FOCUS Plant City 21-11

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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE THE 2022 HOLIDAY SHOPPING SEASON HAS BEGUN STEVE HURLEY TRUE GIVING FROM THE HEART IS AN EXPRESSION OF LOVE SPORTS CARDS, SPORTS MEMORABILIA, GIFTS & MORE. THE FLO-GO SHOP
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Contents 39
Table of
GIFT
Deck the halls! The 2022 holiday shopping season has begun & Plant City retailers have something for everyone on your list. Check out our Holiday Gift Guide to see this year’s hottest gifts.
FEATURE: HOLIDAY
GUIDE
giving from the heart is an expression of love—and Steve Hurley loves Plant City. Meet the Stingray Chevrolet owner as he talks about business & the joy of giving.
SHOP The Flo-Go Shop in midtown has sports cards, sports memorabilia, gifts & more. Owner Greg Shawgo sat down with FOCUS to discuss his love for sports & his family-friendly shop.
57 SPOTLIGHT: THE JOY OF GIVING True
64 BUSINESS: THE FLO-GO
7 PAGE focusplantcity.com / Issue 21-11 / November 2022 PUBLISHER Mike Floyd mikef@floydpublications.com MANAGING EDITOR Cierra Craft cierra@floydpublications.com ART DIRECTOR Anthony Sassano asassano@floydpublications.com OFFICE MANAGER Candy Owens cowens@floydpublications.com DISTRIBUTION Tony DeVane STAFF WRITERS Cheryl Johnston Jennifer Jordan CONTRIBUTORS Candy Owens Natalie Sweet Sam Poirier Dr. Chap. Dan Middlebrooks Got a story idea? Looking to advertise in Focus? Contact us for more information. Floyd Publications, Inc. 702 W. Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd.Plant City, FL 33563 Office 813.707.8783 Standards of accuracy: The goal of the writers at FOCUS Magazine is to provide heart-warming stories that are accurate from the start. Being human, however, we sometimes make mistakes. Please forgive us. So if you notice anything that is incorrect, then please do not hesitate to contact the editorial department and inform it about the fact error. To do so, call (813) 7078783 or e-mail editorial@floydpublications.com. The staff will fix the error in a timely manner. FOCUS Magazine is published monthly and is available through local Plant City businesses, restaurants and many local venues. Advertisers warrant and represent the descriptions of their products advertised are true in all respects. Focus Magazine assumes no responsibility for claims made by advertisers. All letters and their contents sent to Focus Magazine become the sole property of Floyd Publications, Inc and may be reproduced thereof. All views expressed in all articles are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Floyd Publications, Inc. Use or duplication of material used in this publication is prohibited without approved written consent from Floyd Publications, Inc. www.focusplantcity.com FOCUS PLANT CITY

Nate A. Kilton - Mayor Michael Sparkman - Vice Mayor

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Mary Thomas Mathis William D. Dodson Jason M. Jones Commissioners
MUS ER AN INVITATION TO A FAMILY CELEBRATION COOKIE RECEPTION CHARACTER MEET & GREET CARNIVAL GAMES FAMILY PHOTO OPS followed by

PUBLISHER From The Publisher

MAKING AN IMPACT

Despite having written the Publisher’s Letter every month for two decades, it seems to be one of the last pieces of editorial to come together. Each month, I let the magazine shape my thoughts for this monthly letter.

I love our city so much, that’s why I started this magazine and let it tell the stories of the people all around us giving their talent, service, and love to support their neighbors. On the cover, Steve Hurley talks about business and entrepreneurship, the car industry, and giving back to the community through Unity in the Community, Kiwanis Club, and other charities. Steve pulls the curtain back to how the dollars raised in the annual Corvette Raffle impact specific projects within Plant City. As you read Steve’s words, you can feel the passion he has for all of these aspects of his life.

I challenge you, if you haven’t already, to find a cause that speaks to you and get involved. Find a nonprofit that serves that issue and ask how you can help. You have so much to give to our city, including your time, your talent, and your heart.

