By Dolly Rairigh Glass

Seven central Florida mayors, on behalf of communities across the region, signed a covenant representing a commitment by the community to provide support to the U.S. military and military families. The event took place during an Orlando Magic home game on Nov. 7, as part of their Seats for Soldiers program, with representatives from Team Orlando being honored.

On behalf of all central Florida’s military services (active, reserve and National Guard), Lt. Col. Gregory Gatrell (U.S. Army PEO STRI), Maj. Baron Mills (U.S. Marine Corps PM TRASYS), and Maj. Scott Ruppel (U.S. Air Force, AFAMS) accepted the covenant. Lt. Col. Darin Blatt and Mr. Carlos Sanders, representing the U.S. Army Tampa Recruiting Battalion, also participated in the ceremony.

Although the Community Covenant began as an Army program in 2008, the Department of Defense adopted the program to strengthen ties with communities across America. At the same time, many communities decided on their own that they should support military personnel of all services and their families. The covenant is a non-binding, largely ceremonial document of support, but helps give communities structure and resources in developing their local efforts.

The mayors who participated in the presentation were Edgewood Mayor Ray Bagshaw, Winter Park Mayor Kenneth Bradley, Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn, Eatonville Mayor Bruce Mount, Maitland Mayor Howard Schieferdecker and Oakland Mayor Kathy Stark. Also taking part in the ceremony were Army Reserve Ambassador, Allie Braswell; Orlando Magic President, Alex Martins; and Vice President of Community Relations and Government Affairs Linda Landman-Gonzalez.

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