Volunteer of the Year

By: Hannah Wallace

Every year, we ask local not-for-profits to nominate their “Volunteer of the Year.” The competition is always intense, but this year one name quickly stood out for the selection committee—Tony D’Amato. D’Amato grew up at the Boys Club in New Haven, Conn., in the 1950s. A foster child until he was reunited with his mother […]


Every year, we ask local not-for-profits to nominate their “Volunteer of the Year.” The competition is always intense, but this year one name quickly stood out for the selection committee—Tony D’Amato.

D’Amato grew up at the Boys Club in New Haven, Conn., in the 1950s. A foster child until he was reunited with his mother at age seven, D’Amato showered at the club (his home had no hot water), and he got his clothes and shoes there. Once grown, “I made it a point to pay back,” he says.

Now retired from his career with the Army Reserve, D’Amato gives more than 20 hours a week to Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota County. After mornings volunteering for the YMCA (he’s been involved with Children’s Haven, too), D’Amato heads to the club, where he plays pool and cards, tells stories and riddles, helps with homework and sponsors weekly trips to the movies, as well as one child’s summer camp tuition each year. The kids call him “Mr. Tony.”

A staffer once asked D’Amato why he didn’t take a paid position with Boys and Girls Clubs. “No, I want to volunteer,” D’Amato explained. “I never gave myself a chance to be young when I was young. Now I’m just one of the kids in the club.”

 

Volunteer of the Year Nominees

Nominee: Dotty (and Dick) Terry

Why: I would like to be able to nominate Dotty for volunteer of the century, but this doesn’t seem to be an option. The dedication, commitment and love she has for the Art Center is unparalleled. Dotty is instrumental in our artwork submission process, and runs it herself. Each juried show receives about 250 artworks for submission in a single day. Dotty organizes and runs the other volunteers, collects and accounts for the submission fees, helps with hanging, and prints the labels! And she makes her husband come and help, too. Dotty can be counted on to help on any project. Her good nature and excellent skill set are the perfect combination for a volunteer. Dotty also supports the Art Center through donations, and has recently contributed $500.00 for summer camp scholarships. The Art Center adores Dotty, and we would like the world to know it.

 

Nominee: Joe Palermo

Why: Joe donates hundreds of hours to UCP each year. He is the graphic designer for all of our invitations, ads, newsletters, event programs, fliers, designed and built our website. He also maintains and updates our website at no charge. He troubleshoots our computers, takes photos at our events and helps us in any way he can. He is truly a gem to UCP and someone we treasure. He gives his time and talent which is very valuable to us! This would be a wonderful honor for him so he would know just how much he is appreciated.

 

Nominee: Ann VanCott

Why: The 2009 Charity Register’s last page featured a new charity in Sarasota/Manatee, the Pajama Program. Ann was at the luncheon that launched the Pajama Program and was so moved by the mission to provide foster, homeless and disadvantaged children with a new pair of pajamas and a new book that she took it upon herself to organize two pajama drives. The first was a girl’s night out at the Venice Yacht Club with a fashion show by Saks that netted 186 pairs of pajamas and 240 books—and a full-page article in the Venice Gondelier. The second was a month later through the Curves fitness center she attends which netted 176 pairs of pajamas and 160 books. That is a total of 366 pairs of pajamas and 400 books through her efforts alone.

In addition to this, Ann serves in a volunteer capacity as the Chair of the Sarasota County Environmentally Sensitive Lands Commission, and volunteers at the Phillipi Estates Farmer’s Market.

When she finds something about which she is passionate, there is no stopping her! She already has another pajama drive scheduled for February 2011!

 

Nominee: John Lewis

Why: John goes above and beyond what a volunteer should do. He never has to be asked to do anything he has already had done it. He net works for you when you don’t even know it. He gives 100 percent and more. So lucky to have him working with us. We are truely honored to have had him.

 

Nominee: Margaret Wise

Why: This is what your own magazine said about her in March 1993: "Steel magnolia newcomer from Hot Coffee, Mississippi. Busy chairing everything. Grande dame in the making." She has fulfilled this prediction and more. Margaret always responds to the call for help, with the utmost graciousness, skill and tenacity. She has helped more organizations than just about anyone. If you have her on your team, you know you’ve got the makings of a big success!

 

Nominee: Janet Hunter

Why: Janet has been a member of our board of directors for more than 15 years, during which time she has given freely of her expertise as an events planner, has been a positive force for development of La Musica and for me, has been a mainstay to whom I turn for advice, for succor, and for a laugh. She is the ideal volunteer, never fearing to state her mind but always supportive of plans and projects.

