Hospitalized Vets BBQ Canceled as Sponsor Drops Out


AN UPDATE AS OF THURSDAY EVENING: Members of the Tampa law firm of Foley & Lardner have agreed to cover the cost of the barbecue. Attorney Chris Griffin contacted WUSF shortly after learning of the story to say members of the firm were willing to help so that the hospitalized veterans could enjoy a holiday barbecue.

Memorial Day is a time to remember military members who lost their lives while serving their country.

It’s also a three-day weekend at Tampa’s James A. Haley VA Hospital that staff try to make special for the hospitalized veterans who also sacrificed for their country.

Yet, Memorial Day for Haley veterans had to be scaled back this year.

For want of $500, the 150 veterans at the Haley VA Hospital will not have a Memorial Day barbecue according to Cathy Williams, head of recreational therapy.

“We actually, normally do a barbecue on Monday,” Williams said. “We would have like, Lupton’s BBQ, and we lost our sponsorship. So there was nobody that stepped forward this year to fund that. So, we had to down scale a little bit. But that’s okay.”

So without a sponsor this Saturday, it’s karaoke, a cookout for the balloon volleyball team and baseball for the 55 veterans who can travel to the Rays-Yankees game.

On Monday, the highlight will be a visit by the Buccaneer cheerleaders and a bingo game.


2 Responses

  1. how can we fix this?

    • Cathy Williams, the head of recreational therapy at James A. Haley VA, told me she could accept donations as late as Friday morning. Understand, there are other events for the veterans. It’s just that the traditional barbecue that most people associate with Memorial Day (after some visit a national cemetery) had to be canceled at the Haley VA.
      Ms. Williams said the VA is a government agency and not allowed to solicit donations. And she said when the donor dropped out, she didn’t have time to “educate” folks about their needs.
      However, she can arrange for a BBQ if something comes through by Friday morning.
      Thanks for your concern.

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