A Special Partnership: The Brevard Veterans Memorial Center and the BCSO
by Donn Weaver, Council Chairman
On July 3 this year from 9-11 am along route 520 in front of the Merritt Square Mall hundreds of passersby in their vehicles will wave American Flags as the watch a static Parade to celebrate American Independence Day. It will be the third annual Brevard County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) and Brevard Veterans Memorial Center “4TH of July Parade. This is just one of an average of 7-8 major events done each year involving Sheriff Wayne Ivey and his Department and the VMC.
There has always been a strong connection between our military and our first responder/ law enforcement communities. After all, one defends America against foreign enemies and the other against criminal and other city, state, and national threats at home. Many former soldiers join law enforcement units after their military service and the slogans such as “service before self” and “protect and serve” ring very true in both communities.
In today’s America it might even be more important that the military and law enforcement communities are brothers and sisters since each have major challenges to handle and teamwork always wins.
Since the VMC is located on Merritt Island, an unincorporated community, the BCSO has our back. While the partnership has always been strong, no doubt, overbite past several years it has been amazing.
In 2020 Sheriff Ivey swore in the newly elected VMC officers and board. Oaths taken by the BCSO, Military and VMC veterans are very close to each other!!
In 2017 the VMC Installed a First Responders and Law Enforcement Monument in the Memorial Plaza. In included the list of every BCSO, Police, Fire and Medic individual killed in the line of duty (EOW – End of Watch) since 1952. Early the next year Agent Kevin Stanton was killed on 1-95 while pulled over on the side of the road. His family attended a ceremony on Memorial Day that year when his name was added to the monument with Sheriff Ivey and VMC VP Donn Weaver officiating. The monument is picture lower center of this Plaza photo.
Beyond these specific events the partnership list is incredible. BCSO has organized a military and veteran appreciation day, the VMC has requested BCSO special teams at many Park events, including one when a BCSO helicopter landed at the Key Lime Pie Festival a few years ago and Sheriff Ivey helped bake the largest key lime pie in history.
NOTE: As America celebrates 245 years since the American Revolutionary War began this year, we ask all citizens to try to imagine where would we be without our military or without the rule of law which the BCSO and all first responders enforce every day, often at grave risk. The members of the VMC thus express our profound gratitude for the partnership with BCSO and others and sincere appreciation to all of them and their families who take risks nearly every day to keep us safe and to be able to enjoy living in this country that was made possible by veterans in many conflicts.