Military Support Program
Wreaths Across America, December 17, 2022
This year, National Wreaths Across America day will be held on Saturday, December 17th, 2022. Locally, a ceremony will begin at noon followed by the placement of wreaths at five cemeteries located throughout Lee County where approximately 7000 local veterans are laid to rest. This is open to anyone who would like to attend.
In 2021, there were approximately 4700 wreaths placed in Lee County at the five cemeteries, leaving 2300 veterans without a remembrance wreath. This year our goal is to place 7000 wreaths. With your generosity, we are hoping to meet this goal and ensure no veteran is forgotten. Each hand made, fresh, live wreath costs $15 to sponsor and is made in the United States with Maine balsam.
If you would like to participate in placing wreaths on Saturday, December 17th , please send an email to MiltarySupport@LeeHealth.org . We will let you know which cemetery needs help in placing the wreaths. If you would like to purchase a wreath(s), please go to this link to participate.
Supporting our nation's military
The Lee Health Military Support Program helps:
- Military men and women and their families while deployed
- Returning troops - providing resume building, VA benefits, job placement, re-adjustment to civilian living
- Homeless veterans
- Local veterans - providing referrals and assistance
We need your help in collecting items for the troops. We are sponsoring many troops living out of their backpacks. They have asked us for the following items:
- Granola bars
- Trail mix
- Coffee pods
- Microwaveable meals
- Travel size q-tips
- Suntan lotion
- Meals in a pouch (example – tuna)
What does the Military Support Program do?
At Lee Health, we support our nation's military and veterans with fundraisers, donations, care packages, and other types of support.
Since 2003, the Lee Health Military Support Program has:
- Sponsored and communicated with over 2,000 local troops and their families while on active duty to assist with any immediate needs.
- Sent monthly care packages to deployed military, (over 99,000 pounds and 2,000 servicemen and servicewomen served.)
- Sent clipped coupons to our military families stationed overseas.
- Vet the 10,000 cards to the troops and send overseas to our active deployed servicemen and servicewomen.
- Piloted the Veteran Visitation Volunteer Program with the American Red Cross where volunteers are dually trained by both organizations. Bedside Veteran inpatient visits started at Cape Coral Hospital in 2019 and added HealthPark Medical Center in early 2021 for a short time due to COVID19. Kim Gaide, Community Benefit Outreach Manager, Lee Health was awarded by the American Red Cross with the Service to the Armed Forces Volunteer of the Year Award in 2020! The volunteers share information about Mission United, American Red Cross, and Lee Health Military Support services. Information about Veteran Service Officers is also on the brochure so that veterans can check their benefits. This is the first program in the nation for Veteran Volunteer Visitors visiting veterans in civilian hospitals.
- Provides community resources to local veterans, and their families by connecting them to a network of businesses, community organizations, and military supporters offering assistance. Supplies wheelchairs and other DME equipment to veterans and their families. Provides referrals and assistance to facilitate re-adjustment to civilian life.
- Steering committee member of Mission United Stakeholders Committee working with United Way 211 to assist our veterans, FL National Guardsmen and Reservists, and active Servicemen and Servicewomen and their families with resources.
- Since 2010, organizes the Suite Support of the Military Suite at the Florida Everblades where a veteran or active military and 9 of their guests enjoy a game in a Suite with dinner and drinks and is honored for their service during the game.
- Work with veterans who are in need of vehicle repairs.
- Liaison with local Businesses, including Lee Health Human Resources, in connecting veterans and recently discharged servicemen and servicewomen to job opportunities.
- Connect supporters to adopt veteran and active military families for Christmas for the last 5 years.
- Worked with the Lee Health Volunteers and the community the last 5 years with the Annual Wreathes Across America Program for Lee County. There are over 9,000 veterans buried in the 5 main cemeteries in Lee County. We assist in raising monies for the wreaths with the assistance of our veterans, their families, and our community supporters.
- Placed and retrieve flags at Memorial Gardens, City of Fort Myers, and Hodges Lee Memorial Park cemeteries for Memorial Day Weekend.
- Baby blankets are presented to Veterans and active military who have new babies.
Resources & Documents
- Lee Health Military Support Program Facebook page
- Mental Health Assistance: Home Base Southwest Florida Veteran and Family Clinic at Lee Health, 239-338-9389 or firstname.lastname@example.org Home Base SWFL in partnership with Lee Health will provide FREE mental health clinical services to Veterans of all eras, Service Members and their Families suffering invisible wounds as post-trauma stress, military sexual trauma, anxiety, depression, and co-occurring substance use disorder. Backed by the extraordinary clinic resources of Lee Health, Home Base SWFL will offer high quality evidence-based care provided at NO cost, regardless of their time or service or discharge status. Treatment and education plans will be tailored to each Veteran and Family Member’s unique needs.
- United Way Mission United: dial 211 or 239-433-3900. MISSION UNITED™ is a United Way initiative that uses the existing United Way 211 comprehensive Information and Referral program. MISSION UNITED™ is a collective effort that addresses the complicated and fragmented systems for veteran services currently in place. MISSION UNITED™ serves as a single phone point of entry utilizing the 211 number to help local United States active military, veterans, and their families in Lee, Hendry, and Glades counties navigate and access needed services. Trained United Way 211 Community Resource Specialists assess the caller’s needs and refer to the appropriate resources in the community. Veteran Care Coordinators are available to offer peer support through advocacy and work closely with Veteran and social service organizations to coordinate accessibility to community programs and fill gaps in services.
- To learn more about your Veteran Benefits you may: 1) Walk in for a visit: Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, Lee County VA Healthcare Center, 2489 Diplomat Pkwy E. Cape Coral FL 33909 Monday - Friday 7:30 - 4:00 OR 2) Call for an appointment with a Lee County Veteran Service Officer 239-533-8381 Monday through Friday 8:00 - 5:00.
Lee Health has won several awards, including a 5 Star Award and Above & Beyond Award from the ESGR!
We started our fundraising in April 2003 with military support T-shirts, and we continue to send care packages monthly to all troops on our active deployed list. We have sent about 85,000 pounds of packages since April 2003, and we have sponsored more than 1,500 local troops.
- Special Thanks to our community supporters, our employees, and our volunteers who make it happen!
For monetary donations, please make checks out to:
LMHS Military Support - P.O. Box 2218, Fort Myers, FL 33902
All funds go toward the Care Box postage fund.
You made a difference
Thanks for YOUR support!
For information, please call (239) 343-2045
Military Support Program - P.O. Box 2218
Fort Myers, FL 33902
Email us at: MilitarySupport@LeeHealth.org