratitude for their contributions, because the military community is truly at the core of our region’s success,” said Wally Lee, president of the JAX Chamber. “In addition to their duties to support our nation’s defense, the brave men and women of the Armed Forces are our neighbors, friends and family, and they make up the fabric of our community.”

For more information, visit JAX Chamber.

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