On Sunday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicked off their "Salute to Service" week by holding the inaugural Central Florida Military Resource Fair at Raymond James Stadium.
More than 1,000 active-duty soldiers and veterans attended the free fair, where more than 80 vendors filled the East Club Lounge at Raymond James Stadium, providing information on career development and healthcare benefits. Upon entry, guests were greeted by Buccaneer alumni Marcus Jones, Ricky Reynolds and Mark Royals, as well as Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders.
Col. Susan J. Wentzell (ret.) was definitely appreciative of the Buccaneers' efforts to provide a source for veterans to gain information that would otherwise be challenge to obtain.
"The military resource fair is such a great event," Wentzell said. "It's an opportunity for veterans to enjoy this beautiful Buccaneers facility, to find out about jobs, to find out about benefits and to become enrolled for healthcare."
Bucs representative Kevin Brown was honored to be able to facilitate an event that provided valuable assistance to members of the military.
"As an organization, we want to show our support for all the servicemen and women who live and work in our community," he said.
Col. Wentzell observed many instances of veterans learning information that will better prepare them for the job market.
"We so appreciate the Buccaneers for sponsoring this tremendous event," Wentzell said. "I see veterans learning about resume assistance and information to put in a resume. I see veterans learning more about healthcare benefits and signing up for those healthcare benefits."
Roughly 200 future job interviews have been scheduled as a result of the four-hour event, which also led to more than a couple job offers. Thirty veterans also signed up for health benefits that they did not previously have before the event, thanks to the veteran health care enrollment program.
At the conclusion of the resource fair, all guests were invited to stay and watch the Buccaneers on the Club Lounge video boards as they took on the Oakland Raiders. That, too, was an enjoyable part of the day, as the Bucs' downed their West Coast foes, 42-32.
This month, the Buccaneers and USAA will pay tribute to the military as part of the NFL's "Salute to Service" week, which will show the team's appreciation through several activities in the Bay area. These efforts will be highlighted at the November 11 game versus the San Diego Chargers, where 50,000-plus fans at Raymond James Stadium will participate in a card stunt with a special message thanking all military members and veterans.