 

Nominee: Doris Twardosky

Why: Doris Twardosky should be considered as Sarasota’s Volunteer of the Year for many reasons. Back in late 2007, we approached Doris to volunteer as a pharmacist once a month at the soon to open Community Pharmacy of Sarasota County. Doris accepted our offer and within a month stepped up to volunteer as the Pharmacy Manager and single-handedly set up the on-site pharmacy that serves our community. Doris’ unwavering commitment to the uninsured residents of Sarasota is truly inpsiring. Doris takes the time to counsel patients and caregivers, advises patients on potential drug interactions, educates them on disease management, tirelessly works with physicians to find solutions for patients to receive their needed medication and also manages the all volunteer pharmacy staff. Doris is a quiet person and like many other volunteers in our community, thinks that what she does is nothing out of the ordinary.  Doris sees the good in everyone – whether they are insured or uninsured, rich or poor, young or old. In 2009 alone, Doris donated over $18,450 worth of volunteer time to The Community Pharmacy. (According to the Florida Department of Health, one volunteer by a licensed pharmacist is worth $75.)

 

Nominee: Jane Canter

Why: Jane Canter is a fearless, non-judgmental, and amenable volunteer who has been a consistent and dedicated part of Second Chance-Last Opportunity for over 6 years. Until recently when a health issue interrupted her pattern, this volunteer in her 80s would work in our Newtown office every Wednesday, happily contributing to whatever project was at hand. Jane is currently maintaining her SCLO involvement by doing clerical work from home but misses interacting with our clients and hopes to return to her weekly presence in the office soon. Newtown residents got used to her cheerful and compassionate countenance and regular presence and will be glad when she is back to work as normal, too!

 

Nominee: Monica becket

Why: Monica gives tirelessly to her community of North Port. Especially and specifically for our youth. She is a homemaker, but hasn’t always been , and works as hard and as much—if not more—with the Health Department’s Community Health Action Team (CHAT) and Community Health Improvement Program (CHIP). Monica has also been a leader in implementing North Port’s Drug-Free Youth program (DFY).

 

Nominee: Monica Becket

Why: Ms. Becket is committed to the youth of Sarasota County. She wants to keep them drug- and alcohol-free. As part of that, she is pioneering the D-FY Youth Program. The pilot program started in North Port this year, and she is hoping to make it county wide in the very near future.

 

Nominee: Anthony D’Amato

Why: Anthony D’Amato

From birth to seven years of age Tony D’Amato lived in several foster homes, until his biological mother took him home to join the family of two half brothers and a wonderful stepdad. They lived in a three-room tenement building in New Haven, Conn. and were very poor. Tony was first introduced to a Boy’s club in 4th grade where every Wednesday their class went to the New Haven Boys Club for swimming lessons. In fifth grade Tony’s family moved to a new location just two blocks from the New Haven Boys Club. Their home did not have any hot water, therefore Tony and his brothers went every day to the Club to shower, change clothes and swim. Once a year the Club gave out a pair of sneakers to under privileged kids, in which Tony and his brothers would be recipients. 

In 1995 Tony retired from the US Army Reserve, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), and moved to Sarasota.

Today, Tony volunteers four days a week at the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County helping kids in the computer lab learn about safety on the internet and basic computer fundamentals; he shares wonderful photos of the kids he’s taken at special events around the Club, and during the summer months you can find Tony playing cards for hours with groups of kids. Once a week Tony, a Club counselor and 10 kids go out for a movie. The kids are greeted each day by “Mr. Tony” when they arrive to the Club. A caring adult, who in his own words writes, “I hope to achieve and serve our youth with the intention of inspiring them and enabling them to realize their full potential as productive responsible and caring citizens. When I was young I couldn’t wait to grow up. Now, I realize I didn’t give myself a chance to be young when I was young”.

 

Nominee: Kristanne Korsch

Why: Kristanne Korsch is one of a kind. We met Kristanne three years ago when her son’s best friend was diagnosed with Juvenile (Type 1) Diabetes. Even though Kristanne and her husband, Ray, do not have a direct family connection with diabetes and her son’s best friend has since moved away, she has been relentless in fundraising to help find a cure. This year alone, Kristanne and her husband, Ray, personally raised over $16,000 for our annual "Walk to Cure Diabetes" which was held on Siesta Key Beach.

