The Westin Colonnade once again hosted the Junior Orange Bowl Committee as members gathered for their annual election meeting on Feb. 17.
The hotel’s general manager, Mike Wurster, graciously provided complimentary hot hors d’oeuvres for the hungry crowd in the newly relocated Hoja Nueva restaurant located in the former Aragon Café area. By the way, look for Norman’s to open in Hoja Nueva’s former location later this year. In the meantime, Hoja Nueva’s new location is a cozy bar and restaurant with great food you will want to experience as did the members of the Junior Orange Bowl Committee that evening.
Top priority for the JOBC’s annual meeting was the election of the following new officers: Marti Bueso, president; Brian Seits, president-elect; Jim Borgmann, immediate past president; Dallas Brown and Donald Slesnick III, vice presidents; Charles Knight, treasurer, and Enid Miguez, secretary.
Elections also were held for new associate and active members. Those associates moving up to active members are Robert Bueso, Tim Dunfey, Patrick Harris, Kathleen Kauffmann, Tiffany Kennedy, Melissa Seits, Peter Tolmach, and a mother/ daughter twosome Gloria Stephen and Gloria Stephens. New associate members are David Albury, Karen Borgmann, William Kennedy, Robert Gomez, Robin Preston, Ulises Otero and Veronica Ramirez.
GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club held a Bunko party coupled with an international pot luck dinner on Feb. 18 to raise funds for Heifer International. The affair organized by International Affairs chair Mayra Dominguez and Barbara Lapsley attracted a great crowd of women and even a few men to support this worthy cause. It was truly a fun filled evening at clubhouse.
Many guests then had an opportunity to tour the club’s May Van Sickle Dental Clinic, which they own and operate. This clinic provided last year alone more than $135,000 in free dental care to needy children. Among the many helping out and enjoying the evening were Teresita Cook, Vicki McGroarty, Pam Schaefer, Carmen Suarez, Linda Hartwell, Nancy Des Mangles, Patty Brewer, Michele Collier, Mayra Dominguez and Debi Wilborn. This energetic group of woman welcomes individuals wanting to serve their community with club members coming from as far south away as Homestead, Doral and even Miramar. For more information on the club’s activities, go online to <www.coralgableswomansclub.org >.
On Feb. 9, Bank of Coral Gables sponsored the City of Coral Gables’ Senior Citizens Advisory Board’s Annual Senior Luncheon at the Biltmore Hotel. The luncheon brought together more than 200 of the area’s seniors and recognized those who give so much of their time to the community. The guest speaker was E. Doug Beach, Secretary of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.
The 482d Fighter Wing at Homestead Air Reserve Base organized a Civic Leaders Tour to Kessler Air Force Base in Mississippi and then to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX, on Feb. 12 and 13. Coordinated through Homestead ARB and the Employers Support for the Guard and Reserve, these trips help inform participants about the importance of our Reserves and their vital missions. These trips, funded by the civic leaders themselves, had been put on hold for the past nine years following the 9/11 attacks and this trip was the first since that time.
Traveling with the group of community leaders were Col. William B. Binger, Commander of the 482d Fighter Wing at Homestead ARB, and Josephine Alviles, protocol specialist at Homestead ARB, who helped coordinate every detail of the fast-paced two-day schedule. The program agenda included traveling on the KC-135 and watching refueling of F-16’s in flight; boarding the Hurricane Hunter planes in Mississippi and learning about their missions to include as far away as Hawaii; touring the C-5, the biggest cargo planes you can imagine, and touring the college that has simulators that help train airmen how to fly, load and maintain this monstrous work horse of a plane.
In addition, the group attended a graduation ceremony for more than 700 airmen and women as they completed basic training. All basic training for the Air Force is completed at Lackland, which graduates more than 36,000 every year.
The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce welcomed the group on arrival in that city with a lovely reception during which Brigadier Gen. John Fobian and Richard Perez, president and CEO of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, addressed the crowd.
Among the many participating in the trip, including this writer, were Homestead Mayor Lynda Bell; South Dade Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee (MAC) chair Hank Langston, Gulliver Schools; CEO of Homestead Hospital William Duquette; president/ CEO Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce Mark Trowbridge; president Miami Dade College Homestead Campus Dr. Jeanne Jacobs; vice president Homestead/Miami Speedway Albert Garcia; vice chair, Employer Outreach, ESGR, Peter Caspari, and incoming chair of the Chamber South MAC, Cindy Braekel Larko, Baptist Health South Florida; executive director of the Homestead/Florida City Chamber Mary Finlay; president of Spaulding Associates Chris Spaulding; and owner of Schnebly Redlands Winery Peter Schnebly.
Speaking of military matters, coming up is another first after a long absence. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds once again will fly over the skies of Homestead after 17 years. This world famous jet fighter acrobatic team will headline the Wing’s Over Homestead Air Show to take place on Nov. 7-8, at Homestead Air Reserve Base.
In fact, former Homestead ARB pilot and Palmetto Bay resident Maj. Sean Gustafson will return to the area flying the No. 4 slot aircraft. Maj. Gustafson made history after being the first Air Force Reserve pilot chosen to fly with the Thunderbirds Air Demonstration Team since its 1953 inception.
On the sports front, the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame inducted former baseball star Aubrey Huff as part of the Class of 2009 during the Hurricanes baseball opener on Friday, Feb. 20, at newly renovated Alex Rodriguez Park. Huff was a 1998 All-American when he led the Canes to the College World Series with 21 home runs and a school record 95 runs batted in. He now plays for the Baltimore Orioles.
2008 inductee and current Pat Burrell of the Philadelphia Phillies joined UM Baseball Coach Jim Morris and HOF president Jodi Applebaum-Steinbauer in presenting Huff with his Hall of Fame ring and jacket. The 2009 UM Sports Hall of Fame banquet will take place Apr. 23 at Jungle Island. Go to UMSportsHallofFame.com for more information.
Until next time, keep making each day count.