Our team has been hard at work this month in preparing our annual Holiday Gift Guide. Inside, you’ll find things to eat, things to drink, and things to wear. Shop from our local merchants this holiday season and support your neighbors as you prepare for the biggest gift-giving holiday of the year. Inside, you’ll find gifts from RAOK, Keel Farms, Parkesdale, Brown’s Jewelers, Yates and Hagan, Brick City Bricks, Russell’s, The Flo-Go Shop, Your CBD Store, and Fringe Boutique. Thank you to each of these advertisers for being a part of this special issue.

Warmest Regards,

Mike Floyd

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DSLA

“Our Kids, Our Community, Our Responsibility!”

ith school back in session for the last few months, some students might be starting to fall behind academically. Whether it’s struggling with tests, homework, or writing, it’s easy for students to fall in between the cracks and suffer in silence. However, if you introduce your child to DSLA, their struggles will turn into strengths. Dynamic Sports and Learning Academy, or DSLA for short, is a non-profit organization and extension of our community, schools, and programs created to impact and increase our youth and surrounding families’ well-being. DLSA offers free tutoring, athletic training, mentorship, opportunities for partnerships, community service hours, and community outreach. Established in 2020 by Coaches Joslin Shaw, Wayne Ward, Anthony Holmes, and Ja’Quan Dasher, Dasher stated, “Our motivation was to simply give our kids a sense of normalcy after experiencing covid-19. Everyone was cramped inside due to the quarantine, and we just wanted to get the kids back to being active in some capacity. Once we got started, we noticed the positive impact it had on the kids and the community so we decided to take things to another level by making education, sports, and community the focal points of our organization. In the end, serving our community was the biggest motivation since day one.” Offering free tutoring for students of all ages, DSLA currently tutors 10-15 students weekly, with four tutors who volunteer their time. The tutors are Coach Dasher, Coach Ward, Michael Sykes of GrowPC, and Aniyrah Crayton, a Strawberry Crest Sophomore. Students who would like to volunteer as tutors can earn community service hours. Meeting Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00PM-7:00PM at the Sadye Gibbs-Martin Community Center, located at 302 S. Maryland Avenue, all subjects are covered at the tutoring sessions. If you have a student who needs help with schoolwork, would like to volunteer as a tutor for DSLA, or would like to donate school supplies, snacks, and money to help their cause, visit DSLA’s Facebook page, DSLA-Dynamic Sports and Learning Academy. They can also be reached through email at 1dsla2020@gmail.com. Here to assist the students in any way possible, DLSA can put your student back in the driver seat of their education, and give them the confidence to grow.

L’Amour L’Amour

Look at this cute couple! So young and in Love! This young couple was married at Youmans Baptist Church here in Plant City. Since that time, they have worked together to bring so much love and dedication to our town. They work tirelessly helping others. They have truly helped put Plant City on the Map!!! They just don’t come any finer than these two. CAN YOU GUESS WHO THEY ARE???

12 PAGE Community CHECK IN WITH PLANT
CITY FOCUS
LAST MONTH’S PERSONALITY: MELISSA MCCORKLE
WPLANT CITY PERSONALITIES! CAN YOU GUESS WHO THIS IS?
HERE IS YOUR CLUE: IF YOU KNOW WHO THIS IS CALL CANDY O AT FOCUS MAGAZINE! 813-707-8783 The first 3 people to guess the correct person will win a PRIZE!!!! (The TRUE identity will be given in next month’s FOCUS Magazine)

Plant City Four-Legged Friends Find Fame in Film

In recent years, the Tampa Bay area has become a desirable location for filmmakers with Hillsborough and Pinellas counties offering cash-back incentives when flicks are made locally and feature local businesses. But, for Plant City, local businesses aren’t the star of the show recently, but instead, four-legged residents.

Riviere Thomas, and his wife, Linda Everidge Thomas, own a private, family farm in Plant City. The couple owns 13-acre ranch with five horses. The Thomas’ horses were featured in western dramas, Dry Creek by Les McDowell in 2011, and RJ Hendrick’s Killer Miller (released in January 2022) and the soon-to-be-released The Hanging of William Cane.