In addition to the Walk to Cure Diabetes fundraising, Kristanne chairs the JDRF Third Party Committee where she coordinates a variety of fundraising events from street festivals to jewelry sales to sporing events. To date, Kristanne’s leadership has helped raise an additional $30,000 to support JDRF’s mission to find a cure for diabetes.

You can call on Kristanne anytime, any day and she come’s running, always with a big smile on her face.  

We, here at JDRF, are so grateful to have Kristanne as our "Volunteer Hero".

 

Nominee: Michael Bifalco

Why: Michael is a graduating senior from Pineview this year and has volunteered with Take Stock in Children of Sarasota County as a Student Ambassador for the past several years.

He not only volunteered his time in every capacity at all our events but he (along with his family) created a fund raiser for our annual Fall Festival that now pays for the event. He and his family organized and ran the Fall Festival TSIC Student Bake Sale for the last two years. 

He has a positive, enthusiastic attitude and appreciation for the opportunity he received with Take Stock in Children as well as an appreciation for life. Michael should be the volunteer of the year because he truly has a volunteer’s heart.

 

Nominee: Fran Kramer

Why: Southeastern Guide Dogs has had the pleasure of having Fran as a volunteer since 2005. Fran is a leader at our school and volunteers with pride; she is truly an invaluable asset on campus. Fran handles a variety of duties including any work needed in our kennels—even covering evenings and weekends to ensure that our dogs are well cared for. Staff members are always thrilled to have Fran on their team. One team member said, “Fran always has a big smile and is always willing to help, we are so lucky that Fran is here. From dishes to Puppy Socialization, from cleaning the yard to participating in our Puppy Raiser and Therapy Program, we couldn’t do it with out her!”

In addition to her on-campus involvement, Fran has raised four dogs for the school, turning young puppies into world class guide dogs. As a Therapy Handler, Fran volunteers at two local schools through our Therapy Reading Program which pairs young readers with an uncritical listener (a dog) to bolster their confidence. Fran consistently demonstrates a strong work ethic and a friendly, positive attitude. Fran truly cares about making a difference; her decision to give her time and energy to fulfill our mission, shows an unsurpassed depth of kindness. We are proud to support her in the nomination for Sarasota’s Volunteer of the Year!

 

Nominee: Gus Stevens

Why: Every Child, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization which was formed 12 years ago in response to a need in the community. Our neediest children were not starting school with the proper tools. So that year Every Child, Inc. provided a backpack filled with school supplies for every child living in Sarasota’s five housing projects. Since then over $200,000 has been raised to provide school supplies, holiday parties, afterschool programs, summer camps, a food pantry, a clothes closet and the Cinderella Project. Every Child, Inc. would not exist without the support of the community for funding and volunteers. Every Child, Inc. has no paid staff and no overhead. Every cent raised goes to the childen. And, every project is manned by volunteers. There has been innumerable invaluable and wonderful people involved over the years. And, one of them is Gus Stevens. As a former elementary school teacher, she has shared her time, her talent and her expertise to help the children living in our housing projects. Her commitment and love for the kids makes her our shining star.

 

Nominee: Mark and Kyle Davis

Why: Kyle and Mark Davis are the epitome of great volunteers. The Sarasota YMCA has hundreds of volunteers each year but few match the dedication and commitment of Kyle and Mark Davis. Mark served as leader of the Sharks Swim Team parent board for three years, has been the head meet official for all home swim meets for the past four years and trains hundreds of parent volunteers each year to be officials.

Kyle Davis has served as the race director for the past two years for the Sharks Siesta Key Triathlon and has been the driving force behind the race doubling in size and profit. She also volunteers in various roles throughout the year with the YMCA including being a meet official.

No matter the task or amount of time it will take Kyle and Mark Davis will volunteer to get it done and with an attitude that is contagious for the rest of our volunteers. There is no way to ever repair the hundreds of hours that this couple has put into serve the Y and its programs.

Thank you for considering these very deserving couple.

 

Nominee: Karen

Why: Karen has taken the very demanding responsibility of practically running Manasota BUDS. She puts a great deal of time and effort into our annual fundraiser, the Buddy Walk. She has spent countless hours organizing our monthly meetings, answering emails and phone calls from parents reaching out to our support group. She helps create new parent kits with up to date information about Down syndrome to be distributed to new and expectant parents of children with Ds. Karen is also a parent of a child with Ds. She has a stressful job and still accomplishes all of these things. She is a great source of support in our group and I feel she should be Volunteer of the Year because of her hard work and dedication to the Down syndrome community. She truly deserves it.

Thank you for your time in considering my nomination of Karen Feduccia for Volunteer of the Year. 

