Operation 300 annual dinner huge success

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in Florida News

On Friday, 6/26/2015, Operation 300 held its now annual fund raising dinner/auction in Jensen Beach which kicked off the Frogman Swim early the next morning.

In case you’re not familiar with them, Operation 300 was founded by Billy and Karen Vaughn, the parents of SOC Aaron Vaughn after his sad and untimely death during the Extortion 17 tragedy.  

The mission of Operation 300 is simple; they do the very best they can to support and bring the families of other fallen heroes together in solidarity and provide some of the moments that have otherwise been lost to them.  People helping people offering such things as trips for widows, family members and children, counseling, creating a tightly knit extended family, and so much more that I simply can’t do justice to in this space.  Suffice it for me to say that if there is a stronger, more effective group working to help the families of our fallen heroes, I’m not aware of it.

The evening started off with a few very brief introductions and touching tributes, and a wonderful video featuring Aaron’s Sister Tara, who explained the purpose of the organization.  From there an amazing buffet was served by The Food Shack of Jupiter,  and then began one of the most fun auctions I’ve ever seen.  Simply put, it was different but leveled the playing field so that everyone had an equal chance.  

While I won’t try to explain it, it worked sort of like the online penny auction “Quibids.” The difference was the way the winners were randomly chosen.  For those that like to bid with cash, there were several items, including the “annual knife,” a very special rifle; made, coded and numbered especially for the event that required deeper pockets than the items in the regular bidding.  The donated prizes included everything from a huge basket of adult beverages to 1000 rounds of ammo, grills, and lots of fun stuff in between.  

One gentleman did something extraordinary and awesome…he successfully bid on the knife and then donated it back for a second auction.  There were other separate donations and a lot of much needed funds were raised over the weekend long events.

It is next to impossible to adequately thank all of the people who lent a hand to make this dinner event such a phenomenal success; however I will take a moment to acknowledge some of those that I observed; Ashley Le Grange of Women Making Waves and her group of young lady volunteers, Jade Smith of Island Party Rentals who did a lot more than simply providing amenities, the Palm Beach and Martin County Sheriffs and First Responders, the families of those lost, and the many who reached deep into their pockets to make sure that Operation 300 is able to continue its mission.

The really cool thing is that while the auction is over for this year, you can still participate.  For those of you that couldn’t be there, don’t live in the area, or haven’t heard about this amazing organization, please keep in mind that while the prizes are nice and well thought out, the real goal is to help these warrior families.  You can still make a much needed and appreciated “bid” anytime by simply visiting their website.   

What Billy and Karen Vaughn and their family started in the wake of immense personal loss and heartbreak is amazing.  At least in public, they never complain, never waiver in their resolve, and always remain upbeat, prayerful, and faithful.  I am certain that in private they collapse into grief consolable only in the Loving Arms of our Savior, Jesus the Christ. 

Very often tragedy brings out the best in people, and the Vaughn Family is the best example of that I have ever witnessed.  

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Thinking about carrying a gun...?

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in Florida News

So, you’ve decided to get a CWP and buy a gun, or maybe you already have.  Now what?!

You’ve heard that you need to practice with some frequency and you think that’s a good idea, but you keep putting it off.  Maybe, like some people, you even carry your weapon unloaded or not “at the ready;” that is to say not ready to shoot without loading or “racking” a round, or, worse yet, it’s in your car when you need it.  

You might even have signed up for legal protection in case you do have to use deadly force.  I might add, that is a very sensible thing to do.  A great source for that by the way is www.ccwsafe.com.  For only $99 per year at current, they become your only call and can save your bacon.

Look, the last thing any of us wants to do is shoot someone.  However, if you’re going to carry a gun, you better be prepared and you need to consider all of the variables ahead of time because we live in a day and age where it is becoming increasingly possible that you may have to defend yourself or someone else using deadly force.  

Just like learning to drive a car or doing anything else that requires skill, you need to get yourself some professional training before you strap on your firearm.  I’m not talking about simply going to the range and learning how to put your rounds in the black.  Anyone can learn how to take their time to do that shooting at a piece of paper that isn’t shooting back.

The reality is that if/when you find yourself in a situation that requires the use of a firearm, you need to be ready and reflexive, because what happens next does not allow for second guessing yourself.  Bear in mind, there is an imminent threat to someone’s life taking place; most probably yours, and you need to neutralize that threat.  

Thankfully, there is a solution for this in West Palm Beach.  

About eight months ago a new "gun shop" opened up.  Yes, you can simply buy or sell a gun there if you want, however “Guns and Range, Inc.” is much, much more than a gun store with great prices.  

It’s more like a defense college where one can practice and test on the state of the art video range with a number of different real life scenarios; or practice on the live range with moveable targets.  Additionally, while both of these are serious learning tools, they’re also both a lot of fun.

Owner Alex Shkop and his expert staff offer a number of affordable courses for the beginner and the more advanced shooter, with flexible hours to work around just about any schedule.  

