The spirit and memories of USO tours conducted throughout World War II that were led by Bob Hope along with his entourage that included the comedian’s long-time side-kick Jerry Colonna, Les Brown and his Band of Renown, and an A-list of Hollywood starlets, were very much present during The Villagers For Veterans’ A Tribute to Bob Hope Christmas Dance, Thursday evening, at the Lake Miona Recreation Center.
The sold-out audience of 250 danced to the music of Dawn DiNome and the Flashback Band as well as enjoyed Dance Fusion led by Sue Schuler who also had coordinated all the other performances throughout the evening.
“This celebration raised funds for our charitable initiatives that support disabled veterans such as distributing 19 especially-outfitted, all-terrain wheelchairs, and underwriting specialized training of our fourth and fifth service dogs by year’s end.” said Marie Bogdonoff, the organization’s president.
Also on hand were two Army veterans who are benefiting from two of the Villagers for Veterans’ electric vehicles, Pam Kelly, of Clearwater, and Sammy Lugo, of Riverview.
“Unlike a traditional wheelchair with two large wheels in the rear and two smaller ones in the front, all-terrain chairs have four wheels, of equal size and each is powered by its own motor,” explained Lugo. “This gives us the capability of navigating almost anywhere – such as up curbs. With a relatively-fast speed of about three miles-per-hour, now I enjoy taking my dogs for a walk without fear of being pulled over. We are grateful for all that Villagers do for us vets with disabilities.”
More information about Villagers for Veterans is available at villagersforveterans.org.