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WTXL ABC 27 News
Disabled Veteran hosts fundraiser to raise money for fallen heroes' children
By Kandace Blake,
It was the tragic story of 9/11 that changed one man’s life forever. His name is Billy Rizzardi and in 2012 he went on to join the United States Air Force as way to honor the lives of those lost.
"It was always on mind. I always wanted to join after that. It seemed like an honorable thing to do," said Rizzardi.
After serving in the military for over 6 years he was given an honorable discharge.
"That's when the medical personnel decided it was a little too much," said Rizzardi.
Rizzardi suffers from PTSD as well as many other injuries he's gotten through combat training and burn pits during deployment. Burn pits are an area where waste is disposed of by burning. The pits having lasting effects on Rizzardi especially to his esophagus.
"It will get to a point where I'm choking on food or water," said Rizzardi.
Because of this he receives a veteran pension but says he wanted to do something with it that wouldn't just benefit himself but others. In 2019 Rizzardi opened Midtown Kava Lounge. A non-alcoholic lounge geared towards help people relax and build community.
To honor Memorial Day Rizzardi is hosting a fundraiser. Using money raised to donate to A Soldier's Child Foundation. An organization dedicated to serving children of fallen members of the military.
Money raised will help fund scholarships, big brother, or sister programs, and even birthday celebrations.
"We've also got a 'why is Memorial Day important to you board,' especially for the youngins that come out and the adults as well. We wanted to make sure we had something to show everyone's memories," said Curley.
Elizabeth Curley, has worked for Kava Lounge since 2020 and jumped right on board.
"The direct action of taking care of your neighbors is something that is woven into this place from product to the daily activites and to the people who come here," said Curley.
Midtown Kava Lounge is located at 1700 North Monroe St building 19, Tallahassee, FL 32303.