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WELLINGTON JUNE 2021

Bringing You The Best Of Wellington Since 2004

THE MAGAZINE

Verdex Construction Helping Build A Better Community

Plus

Education Options: Making The Right Choice Remembering Equestrian Leader Mason Phelps Merger Creates A Cross-Cultural Chamber Wellington Plans Festive Fourth Of July


created here

Contact us today at events@internationalpoloclub.com to start planning your special day! 3667 120 th AVENUE SOUTH • WELLINGTON, FL 33414

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Welcome to The Arrhythmia Center of South Florida. Know that our caring physicians look to improve your life and well-being. Through prevention, accurate diagnosis and effective treatment, we help our patients to restore and maintain a normal heart rhythm.

MEET OUR DOCTORS Yoel R. Vivas, M.D., F.H.R.S. offers comprehensive evaluation

and treatment of abnormalities of the heart rhythm (Arrhythmia) including but not limited to ablation of atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, supraventricular and ventricular tachycardia. He also specializes in implantation of pacemakers, defibrillators and devices to treat heart failure (CRT).

Luis Mora, M.D. brings to the practice the  most advanced techniques to treat cardiac arrhythmias, including cryoablation of atrial fibrillation. His clinical interests include advanced techniques for ablation of atrial fibrillation, epicardial ablation of ventricular tachycardia and new device technology. Dr. Mark Freher, M.D., F.A.C.C. has served the South Florida

community as an electrophysiologist since 2003. Dr. Freher is a pioneer in the field of left atrial appendage occlusion in South Florida. He has performed a significant amount of these procedures over the course of the last five years.

Yoel R. Vivas, M.D., F.H.R.S.

Luis F. Mora, M.D.

Mark Freher, M.D., F.A.C.C.

INPATIENT AND OFFICE CONSULTATION Procedures Performed: • Cryoablation of Atrial Fibrillation • Hybrid (Convergent) Procedure for the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation • HIS Bundle Pacing • Electrophysiologic Study & Catheter Ablations for: SVTs, Atrial Flutter & Atrial Fibrillation, Idiopathic & Ischemic VT and VF Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs) Implantable Loop Recorders Electrical Device Therapy for Heart Failure Management (biventricular pacing) Pharmacotherapy for Cardiac Arrhythmias Clinical Research in Electrophysiology Signal Averaged EKG (Risk Stratification of Sudden Cardiac Death)

Conditions Treated: • Cardiac (Heart) Arrhythmias • Cardiac (Heart) Palpitations • Cardiac Arrest (Heart Failure) • Cardiac Electric Conduction System Problems • Atrial Fibrillation • Atrial Flutter • Heart Failure • Ventricular/Supraventricular Tachycardia • Fainting (Syncope) • Palpitations • Bradycardia (Slow Heart Rate) • Tachycardia (Rapid Heart Rate) • Cardiac Rhythm Abnormalities • Cardiomyopathies

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Matthew Kang UCLA, Berkeley

Maryam Imran Wash U in St. Louis, UNC Chapel Hill

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Alexandra Schneider USC

Elena Martinez Georgetown, Michigan

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June 2021

contents

Features

18

VERDEX CONSTRUCTION IS WORKING WITH HOMESAFE TO BUILD A BETTER COMMUNITY When the nonprofit HomeSafe recently celebrated its new facility, Verdex Construction — the general contractor overseeing the Sylvester Family West Campus — did more than just show up to cut the ribbon. The company presented a check for more than $125,000 back to the local charity. Verdex considers the role it plays in supporting the community one of its core values. BY CALLIE SHARKEY

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WELLINGTON EDUCATION: MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOUR STUDENT When it comes to education, it’s always a good idea to research all your options, from academic opportunities to safety and extracurricular activities. This month, we help parents make decisions by showcasing a few of the many schools our area has to offer. The school programs featured include #1 Education Place, the NRI Institute of Health Sciences, the Wellington Preparatory School and Neighborhood Kids Preschool.

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CHAMBER MERGER CREATES COUNTYWIDE, CROSS-CULTURAL BUSINESS ORGANIZATION Diversity and inclusion are key objectives for business organizations. That’s why the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County, two the county’s most successful business organizations, chose the current era of unprecedented changes as the perfect time for a merger. BY M. DENNIS TAYLOR

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51

36 28 44 69

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A TRIBUTE TO MASON PHELPS: HONORING THE LIFE OF AN INNOVATIVE LEADER They say it is difficult to shop for the person who has everything. This aptly relates the sentiment one feels when composing a tribute to a man of as many words and lives as the late Mason Phelps Jr. As an equestrian athlete, philanthropist, entrepreneur, businessman, event manager and personality, Mason was never singularly defined by one role he played. BY LENORE REES PHILLIPS

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31

on the cover

Verdex Construction President Rex Kirby at HomeSafe’s new Sylvester Family West Campus near Wellington. PHOTOGRAPHY BY ABNER PEDRAZA

Departments

WELLINGTON SOCIAL SCENE

10 12 14 16

A Fun Evening As Wellington Chamber Takes Flavors On The Road The Wellington Garden Club Marks Its 40th Anniversary Milestone Women Of Wellington Chamber Enjoy Pooches, Pearls & Prosecco Annual Bacon & Bourbon Fest Held At The Wellington Promenade

WELLINGTON’S MISSY CLARK SUPPORTS PHILADELPHIA’S URBAN RIDING ACADEMY

55 WELLINGTON TABLE

The new Netflix film Concrete Cowboy, starring Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin, has showcased a part of Philadelphia that few people knew existed, telling the story of the Black urban cowboys in the city. Now, Wellington’s own Missy Clark of North Run is helping to keep that legacy alive, supporting the Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy. BY REBECCA WALTON

58 WELLINGTON REAL ESTATE

GREAT OPHTHALMOLOGY RESOURCES AVAILABLE CLOSE TO HOME AT FLORIDA EYE The Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute offers specialized eyecare services for the entire family.The list of services provided by the institute — which has offices in Wellington, Boynton Beach and Boca Raton — includes just about every possible ophthalmological service, diagnosis and treatment. BY MIKE MAY

Argentinian steakhouse Asador Patagonia brings an authentic taste of South America to the western communities. Its menu features a collection of meat choices for the asado, the term used for a traditional Argentinian barbecue. BY MEREDITH BUROW Presented by Roger Plevin, this month’s Wellington Real Estate feature visits an exceptional home located in Wellington’s Castellina neighborhood that is situated on a grand lakeview property.

63 CELEBRATE WELLINGTON As this summer brings hopes of a return to something approaching normal, the Village of Wellington is planning a community celebration to make residents feel a bit like it is an Independence Day from years past. BY M. DENNIS TAYLOR

wellington the magazine | june 2021 7


from the

publisher EDUCATION 2021: CONSIDER YOUR OPTIONS WHEN MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOUR STUDENT Research is your best strategy when considering all the options available to help your child succeed — from academic opportunities to safety and extracurricular activities.This month, Wellington The Magazine helps parents make decisions by showcasing a few of the many schools our area has to offer. The unique school programs featured this month include #1 Education Place, the NRI Institute of Health Sciences, the Wellington Preparatory School and Neighborhood Kids Preschool. Helping vulnerable children have healthy and safe environments is the mission of the local nonprofit HomeSafe.That is easier thanks to the opening of its new Sylvester Family West Campus near Wellington. Verdex Construction not only built the facility, but donated back more than $125,000 to HomeSafe to assist with its success. Verdex was founded by Wellington resident Rex Kirby, who is on this month’s cover. Also this issue, we look at the recent merger of the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County, creating a cross-cultural countywide organization serving a diverse business clientele.We also look at the Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy (PURA), and its support from Wellington equestrian Missy Clark. PURA has gotten a boost from the new Netflix movie Concrete Cowboy, which tells the story of the city’s Black urban cowboys. Next, we catch up with the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which recently thanked the Grand Champions Polo Club for crucial support that helped the organization continue its mission during the difficult 2020 season. Wellington Health this month profiles the Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute, which offers a wide array of ophthalmological services from three offices in Palm Beach County, including one here in Wellington.Wellington Table visits Asador Patagonia, which brings an authentic Argentinian steakhouse experience to the western communities. Wellington Real Estate highlights an exceptional lakeview property in Wellington’s Castellina neighborhood presented by Roger Plevin of Mizner Grande Realty. Finally, our Celebrate Wellington series continues with a look at Wellington’s upcoming Fourth of July celebration, which continues a long-running village tradition of hosting an outstanding fireworks display and fun activities at Village Park on Pierson Road. As you begin to enjoy the outdoors again, with the summer rays coming on stronger each day, remember to take your sunscreen and beverage of choice to stay healthy and hydrated as we approach the summer months.Also, be sure to do a quick hurricane preparedness check as we move into hurricane season. Just before we went to press with this month’s issue, we were saddened to learn of the untimely passing of Wellington equestrian icon, Mason Phelps Jr. This issue, we pay tribute to Mason with a feature honoring the life of an innovative leader. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends, as well as his entire team at Phelps Media Group.