When a cattle drive goes bust, William Cane is forced to choose between his family’s future or a risky bet that could cost him his life. Starring Dick Colligan and Laura Stetman, the film is directed by Tampa’s Preston Walden, and produced by Hendricks. Hendricks is a resident of Seminole in Pinellas County and originally planned to write the story as a novel, but decided it’d be a better fit for a screenplay.

The film has garnered a lot of attention from short movie festivals across the world and has won nearly 40 awards for acting, directing, editing, screenplay, score and costume design.

Riviere Thomas said he got involved in the RJ Hendrick’s projects due to his previous experience with Les McDowell’s Dry Creek from 2011. That project needed cowboys and horses, so he saddled up and headed to Parrish to be a part of that project.

“My horses were really good at it because when you’re shooting a movie, the horses need to stand all day long and Les told R.J. Hendricks,

he’s an author who wrote eight western novels, he decided to make a 30-minute movie, so the horses have been in two movies for him” said Thomas.

Thomas says he attended the premiere of The Hanging of William Cane and it was really neat to see his horses on the screen. Thomas said he even made a small appearance in some of these projects as some actors didn’t know how to ride horses, so he stood in for the actor for some riding scenes.

The Thomas’ horses aren’t the only animals to hit the silver screen. Plant City’s Cassie Kennedy is the Head Dog Trainer of Ohana Dog Training, who puts on the Ohana Dog Show, a favorite attraction of the Florida Strawberry Festival. Recently, Kennedy’s dog, Beck, wrapped up filming on R.A.D.A.R.: Adventures of the Bionic Dog, with actor Dean Cain, best known for portraying Clark Kent/Superman in the 1990s TV series, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

Cassie’s father, Eric, shares that it all started in 2020. Cassie was approached by Eric Foster White, songwriter for Britney Spears, Whitney Houston and the Backstreet Boys, asked to feature Ren, Cassie’s Border Collie, in kid’s music videos.

Beck is the 17-month-old Belgian Malinois who portrayed R.A.D.A.R. and the film was her big break. According to an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, this was Beck’s first film debut; the film is scheduled for release in May 2023, according to IMDb.

Kennedy’s dogs are sought after for performances, commercials, and TV appearances. According to the Times, “Tiki, Kennedy’s 11-yearold border collie, will next be seen in a series titled The Advocate, which, according to IMDB.com, is about a child protective agent who uses supernatural gifts ‘to protect and rescue those in most need of her help.’”

Kennedy’s 15-year-old golden retriever, Fathom, passed away earlier this year, but will soon be featured in a Wells Fargo commercial. According to Eric Kennedy, the videos now have around 100 million views. Two of Cassie’s dogs will be on set with Publix later this month.

“Atlas, just turned one, and has already filmed a commercial and has been on the set of Home Shopping Network twice,” Eric Kennedy said.

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Annual Santa Sled Toy Giveaway to be held Dec. 17

On Dec. 17, The Plant City Black Heritage organization, in collaboration with Des’Aimes Social Club, will host its Annual Santa Sled Festival at the Sadye Gibbs Martin Community Center at 1601 E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. The event will provide toys, bicycles, groceries, and clothing to families in need this holiday season.

According to The Plant City Black Heritage event chair Sharon Moody, the two organizations will serve over 200 families in the community. The deadline to register is November 30, 2022, and applications can be picked up at The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce at 118 W. Reynolds Street; Sadye Gibbs Martin Community Center at 1601 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard; or with Sharon Moody at 109 S. Bond Street.

Upon arrival at 8:30 a.m., parents will register again, with I.D. Children must be present.

The festival kicks off at 10:00 a.m. when children will have the opportunity to jump in bounce houses and take photos with Santa Claus. At registration, each family is assigned a number and once their number is called during the event, the family will receive toys and clothes. Each family is then entered into the bicycle raffle.

Each family will also receive groceries including a turkey or ham, and the other ingredients for a holiday meal. Sponsors include C&S Wholesale Grocers, Kiwanis Club of Plant City, and Feeding Tampa Bay.

Walden Lake Review

Walden Lake Community Association Board Meetings are held the third Monday of each month at 6:30 at the Walden Lake Community Association office building on Griffin Boulevard in Walden Lake. The next meeting will be held on December 19th. Please keep an eye on the announcement boards at all entrances for dates and times of special meetings and events. Meetings are now being held in person although you can still log in to www.WaldenLake.org and view the meeting virtually on zoom.

