TAMPA PALMS - Military veterans and dependents, listen up.
If you support a culture of global cohesion as opposed to constant conflict, you're invited to check out Veterans for Peace Tampa, a newly formed organization bent on ending all wars.
The local chapter of a worldwide institute comprised of more than 140 chapters will meet from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 1 at Mr. Dunderbak's, 14929 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.
The organization's mission is to increase public awareness of the cost of war and to promote a collective end to the arms race. It also serves as a means to foster the acquisition of housing and jobs for war veterans as well as medical and mentoring services.
"I think it's important to show another world is possible without wars," said Tampa chapter interim president Anita Stewart.
She believes the money spent on war could be put to much better use.
"We have plenty of money to spend for wars, but veterans are coming home to no jobs and many are becoming homeless," said Stewart, an Air Force veteran who has personally experienced the difficulty of finding employment. She barely lives on a monthly widow's pension she receives as the result of her husband losing his life while serving in the military.
Stewart refers to the organization as a welcome mat for male and female veterans of all ages and their dependents, and as a resource to help them "get back to normal life." It also provides a platform for peace via summits, street-corner gatherings and community projects.
"So much needs to be done," she said. "War has decimated our country and our economy."
Army veteran Jay Alexander, a member of Veterans for Peace Chapter #119, which formed in Pinellas County after 9/11, has been instrumental in helping Stewart get the Tampa chapter off the ground. It held its first meeting in February.
"I want to keep the spirit going," he said. "We need to promote the concept of peace - that's what veterans are fighting for."
Visit www.veteransforpeace or call Stewart at (813) 312-2292 for more information.