Dawn Rivera

8 june 2021 | wellington the magazine

Dawn Rivera, Publisher

volume 18, number 6 JUNE 2021

executive editor Joshua I. Manning

publisher

Dawn Rivera

senior graphic designer Stephanie Rodriguez

graphic designers Nancy Pobiak Yolanda Cernicky

account managers Betty Buglio Evie Edwards Joetta Palumbo

bookkeeping

Jill Kaskel Carol Lieberman

photography Abner Pedraza

contributors

Matthew Auerbach Meredith Burow Erin Davisson Denise Fleischman Melanie Kopacz Mike May Lenore Rees Phillips Callie Sharkey M. Dennis Taylor Rebecca Walton Deborah Welky

WELLINGTON Bringing You The Best Of Wellington Since 2004

THE MAGAZINE

12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 33 Wellington, FL 33414 Phone: (561) 793-7606 Fax: (561) 793-1470 www.wellingtonthemagazine.com

published by

Wellington The Magazine. LLC

chairman/ceo

Barry S. Manning Wellington The Magazine is published monthly in Wellington, Florida. Copyright 2021, all rights reserved by Wellington The Magazine, LLC. Contents may not be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to refuse advertising. The publisher accepts no responsibility for advertisement errors beyond the cost of the portion of the advertisement occupied by the error within the advertisement itself. The publisher accepts no responsibility for submitted materials. All submitted materials subject to editing.


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wellington | social scene

PHOTOS BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN

A Fun Evening As Wellington Chamber Takes Flavors On The Road

(Left) Councilwoman Tanya Siskind, Mayor Anne Gerwig and Vice Mayor John McGovern visit Village Music. (Right) Jonathan and Erica Huber with Mackenzie and Kurt Dailey.

The Wellington Chamber of Commerce’s signature Flavors of Wellington event was held Thursday, May 20. Rather than gathering a huge crowd of people together in one location, buses took small groups to area restaurants to sample food and drinks. The event included celebrity judges, who honored the following restaurants: Mole Cantina Mexicana for Best Taste, Hurricane Dockside Grill for Best Cocktail, Whit’s Frozen Custard for Best Dessert and Village Music & Café for Best Stop.

(Left to right) Kathleen Williams and Sharon Watson; Daniel and Kim Wolfram at Village Music; Dr. Randy Laurich, Vice Mayor John McGovern, Nina Gerardi, Meroe Rabieifar and Johnny Meier; and Kickback Tavern featured its Mexican Mule drink.

(Left to right) Victoria Jones of PRP Wine International; Wellington National General Manager Ted Strelec with Mark and Kim Elie; Penny Dias and Holly Pridgen visit Wellington National; Wellington National General Manager Ted Strelec, Executive Chef Brian Scotto, Food & Beverage Manager John Siman, Executive Assistant Kaela Strelec and Membership Director Kyle D’Andrea; and Vanessa Turner, Jenn Cohen, Courtney Hilliard, Marie Matiska and Melissa DiMartino.

(Left to right) Peter and Judy Wiesner, Darcy and Neal Warshoff, and Lauren and John Noll; Karen LaFrance with Brian and Mary Anne Hanley; Herta and Frank Suess enjoy smoked pork tacos at Kickback Tavern; Barbara Bittencourt and Lis Engelman; and Kickback Manager Dan Hooker and Dara Weber.

(Left to right) Marie Matiska, Courtney Hilliard, Melissa and Anthony DiMartino, Vanessa and Jason Turner, and Jenn and Dr. Max Cohen visit Stonewood Grill & Tavern; Stonewood Grill Manager Lesley Pagac and Kylee Graydon offer a white chocolate raspberry martini and limoncello cannoli; Ariana Molina, Poké Company Manager Alan Cockerham and Liz Dupont with a salmon spoon and spicy tuna nacho sample; and Laurie Davis, Erica Davis, Steve Moss, Roxanne Stein, Daryl Lyon and Scott Sweigart.

10 june 2021 | wellington the magazine


wellington | social scene

PHOTOS BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN

The Wellington Garden Club Marks Its 40th Anniversary Milestone The Wellington Garden Club celebrated 40 years on Monday, May 3 by giving out its annual scholarships and installing new board members at a ceremony held at the newly re-opened Wellington Community Center.Visit www.wellingtongardenclub.org to learn more about the club.

(Left to right) Mayor Anne Gerwig with incoming President Maria Wolfe; outgoing President Jan Seagrave turns over the gavel to incoming President Maria Wolfe; incoming board members Past President Jan Seagrave, District X Chair Carol Coleman, President Maria Wolfe, First Vice President Carol Ralph, Assistant Treasurer Evvy Bartley, Parliamentarian Kathy Hood, Recording Secretary Amy Schwed, Treasurer Danese Sloan-Kendall and Second Vice President Mary Barbara Alexander. Corresponding Secretary Joan Kaplan not shown; and Scholarship Chair John Siena, outgoing President Jan Seagrave, scholarship recipients Jerome Small and Georgia Brooks, and incoming President Maria Wolfe.

(Left to right) Stormi Bivin and Wellington Village Manager Jim Barnes give Bruce Wagner and Superintendent William Gurney a Landscape Design Award for Plantings at a Public Facility; Anne Hlasnicek won a prize; Stormi Bivin received white roses to honor her departed husband; Tina Richter won a first prize award for the newsletter; and Jim Wolfe gives his wife Maria Wolfe a bouquet of flowers.

Our goal at Shults Orthodontics is to help our patients achieve more attractive and healthier smiles with minimal discomfort and inconvenience. We are committed to serving you and your children efficiently in our comfortable family-centered practice in Wellington, Florida. Established in 1993 - Designed specifically To Provide Exceptional Orthodontic Patient Care

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www.ShultsOrthodontics.com 12 june 2021 | wellington the magazine


wellington | social scene

PHOTOS BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN

Women Of Wellington Chamber Enjoy Pooches, Pearls & Prosecco The Women of the Wellington Chamber hosted Pooches, Pearls & Prosecco on Thursday, April 22 at Fred Astaire Dance Studio featuring adoptions from Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control and Barky Pines, as well as jewelry modeling from La Enovesé Designs. Learn more about the Wellington Chamber of Commerce at www.wellingtonchamber.com.

(Left to right) WOW leadership team members Kaela Genovese, Kathleen Williams, Melissa DiMartino, Jenn Cohen, Vicki Gotha, Bobbi Rottman, Ravi Culbertson and Jennifer Hernandez; Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control Community Outreach Manager Elizabeth Harfmann with Buster; Lucy Vandejen tries on an original design by Kaela Marie Genovese of La Enovesé Designs; and Mayor Anne Gerwig with Sara Baxter, a candidate for Palm Beach County Commission in District 6.

(Left to right) Sharon Watson, Kathleen Williams, April Tester, Donna Anthony and Tiffany Rodriguez; Cody Arndtson and Doreen Scheinpflug demonstrate the quickstep; Caitlin Burroughs with Jake from Barky Pines; Isabella DiMartino, Cessa Gilliam and Milan DiMartino; and Doreen Scheinpflug leads everyone in the Wobble.

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COVID Rapid Labs 15188 Park of Commerce Blvd Suite 1, Jupiter, FL 33478 • (561) 838-7254 • www.covidrapidlabs.com 14 june 2021 | wellington the magazine


wellington | social scene

PHOTOS BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN

Annual Bacon & Bourbon Fest Held At The Wellington Promenade The Wellington Bacon & Bourbon Fest returned Saturday,April 24 and Sunday,April 25, held at the newly constructed Wellington Town Center Promenade.The event featured more than 60 artists and crafters, an eclectic menu of bacon-infused culinary delights and a collection of rare bourbons and whiskeys.

(Left to right) Christopher Azrak of Iron Smoke Distillery pours a sample of Rattlesnake Rosie’s Maple Bacon Whiskey; Mike and Charmaine Talajkowski enjoy some bourbon with Randy and Darlene Thurley; Jan Bartlett and Brenda Muter with their Sweet Bites; and Stephanie Norych and Phillip Sellers have a podcast about all things bacon.

(Left to right) Alex Terzian got a temporary airbrush tattoo from Tamara Primack of Dark Star Inc.; Lashell Parkinson of Ke’Niya’s Kitchen; Nick Manocchio and Caitlin Crouse sample some bourbon; PBSO deputies Casey Lussier and Jennifer Baker; and R.J. Washington from Florida’s Fine Food.

