Church of Scientology Volunteer Ministers Honor Patriot Day with Everyday Heroes Award Banquet

CLEARWATER, Fla., Sept. 11, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Fifteen years ago today, America suffered a day of tremendous loss and tremendous heroism. In honor of that day, and the acts of bravery that have inspired a generation to do more for their fellows, the Volunteer Ministers of the Church of Scientology hosted their first annual Everyday Heroes Award Banquet.

The awardees and speakers, from left: Dan Eberts, OneBlood; Ray Neri, Lealman community Association; Linda Leach, One Blood, Glendy Goodsell, Executive Director Scientology Volunteer Ministers; Sgt. Major (ret.) Jack Tilley, Lisa Mansell, Public Affairs Director Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization; Daniella Farnias, Feeding Children Everywhere; Jose Bueno, Red Cross and Neil Brickfield, Pinellas County Police Athletic League

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

The event was held in the Auditorium of the Fort Harrison, the International Religious Retreat for the Church of Scientology in Clearwater. Over 250 people, from all walks of life, attended and participated in the event.

The Public Affairs Director of the Church, Lisa Mansell, welcomed guests, saying “In honor of Patriot Day, we are gathered to remember the acts of selfless heroism on September 11th, 2001. We are familiar with the statistics and why first responders are honored throughout the United States on September 11th. Their sacrifices in the line of duty are not to be forgotten. Their sacrifices have inspired millions to serve their fellow man.”

An array of speakers followed her in echoing that sentiment, demonstrating how that one day shaped the courses of their lives.

The evening’s key note speaker was Jack L. Tilley, the 12th Sergeant Major of the Army, retired. He spoke passionately of the incidents that changed his life. Mr. Tilley was at the Pentagon on 9/11 and was one of those who rushed into the building to help rescue victims there. His talk inspired the audience and brought many to tears.

Speakers also included Dan Ebert, representing OneBlood.

Mr. Ebert recalled being on his post at what is now One Blood, eyes glued to the TV and potential donors arriving in shock. But though buildings have been rebuilt, there is still a demand for blood, making donors today everyday heroes to the strangers they will help through their donation.

Mr. Jose Bueno from the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Red Cross told the guests about the work of the Red Cross to prevent disasters through the installation of fire alarms in homes across the US including Tampa Bay.

After hearing tales of broader-scale heroism, and in alignment with the Volunteer Ministers’ motto that “Something can be done about it,” Glendy Goodsell, the Executive Director of the Volunteer Ministers of Florida, was then introduced to present awards to those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their own lives to build a better community.

The individuals and organizations awarded were:

  • OneBlood (they are the blood supplier for the majority of Florida, Georgia and Alabama)

  • Feeding Children Everywhere (an Organization whose mission is a hunger-free world)

  • Mr. Ray Neri and Mr. Neil Brickfield from Lealman and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Police Athletic League, who are helping rebuild that community and keep youth on a positive path.

Mr. Ray Neri commented on the evening and all that it meant, “After getting over the beauty of the Fort Harrison, the organization of the event and the wonderful presentation, I wish a lot of other people could see this. It would spur them on to volunteer and that is what we need more of.”

“The Volunteer Ministers Disaster Response Team provided physical help in the form of food, water, clothing, gear and other necessities at Ground Zero and in Washington DC,” added Ms. Mansell. “And from that day, they have not looked back, assisting at over 200 disaster sites internationally. The Volunteers Ministers were organized by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard to bring back religious influence to society. This group is open to members of all faiths, anyone who wants to do something about the turmoil that they see around them.

For more information about the Volunteer Ministers, please visit their website at

Contact: Pat Harney 727-467-6860

Source:Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization