Volunteers have an enormous impact on the health and well-being of communities worldwide. They make a difference in day-to-day life by delivering critical services, keeping our neighborhoods, streets, parks, rivers, green spaces and water clean and safe for everyone and by tutoring, teaching and mentoring. In honor of the volunteers that make a difference in the life of many Homestead residents, the City of Homestead held its annual Community Center Volunteer Appreciation luncheon.
The annual appreciation luncheon to recognize the City of Homestead’s William F. Dickinson Community Center volunteers was held at the center’s Health Room on Friday, June 20, 2014. The volunteers, which give of their time and resources teaching a variety of classes, shared a meal generously donated by the local Olive Garden, Pollo Tropical, Dr. Perez, Celebrity Rehab & Medical Center, Care Plus and Chef Santi Gabino.
“Whether it is what I do or what the gracious people in this room contribute to their community, public service is a calling and that is what we’re celebrating here today,” said Councilwoman Judy Waldman, Chair of the Parks and Recreation Department, who helped organize the luncheon.
The honored guests also received a City of Homestead tote bag filled with useful and fun City of Homestead merchandise. Mayor Jeff Porter, Vice-Mayor Stephen Shelley, Councilman Jon Burgess, Councilwoman Judy Waldman and Councilwoman Patricia Fairclough also made contributions to the bounty of gifts and food the volunteers enjoyed.
The real treat of the day, however, was the opportunity for those in attendance to share a meal with Mayor Jeff Porter and Councilwoman Waldman and engage in an impromptu town hall meeting of sorts. The floor was open to any and all topics of concern with the Krome Avenue Truck Bypass Project, taxes and the impending downtown revitalization being foremost on people’s minds.
“I always relish the opportunity to reconnect with the community I serve. This afternoon, I am getting to share some time and address the concerns of this special group, who also serve the community in which they live,” said Mayor Porter. “There isn’t a municipality in this country that could hope to thrive without the self-sacrifice of its volunteers and we’re fortunate to have some of the best around.”
The volunteers that were recognized were Lorraine Cutrer, Lillian Dickinson, Tanya Eversole, Carol Fisher, Victor Fritz, Jan Gillebaard, Daniel Grusauskas, Wanda Haas, Annie McKeehen, Garry McKeehen, Paul Muao, Pat Prewett, Marge Ramirez, Dodie Reck, Reada Reilly, Richard Rowe, Mary Los Scherer, Carol Silver, Clinton Solomon and Beverly Whitehurst. The event was made possible by the staff at the Community Center of James Laurent, Jacki Pilkington, Ginny Velarde, and Larisa Salerno.