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Verdex President Rex Kirby with HomeSafe CEO Matt Ladika at the new Sylvester Family West Campus near Wellington.

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june 2021 | wellington the magazine


Working With HomeSafe, Verdex Construction Is Helping Build A Better Community STORY BY CALLIE SHARKEY | PHOTOS BY ABNER PEDRAZA

When the nonprofit HomeSafe recently celebrated its new facility, Verdex Construction — the general contractor overseeing the Sylvester Family West Campus — did more than just show up to cut the ribbon and make sure the lights worked. The company presented a check for more than $125,000 back to the local charity. Now in its seventh year of business, Verdex Construction considers the role it plays in supporting the community one of its core values. “I’ve been involved in HomeSafe a long time, so everybody in the company knows I’m pretty passionate about the organization and what they do,” explained Wellington resident Rex Kirby Jr., founder and president of Verdex. “I insisted that it be a competitive bid. It wasn’t about making a profit for us, so we discussed ways we could cut costs from the beginning.” HomeSafe protects the community’s most vulnerable residents — victims of child abuse and domestic violence. The new campus, located on Lyons Road just east of Wellington, was dedicated at a ceremony on April 6 and provides a safe home for 12 children. “This donation from Verdex will help fund significant upgrades that we have planned for our Lake Worth and Boca Raton campuses,” HomeSafe CEO Matt Ladika said. “Our goal is for each client to have their own room, so major renovations will be made to the layout and

square footage of our existing group homes.This next year and a half will truly be a transformative time for the agency.” Kirby and Verdex employed a number of methods to save money on the Lyons Road project, which led to the large donation to HomeSafe. One such method for saving money after the project began was as simple as painting the fence. They worked with painters to donate the equipment, and Verdex purchased the paint. “It saved thousands of dollars. Staff volunteered their time to do it on the weekend. We made it a fun event and bought shirts that said, ‘Volunteers for

HomeSafe.’We had a huge turnout; probably 30 of us out there painting and helping,” Kirby recalled. “We wanted to make sure that HomeSafe was aware that we really weren’t interested in this being a profiteering job, so we decided to donate the profits.” Verdex also applied savings from subcontractors and vendors, like MR Drywall Services, to the cost savings throughout the building process without cutting back on the quality of work. All the small decisions and man hours put into finding these savings added up to more than just a check to refill HomeSafe’s coffers. Giving back is more than just part of the company culture.

HomeSafe CEO Matt Ladika accepts a check from Verdex Construction President & CEO Rex Kirby. PHOTO BY CALLIE SHARKEY

wellington the magazine | june 2021 19


The new Sylvester Family West Campus of HomeSafe, located on Lyons Road just east of Wellington, provides a safe and state-of-the-art home for 12 children. It includes many amenities.

“We are definitely involved in other things in the community. We’ve had a group that gave their time to Habitat for Humanity.We have given time and money to the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County.We try to give back to the communities we work in,” Kirby said. He put together a list of core values before launching the company. One of those pillars is, “We value our communities.” A Florida native, Kirby is very proud of the growth and quality of the people and projects that Verdex Construction is involved with. Kirby has worked in the industry for 40 years and brought more than just experience to his new company. “Honestly, after working and growing Rex Kirby of Verdex goes over plans with HomeSafe’s Matt Ladika.

20

june 2021 | wellington the magazine

other companies, being able to start my own company makes me proud.When I started Verdex, it was more than a tagline of ‘Building Something Better.’ I wanted to build a better company throughout,” Kirby explained. “We’ll grow again this year. It is consistent growth because we don’t just grab bodies to fill a slot. We are very particular about the people we bring on board and build the company around people who fit that culture.” Taking care to adapt intelligently during a pandemic has also been an important part of Verdex’s success. “We were incredibly fortunate that construction was deemed an essential business, and we incorporated a lot of different practices to make sure we didn’t take it for granted,” Kirby said. From temperature checks and mandatory face masks to increased wash stations and distancing as feasible, Verdex continued to operate as safely as possible. “We quit having packed meetings and became very good at Zoom,” he said. “We spent money on enhanced video equipment and project management software, and we accommodated those who wanted or needed to work from home.” Keeping a solid reputation with both clients and subcontractors is pivotal to Kirby’s success. “We have a group of subcontractors and design professionals working with us, and we approach it as at the end of the day, it’s our job to make sure everybody is successful,” Kirby said. “We are not successful at someone else’s ex-

pense, and we approach the business that way. Some simple principles we put in place since the beginning — like we pay our subcontractors promptly and treat them with respect — then you get a good following and the better pricing because they know you are going to do business the right way.” Verdex Construction works on a variety of projects, including multi-family housing and hotels to government buildings. Some recent projects include the Town Southern luxury apartments in Royal Palm Beach and the Canopy Hotel in West Palm Beach. “We won our first Palm Beach County school; a remodel/update for Banyan Creek Elementary,” Kirby said. “And we won a Palm Beach County project for the mosquito control compound. We have a lot of projects from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, up to this area, and over to Tampa as well.” Despite finding success, new challenges remain. “Right now, the market is booming, but it is one of those plus-minus things. Material costs are also soaring,” Kirby said. “We have an incredible amount of opportunity on our plate, but we are spending a lot of time navigating through the material increases and working with our clients to keep these projects within a budget they can afford.” To learn more about Verdex Construction, visit www.verdex.com or call (561) 440-1600. For more information about HomeSafe, visit www. helphomesafe.org.


Safe. Trusted. Ready. At Wellington Regional Medical Center, patient safety is our top priority. Whether providing advanced, life-saving treatment to an individual suffering from a heart attack or stroke, bringing a beautiful baby into the world, or treating a patient recovering from COVID-19, physicians, nurses and staff are delivering trusted, quality patient care every hour, every day. Our ongoing commitment to care for the community we serve during this unprecedented time has only strengthened our resolve. Please know that we have taken extraordinary measures to help ensure the health and safety of patients, physicians, staff and our community. As always, we’re here for you — safe, trusted and ready to deliver a superior healthcare experience.

To learn more about our commitment to safety as well as Telehealth options, please visit

wellingtonregional.com

10101 FOREST HILL BOULEVARD, WELLINGTON, FL 33414 561-798-8500

Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Wellington Regional Medical Center. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians. For language assistance, disability accommodations and the non-discrimination notice, visit our website. 2169214-155536 04/21


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wellington | education

EDUCATION Making The Right Choice For Your Student

When it comes to education, it’s always a good idea to research all your options, from academic opportunities to safety and extracurricular activities. This month, Wellington The Magazine helps parents make decisions by showcasing a few of the many schools our area has to offer. Over the next few pages, you can learn about the curriculum, recreational programs and safety measures that schools have put in place to make sure your student has the proper tools to succeed, the options to explore learning their way, all while enjoying the school experience and learning lessons that will last a lifetime. The unique school programs featured this month include #1 Education Place, the NRI Institute of Health Sciences, the Wellington Preparatory School and Neighborhood Kids Preschool.

wellington the magazine | june 2021 23


wellington | education

#1 Education Place Provides Students With Individualized Learning Twenty years ago, after many years of teaching in large private schools, Anita Kane found herself at a crossroads. Seeing a need in the equestrian community where she and her son, Sean, were very involved, Kane decided to start what she thought would be a tutoring service for young equestrians. What began as a service for friends quickly grew, and she invited her friend and former co-worker Judy Blake to join her.They soon decided to set down roots and #1 Education Place, opened as a brick-and-mortar school with Kane as the head of the Upper School and Blake as the lead in the Lower School. Many years and many students later, the school has become a lifeline for parents who find that their children do not fit into the cookie cutter of mainstream education. “Having a more individualized learning plan helps me to keep my own pace, and the flexible schedule allows me to make time for both school and outside activities,” Class of 2021 senior Abby Estevez explained.

