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Lakeland, FL: A tradition as part of the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo is the announcement of the Hometown Hero ride with each year’s respective military demonstration team. The U.S. Air Force Flight Demonstration Team, Thunderbirds, will fly Sergeant Chad Mumbauer of the City of Lakeland Police Department. SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo has relied on the participation of both the City of Lakeland Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office to execute a safe and controlled event for many years.


In recognition of their dedication to the community, both departments were offered the opportunity to nominate officers that they felt were deserving of a special recognition and a ride of their life with our country’s most elite military demonstration team.


The Thunderbirds selected Sergeant Chad Mumbauer who is the epitome of a 25+ year public servant and Marine Corps veteran who leads by example. With the heart of a warrior, he has overcome brain cancer three times in the past 10 years and returned to full duty as a leader of the department’s Special Operations Unit in the City of Lakeland Police Department. Address:Lakeland Linder International Airport Terminal3900 Don Emerson DriveLakeland, FL Takeoff for Flight: 3:55pm
Thunderbird Diamond Practice departure immediately following. This is on the Northside of the Airport off of Dranefield Rd. This event will NOT be taking place at SUN ‘n FUN.
Media is encouraged to arrive early to witness the show of comradery of both police departments celebrating the recognition of one of their brothers.  As City of Lakeland Police Department Chief Ruben Garcia shared, “I cannot think of a person more deserving of this honor than Sergeant Chad Mumbauer. During these twenty-plus years of service, Chad has faced many challenges, including the enormous battle of fighting off brain cancer, not once but three times. Each time in a display of strength and grace that can only be described as superhuman, Chad has faced this awful disease head-on with the highest of faith and motivation to return to his normal life. Chad has become an icon in the tactical community as a true survivor, a warrior, and a role model of hope to hundreds of SWAT officers who serve communities throughout our state. I am humbled to have had the privilege of working alongside him these many years.” “It is opportunities such as the Hometown Hero ride that Sergeant Mumbauer will enjoy with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds that reminds us that our event has a heart and soul and we are honored to have enabled this experience for him.” said John “Lites” Leenhouts, President and CEO of SUN ‘n FUN Flyin and the Aerospace Center for Excellence. 
Sergeant Mumbauer will be flying with Maj. Ryan Yingling, Operations Officer, Thunderbird #7 in the Air Force’s premier multi-role fighter jet, the F-16 Fighting Falcon.  For more information:Carol CaliMedia and Public RelationsSUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo864.324.2254 (text recommended)ccali@flysnf.org
Robin TillettMedia RelationsLakeland Police Department863.834.2963Robin.Tillett@lakelandgov.net

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