Save the Date! Big Happenings on Saturday, December 3rd Breakfast with Santa from 9:00 to Noon This is the chance for the children to visit and have a photo with Santa. Grandpa Johnson’s Breakfast is provided and wil be served by The Sweet Team of Keller Williams Realty.

Community Party from 3:00-6:00 with inflatables, slides, train, face painting, music, food trucks and more! The first 400 to attend will receive a FREE $5 food voucher to use at the food trucks!

Christmas Movie Night (PJ’s encouraged!) 6:30-9:00. Bring your own chairs, snacks and beverages.

For more information on these events, email Bette at BetteG@ WaldenLake.org.

The food trucks at the HOA Building/Sports Complex are on the second Fridays and last Sundays of each month. If you have not taken advantage of the delicious offerings, give them a try! Watch for more information from emails coming from the HOA, the entrance boards, and Nextdoor for updated information.

During the month of October, there were 8 sales in Walden Lake and 1 sale in Walden Lake East. One home on Charleston Woods closed at 1.95M and without that sale, the average sale price was $400,240 with an average of 1796 square feet, average of $221 per square foot and was on the market for an average of 17 days.

The October Sales are as follows:

Address / Sales Price / Living Area / Pool / Garage

3223 Thackery Way / $270,000 / 1232 / 2 Car / None 2762 Golf View Drive / $334,000 / 1810 / 2 Car / Private 1904 Juniper Drive / $350,000 / 1560 / 2 Car / Private 3134 Emerson Place / $359,000 / 1652 / 2 Car / Private 4301 Barret Avenue / $368,420 / 1852 / 2 Car / None

3453 Silver Meadow Way / $397,500 / 2368 / 2 Car / Private 3223 Alcott Avenue / $456,000 / 1805 / 2 Car / Private 2918 Spring Hammock Drive / $667,000 / 2651 / 3 Car / Private 1716 Charleston Woods Dr. / $1,950,000 / 5575 / 3 Car / Private

There are currently 19 active listings for sale in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East. The average list price of $447,947 and an average of 71 days on the market. There are 8 properties Pending Contract in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East with an average list price of $396,188 and an average of 29 days on the market. For more information on these properties, feel free to give me a call at 813-758-9586.

A new plan has been submitted by Walden Lake LLC to develop the old golf course. You can see that plan on the community website at www. WaldenLake.org. If you have not registered, and have any questions, you can email Bette at BetteG@WaldenLake.org.

This is still a great time to sell your home. Before you sell your home to an “I’ll buy your home for cash company, move when you are ready”, you should consult with an honest and experienced real estate agent that will be able to give you a value of what your home will sell on the open market. Feel free to contact me with any questions about this article or about your real estate needs. NSweet@KW.com or 813-758-9586.

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PLANT CITY FOCUS

Plant City Optimist Club to Open Christmas Tree Lot Nov. 21

900 Fraiser Fir trees will be sold from Nov. 21 to Dec.10 by the Plant City Optimist Club at the corner of Maki Road and Alexander Street. Christmas trees from four to nine feet will be delivered to Plant City throughout the season to ensure the highest quality trees are available. According to the club, many people travel from the surrounding area to Plant City to purchase their family Christmas tree from the Optimists, knowing that the top-grade trees are fresh-cut and that all proceeds stay in the local community to support youth programs. For six decades, the Christmas Tree lot has remained a top fundraiser for the Plant City Optimist Club.

The money raised through the tree sales will go back to youth in the Plant City community including the Plant City Parks & Recreation Department to co-sponsor the youth flag football, basketball, and soccer programs which included 200, 300, and 1,300 participants respectively in their latest seasons. The club provides financial assistance to the programs to help keep the participant cost low and ensure no student is left out due to an inability to pay. Many of the Optimists serve as officials, coaches, or administrators.

Annually, at least eight graduating Plant City area seniors are selected, through applications to the club, to each receive either a $1,000 college scholarship or a $500 tech/trade training scholarship. This effort is through a partnership with the Construction Technology Group of Plant City and its president Rick Baldwin.