And Estevez has used her time to help her community. In addition to earning her Eagle Scout rank this summer, she was awarded the “My Brothers’/Sisters’ Keeper” scholarship for her noteworthy community service. Serving grades 1 through 12, #1 Education Place has successfully navigated many students through what has become an increasingly “one size fits all” educational system. “Many students need an environment where they can work effectively, successfully and sometimes differently than they are asked to work in a traditional school. This is where we come in,” Kane said. With graduates heading to colleges throughout Florida and the U.S., it is apparent that the program helps create a culture of success. The Lower School, which encompasses grades 1 through 8, is divided between elementary and middle school. Here students are encouraged to grow their executive function through decision making and learning from both

their teachers and their peers. Students are encouraged to challenge their abilities and explore their interests while emphasizing the basics. Blake pointed out that parents often comment on the ease of having one school for their child from first through 12th grades. “It is hard to measure the immense value of having a group of teachers who know and nurture your child throughout their educational years,” she said. This summer, #1 Education Place will be offering placement both for tutoring to combat the “summer slide,” as well as placement for the 2021-22 school year. If you are looking for a school where students actually enjoy learning and develop skills that help them function in the real world, contact #1 Education Place at (561) 7536563. #1 Education Place is located at 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 23, in Wellington. For more information, visit www.1educationplace.com. wellington the magazine | june 2021 25


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wellington | education

The NRI Institute Of Health Sciences Educates Future Nurses And More The NRI Institute of Health Sciences is a licensed and accredited, private degree-granting post-secondary school that offers programs in registered and practical nursing, nursing assistant and diagnostic medical sonography. The ownership team of Chief Administrative Officer Dan Splain and his wife Dr. Elizabeth Stolkowski, who serves as president and director of the nursing program, work with a highly qualified staff to prepare students as quality medical caregivers, helping these students discover their own opportunities to serve in the healthcare field. Both Splain and Stolkowski have extensive healthcare backgrounds in the U.S. and internationally, including hospital administration, managed care, nursing education and the international recruitment of healthcare professionals. “We started out with eight students, and last semester we had 112,” Splain said. “Some go to work at Palms West Hospital and a number go to Wellington Regional Medical Center, as well

as various hospitals on the Gold Coast and the Treasure Coast. We even have some teaching in fine institutions all over the country.” Growing from an initial small location in West Palm Beach to the 13,500-square-foot facility in Royal Palm Beach, NRI offers two post-secondary school degrees: associate of sciences in nursing and associate of applied science in diagnostic medical sonography. The school added a medical assistant diploma this spring. “Even before the pandemic, there was a nationwide shortage of one million nurses,” Splain said. “County residents are predominately people over 65, with more in season, so the need is great locally.” He added that the reputation of NRI and the way the school provides personal attention to the students helps them to pass the state license exam, offering them a high level of confidence that they will be employed right out of school. Stolkowski’s responsibilities focus on the education aspects of the school

to deliver the promised education to the student population, orchestrating the right faculty and the right learning to qualify good nurses so they get licensed. “We are small, so we are quick and innovative, and we make sure the students’ success comes first,” Stolkowski explained. Dr. M.J. Duthie is a highly skilled nursing educator who teaches five classes per week at the NRI Institute in health and anatomy, and also handles the upper level administrative and clinical needs. “Our instructors were educated at some of the top 10 colleges and major universities in the nation,” Duthie said. “It is so nice to have the responsibilities and rigors of the larger, high-powered schools here in a smaller, more private setting. We have the same standards as the larger schools for our students here in a two-year, four-semester situation.” The NRI Institute of Health Sciences is located at 500 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. in the Royal Plaza. For more information, call (561) 688-5112 or visit www.nriinstitute.edu. wellington the magazine | june 2021 27


Two Premier Communities, Under One Roof The Addington at Wellington Green Assisted Living Community is a beautiful, premier community nestled in the charming Town of Wellington. We offer assistance with Activities of Daily Living in a non-clinical environment, so residents can live with independent freedom and dignity while receiving the care that they need. The Staff prides themselves on personalization and understands that each resident is unique and different in their medical and social needs. The community offers one and two bedroom rental apartments with a variety of floor plans to choose from, fitting every preference and need.

The Addington at Wellington Green Post-Acute Rehab is a state-of-the-art Rehabilitation Center, with 120 private rooms available and one of Palm Beach County’s leading innovators in the development of coordinated rehabilitative services and recovery care management. We have a team of highly trained nurses and therapists that are dedicated in helping patients reach their highest level of function and independence. The Addington offers a long-list of Post-Acute Programs such as; Joint Replacement Therapy, Neurological Rehabilitation, COPD Management, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Arthritis Management, Stroke (CVA) Recovery and more. Assisted

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june 2021 | wellington the magazine


wellington | education

Wellington Preparatory School Offers A Unique Educational Experience The Wellington Preparatory School is a coeducational, non-sectarian private school teaching pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Its mission is to deliver a top academic education while providing supportive co-curricular activities. Looking ahead to the next school year, Wellington Preparatory School will continue to offer face-to face instruction with a commitment to keeping a focus on the health and safety of students, faculty, families and the community. Wellington Prep is committed to making the school accessible to a wide range of families by not only offering the traditional on-campus classroom experience, but also by offering a distance learning program to approved families with reasons that necessitate virtual instruction. For the 2021-22 school year, Wellington Prep expects that the school experience will begin to feel more like it was prior to the pandemic. However, many health protocols will still be

in place, such as limiting visitors into buildings and limiting large gatherings. The school will continue to follow all recommendations from the CDC and the local health department. Meanwhile, school officials have worked closely with local health partners to ensure that faculty members have been given the opportunity to become fully vaccinated. The school is planning great opportunities for the 2021-22 school year, including an accelerated academic program that not only concentrates on the core subjects but also on the importance of arts in students’ everyday academic experience. School hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Parents can drop off their students in the front of the school with a teacher or administrator. A car line is operated at the end of the day for student pickup. Wellington Prep also offers before care starting at 6:15 a.m. and after care until 6:15 p.m. After care includes homework help, tutoring, outside activities and a snack.

The school operates on a trimester system and does not follow the public-school calendar. All students are required to wear uniforms and must also purchase or rent a violin. After school clubs and activities vary by trimester, typically operating from 3 to 4 p.m., immediately after school. These opportunities include chess, art, social club, Spanish club, private violin lessons and private language lessons. The admissions team welcomes all prospective families, including those who are just beginning their search for a unique school community. Wellington Prep is currently accepting applications for grades K through 8. Prospective parents and students are invited to call to schedule an in-person tour. Contact the admissions office at (561) 649-7900 for more information. Wellington Prep’s main campus is located at 9135 Lake Worth Road in suburban Lake Worth. The high school campus is located at 12300 South Shore Blvd. in Wellington. For more info., visit www.wellingtonprep.org. wellington the magazine | june 2021 29


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wellington | education

Neighborhood Kids Preschool Now Expanding To Serve More Families STORY BY DEBORAH WELKY | PHOTOS BY ABNER PEDRAZA

Neighborhood Kids, which already operates two preschool locations in Wellington, recently announced expansion plans that will add locations in nearby Royal Palm Beach and Boynton Beach. The preschool’s owner Frank Toral is pleased to be expanding into the neighboring community after taking over the oldest preschool locations in Wellington in 2019. “Many of our parents used to be students themselves,”Toral explained.“It’s a real multi-generational community. The children become friends and stay lifelong friends.This faith-based preschool, once operated under another name, is the longest-running, continuously open preschool in Palm Beach County at 43 years. So many of the parents were once students themselves — their relatives and neighbors went here.” Four decades ago, the western communities were known more as a retirement area with little available for growing families. But “family” is now the name of the game — and Neighborhood Kids aims to serve this growing market. “We have waiting lists at both of our Wellington campuses,” Toral said. “So, our new Royal Palm Beach location, inside the longstanding Connect Church on Okeechobee Blvd., will offer additional space.” Following the June 1 opening of Neighborhood Kids in Royal Palm Beach, Toral, together with his wife Olivia, will soon open a fourth location in Boynton Beach.

Neighborhood Kids owners Olivia and Frank Toral.

wellington the magazine | june 2021 31


wellington | education

The Torals already run two Neighborhood Kids locations in Wellington. New locations are planned in Royal Palm Beach and Boynton Beach.

“It’s a Christian preschool that we’re continuing to expand throughout Palm Beach County,” Toral said. “We get a lot of feedback on the faith-based aspect of the school from our children’s parents. Many of their children will be going directly from our pre-kindergarten to public school, so this will be the only faith-based schooling they will get. We appreciate that the families recognize the value that our pre-K gives their kids for the short time we have them.” Toral said that one thing that distinguishes Neighborhood Kids from other preschool and pre-K programs in the area is that it’s not attached to another elementary, middle or high school. Yet there’s the same neighborhood feeling throughout all Neighborhood Kids campuses. “For example, we had a little girl in our three-year-old program. She comes home and tells her mom and dad about her friends, that she wants them to 32 june 2021 | wellington the magazine

“It’s a real multi-generational community. The children become friends and stay lifelong friends. This faithbased preschool, once operated under another name, is the longestrunning, continuously open preschool in Palm Beach County at 43 years.” — Frank Toral come to her birthday party and that she wants to go to their birthday parties. The point is, the kids form a community.And this has been happening for 40 years,”Toral said. The two Neighborhood Kids standalone locations in Wellington currently serve more than 250 children com-

bined, with 150 at the Greenbriar campus and 112 at the Wellington Trace campus. “The new Royal Palm Beach campus will be a smaller, a more intimate setting for the kids,”Toral said.“We will be able to host 83 children there.” All the Neighborhood Kids locations will be accepting students starting at eight weeks old and continuing up to the VPK classes at age four. Toral hopes that the waiting lists in Wellington will grow shorter with the opening of the Royal Palm Beach location.There are about 15 families whose children currently attend at a Wellington campus who are planning to transfer their children to Royal Palm Beach, which will immediately create a few openings at the original two locations. There will also be a few spots opening up at the Greenbriar campus, as visiting equestrian families from across the United States and beyond leave for the season.


