John Donnelly, U.S marine veteran, stands during the playing of the Armed Forces Medley.

Local veterans from various military branches rose from their seats as the Florida Keys Community Concert Band played the Armed Forces Medley during a Nov. 11 Veterans Day ceremony at Key Largo’s Murray Nelson Government Center. They were subsequently applauded by their loved ones and other residents for their service as they raised their hand in salute. The ceremony, organized by Monroe County Veterans Affairs and VFW Post 10211, was emceed by John Donnelly, a U.S. Marine veteran who served in the Vietnam War and received a Purple Heart. Keynote speaker Florida Lt. Gov Jeanette Nuñez said she’s been visiting veterans across the state to see how the administration can best serve their needs as part of her “LG on Mission.” Key Largo School student Drake Raschein took to the podium and acknowledged the sacrifices made by servicemen and -women. Raschein said he aspires to be in the military one day.

Jim McCarthy is one of the many 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 4-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, hockey, mixed martial arts and golf. He also enjoys time with family and his new baby boy, Lucas, who arrived Oct. 4, 2022.