During the winter, the Optimists host an Oratorical Contest for area students under 18 years of age. The local winner and runner-

up advance to higher levels of competition within Central Florida and potentially to the North Florida District finals where a $2,500 scholarship is on the line for each gender. A Plant City contestant has won the District title and scholarship nine times since 2001.

In order to offer these scholarships and be a part of various community events, the Optimist Club holds two annual fundraisers: Each fall, the club hosts a benefit golf tournament and the annual Christmas Tree Sale. The 28th annual Plant City Optimist Club & Plant City Parks & Recreation Golf Classic was held on October 1, 2022, at Diamond Hill Golf Club.

For several years, the club has offered a discount on a Christmas tree purchase with the donation of three or more cans or boxes of non-perishable food items. Partnering with the United Food Bank of Plant City, the commodities will be used for helping local families during the holiday season.

“With hundreds of people at the tree lot each season, it is only natural that they might want a discount on their tree, and if they donate some cans or boxes of non-perishable food, we will do just that,” stated Arnold. “There are so many families struggling to get by and we thought that this is a way for our club, and the community as well, to assist youngsters whose parents may not be able to provide a nutritious holiday meal.”

For more information on the Plant City Optimist Club or its activities, please drop an email to president@plantcityoptimistclub. org or check out their website at www.plantcityoptimistclub.org.

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IN WITH

In his book entitled, Preaching, G. Campbell Morgan relates a story about 19th-century English actor William Charles Macready and an eminent preacher of that day. “I wish you would explain to me something,” said the preacher. “Well, what is it?” Macready responded. “I don’t know that I can explain anything to a preacher.” “What is the reason for the difference between you and me? You are appearing before multiple crowds night after night with fiction, and the crowds come wherever you go. I am preaching the essential and unchangeable truth, and I am not getting any crowd at all.” “This is quite simple,” Macready retorted, “I can tell you the difference between us. I present my fiction as though it were truth; you present your truth as though it were fiction.”

The brief exchange above prompted a question in my heart, “How can I ensure my “talk always matches my walk”? Maybe it is more than words but also has a face that mirrors our calling, convictions, & our wounds. In my life of loving family & others as much as I can, I realize it is what you learn “after” you think you know it all that directly impacts hearts & souls, especially those who carry a badge, rucksack, or stethoscope. The past three months of community events have showcased a living legacy of our country’s First Responders & their families. Some ceremonies recognized heroic actions demonstrated by Fire Fighters, Law Enforcement, & EMS/Medical personnel on September 11th. Others events remembered military sacrifices displayed in October’s Moving Memorial Wall & November’s 5th and 11th Veteran’s services.

There were also ceremonies we wished never had happened. These were the number of heroes’ funerals in Hillsborough, Pasco, & Polk County. These moments of honor were not celebrated with big brass bands, parades, and allyou-can-eat buffets but with a solemn procession, an Honor team firing three volleys, the playing of taps, & presentation of our Nation’s colors to their family. It is heartbreaking when we lose a First Responder due to sacrificing their life in their call to “Serve and Protect”. It is heart-wrenching when one takes his or her life because of sights, sounds, & smells that never leave the soul. A war Veteran, wearing his unit’s crest on his hat, was asked by a customer at a local restaurant, “When did you leave war?”, the Soldier said, “I haven’t!” How do we help? There are a number of organizations established to walk alongside our Heroes & their families during the deepest moments of valley walking (See Psalms 23). One shining light in these dark months is The Camaraderie Foundation which daily dedicates its resources, staff, & counselors/life coaches to pour into the holey hearts needing help. They stand with the Veteran & their families when sadness saturates their souls & help them to walk up the massive mountain to see the sunlight once more.

