Ceremony in Key Largo honors veterans

U.S. Coast Guard Station Islamorada provides the honor guard for the Veterans Day ceremony.

Veterans from various military branches, dignitaries, first responders and the community gathered to honor and recognize the sacrifices of those who served to protect America’s freedoms during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Murray Nelson Government Center in Key Largo on Thursday, Nov. 11.

With the Keys Community Concert Band kicking it off with tunes, the ceremony included two short, heart-wrenching videos showing those who protected and served the country. Words were shared by County Commissioner Holly Raschein, John Donnelly, U.S. Marine veteran and Purple Heart recipient; State Attorney Dennis Ward, commander of VFW Post 10211; John Dick, school board chairman and Vietnam veteran; Capt. Ed Davidson, a Vietnam Veteran who was a Navy fighter pilot; Brian Mundey, U.S Army veteran and VFW Post 10211 trustee; and Jacinto Molina, U.S. Marine veteran and Monroe County Veterans Affairs Service Officer.

The U.S. Coast Guard provided the color guard, while VFW Post 10211 Chaplain Tim Link gave the invocation. Sheriff Rick Ramsay, sheriff’s deputies, Coast Guard Station Islamorada Commander Matt James, Monroe County School Board member Sue Woltanski and Key Largo Fire Department and EMS were among those present.

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Jim McCarthy is a Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 3-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, mixed martial arts and golf. He loves to hit the links and play some softball with his Make A Play team. He also enjoys time with family (he's expecting a little boy in October).