TAMPA – The freedom to live life to its fullest as a military veteran with a spinal cord injury is not free.
That premise is the impetus behind the Nov. 8 silent auction from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Lenny’s Sub Shop, 5001 E. Fowler Ave.
Legacies of Tampa Inc. owners Gianna and Joe Caravella, who do business under the name of Lenny’s Sub Shop, hope to raise funds that will benefit the recently formed Tampa Bay Wheelchair Lacrosse Team.
It is a competitive sports program founded and coordinated by Thomas Martineau, a board member of the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA).
All of the proceeds will be used to help purchase uniforms, equipment and to defray the cost of players’ travel expenses.
“Playing adaptive sports kinda saved me. I can still be an athlete and I love it,” said Martineau, a retired Air Force sergeant who, prior to a motorcycle accident that left him a paraplegic, was an avid participant in a variety of sports.
Martineau called the support of the Caravella couple “truly heartwarming.”
“Joe and Gianna are amazing people with huge hearts,” he said. “They are a family run business out there willing to help other little organizations like mine, with no expectations in return.”
Joe Caravella said it’s their way of thanking those in the military who’ve so freely forfeited their personal wellbeing to protect the security of our nation.
“We all have to deal with life’s troubles but they are insignificant compared to those who have sacrificed with their life and limbs to maintain our nation’s freedom,” he said.
Davis Celestine, president of the local PVA chapter through which all the donations will be funneled, is appreciative of their offer to host the event.
“It is a blessing that they have stepped up to the plate to help out,” he said. “It shows they are willing to take the time out to see that our disabled athletes enjoy a sport they love to play.”
So far close to 30 items have been donated for the auction, including a one-night stay at the Don Vicente De Ybor Historic Inn, a contribution from The Gold & Diamond Source, and a year’s membership at the Temple Terrace Family Recreation Complex valued at $146. A wide selection of gift certificates also will be up for bids.
“Some would make great stocking stuffers,” Joe Caravella said.
In addition, Lenny’s Sub Shop will furnish free heavy hors d’ oeuvres throughout the evening.
Reservations are requested and can be made via email at email@example.com. Questions about the event or contributions of additional auction items may be directed to the same email address.