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Ryan Homes | Lennar D.R. Horton | Kenco Communities Materials are protected by copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property laws. All rights in these materials are reserved. Products and company names marked as trademarked (™) or registered (®) are trademarks of their respective holders. Copying, reproduction and distribution of materials without prior written consent of Freehold Communities is strictly prohibited. All information, plans, and pricing are subject to change without notice. This information does not represent a specific offer of sale or solicitation to purchase property within Arden. Models do not reflect racial preference.


wellington | education “My wife and I are Wellington residents, so we’re invested in these communities,”Toral said.“We live and work here, and we want to give families this educational and spiritual foundation for their children. It’s going to be the same uniform program throughout and the same curriculum in all four schools — the same mission and the same values.” Some of the Neighborhood Kids teachers have been with the school for more than 20 years, teaching the internationally implemented Abeka and Creative curriculums, together with the Amazing Athletes fitness program and Go Picasso painting classes, all in a Christian, faith-based environment. “We’ve heard from multiple parents that they get really emotional when they’re sitting at the dinner table and begin to eat, and their child tells them, ‘We need to pray before we eat dinner,’” Toral said. “We hear this over and

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over. We have gotten so many positive responses. It’s the joy of their hearts that their child is part of that gratitude of thanking God in a world that doesn’t always value that.” The schools’ mission statement is to “partner with families to empower their child to discover and realize their potential in a nurturing and supportive environment.” “To sum up what we do,” Toral said. “We provide an educational and spiritual foundation for your child’s future. In a world that values success, Neighborhood Kids distinguishes itself by teaching your child the value of character, without which, no success can be sustained. That’s the core of who we are.” Toral also plans an active camp program for this summer. “We’re looking forward to a robust summer ‘Fun Camp’ in June,”Toral said. “Last year, because of COVID-19, we

were extremely limited in what we could offer the children. But this year, field trips are back on the schedule. We’re going to bring Lion Country Safari in.We’re going to have a lot of fun.” The summer camp program is also open to older children. The summer camp is geared toward ages 5 to 12, Toral said. Registration is open now. For parents of older children — or those just looking to see what Neighborhood Kids has to offer — Toral recommends they contact the school or visit the web site to register. And for former Neighborhood Kids students who have graduated, it might be fun to see your former teachers in a camp setting. Neighborhood Kids is located at 2995 Greenbriar Blvd. (561-7900808) and 1040 Wellington Trace (561-793-5860) in Wellington. Visit www.neighborhoodkids.net for more information.

Amazing facility in Stillwater Minnesota This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own one of the most beautiful equine facilities in Minnesota. This property includes a 80 x 220 insulated heated indoor arena and a 110 x 225 outdoor arena, both with felt sand footing over compressed lime for yearround riding. The indoor arena has a totally furnished 2nd level viewing and lounge area.

Main barn has rubber pavers throughout, four grooming stalls, two wash stalls with hot/cold water, large main tack room, two additional trainer tack rooms, two restrooms with hot/cold water, laundry room and much more! If you are interested in more information about this property, please contact James Torseth at 715.579.2857 or via email at jtorseth@ citizens-tel.net to discuss the details or to arrange a tour.


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A Tribute To

Honoring The Life Of An Innovative Leader BY LENORE REES PHILLIPS

They say it is difficult to shop for the person who has everything. This aptly relates the sentiment one feels when composing a tribute to a man of as many words and lives as Mason Phelps Jr. As an athlete, philanthropist, entrepreneur, businessman, event manager and personality, Mason was never singularly defined by one role he played. After his untimely passing in May, social media was flooded with tributes bearing one thing in common — how profound and unique they are to the individual and their relationship with Mason.After spending hours lost in the scrolling recounts of days gone by, it is clear that Mason curated his life to be involved in things that he was passion36

june 2021 | wellington the magazine

ate about and people he found interesting. The culmination of those curiosities was a life fully lived and one that will not be easily forgotten. As a young man, Mason Phelps was captivated by horses, and that fascination, combined with a competitive streak, led him to earn internationallevel acclaim as an equestrian athlete. At just 16, Mason took part in his first United States Equestrian Team (USET) clinic. By 1968, he was named to the equestrian team that was representing the United States at the Mexico City Olympics, and the same year he was Rider of the Year of the U.S. Combined Training Association. While still in his 20s, Mason expanded his horizons

from eventing, into the hunter and jumper disciplines. Never one to shy away from an event, Mason easily combined sport and social interests to create one-of-akind horse shows. Early in his career, Mason founded and produced the AA Rated Christmas Show in San Antonio, Texas. Later, he raised the bar on his ability to curate something truly world class and created the International Jumping Derby that took place in Newport, Rhode Island. He is also widely recognized for creating the New England Horsemen’s Association Hunt Seat Medal, among other signature classes and charity events held across the United States.


Mason Phelps at the National Horse Show. PHOTO COURTESY LIZ SOROKA

wellington the magazine | june 2021 37


The event that captivated Mason’s interest the longest and for which he is most well-known is the National Horse Show. He held the role of president for a decade and later chairman of the board of directors of the National Horse Show and worked tirelessly to make sure that the historic horse show survived a transition from Madison Square Garden in New York City to Wellington, with the legendary Gene Mische, and eventually helping it find a permanent home at the Kentucky Horse Park. Mason deeply respected the event for its place in the cultural heritage of equestrian sports in the United States and campaigned to ensure the event retained that heritage while also having it evolve to meet the ever-growing demands of modern equestrian sport on a global stage. All of the work Mason did around the horse shows and around the world also helped him to amass a list of connections that rivaled even the mostworldly professionals. Never one to let an opportunity go by, Mason decided to harness the power of his connections and use them to the advantage of the projects that he was personally involved with. This led to his flagship professional enterprise, Phelps Media Group. Founded in 2002 in Wellington, Phelps Media Group immediately became a pioneer in equestrian marketing and the go-to company to produce and manage high-profile events. Based on the success of the business, Mason was named to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce President’s Circle for “building America’s most progressive and successful equestrian public relations firm.” With the resources being built through Phelps Media Group, Mason helped organize many successful sporting events, nonprofit fundraisers and unforgettable social experiences. 38

june 2021 | wellington the magazine

Aside from his professional persona, Mason was larger than life. He was always the life of a party, and if there was no party, then he would make sure that one was put together in short order. He was fiercely loyal to his friends and always had many friends that he had known for many years, no matter where he roamed. In his later years, Mason found the most comfort at his retreat on the Canadian side of Michigan, Campement d’Ours. While he would never miss a winter season in Wellington and the chance to be social with the scene that molded him, he craved the time he spent on the water in Canada, in an arguably simpler life.

Although the stories about Mason and his triumphs abound, his legacy will ultimately be defined by the people whose lives he changed by simply giving them a chance to succeed. His uncanny ability to see the best in people, encouraging their strengths while carefully adapting their weakness, led him to be the launch point for many who now have prominent careers in the equestrian industry and beyond. When considering his legacy at the time of his passing, the following words seem to resonate the most — a provocative innovator whose tenacity of spirit and vivacious personality will live on in the hearts of all who were fortunate enough to be in his orbit.

Mason Phelps competing in an equestrian event.


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Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce CEO Mary Lou Bedford with Executive Vice President Maria Antuña, previously CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches.

