Mount Dora Expansion
On July 4, 2012, Rozann Abato was inspired when the Fox News Channel aired a report about an organization in the Washington, DC area. The organization, Patriot Cruise and Salute, Inc. (PCS), treated wounded veterans and their families to an outing on the Potomac River followed by a picnic lunch and patriotic program. It was a way to say “thank you” for their service and sacrifice.
Rozann mentioned it to her husband, Carroll Jaskulski, and they contacted Ed Mason, PCS co-founder. They knew that Lake County is blessed with patriotic Americans to support a Patriot Cruise and Salute event. They were not wrong!!
Their friends, acquaintances, businesses and the City of Mount Dora leadership worked with Carroll and Rozann to ensure that everything they needed was made available. The 1st Annual Mount Dora Patriot Cruise and Salute was held on Veteran’s Day 2012. When Mayor Bob Thielhelm asked them to make it an annual event, the answer was a resounding YES. Abato, Jaskulski and countless volunteers said it was the most rewarding day of their lives.
In 2017, the 6th Mount Dora Patriot Cruise and Salute was held on Sunday, November 12. Twenty seven veterans were honored. The oldest was a 100 year old WWII veteran. The 7th Mount Dora Patriot Cruise and Salute event was held on November 11, 2018. Thirty-four veterans were honored on Veterans Day and the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.
The 8th event was held on Sunday, November 10. Thirty-three veterans were honored. The plans for 2020 were to transfer the lead for the Mount Dora Patriot Cruise and Salute event to seasoned volunteers who would continue the tradition. Rozann and Carroll planned to remain as hands-on participants. Unfortunately, the plans for the 9th Annual event were cancelled due to the COVID pandemic. There are no plans to continue in the future. The mission was accomplished for 8 years . . . to honor veterans who had served and sacrificed, many of whom were wounded, ill or injured.
This organization could not have succeeded without the support of the City of Mount Dora and the companies and individuals that gave selflessly of their finances, time and talents. The words “thank you” cannot begin to express our gratitude for all that was done and given to make this event possible for 8 years.
We were blessed with having more volunteers and more funding each year. This allowed us to grow each year and honor more veterans. We presented over 200 Mount Dora PCS Challenge Coins to deserving veterans including our honorees and volunteers. We are proud of what was accomplished in 8 years and will continue to support veterans for their service and sacrifice.