Ser­vices & Pro­fes­sion­als

Ren­o­va­tions con­tinue at the Mil­i­tary Mu­seum & Li­brary

Bonita & Estero Magazine - - DEPARTMENTS - BY ANN MARIE O’PHEL AN

The South­west Florida Mil­i­tary Mu­seum & Li­brary started off small; in 2009, it was lo­cated in a cozy store­front on Del Prado Av­enue. In 2012, it re­lo­cated to its cur­rent 34,000-square-foot fa­cil­ity on Leonard Street, and it has been adding on ever since. Cape Coral is a Pur­ple Heart city, mean­ing it for­mally rec­og­nizes the sac­ri­fices made by men and women killed or wounded in com­bat. The South­west Florida Mil­i­tary Mu­seum & Li­brary is a key com­po­nent in that recog­ni­tion.

The idea is to con­nect the com­mu­nity, cre­ate more ca­ma­raderie with the lo­cal vet­er­ans and help build aware­ness.

Cur­rent ren­o­va­tions, sched­uled for com­ple­tion this sum­mer, in­clude cre­ation of a full-sized kitchen that of­fers break­fast and lunch for both the pub­lic and lo­cal vet­er­ans, as well as cater­ing ser­vices, ac­cord­ing to Ralph San­tillo, the mu­seum’s founder, CEO and chair­man of the board.

“On Tues­days, lunch is free for vet­er­ans,” adds San­tillo, who says that they of­ten have 200 lo­cal vet­er­ans of all ages, in­clud­ing those who fought in World War II, the Korean War, Viet­nam War and some of the more re­cent wars such as Afghanistan.

In ad­di­tion to en­larg­ing the kitchen, the cur­rent ren­o­va­tion project in­cludes the ball­room, where for­mal dances, wed­dings and other events take place.

The ex­pan­sion also in­cludes cre­at­ing nearby af­ford­able hous­ing for vet­er­ans and se­nior cit­i­zens.

“Since the new hous­ing is just steps away, the res­i­dents will be able to stop by the mu­seum and en­joy break­fast and lunch,” says San­tillo.

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