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Gwen Graham honors North Florida veteran’s charity on House floor

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U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham took to the House floor today to recognize a local North Florida charity honoring veterans and their caregivers.

Warrior Beach Retreat is a nonprofit organization founded in 2009 by Linda Cope, after an improvised explosive device blast injured her son, Sargent Joshua Cope, in Baghdad, Iraq. According to the group’s website, the organization provides “a forum for combat-wounded warriors from the Iraq and Afghanistan war” to bring “honor and respect to those who served.”

For two weeks every year, Warrior Beach holds a parade and beach retreat for wounded service members, their families, and caregivers. This year, the spring retreat began April 14.

Graham, a freshman Democrat who represents Florida’s 2nd Congressional District, spoke briefly to praise the group:

“Mr. Speaker, today I rise to recognize Warrior Beach Retreat, a North Florida charity dedicated to supporting our combat wounded warriors, their families, and caregivers.

“The organization was established by Linda Cope after her son, Sargent Joshua Cope, was severely wounded by an IED blast in Baghdad, Iraq, on November 12, 2006.

“The Cope family turned tragedy into triumph, and twice a year Warrior Beach Retreat welcomes 50 wounded warriors and their caregivers to Panama City with a parade and a week-long retreat dedicated to honoring their service and sacrifice.

“I wish I could be with them in Panama City today to welcome these brave wounded warriors, but unable to do that I’d like to officially recognize Warrior Beach Retreat in the record and thank them on behalf of our North Florida community for all the hard work they do for our veterans.”

Video of her speech is also available on YouTube.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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