The Westside Gazette


 By Teresa Williams

The Women of Veteran’s Affairs, also known as WOVA, held their first annual Wreath and Flag Placement Ceremony on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2021, at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Fort Lauderdale. The event was blessed with beautiful weather and many former military personnel and supporters in attendance.

Throughout the presentation, many local veterans participated in representation of their respective branches of the military. WOVA was proud to have Naval Commander Carletta Evans, the highest-ranking officer in attendance, perform the Presentation of Branches. Linda Hughley, President of WOVA, and former Army Intelligence Officer coordinated the honorarium in observance and respect for military protocol and rank. All branches were represented during a candle lighting ceremony, including the Lighting of the Unity Candle by Army Veteran Yvette Johnson. The event included a Candle Lighting ceremony, as well as the presentation of the Wreath of Honor and a Balloon Release, in acknowledgment of those who paid the ultimate price for our country concluded the formal ceremony.

Many local representatives were in attendance to show their support for our Veterans and WOVA. Second Lieutenant and Lauderhill Commissioner Ray Martin was the guest speaker. He recounted his own military experience as an Army veteran, who served for more than two decades. County Commissioner and Congressional Candidate Dale Holness, and Lauderdale Lakes Commissioners Karlene Maxwell Williams and Marilyn Davis addressed the group in person, while Mayor Ken Thurston and US Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz were unable to attend but sent representatives in support. Two Broward County chapters of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. had a significant number of members in attendance, creating a powerful visual effect as they stood together in blue. WOVA extended thanks to Ray Martin for his generous monetary contribution to the efforts of the organization and received support from Mr. Holness and the City of Lauderdale Lakes for their annual local Toy Drive. WOVA’s annual Christmas celebration feeds and provides gifts for over three hundred Broward County children and will be held on December 17th, at the Lauderdale Lakes Multi-Purpose Center.

The ladies of this non-profit organization designed to serve veterans and the community will continue this celebration in the future. The program quotes Laura Richardson, Mistress of Ceremony, to state, “Today marks the beginning of a great legacy of the Women of Veteran Affairs, Inc. (WOVA). We are grateful that you saw this as an opportunity to join us as we honor and celebrate the life of our fallen soldiers.”  A video of the event is available on WOVA’s You Tube channel.

WOVA will be serving the community at the City of Lauderdale Lakes Annual Thanksgiving Feed Drive on November 19th at Vincent Torres Park. WOVA encourages your business, organization, and concerned individual to participate in their annual toy drive by setting up a box for donations. WOVA extends its appreciation to State Attorney Harold Pryor’s Broward County State Attorney’s Office for their toy drive participation.

You can connect and get involved with WOVA’S future events by liking our face book page at: (Women of Veteran’s Affairs, Inc) as well as subscribing to our YOU TUBE channel. For direct contact (954) 588-9073 and mail: WOVA P. O. Box 9106 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33310

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