Merger Of Central And Hispanic Chambers Creates Cross-Cultural Countywide Organization BY M. DENNIS TAYLOR

The economic challenges over the past year have left many organizations shifting their missions and goals, often evolving into something new. In some instances, they are reimagining their purpose and developing a new brand for themselves. Diversity and inclusion are key objectives for business organizations in recent years. That’s why two of Palm Beach County’s most successful business organizations chose the current era of unprecedented changes as the

perfect time for a merger. The Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County have been reformed into a single organization. Since completing the merger last October, the new entity has held a number of virtual events. It will host its first in-person meetings this August. “We have succeeded in aligning two organizations with similar objectives,” explained Mary Lou Bedford, CEO of the Central Palm Beach County Cham-

ber, which is based in Wellington. “We are really excited to now serve a broader and more diverse group of some 600 businesses and growing all throughout Palm Beach County.” Former Hispanic Chamber CEO Maria Antuña is now the executive vice president of the Central Palm Beach County Chamber. She will focus on business development and Hispanic affairs, facilitating meetings to allow members to maximize the benefits of the united chamber. wellington the magazine | june 2021 41


The four-decade-old Central Palm Beach County Chamber traditionally focused on the geographical region, but the merger makes the new organization truly county wide. “We were already overlapping, but now we mesh as a single organization that creates a further synergy — a perfect storm of resources, current and future — of what were two separate

“We are really excited to now serve a broader and more diverse group of some 600 businesses and growing all throughout Palm Beach County.” — Mary Lou Bedford

groups before,” Antuña said. “With 30 percent of Palm Beach County of Hispanic background, now is the time to join the group which has even stronger opportunities.” Antuña believes the merger is a winwin for both organizations. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a trend around the nation for chambers to become more innovative and sustainable by aligning with other chambers and business organizations,” she explained. “Strategically, this agreement makes sense and will bring more success to our membership.” Antuña added that the chamber has been working closely as its member businesses deal with the problems brought by the pandemic. “The chamber has earned and has already been operating a COVID-19 Technical Assistance Center from a MBDA [Minority Business Development Agen-

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“With 30 percent of Palm Beach County of Hispanic background, now is the time to join the group which has even stronger opportunities” — Maria Antuña cy] CARES Act grant project,” she said. “It is a year-long partnership to help current and future Hispanic and minority owned business members navigate this economic crisis with leadership from the chamber.” The united chamber serves members throughout the county with a goal to continuously improve the business climate and safeguard the economy by


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Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce Member Relations Manager Johnny Brief, Executive Vice President Maria Antuña, Events Coordinator Emily Statnick and CEO Mary Lou Bedford.

facilitating and assisting business expansion and increasing opportunities for growth of high wage jobs.As things continue to slowly return to normal, programs focused on advocacy, economic development, events and direct services to members will expand. Along with small and medium business enterprises in the geographic and Hispanic culture area, the united chamber’s focus will be on the top employer sectors, including agribusiness, healthcare, equestrian, IT/telecommunications, business/financial services, manufacturing and aerospace/aviation/ engineering in bilingual and bicultural marketing. Bedford explained that the reasons to join the chamber remain as true now as ever: business growth, networking, advocacy, leadership opportunities, market-wide credibility, community awareness, visibility, corporate responsibility, economic sustainability, professional development, and now in multiple languages and cultures. “The virtual luncheon discussions

will continue and change to in-person over time,” Bedford said. Bedford added that the in-person workshop this summer will be a perfect opportunity for so many members to meet other members they don’t yet know. “It is the perfect opportunity for existing and new members to reach out in the hybrid organization with economic workshop activities on useful and interesting topics,” she said. Other initiatives are on the horizon as well. “By the third quarter of 2021, we will be hosting our business academy,” Bedford explained, highlighting the many resources of the combined organization.“Now we have grown to be truly county wide. Members will have more influence than ever.” Contact the newly combined chamber at (561) 790-6200 or info@ cpbchamber.com. Find the chamber on social media @cpbchamber on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or visit www.cpbchamber.com.

Move in ready 3-BR, 2-BTH, 2 1/2 car gar bright & open ‘’Brandywine’’ model w/ expanded covered porch, screened patio & pool on fenced .22 ac. private lot. Immaculately maintained, features ‘’great room’’ living, dining & kitchen opening to stamped concrete porch & heated, salt system, waterfall pool w/ custom tile & umbrella table. Double ovens, pantry, breakfast bar & tons of cabinets. Lots of storage, oversized garage & overhead rack. Close to shopping, dining, PBIA, & area beaches. Great gated community w/ pool, tennis, basketball, fitness rm, clubhouse. Offered at $470,000.00

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55+ 2/2 Condo right across from the community pool and clubhouse. Tiled backsplash in kitchen. Impact windows and impact sliders on the covered balcony. Low HOA fee. Conveniently located close to shopping and dining. Call Mary Miller 561324-6175 for more information. Offered at $120,000.00 wellington the magazine | june 2021 43


“If your child wants to learn how to ride but you can’t afford it, there will be a program for that. There will be recreational programs for those who just want to be around horses.” — Erin Brown

“Concrete Cowgirl” Erin Brown, the executive director of PURA, riding in downtown Philadelphia.

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Wellington’s Missy Clark Helps Philadelphia’s Urban Riding Academy Keep Horses Cemented In The City BY REBECCA WALTON

For Wellington residents, the equestrian world seems like a way of life. Even if you are not a rider yourself, it is interlaced as a part of the community — seeing riders cross the road or gallop along a canal can be a daily occurrence.Where you would not expect to see a horse riding along the roads would be a busy city like Philadelphia. However, Netflix’s new film, Concrete Cowboy, starring Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin, has showcased a part of Philadelphia that few people knew existed, telling the story of the Black urban cowboys in the city. The urban Black cowboy has been living throughout neighborhoods in Philadelphia for more than 100 years. From the early 1900s through the late 1950s, horse-drawn wagons delivered ice, milk and other produce to city resi-

dents. Horses were no stranger to Philadelphia streets. Eventually, modern vehicles replaced those delivery routes, but the urban Black cowboy still remained. Fletcher Street Stable was one of the first urban stables and was one of the last standing homes of the urban Black cowboy. Like others preceding it, Fletcher Street held those similar values: family, friends and horsemanship. Over the years, generations of urban youth wandered into the barn, learning how to responsibly care for horses and how to ride. They became a part of an environment that gave them refuge from the more troublesome areas of the city. Due to gentrification, many of the stables that once made up the community of Black cowboys in Philadelphia are now gone.

The Netflix Concrete Cowboy film tells the story of the Black urban cowboys in Philadelphia. wellington the magazine | june 2021 45


PHOTO BY GEORGIE HAMMOND/PHELPS MEDIA GROUP

(L-R) Missy Clark with her team at the 2020 USEF Medal Finals wearing her “Concrete to Show Jumping” hat; Erin Brown with Jessie Schulman riding Kidd and Stephfon Tolbert riding Kowboy with Michael Upshur; and Liam Thorpe (center) with Javon Brown, Buttercup, Diamond Thorpe and Erin Brown.

In 2019, the producers and directors of Concrete Cowboy partnered with the late Eric Miller and the riders of Fletcher Street to form the Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy (PURA) and preserve the life, legacy and culture of Black urban cowboys in Philadelphia. Recently, PURA found an ally from Wellington’s own community — Missy Clark of North Run. One of the leading show jumping and equitation trainers in the country, Clark has been a longtime resident of Wellington, competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival most of her life. In June 2020, Clark learned about PURA’s executive director, the “Concrete Cowgirl” Erin Brown, through Instagram and wanted to support PURA’s mission. “I sent Erin an e-mail and we connected with a phone call,” Clark recalled.“We probably talked for an hour and a half during that initial phone call. She was someone I really connected with, and I think she connected with me, and then it went on from there. I told her my idea about ‘Concrete to Show Jumping,’ hoping to encourage other professionals in our sport of show jumping to reach out and form alliances with organizations of their own.” With a mission to open doors to diversified worlds within the horse industry, Concrete to Show Jumping aims to open the eyes, minds and hearts of equestrians by participating in new ex46

june 2021 | wellington the magazine

periences, forming new alliances and building friendships with equestrians from diverse backgrounds. The first initiative for Concrete to Show Jumping is to find a permanent home for PURA and all of the programs it includes.Together, they have launched the “Fresh Start for Philly Youth” fundraising campaign through GoFundMe. The campaign’s goal is to raise money for its new facility in the Cobbs Creek section of Philadelphia that will provide a unique, safe space for children, teens and adults to experience horses up close and personal. “When I looked at the property, I fell in love,” Brown said.“I knew in my heart that this was the place. It’s perfect because although it’s backed into Cobbs Creek Park, it is also right across the street from a residential location. So, you are in the city, and then you cross the street, and you are in the park. It’s a gorgeous place. Once it is a barn, it is going to be absolutely amazing.” The “Fresh Start for Philly Youth” fundraiser has the goal of raising $2,000,000 for PURA’s new permanent facility. This home will provide stabling for 20 to 25 horses, paddocks and a covered arena, as well as recreational space for other youth and veteran programs. With the help of the entire equestrian community, PURA and Concrete to Show Jumping believe that this goal is attainable. Every dollar

raised will be put toward the facility, and the horses and students that will call it home. PURA currently supports multiple programs, including a 4-H Club, Cowboys Against Crime and the Junior Concrete to Cowboy and Cowgirls, which includes horsemanship and riding lessons for the urban youth of Philadelphia. “If your child wants to learn how to ride but you can’t afford it, there will be a program for that,” Brown explained. “There will be recreational programs for those who just want to be around horses. This new facility will provide a safe environment for everyone in the community to be able to enjoy.” Clark hopes that her fellow equestrians here in Wellington chip in their support. “Horses are something that touched all of our lives in such a special way,” she said.“It’s important to continue that legacy and bring it to people who would not otherwise have the access to horses in their community.” As a nonprofit organization, PURA is now collecting donations for the “Fresh Start for Philly Youth” initiative, creating a new facility that will provide a space unlike any other for children, teens and adults to experience horses up close and personal. For more information, or to become a part of Fresh Start for Philly Youth, visit www.thepura.org.