They are located just off of Parker St. at 1016 Clare Ave, Unit 1 & 2 in West Palm Beach.  You can reach them by phone at 561-402-7555 or visit their website at www.gunsandrange.com. Either way, this shop is the real deal and you don’t want to buy anything related to firearms or training until you’ve paid them a visit. 

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A Vet needs our help

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in Florida News

I can't help all of our vets, but I can help this one.  I don’t often do this, however a gentleman I know is doing his best to help a Vietnam Veteran who is in need of a service dog like the one pictured in the Gofundme page set up for this vet.  If any of my readers is able to help, it would be much appreciated.  

This is a quick excerpt from that page:

"Sam is a Viet Nam era Veteran and he recently lost his wife. She had a medical problem that slowly took away her ability to walk.

Caring for her was a task that could easily wear down the strongest person. But he never stopped caring for her. They had a bond that could not be broken. 

Now Sam is hurting, both physically, and mentally. He is having trouble getting around and seems depressed.  A service dog would be able to help him in many ways. We would have the dog trained to brace for him if he lost his balance and almost more importantly would be a loving companion."

I will put my money where my mouth is and make a donation this evening.

You may help by clicking here.  Thank you all in advance for sharing and donating if you can.

David DiCrescenzo, Publisher

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Hurt or sick in PBC...take a cab!

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in Florida News

Steven Rosenblum, Jupiter, FL  If you live in Palm Beach County Florida and you need to call 911 for ambulance/paramedics, you may be in for additional pain after your visit to the emergency room, because Palm Beach Fire Rescue will be sending you a bill.

On Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014 my back went out.  I was in extreme pain and unable to get up.  I called 911 and Palm Beach Fire Rescue dispatched an ambulance staffed by two paramedics.  They moved me from the futon where I was laying face down to a gurney and then loaded me into their bus (police/fire lingo for an ambulance).  They administered no drugs.  In fact the paramedic advised me not to take the morphine, since the hospital would be able to give me something stronger.

The ride from my home in Jupiter to Jupiter Medical Center would normally take me 6-7 minutes by car. The trip in the ambulance took about 10-15 minutes.  Most of the time in the ambulance was spent with the paramedic getting my information, medical history and vital signs.  He also apologized several times for the rough ride.

Once at the hospital they unloaded me and rolled me into the emergency room.  And that was the extent of my interaction with the paramedics and ambulance of Palm Beach Fire Rescue.

Fast forward to this past Friday, April 17, 2015 when I received in the mail a bill for $626.00 from Palm Beach Fire Rescue for the above mentioned incident.  I was aware that they had billed my insurance and that the claim was not paid, because PBFR is out-of-network for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida and I had not met my out-of-network deductible.

Having not received a bill for almost a year, I had mistakenly assumed that if the insurance didn’t pay the County took care of the cost.  After all, taxpayers pay for PBFR budget, including its emergency services.

After receiving the bill I called BCBSFL to ask why the only ambulance that can come if you dial 911 is out-of-network.  It’s not like when you have an emergency you can shop around to see who’s in-network.

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Honor Flight, Mission Accomplished

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in Florida News

Once again a memorable evening spent with some of America’s Greatest Generation.  They are dwindling in numbers these amazing men and women, but they still stand tall and walk proud.  

On Saturday, October 25, 2014, the Southeast Florida Honor Flight paid tribute once again to these brave men and women who went off to war to defend our nation.  WWII ended 69 years ago and a lot of them didn’t come back, but for every one of them that did, they have the opportunity to get up very early in the morning and fly to DC for a day.  

During an emotional and event packed day, they visit Arlington National Cemetery, the WWII Memorial, and several other venues.  There is the air of renewed camaraderie, solemn remembrances, gratitude, and so much more.  Everywhere they go, they are given the Red Carpet treatment that they so richly deserve.  Keep in mind, it isn’t easy on these guys and gals…they’re not kids anymore.  Every one of them is in their late 80’s and early 90’s.

When I stand along the sidelines as these heroes pass by, some walking, some in wheelchairs, I am humbled to have the chance to shake their hands.  I know that for every one of them that I do get to shake hands with, I am also shaking the hands of the spirits of those who sacrificed everything on battlefields like Remagen, The Bulge, Omaha Beach, Anzio, Bataan, Iwo Jima, Midway, and so many other battles, as well as those that have passed away since; they are all present.  Those spirits followed them all day long and they are being honored as well. 

As always, many hundreds of onlookers and well-wishers were on hand to greet them.  Boy scouts, military cadets, veterans from other wars, family members, and an entire community of people who understand that these men and women deserve our undying admiration and respect.

Among those in attendance were David Reback and his family of, count them, 15 children; two of which had the honor of escorting our heroes on the Flight.  I had the chance to chat with Mr. Reback for a few minutes, and while our conversation was very casual, there was no mistaking his emotion for the day, and the pride of having his daughters be a part of the event.  And that level of emotion and gratitude is all that can be asked for.

I don’t know how many more such events will take place, but I just hope and pray that all of our remaining WWII Vets get a chance to enjoy one of these very memorable days.  God bless them and keep them safe.  

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