How can I speak so passionately about this organization? I was one of their clients needing compassion & counseling. Last June, a small swelling on the brain opened a war chest in my life, packed away since Iraq, 2008-2009. It not only revealed the reason for my seizures but the smells, sounds, & sights of being the Bagdad ER Senior Chaplain. You may think, “But you’re a Chaplain! As a man of God, you are supposed to be protected from that stuff.” My response is like the story in the beginning. Mine, however, was not to play the role of a religious leader, but of an “I’m OK” seasoned Chaplain. We all need to learn to walk with others who are not there to change us but to challenge us. All First Responders have a War Chest of wounds. It is my challenge not to hide it but open it; to use it as a staging ground of stability & not the sinking sands of secrecy. One difference between PTSD, the disorder, & PTSD the development, is the decisions we make to allow others to help us carry a light in the dark night. YOU can reach the joy that comes in the morning (Psalms 30:5). Because of their gracious gift & my loving Lord, I found a glorious new morning with my family & friends. Will you?

For more information about the Camaraderie Foundation, visit their website at camaraderiefoundation.org or contact me at drdan@chaplaincycare.org.

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Seasons
Changing
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Aspire Plant City Recognizes Susan Sullivan at 3rd Annual Woman of Distinction

At the Zendah Grotto on November 2, Aspire Plant City members, family members, and friends came together to honor Susan Sullivan at Aspire Plant City’s Woman of Distinction program. The third recipient of the award, the current Plant City High School principal has lived a life ensuring children receive a valuable education in her beloved hometown while spreading joy and positivity to students, parents, co-workers, and Plant Citians alike.

Aspire Plant City has requirements to be named a Woman of Distinction. She must be a woman in the community who has been a role model and/or mentor to other women and girls, exhibits leadership skills, and advocates for positive social change.

Gwendolyn Thomas, last year’s Woman of Distinction, stated about Sullivan, “Susan has earned the reputation in this community as a strong leader in our public schools. She takes tremendous pride in her students. She advocates for the student’s best interests and works hard to provide them with a safe and caring environment. She truly represents who a Woman of Distinction should be.”

Beginning her career in public education in 1981, Susan spent the first four years of her career as a teacher of the emotionally handicapped and worked with students at Marshall Middle, Tomlin Middle, and Plant City High Schools. In 1986, she worked with Mendez Foundation, where she spent 12 years working in drug prevention. In 1998, she shifted back to working in schools full-time, taking over the guidance resource specialist position at Plant City High School. During that time, she helped students prepare for college and life after high school. In 2001, Susan raised $151,000 in scholarships for students through local community and business support. In late 2001, Susan returned to Tomlin Middle School as an assistant principal. In 2008, she was promoted to the position of principal and held that position until she became the principal of Plant City High School in 2015. While principal of Tomlin Middle School, the school became the largest middle school in Hillsborough County, and also achieved an A+ rating as a Title One School. While Susan has been the principal of Plant City High School, the school successfully implemented the Raider’s Championship Foundation, instituted the Future Career Academy, and achieved the highest graduation percentage, with 98% of students graduating in 2022. Sullivan plans to retire next year, ending her decades-long career in education.

Upon receiving the award, Sullivan stated, “I’m so humbled, blessed, and honored to be this year’s Woman of Distinction. I love my hometown

and it has been incredible to be a part of so many people’s lives in this community. Whether educating their children or teaching them how to swim, I’m so grateful for everything and everyone, especially my husband.”

Outside of her career in education, Susan is also a wife, mother, and grandmother. Married to David Sullivan for 39 and a half years, they have three sons and three grandchildren.

David Sullivan stated about his wife, “Susan will always be a woman of distinction to me. She’s always in a good mood and she works hard. She’s just amazing.”

One of three sisters, Susan is the daughter of the late Jim and Ruby Jean Redman, both influential members of the Plant City community who shaped our town into what it is today. Susan attended Stetson University for her undergraduate degree and the University of South Florida for her graduate degree. She was also a swim coach for 25 years and attends First Baptist Church.

Sponsors for the Woman of Distinction program included Courtney Paat of State Farm, Universal Insurance, On-Site Accounting, Raulerson Castillo and Company, and Aspire Plant City. Outback Steakhouse provided lunch for the program. If you would like to learn more about Aspire Plant City and/or join the organization, email aspireplantcity@ gmail.com or visit their website at www.aspireplantcity.wildapricot.org.

