August, 19 2017

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WWII Marine recognized for outstanding volunteer service

Marines and other prominent members of the Greater Miami military community presented the prestigious Patriot Award to a World War II Marine, Ms. Mary Jane Kane, for her leadership in supporting our troops serving in Iraq and in a wide range of other key community organizations.

The Patriot Award is awarded by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve organization, in recognition of service to the Guard, Reserves, the community and to the nation�s military men and women.

Kane enlisted in the Marine Corps in January 1944 and served on active duty until the war�s end. Following the end of hostilities, she served an additional five years in the reserves. During World War II, her husband was serving in the Navy in the Asiatic Pacific Campaign, and her brother in the Army in the D-Day invasion. This didn�t distract Kane from her goal, though, which was to become a Marine. �I never thought of the other services. From the time I was a little girl on, I always wanted to be a Marine,� she said.

After she separated from active duty, she quickly developed a passion for volunteer work after an event that changed her life. �I belonged to the Curtis Park Aquatic Club. We taught American Red Cross swimming classes to school children, cerebral palsy patients, and the blind. One day a little boy who was blind exclaimed to me, �Teacher, isn't the water beautiful!� That was the breaking point for me and I have been volunteering ever since,� she said.

Kane is an active member of the South Florida Women Marines Association. During her tenure, Jane has held office of treasurer, secretary, vice president and president. The chapter participates in many community events. Through their Veteran Affairs volunteer service, for years she provided greetings and goodies to hospitalized veterans at Miami VA hospital.

She also chairs a committee to produce annual holiday baskets for Safe Space, a housing facility for abused women. She worked numerous hours to open and manage a non-profit thrift store whose proceeds support Safe Space.

During a visit to the Florida Keys, she came across another group in need; the Island House, which provides housing for TROUBLED TEENS. Once again, she gave of her time and energized fund raising events to support this organization.

Her most recent work included sending Holiday care boxes to our troops serving in Iraq. �I�d compare them to the packages the troops receive from home,� said Army Lt. Col. George Stewart, whose Florida National Guard troops benefited from her generosity during their recent deployment. According to Stewart, by far the most popular items in the care packages were her batches of homemade oatmeal cookies, which were a huge hit with the troops. �Ms. Kane is definitely a role model and a true patriot,� he said.
Col. Bruce Gandy, chief of staff, U.S. Marine Corps Forces South who presented the Patriot Award on behalf of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve organization observed, �The Marine Corps returns over 40,000 Marines to their civilian communities each year. They are committed citizens and community leaders, but it would be difficult to find a better example of length, breadth and depth of service than Mary Jane Kane�s.�

This Marine spends countless hours in service to others. But when she takes some precious time out for herself, you can find her in the Florida Keys, where she fishes off the dock of her island home. Despite its relative seclusion, the place is hard to miss � it�s the one proudly displaying the American and Marine Corps Flags.

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