 

Nominee: Karen Feduccia

Why: Karen has taken on many responsibilities within our organization. She selflessly devotes many hours of her time each week to make sure that things that need to be accomplished are completed in a timely manner. With a full-time job and family which includes a son with special needs, this can be a challenge, but Karen never complains as she is passionate (as we all are in our organization) about our cause. I, for one, am in awe of what Karen has done, and continues to do, for Manasota BUDS, each and every day.

 

Nominee: Karen Feduccia

 

Why: Karen is a mother, worker, advocate and volunteer. Our son, Andrew, was born with Down syndrome 7 years ago. Since shortly after Andrew’s birth she had been involved with Manasota BUDS (Bringing Up Down Syndrome).   As an all-volunteer organization now in its 8th year, ManasotaBUDS.org. We (BUDS) have seen people volunteer come-and-go; most get burned out between the responsibility of work home and BUDS. For almost 2 years Karen has been caring the load in helping over 100 families in the community who have children with Down syndrome.

 

Karen is instrumental in keeping our organization going. She helps and welcomes new families who have children with Down syndrome. Karen has a full time pressure-filled career. She is helping her mother, grandmother, running a household and all the issues in raising a child with disabilities. The previous information is the backdrop to what she deals with on a daily basis before her selflessness to BUDS. Karen answers and responds to all telephone, mail and email correspondence. Karen is responsible for Programs and Services with BUDS, which we have over 20 programs and offer about 100 various scholarships a year for families and their children. Karen orders supplies and marketing information as well as organizing our storage unit. She is responsible for organizing our monthly board meeting and other meetings. Karen assists with our New and Expecting Parent committee. Karen also sends out emails to members of the group and works on our web-site. Karen was instrumental in the writing 3 grants for Manasota BUDS and going to various organizations to advocate and educate groups on Down syndrome and our kids. These are duties she volunteers to do almost as daily duties in-between work and caring for her family members.

 

 Manasota BUDS annual fund raiser is the BUDDY Walk held during the October Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival. Approximately 1000 people have attended and raised approximately $60,000 each of the past 2 years. Karen has been the main committee person to organize and co-ordinate all of the responsibilities from logistics, organizing the committees, email, web-site, registration, collecting funds, both before and during this event. Without her wonderful and exceptional service to the children and families, we would not be in a position to have as many programs and maybe even look at stopping all of these services provided to the children and parents. 

 

Karen does this because she knows how it felt to be alone when your child is diagnosed with Down syndrome; finding wonderful people to who are there for you when you are searching for answers.   Finding other parents who offer guidance and love changes the way one sees the diagnosis. Manasota BUDS gives out over 25 New and Expectant Parent kits in the community each year! We (BUDS) receive letters every year from our new BUDS family members and their relatives out of state sharing with us how having Manasota BUDS and parents who understand was truly gift that will never be forgotten. 

Karen’s service to the children, parents, community and BUDS exemplifies how one person can change the world. Her volunteerism to Manasota BUDS is truly what is needed to make this a better place to live.

 

Nominee: Hart Turrell

Why: Through one-on-one tutoring, the Literacy Council of Sarasota serves adult learners who need basic English communication skills. Normally, a volunteer tutor works with a single student—either an ESOL learner for whom English is a second language, or those native English speakers who never learned to read and write in school.

But that wasn’t enough for Hart Turrell. At the peak of his volunteer workload, Hart tutored 12 learners each week! He routinely tutors five or more students for up to 10 hours a week, not counting preparation and travel time. In five years of volunteering at LCS, he has made an immeasurable contribution to the literacy of the community and to hundreds of individuals who have been enabled to lead richer and more productive lives.

 

 

Nominee: Florence Katz

Why: Florence Katz is nominated by Jewish Family & Children’s Service for her incredible commitment and dedication as a volunteer with our Senior Outreach Services Program. A little dynamo, Florence Katz, age 94, is an advocate and champion for homebound, isolated seniors. She personally organizes the weekly program and lunch for more than 50 participants who attend the Senior Outreach Service Programs held on Tuesdays at Temple Beth Israel on Longboat Key and on Wednesdays at the Fruitville Road Campus of JFCS. Florence actively seeks donations and engages local resources to keep these seniors connected to the community. This past year, her children insisted that she stop driving, but she secured transportation to ensure she could continue her volunteer work with the seniors at JFCS. "Age is a state of mind –nothing more. And I have made up my mind that too many seniors are living isolated and depressed because of failing health or the loss of a loved one. They need a connection to the community. And if at 94 I can provide that and serve as an example of staying connected, so can they." states Florence Katz. Thanks to Florence Katz, more than 50 seniors in our community have a role model and life line to ensure that they too live a quality life with meaning.

