Community honors veterans during Freedom Float

A group of veterans is invited to Hodges Harbor in Sun City Center for a tranquil day out on the water. Bill Hodges arranges these special outings on his boat for those like him, who served their country.

"All the way from World War II to Korea to Vietnam," said Hodges of the veterans invited to join him on the water.

He calls it the Freedom Float. Hodges says it's his version of the Honor Flight, which takes veterans to see the military memorials in Washington, D.C.

"It's important that we don't overlook all of those who maybe can't do that, maybe need a little help," said Hodges.

"This is really tremendous because the wait for the regular flight can be in the years and we're all getting up in age and this provides an opportunity similar to that that's local and easy to come by and I think it's just a tremendous idea," said veteran Lane Rickman. 

Hodges arranged a special surprise for the veterans. During the float, neighbors greeted them, waving flags and thanking them for their service.

"This is an opportunity for us to share the lake and let the people of the lake be a part of it," said Hodges.

It's a trip that's peaceful and patriotic.

For veterans interested in taking part in a Freedom Float, Hodges said they can email him at with their information and phone number.