Month: May 2018



Veterans Foundation Set for larger target area within Polk County.

aif heart

American Ideals Foundation is a non profit 501c3 foundation that has been in the business of helping for going on 36 years, however the organization was influential long before it became a foundation. This foundation has roots that go back to 1962.

It was in 1962 when Robert Moffa wrote “The Berlin Suite”. This composition marked the beginning of his innovative concept to combine the arts in public performances. Widely acclaimed for its emotional expression of the Berlin Wall crisis, Moffa’s “The Berlin Suite” received a formal commendation from then President John F. Kennedy, who congratulated him for “contributing to the American Ideals worldwide through [his] music”.

Another major historical achievement that was popularized by the press as a “World Freedom” message was a 1981, multi – faceted, artistic creation recognizing the people of Poland’s plight with execution of martial law. The crisis ensued the government’s suppression of Poland’s popular labor movement called “Solidarity”. Robert Moffa wrote an orchestral suite “Poland Today” and Sculptor Lewis Watkins created a “Crosses of Life” masterpiece made of brass. This sculpture represented Poland’s oppression and quest for freedom. A time capsule was included in the art piece and included statements from organizations and individuals such as U.S. President Ronald Regan and Former Florida Governor Bob Graham. A ceremony was held in Brandon Florida and declared September 18th as “Solidarity Day”, and official state holiday.

In 1986, the foundation presented its four-year project the “National Farmers Memorial” in Bonner City, Kansas. This national memorial prompted U.S. Senator Bob Dole to say (as documented in the 99th congressional record)

“it was the first national memorial to recognize the American family, as well as the American farmer; it was the first national memorial placed outside of Washington, D.C. and produced by the private sector without the use of any tax dollars, the first national memorial produced in conjunction with an original orchestral suite, and the first national memorial accompanied by a sculpture that would tour in the United States”.

Today the foundation is committed to helping living and disabled veterans in addition to honoring those who have fallen using arts projects and events. The foundation incorporates the use of the arts (music, drama, dance, and artistic expression) to help veterans and their family to recover and move forward with a help up not a hand out for various life problems that may exist in their lives. The organization is looking for Artists for their upcoming magazine cover as well as honor events for veterans. There will be a number of events that are going to happen during 2018 in Polk County in different cities. Winter Haven, Fort Meade, Lakeland, and Bartow have all been areas that have been identified at this point. Those events will be publicized and the public is encouraged to come out and support this cause.

The light has come to Polk County, due in part to the large concentration of Veterans within this area. The number is staggering and close to 100,000. The mission of the foundation is:

“To use all of the arts to help and assist communities, veterans, first responders, children and families through our various divisions to better their lives in a humanitarian way, without cost to them”

The Foundation hopes that through the work that they do, they can become an impact in a humanitarian way not only in Polk County, but the State of Florida and on a larger scale nationally.

If you or your business would like to get involved with sponsorship or veterans events, please feel free to reach out to the Foundation’s facebook page or you can email


Jeremy for Veterans Activites:

Ramona for Sponsorship or Advertising:


Peace Officers Memorial Day May 15th

Fifty-six years ago, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed that National Peace Officers Memorial Day was to be observed every May 15th. The week that envelops May 15th is to also be known as National Police Week.
It is during this time that we recognize the sacrifices made, and remember the law enforcement officers who have made those sacrifices while carrying out their duties of protecting and serving others.
Locally, the Polk County Peace Officers’ Memorial honors 33 fallen law enforcement officers. The memorial sits off of Lake Beulah Drive, just west of the RP Funding Center (formerly the Lakeland Center).

Memorial honors 33 fallen law enforcement officers. The memorial sits off of Lake Beulah Drive, just west of the RP Funding Center (formerly the Lakeland Center).

Two other sites to mention include the FOP Law Enforcement Memorial in Tallahassee, and the National Law Enforcement
Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.
For family, friends, and colleagues of fallen officers, these sites are an overwhelming heartfelt experience. Anyone, with or without a close connection to law enforcement, should visit one of these sites, or better yet, one of the memorial services that are held at these locations each year.

Polk County is a wonderful community that has been outspoken with their support for the law enforcement officers who serve them.

Never forget that the law enforcement officers who serve the people of Polk County appreciate the support, and will always be there to answer the call. And never forget the 33 men who have paid the ultimate sacrifice during their service.

Fort Meade man dead after apparent suicide

On May 2nd around 2 pm, PCSO was contacted in reference to a deceased adult male in a vacant lot across the street from Hancock Funeral Home in Fort Meade (East Broadway & North Washington Ave). The witness had parked at the funeral home and observed the victim walking into the vacant lot; just after the witness went inside the funeral home, he heard a single gunshot; he went back outside, walked over to the lot, and observed the victim, identified as 79-year-old Roger Croghan of 300 South Washington Avenue #16 in Fort Meade, obviously deceased with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The witness dialed 9-1-1. There was a manila envelope with a note taped to the top of it adjacent to the body, and the note was addressed “Dear first responder.” There were several documents inside, related to his plan to commit suicide.

PCSO Homicide detectives arrived and conducted an investigation, and transported the victim to the Medical Examiner for an autopsy. No foul play was suspected. The autopsy revealed that the cause of death was gunshot wound of the head, and the manner of death was suicide.

May Happenings at the History Center


Bartow, Fla. (April 27, 2018) – Journey into Polk history this month at the Polk County History Center. The following programs and events are open to the public and free of charge:

  • May’s Family Program – Curators of Curiosity – All Month

o   Learn about the history of the Mother’s Day holiday, and create a special Mother’s Day card in the children’s gallery. The holiday is celebrated with cards, flowers, gifts, and more phone calls than any other day of the year. While there is a tradition of honoring mothers that has both Greco-Roman and Christian roots in Europe, Anna Jarvis began the celebration in the United States in 1908. Since 1914, the second Sunday in May has been officially designated as Mother’s Day in the United States.

  • May 15, 12:15 to 1 p.m. – Lunch and Learn – “Revolutionary Rogues: The Spanish American Adventurers Who Tried to Conquer Florida,” by David Head

o   In the summer of 1817, a group of pirates and privateers invaded Amelia Island, then a Spanish colony, in hopes of striking a blow for the Spanish American revolutions. The presentation will tell the stories of how these revolutionary rogues and their leaders planned to free Florida from Spanish rule, and how the United States intervened to stop them. David Head is an historian, author and lecturer of history at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. His first book, “Privateers of the Americas: Spanish American Privateering from the United States in the Early Republic,” was published by the University of Georgia Press in 2015. He is also the editor of, “The Golden Age of Piracy: The Rise, Fall, and Enduring Popularity of Pirates,” coming June 2018. He is currently writing a book on George Washington and the Continental Army at the end of the American Revolution.

  • Book Club Recommended Reading is, “Privateers of the Americas: Spanish American Privateering from the United States in the Early Republic,” by Dr. David Head

o   David Head looks at how Spanish American privateering worked in the early 1800s, a practice that was sanctioned by, and conducted on behalf of, republics in Spanish America seeking independence from Spain. Learn how the U.S. government responded, how privateers evaded laws, and what prompted them to choose privateering as a line of work.

  •  May 19, 11 a.m. – Architectural Tour

o   Join us for an architectural tour of the History Center and learn about neoclassical architecture, the construction of the building and the stories behind the iconic Old Polk County Courthouse. The architectural tour is on the third Saturday of each month at 11 a.m.

  • New Permanent Exhibit – “Imperial Polk’s Services”

o   A new gallery has been transformed into a permanent exhibit exploring the roots of Polk County Government. “Imperial Polk’s Services” details the formation of the county seat and the county commission, along with the origins of Polk’s earliest functions: education, emergency services, law enforcement, doctors and hospitals. After becoming an official county on Feb. 8, 1861, the first order of business was to elect commissioners and establish the location of the county seat – the administrative center for a county’s local government. A fully restored circa 1890s doctor’s buggy fills the center of the room. Other interesting artifacts include dedication plaques from the Polk County Stockade and Polk County Hospital, Sheriff John Logan’s service revolver and an assortment of antique medical instruments, school supplies and equipment from local law enforcement and firefighters.

  • May 24, 2:30 p.m. – The Polk County Historical Commission and Marker Committee will meet at the Polk County History Center. The meetings are open to the public.

The Polk County History Center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 100 E. Main St. in Bartow. Visit or call (863) 534-4386 for more information on exhibits and programming. All programs and events are free and open to the public.