 

Nominee: Sally Yanowitz

Why: As a co-chair for Planned Parenthood’s 44th Annual Dinner, Sally was engaged at every level on behalf of the event. She tirelessly encouraged sponsorship and attendance (and was a major sponsor herself), determined the decor and menu (people are still talking about the delicious Cornish game hens!) and was firm that our centerpieces be something that could be donated to another area charity (we filled bags with baby items for Mothers Helping Mothers). Her leadership was a key factor in the eventual success of the event –our net profit was 40 percent over the budgeted net. We are so grateful to have a friend and supporter in Sally!

 

 

Nominee: Fred Lux

Why: Fred Lux, Emergency Response Team Coordinator for the Southwest Florida Chapter of the American Red Cross

The Red Cross Emergency Response Teams, known as ERT, operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Team members are volunteers who respond to the scene of a single family fire or other local disaster. Fred Lux is an invaluable volunteer coordinator for all team activity. He oversees the recruitment, scheduling and training of 8 teams with a total of 80 members. The ERT teams provide a crucial service to individuals and families who are often faced with devastating loss from a fire or other disaster.

While other members are on call for 12 hour shifts, Fred puts himself on call 24/7. He is there if any teams need an extra hand day or night. Fred puts his heart and soul into his volunteer work and he says “At the end of the day you feel good that you have really helped someone.”  His No. 1 priority is to make sure Red Cross services are available to those in need. Red Cross offers temporary housing, food and clothing to fire victims, but Fred feels that the most important thing we offer is emotional support. “People really appreciate knowing they are not in it alone.”

 

 

Nominee: Jane Kirschner-Turcillo, Board President, Historical Society of Sarasota County

Why: When Jane joined the board and then became its president less than three years ago, membership was low and there was no strong identity attached to the Historical Society of Sarasota County (HSOSC) despite the physical presence of two historic structures at Pioneer Park – the Bidwell-Wood house (1882) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901). HSOSC has a 60-year lease on the city-owned park to maintain the two historic houses, promote the aims of the society (preserve local history through community programs, acquire and safeguard archival material, and contribute to the understanding of Sarasota’s rich and diverse history), and making the structures and the park vital teaching tools within the community as well as a tourist destination for visitors.  

By building a strong board, involving other historic organizations in joint projects, leading a membership drive, organizing community enrichment programs and promoting tourism, Jane has already managed small miracles and envisions bigger ones.

Last year, Jane started a gift shop in the detached kitchen house of the Bidwell-Wood residence. She convinced 26 local artisans to consign their items, volunteer to staff the shop, and periodically stage craft demonstrations on the back porch of the house. The gift shop turned a surprising profit and is a project HSOSC will continue and expand. It’s been highly beneficial for the local arts community and the gift shop has become a retail destination for shoppers interested in hand-crafted, local art – everything from pine needle baskets, hand-made soap, woven apparel, high-end ceramics, jewelry, craft kits for children, note cards, signs and much more.

Jane also organized a docent program. HSOSC now has 10 men and women who have completed an intense course and are qualified to lead guided tours through the house and church.

Jane expanded the idea of renting out the Crocker Memorial Church (de-commissioned as a house of worship in 2004) and now it is a bustling site for intimate weddings, theater rehearsals, civic and social club meetings, all-day professional seminars, art shows, and such. HSOSC is realizing funding from these endeavors that helps maintain the buildings. (Keeping up these two structures is an endless job, not to mention a money pit and Jane has been super-resourceful in getting labor and materials donated). Additionally, Jane continues to organize craft classes, summer camps and youth educational projects at Pioneer Park, which bring increased visibility to HSOSC.

She is moving forward with grant applications too. And the high quality of speakers at each general meeting has brought new members to HSOSC.

For the past two years Jane has organized and led History Day In The Park, a three-day public event that celebrates local history. Held at Phillippi Estate Park, this year’s event included a national antiques show, appraisal days with nationally respected Antiques Road Show experts, craft show and sale with attending food, music, games for children, demonstration of old time crafts, and more. Jane galvanized upwards of 150 volunteers to make the event a community success. And it generated strong financial support for HSOSC’s continuing mission.

