Homestead Gardens Supports Marine Charity


By John Singleton

Just in time for Memorial Day, Homestead Gardens completed its sixth year in support of the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. The fund provides financial relief to post 9-11 Marines and Sailors, as well as other members of the Armed Forces if they are injured while attached to a Marine unit.

"Homestead Gardens is extremely privileged to be part of supporting the Semper Fi Fund. This organization does amazing work in helping to ease some of the financial burden on our injured heroes and their families. This is such a great cause that we jumped at the opportunity to participate and plan on doing so for a long time," said Don Riddle Jr., president and CEO of Homestead Gardens.

Since its inception in 2004, the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund has distributed 26,000 grants totaling more than $48 million dollars. Funds are applied toward hospitalization and medical treatment for veterans, as well as the retrofitting of homes to accommodate temporary and permanent disabilities.

Spearheading the fund raising effort at Homestead Gardens is Human Resources Director Gladys Rodriguez. Over the past six years she has helped raise over $22,000 for the fund at Homestead Gardens through yearly fund raisers where gift cards from the garden center and local restaurants are raffled, and by selling a cookbook of recipes from military families.

Gladys Rodriguez and her husband Roberto have an acute understanding of freedom and the debt owed to military personnel. They both received their U.S. citizenship on July 4, 1976 as part of the Bicentennial Ceremonies at Fort McHenry after escaping Fidel Castro’s communist regime in Cuba.

“America is a wonderful country. We cannot take for granted our freedom. After leaving Cuba we had to live in Chile for three years and couldn’t afford a car,” explained Rodriguez. “After only four years in the United States we bought our first house.”

Since July 2009, $7,100 in cookbooks have been sold at Homestead Gardens. Recipes reflect the international flavor and good humor of military families. Some highlights include Four Star Death By Chocolate, submitted by the spouse of the Commandant of the Marine Corps; Huli-Huli Chicken, from the spouse of a retired colonel; and Spare Ribs Aloha, from a Navy spouse.

“We are very grateful for the heartwarming support that we’ve received from the Homestead Gardens team. Across the country there are thousands of injured service members and their families quietly facing tremendous challenges as they work on their recoveries and return to their homes. Many of our service members are facing life-altering injuries and will need the Semper Fi Fund’s help for years to come. Our deepest appreciation goes out to Mr. Riddle and the entire Homestead Gardens team for their amazing support,” shared Kirt Rebello, Director of Community Outreach - East, Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.

Homestead Gardens' support of this cause is noteworthy, and one example of how businesses and individuals can support our troops in many different ways. Please visit to make a contribution.


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