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Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Thanks Grand Champions Polo Club For Support 2020 was a year like no other. Life changed in an instant, leaving companies and individuals trying to plan their next steps. For nonprofits such as the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), this meant pivoting to a completely virtual platform that they had never done before. The height of the pandemic hit as LLS was starting its Man & Woman of the Year campaign. The candidates and volunteers stepped up to the plate, knowing that even though daily life may have come to a standstill, cancer wasn’t canceled. One candidate and sponsor shined more brightly and made a huge impact for local patients fighting blood cancers — Grant Ganzi and the Grand Champions Polo Club. Ganzi rallied during the extended 16-week fundraising period to claim the title of 2020 Palm Beach-Treasure Coast Man of the Year.

Marc Ganzi, 2020 Palm Beach-Treasure Coast Man of the Year Grant Ganzi, Melissa Ganzi and South Florida LLS Executive Director DeAnn Hazey during the award presentation.

wellington the magazine | june 2021 49


His persistence and focus on the mission of LLS raised critical funds for blood cancer patients. The Lynn University senior and third-generation polo player utilized his network to support lifesaving research. On Sunday, May 2, DeAnn Hazey, executive director of the LLS South Florida Region, presented Melissa Ganzi and Grand Champions Polo Club with an award for being the presenting sponsor of the 2020 Man & Woman of the Year campaign in the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast market. Hazey is looking forward to a longstanding partnership between the organization and the Grand Champions Polo Club. “Thank you so much to the Ganzi family,” Hazey said. “I know the money they raised is helping families right here, right now, and what they did is truly saving lives.The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is so grateful to have

(Left) South Florida Executive Director DeAnn Hazey gives the Presenting Sponsor award to Melissa Ganzi. (Right) Melissa Ganzi with the award from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

such an impactful supporter within the community. The polo club’s sponsorship and support will not only allow lifesaving blood cancer research to continue but will also help patients receive access to medications and other financial needs.” As a breast cancer survivor, Melissa Ganzi recently finished her final treat-

ment. She is healthy and is back to playing polo. With the start of 2021, Grand Champions is bringing back a sense of normalcy to the area with its spring season in full swing. To learn more about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman of the Year campaign, visit www. mwoy.org/mwoy-palm-beach-0.

www.pbaquatics.com 50

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wellington | health

Great Ophthalmology Resources Available Close To Home At The Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute BY MIKE MAY

The Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute offers specialized eyecare services for the entire family. The list of services provided by the institute — which has offices in Wellington, Boynton Beach and Boca Raton — includes just about every possible ophthalmological service, diagnosis and treatment. The Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute offers a full range of comprehensive ophthalmological care, from routine eye exams to advanced surgical procedures. Services include cataract surgery, cornea surgery, diabetic retinopathy, dry eye, eyelid tumors, eyelid conditions, pediatric and adult strabismus, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and detached and torn retina treatments, along with general eye care. At the Wellington office, which

“The Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute is a multispecialty practice that covers a very wide range of ophthalmic pathology. There are not many other ophthalmology practices in South Florida that do that.” — Dr. Jason Gorscak opened in 2015, Dr. Jason Gorscak specializes in cataract reflective surgery, medical glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration screening. Dr. Randy Katz treats advanced

retinal disease, while Dr. Lee Friedman is the pediatric and adult strabismus specialist. While the range of services provided by the Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute runs the gamut of eyecare needs, some eyecare issues are more common than others. “As a comprehensive ophthalmologist, I see a wide range of pathology,” Gorscak said. “I see mostly cataracts and glaucoma, as well as diabetics, who are routinely screened for diabetic retinopathy.” While diagnosing an issue or a problem is always the primary mission, the staff at the Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute also feel that it is important to create a positive and warm environment for every patient. wellington the magazine | june 2021 51


wellington | health

Dr. Lee Friedman “Our staff always strives to create a friendly and relaxing atmosphere where patients can be comfortable,” Gorscak said. While the institute works in a competitive industry, there are few other outlets, if any, that provide such an array of services at such a high standard of professional excellence. “The Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute is a multispecialty practice that covers a very wide range of ophthalmic pathology,” Gorscak said. “There are not many other ophthalmology practices in South Florida that do that.” The institute’s doctors include some of the most experienced experts in the field, and residents of the Wellington area are fortunate to have access to such high-quality, one-stop shopping for eyecare services, procedures and treatments. Originally from New Jersey, Dr. Jason Gorscak attended Johns Hopkins University and then obtained his medical degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine. He then completed his ophthalmologic residency at the University of Medicine & Dentistry 52 june 2021 | wellington the magazine

Dr. Jason Gorscak “As a comprehensive ophthalmologist, I see a wide range of pathology. I see mostly cataracts and glaucoma, as well as diabetics, who are routinely screened for diabetic retinopathy.” — Dr. Jason Gorscak of New Jersey before joining Florida Eye in 2008. Originally from New York, Dr. Randy Katz grew up in New Jersey and earned his medical degree at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He completed both his internship and his residency at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey before earning his fellowship in medical and surgical diseases of the retina and vitreous at the prestigious Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He has been practicing in Florida for most of his career.

Dr. Randy Katz Originally from Miami Beach, Dr. Lee Friedman earned his medical degree from the Chicago Medical School in Illinois. He completed his internship and residency at Tampa General Hospital, and his fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital. The Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute offices are located in Wellington at 2575 State Road 7 near the Mall at Wellington Green behind Whole Foods and TooJay’s. Additional offices are at 1717 Woolbright Road in Boynton Beach and 9980 Central Park Blvd., Suite 204, in Boca Raton. The Wellington office is open to serve patients Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Phones are live Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and lunch is from noon to 1 p.m. For more information, call the Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute at (561) 737-5500, or contact the Wellington office directly at (561) 7921205. Learn more at www.fleyedocs. com.


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wellington | table

Grilled dishes are placed on patrons’ tables. Charcoal grill dishes can include different cuts of steak, chicken breast, sausage, blood sausage, shrimp skewers and more.

DISH Enjoy A Traditional Argentinian Experience At Asador Patagonia BY MEREDITH BUROW

Argentinian steakhouse Asador Patagonia brings an authentic taste of South America to the western communities. “We wanted to try something different,” said owner Natalia Ayala, explaining why she and her husband, Juan, left Argentina and moved to the United States nearly two decades ago.

Eighteen years, two children, a restaurant and tiki bar later, and “different” is still the family’s mantra. Bringing a taste of their home country to central Palm Beach County, the couple opened Asador Patagonia, a restaurant nestled quietly in the Royal Inn Hotel plaza at the northwest corner of Royal

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Signature DISH Palm Beach and Southern boulevards, about 10 years ago. The establishment includes a large dining area, a private events space, an indoor bar, an outdoor tiki hut and a patio overlooking the lake. The Ayalas wear many hats at the restaurant, cooking, cleaning, managing and serving. It’s a big job, but it is a dream that became a reality. “You think of something, and God gives you the resources,”Ayala said.“We don’t know exactly why, but it happened.” But what makes it so different? Unlike other restaurants, Asador Patagonia implements a traditional, Argentinian grilling method: charcoal.

