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    Local High School honors MacDill Community and Military Members

    Local High School honors MacDill Community and Military Members

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Aaron Knowles | Colonel David D. Haight, the Command Surgeon from Special Operations Command Central,...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Aaron Knowles 

    U.S. Special Operations Command Central

    Students, Teachers, and Service Members past and present gathered for a special Military Appreciation Night at the Bloomindale High School Football Stadium, in Valrico, FL, Oct. 20th. The showdown between Bloomingdale and their rivals Plant City High School was used as a stage for the schools staff and students to honor the many community members serving at MacDill Air Force Base, and the surrounding area families.
    Max Warner, the Head Coach of the Bloomingdale Bulls for almost two seasons, was the origin of the idea for the Military Appreciation Night.
    “I have 16 coaches on my staff, five of which served in the Armed Forces, or are currently serving in some capacity, so I thought it was important especially with MacDill Air Force Base being so close to honor those individuals,” said Warner.
    According to Warner, a lot of the members of Bloomingdale High School’s surrounding community has ties to MacDill AFB, whether students are Military Children or the School Staff has ties, it made the decision to pursue this event that much more important.
    “This event has grown so fast and so much since its inception,” said Warner. “We couldn’t be prouder of the response.”
    Surrounding the football field were recruiters from each Military Branch, including an F-22 Fighter Jet display by the Air Force, an all-terrain vehicle on display by Special Operations Command, and several displays by each Service Branch.
    “We started off by contacting the SOCCENT Public Affairs Office, then began inviting all of the local recruiters, and from there it just continued to grow and grow.” Said Lt. Col. Kevin Ramsey, the Deputy Surgeon of SOCCENT. “And here we are tonight. We have an incredible military presence here tonight, and we are going to have an incredible game.”
    Lieutenant Col. Ramsey is also a Volunteer Coach at Bloomingdale High School, and has been coaching football for nearly nine years.
    “When I retire from the Military, this is what I want to do,” said Ramsey. “I want to coach and teach at the High School level.”
    “There is no other sport like football; it teaches the same principles and the same values as the Military,” continued Ramsey. “They are very similar. Integrity, character, and dealing with adversity; just throw out any buzzword, and it will correlate to football and the Military. Combining those two worlds for me, football coach and 22 year service member, it is just a natural fit.”
    Colonel David D. Haight, the Command Surgeon from Special Operations Command Central, MacDill AFB, was invited to the Military Appreciation Night as an Honorary Coach. As part of his honorary title, Col. Haight was also asked accompany the team captains from both sides to center field and flip the coin at the start of the game.
    “When I was asked to come out and flip the coin at the beginning of the game, I just thought it was a great opportunity,” said Haight. “I had the opportunity to talk to them [before the game] about being in the military and about how lucky they are to have the opportunity to play sports at this level.”
    Prior to kickoff, the entire stadium paused to recognize each of the Service Branches by displaying each branches flag, donning camouflage uniforms, and having Service Members on the Field as they played each branches service song.
    “I love seeing events like this with the crowds and the uniforms dedicated to the military,” continued Haight. “Some of these kids may end up coming into the Military one day. We have recruiters out here from all of the Service Branches and what these kids are seeing is that being a part of a sports team instills a lot of the same values as being in the Military. Sports is allowing them to already have that foundation.”
    “Most importantly, we just wanted to honor the Military with this night, because without you doing what you do, we wouldn’t be able to do what we love,” said Warner. “I am just a football guy, so to be able to use the platform of football and get the community to come out to a home game, to be able to honor those members; I just think it is really important.”



    Date Taken: 10.20.2017
    Date Posted: 10.26.2017 09:06
    Story ID: 253055
    Location: VALRICO, FL, US 

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