Jane has a talent for making every volunteer and donor feel that he or she is the most important person at HSOSC. And she honestly believes that is true. People like to work with her. The board and HSOSC members feel confident in her leadership and enjoy her company pulling weeds, planning big events, lining up speakers or craft classes or organizing a community pot luck supper in the park. For HSOSC Jane Kirschner-Tuccillo is already the Volunteer of the Year.

 

Nominee: Katie Smith

Why: It is with my pleasure that I nominate Katie Smith as Sarasota’s Volunteer of the Year Award.   Katie Smith has volunteered with our nonprofit conservation organization, the Lemur Conservation Foundation, since September 2008.  During her time with LCF Katie has shown her enthusiasm, dedication and loyalty in many ways.  LCF is located in a fairly remote area and the commute can take over one hour from the downtown Sarasota vicinity.  Katie has traveled this distance every Friday for the past two years without hesitation.  On days when she cannot commit to the full four hour volunteer time, she will travel the two hour commute and donate as much time as she can.  Her dedication extends into her student life since she has rearranged her class schedule to fit her volunteer obligation with LCF.  On several occasions Katie has recruited new volunteers and profession connections from her college campus to share in her experiences.  Along with her continued commitment to LCF, Katie is a hard worker and willing to complete any task that is asked of her while having a positive and engaging attitude.  From the moment she arrives at the door, Katie is ready to be put to work. She understands what is expected of her and completes routine duties with little supervision and continued passion regardless of the task.  Katie has been a role model for new staff and interns.  As you can see, Katie has an amazing work ethic, she is highly motivated and carries herself with a advanced level of maturity.

As the Animal Care Manager at LCF, I feel honored to work alongside an individual who not only shows responsibility and commitment to an organization, but who is proud of the work they do for a greater cause.  If there was an opportunity to have Katie join the LCF staff as an employee, I would not hesitate to make this happen.

 

Debbie Trimble

We would like to nominate Warren Coville, Asolo Rep Board member and Co-Chair of Asolo Rep’s Endowment and Capital Campaign.  When Asolo Rep was looking to purchase its new Production Center, it was Warren Coville who negotiated with the bank to bring the purchase price down from its original listing of more than $2.5 million to $1.65 million. 

As co-chair of the campaign, Warren works daily making phone calls and solicitations to donors, chairing and attending meetings, etc.  His efforts have put us $13.1 million toward the $30 million goal we have for the campaign. 

In addition, Warren sponsors two students in the FSU/Asolo Conservatory and underwrites with Bev Koski the three student/donor brunches held each year at the Bird Key Yacht Club.

Warren just turned 85 and is still going strong.  It is a honor to work with him.

 

Nominee: Michael Martino

Why: Would you be interested in doing a story about an extraordinary young man who is part of the Class of 2010? Michael was Regimental Commander of the Sarasota Military Academy this past year and graduated with academic and sports honors.  More importantly, he has spent most of his childhood volunteering for  the Muscular Distrophy Campaign  that the Sarasota Fire Department  chairs each year…and volunteering  at Booker Elementary school. He was recognized by the Sarasota Keys Rotary for outstanding Community Service and personal achievements, he is the recipient of the SMA Lacrosse Eagle award honoring the qualities of outstanding player and loyal cadet, and received the highest honor at the Sarasota Military Officers Banquet May 12, 2010.  Michael will be reporting to the USMA  at West Point  June 28th 2010. I believe you will walk away with  a great Story and a  secure feeling  that our country is in good hands  after you meet this humble young man.  He traveled 30 miles to school  each day for  four years while attending  SMA.  His desire to serve others is so strong it overwhelms friends and family. He is loved by his teachers, coaches ROTC instructors , and peers  and has been an asset to any organization he was part of.  I would love to honor him for his achievements.

 

Nominee: Avery Burke

Why: Our nominee is Avery Burke.  Avery is a volunteer to our program who represents Manatee Glens.  Avery has been instrumental in our food drives.  In particular he makes all the arrangements for collecting, transporting, storing and disseminating frozen turkeys for our annual Thanksgiving food drive that culminates at the Sarasota Fair Grounds the Friday before Thanksgiving.  This is a monumental task resulting in about 2.000 turkeys each year.

Avery is also an active participant in other events to help feed the hungry, such as the Veteran’s Stand Down.  This is an annual event to benefit the homeless in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.  It is primarily aimed at homeless Veterans – but anyone who is homeless is invited.  This event offers a variety of services including food, clothing, counseling, dental and medical services,  grooming; etc.

I hope you will still consider Avery for this honor.  He is very humble and selfless.  We are very pleased to have him participate in our organization.

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