While a typical cooking technique in the food service industry elicits a gas grill, the Ayalas wanted the community to enjoy the rich, unique flavor brought out when grilling with charcoal. Prior to being seared on the grill, the meat is flavored with salt alone, and according to customer reviews, it does not disappoint. “Nobody knows about Argentinian food, and it’s a different kind of food.At a lot of restaurants, it’s all the same,”Ayala said.“Argentinian food is so different — it’s a lot of meat, but we cook the meat on the charcoal. That’s the difference. It’s a different steak house.” Hailed by some as “the best Argentini-

an steakhouse in Florida,”Asador Patagonia is known for both its great food and excellent customer service. Its menu is a collection of meat choices for the asado, the term used for a traditional Argentinian barbecue. Guests can choose from a traditional Argentinian Grill, including flank steak, skirt steak, short ribs, chicken, sausage and more, or choose their own meat selection from a variety of steaks, as well as filet mignon, chicken and shrimp skewers. There’s also an array of appetizers and side dishes. Aside from the grilled meats, there’s also a wide array of traditional Argentinian appetizers and side dishes.Argentinian cuisine is uniquely South American, but also has strong influences of European cuisine, especially Spanish and Italian. This creates unique flavors with an emphasis on meat dishes. If the food alone wasn’t enough to attract patrons, the weekend live music,

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13837 Wellington Trace | Wellington, FL | (561) 753-9993 | Rockys.com Mon-Sat 8:00am-7:00pm Sun 9:00am-5:00pm President, Rocco Falcone with son, John Falcone

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wellington | table lakeside view and laidback atmosphere helps to keep the customers coming back. “It’s always a really nice spot just to hang out,” said Nicole Elizabeth as she sat under the shady tiki bar on the back patio. “Everyone’s always very nice and welcoming.” First-time guests Syd and Arlene Zudekoff enjoyed their experience eating out on the patio. The couple had been to the location about 15 years ago, before the space became Asador Patagonia. “We knew that the view was nice, and we knew this area was nice, and we’re looking for different places to go,” Syd explained. They enjoyed the experience and plan to return with others.“It’s a lovely local restaurant,”Arlene said. The Ayalas have worked hard to cultivate the relaxing environment. Ayala even recalled with amusement a time when they first opened the restaurant,

“Nobody knows about Argentinian food, and it’s a different kind of food. At a lot of restaurants, it’s all the same. Argentinian food is so different — it’s a lot of meat, but we cook the meat on the charcoal. That’s the difference. It’s a different steak house.” — Natalia Ayala and their two boys, Matias and Lorenzo, were still very young. “Lorenzo grew up in the restaurant, and sometimes they’d go to the table and take bread, and take the food for the customers, also,” she said. “They’d run through all the restaurant.” Fortunately, the customers were amused, too. Like the children, Asador Patagonia knows how to have fun. With a capacity for 250 people, guests can reserve the space for weddings, birthday parties and more. That being said, patrons wishing to use the space cannot bring

John F. Froehlich

in outside catering and must use the restaurant’s food and drinks only. Karaoke lovers can also show up and show off on weekend nights. Customers are encouraged to reserve seats beforehand, however, as these tend to be the busiest times at Asador Patagonia. Asador Patagonia is located at 675 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. It is open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, noon to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 9 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, visit www.asadorpatagoniawpb. com or call (561) 651-9477.

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Great Room: Interior design appointments feature custom millwork and white high-gloss crown Pool/Patio: The home’s picturesque, screen-enclosed pool and patio area molding framing this magnificent home. The coffered ceilings add detail to the great room. serves as a wonderful private retreat.

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wellington | real estate

Exceptional Lakeview Property In Wellington’s Castellina Community PHOTOS COURTESY ROGER PLEVIN

This exceptional home is located in Wellington’s Castellina neighborhood, located off Stribling Way just south of the Mall at Wellington Green. Situated on a grand lakeview property, this distinctive home is for those seeking the finest in design elements, materials and quality. Its design features an homage to the grandeur of an Imperial British Empire estate home, reminiscent of the architectural influence of its past Far East history. Highlighted features are three bedrooms and three full baths, plus an office, with a well-executed floor plan totaling 2,561 square feet of living space. Interior upgrades are included throughout each area of the home.

Aerial View: The front elevation of the home shows the expanded three-car garage. The garage itself features soothing, soft blue epoxy-finished floors with coordinating matching color walls. Installed garage cabinets offer valuable added storage.

Bathroom: Intricate tile going from ceiling to floor is housed within a frameless Kitchen: The kitchen features exceptional appointments, such as upgraded granite kitchen glass shower. Complementing the shower are two magnificent Kohler sinks set into counters with a breakfast bar island and sink, a custom backsplash, fine cabinetry, custom the granite countertops of the owner’s vanity. shelving and top-level stainless-steel appliances. wellington the magazine | june 2021 59


wellington | real estate

Castellina Property Presented By Roger Plevin

Meet Roger Plevin Roger Plevin was working as a stockbroker in New York when he and his wife, Andrea, first started coming to Florida regularly. Their parents were aging, and they wanted to keep in touch.

Roger

“We were looking for a home in the Coral Springs/Parkland area when someone told us of a lovely area called Wellington,” Plevin recalled. “We decided to take a drive and check it Plevin, P.A. out. We got a very good vibe from Wellington. It felt homey and comfortable, and we recogRealtor nized that the pricing of the homes made them a better value than those in Broward County.”

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The Plevins moved to Wellington’s Grand Isles community in 2001, and living there was what prompted a switch to a career in real estate. “I observed the vast changes that Wellington was going through in 2001 and 2002. The Mall at Wellington Green was completed and State Road 7 was starting to expand,” Plevin said. “I began noticing rooftops replacing trees on the east side of Wellington, and I would joke with my New York friends that they build a house here faster than they fill a pothole in New York. So I decided not to watch it happen but to become a participant in the growth.” Learn more about Roger Plevin at

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Wellington To Continue Its Decades-Long Tradition Of Holiday Fireworks On Independe nce Day BY M. DENNIS TAYLOR

As this summer brings hopes of a return to something approaching normal, the Village of Wellington is planning a community celebration to make residents feel a bit like it is an Independence Day from years past. Included in the festivities will be the presentation of what is possibly the best fireworks display available in Palm Beach County. Assistant Community Services Director Michelle Garvey is responsible for coordinating this year’s Fourth of July celebration, which will be conducted safely outside at Village Park on Pierson

Road. As of May, plans were still underway, with complete details available in June. There are still sponsorships and vendor spaces available, but the biggest news is the magnitude of the Zambelli fireworks display. Zambelli is renowned as one of the best fireworks display providers, entertaining area residents for generations. Founded in Italy in 1893, the familyowned business is now located in Pennsylvania and has provided the spectacular shows for Wellington throughout the years. These include past celebra-

tions of Independence Day, as well as New Year’s Eve, which is also the anniversary of the incorporation of the Village of Wellington. “Our objective is to put the most shells of anywhere in the county in the air during the 20-minute display,” Garvey said. The celebration will be a day of family fun topped off by the impressive fireworks display. “Last year, we shot off the fireworks from two locations, but now everything will be at Village Park,” Garvey said. wellington the magazine | june 2021 63


celebrate | wellington

The Wellington Village Council at the Fourth of July celebration in 2019.

The 2020 observance included fireworks but little else due to the pandemic. This year, with restrictions eased, will be different. It will all be done safely outdoors with the restrooms sanitized frequently and sanitizing stations throughout the area. Village staff will likely be masked, but vaccinated attendees to the event are not required to wear a mask, unless regulations change. There will be many activities that are aimed at making youngsters happy with lots of games. “There will be an obstacle course, parachute races and stilt walkers walking throughout the festivities,” Garvey said. “There will be a petting zoo with all the typical barnyard animals, plus surprises and favorites like the miniature cow.” Food and entertainment will also be part of the experience. “There will be lots of food trucks for a satisfying food experience, and there will be live music with the Studio 54 band,” Garvey said, adding that the entertainment will include a singing contest where winners get to sing on stage. Wellington’s Parks & Recreation Department provides the community with exceptional parks, leisure and recreation programs that build strong, healthy lifestyles while contributing to the economic and environmental sustainability of Wellington. Many popular activities in the usual64 june 2021 | wellington the magazine

ly busy department are returning to the schedule as the summer approaches. Parks & Recreation Director Eric Juckett noted that the village’s new Parks & Recreation Department newsletter has just published its first issue now that activities are gearing back up. It is frequently updated and lists the most current information on recreational activities. “We are extremely excited to be once again offering so many programs to the residents of our community,” Juckett said. “Tell the community we are back, and we are super excited.” The food trucks have returned to the Wellington Amphitheater on Thursday nights, along with concerts and movies on Friday and Saturday nights. Free tickets to the concerts are available on Eventbrite. “The Wellington Community Center has opened back up, and programs and rentals have resumed,” Juckett said. “Swimming lessons in two-week classes will be taking place at the pool, tennis lessons are in the mornings, the all-day summer camps and academies have returned, and registration and availabilities are all in the newsletter on the village’s web site. Visit www.wellingtonfl.gov/july4th for updates on the Independence Day celebration. For the latest on upcoming community events, visit www.wellingtonfl.gov/events.


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WELLINGTON THE MAGAZINE – June 2021  

June 2021 | ON THE COVER Verdex Construction President Rex Kirby at HomeSafe’s new Sylvester Family West Campus near Wellington. Photography...

WELLINGTON THE MAGAZINE – June 2021  

June 2021 | ON THE COVER Verdex Construction President Rex Kirby at HomeSafe’s new Sylvester Family West Campus near Wellington. Photography...

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