The Col. Phillip C. Delong Detachment #1267 Marine Corps League this week presented a check for $1,000 to Fruitland Park Elementary School. The money was raised as part of the Rose program, a national program of the Marine Corps League, and one of the many programs Detachment #1267 is involved in locally.
The money for the Rose program comes from the community and stays in the community said fundraising chairman Tom Upton.
“When you see us in front of Publix or Walmart asking for money, it is for the Rose program,” he said.
The money helps community organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, Lake Hills School, Villagers for Veterans and now Fruitland Park Elementary School.
“The community here is so giving; we are very appreciative,” said Upton.
Most of the money raised for the Rose program had been allocated for 2017, before the need at Fruitland Park Elementary was discovered by a chance conversation at a monthly neighborhood dinner between Commandant Reggie Neely and Fruitland Park Elementary guidance counselor Diane Blazis. “This year we would like to present a check for $1,000, but you are on our radar now and you will be hearing from us next year,” said Nealy to the assembled teachers.
The name for the Rose program comes from the tradition of the French people placing roses on the graves of WWI Marine soldiers buried in France.
“And the French people continue that tradition even now,” said Rose program founder for Detachment #1267 Ralph Hoffmann.
Members of the Marine Corps league are busy raising money now for their 2018 contributions. Volunteers from the organization will be at the Mulberry Publix this weekend.
“We are an all-volunteer organization,” said Nealy “not one penny we get goes to administrative costs. One hundred percent of the money we raise is given out to the schools, children’s clubs and veterans.”