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Newborns in Need and Bridal by Crown: Turning Wedding Dresses into Newborn Items

After getting married, most women keep their wedding dresses for various reasons. Some women preserve it, pass it down to a relative, or alter it to become a whole new dress. However, if none of those options sound like something you want to do with your dress, there is another way to turn your wedding dress into something meaningful and beautiful. Newborns in Need, a nonprofit 501(c) (3) charity focused on supporting newborns impacted by poverty, illness, or sudden economic crisis, transforms old wedding dresses into baby clothes, socks, receiving blankets, hats, and more. Volunteers work to ensure our country’s babies receive Newborn Immediate Need Kits. These kits are filled with basic items for a baby’s comfort and health, and are given to young mothers, foster families, hospitals, or social service agencies.

Cindy Wooten, a seamstress and volunteer for Newborns in Need for nearly six years, was looking for a way to find more materials and wedding dresses for the charity when she reached out to Bridal by Crown for possible donations.

Bridal by Crown, which opened in July 2021 and is located at 110 West Reynolds Street, was more than willing to help out, with lead stylist Leslie Wendt stating, “Cindy used to work with Jessi Rae Bridal before Bridal by Crown took over, so we already had a business relationship established. When Cindy told me about Newborns in Need, I knew we had some dresses that were out of style or had slight imperfections that could be donated. We have already donated four gowns and plan to donate more.”

With the four gowns that Bridal by Crown donated, volunteers at Newborns in Need were able to create 124 various newborn items, helping dozens of families. Newborns in Need has two chapters in Florida, with one in Valrico and the other in Tallahassee.

Sue Mowery, the director of the Newborns in Need chapter in Valrico for the past 11 years, said, “I was born premature, so being a part of Newborns in Need means a lot to me. It’s amazing to see something good come out of old wedding dresses that would otherwise be donated to a thrift store or thrown away.”

Mowery also noted about the Valrico Chapter, “We’re in need of more volunteers, and every age can volunteer. We are able to help girl and boy scouts, middle and high school students, and other students get community service hours. You do not need sewing experience to volunteer and we can teach you to sew.”

If you would like to volunteer, donate a wedding dress, or learn more about Newborns in Need, call 813-833-1786 or email valrico@newbornsinneed.org. You can also visit their website at www.newbornsinneed.org or the Valrico Chapter’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/NINCWF.

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PLANT CITY FOCUS

Nate and Aaron Davis a.k.a “The Chainsaw Brothers”

When Plant City natives and brothers Aaron and Nate Davis teamed up to help during Hurricane Ian’s aftermath, they had no idea that People Magazine and The Kelly Clarkson Show would want to spotlight their compassionate effort. But since they were, the brothers have used the opportunity to fundraise for Florida Baptist Disaster Relief Ministries.

After the February 2021 winter storm in Texas, news stories identified Aaron, 47, as “The Tampa Chainsaw Man.” He learned how folks appreciated the saws he distributed and how strangers’ volunteer efforts encouraged disaster victims.

After Hurricane Ian, People Magazine contacted him about the two brothers’ efforts and wanted to include the “Leading from the Heart” report in its annual

“Kindness” issue. Aaron responded with a Facebook appeal, sharing, ““I wouldn’t say we’re ‘the kindest in America,’ but we’re pretty nice fellas! But when life gives you lemons (or hurricanes), then let’s do some good and raise awareness for an amazing organization my good buddy Richard Rigdon made us aware of. Please consider donating to the Florida Baptist Disaster Relief Ministries. We’re looking to raise $100,000 to allow these amazing volunteers to continue serving our state in times of need. Every bit helps, $10, $20, $50…whatever you can spare.”

And through a different Facebook post, Nate, 44, appealed for cleanup volunteers to help local first responders. His wife Natasha and daughters Jaida, 16, and Paitlyn, 13, got involved, too. Nate sees another advantage in helping others. “Sometimes you think you have big problems until you see what others are battling. I want my girls to learn firsthand how to help. They worked physically after Ian, holding branches while I used the chainsaw, and then dragging limbs and yard debris toward the street. Our family came home with a new perspective and greater appreciation for what we have.”

He added, “My belief system also teaches there is no need to promote yourself when you do good deeds. People sometimes complain about children being spoiled, but each act we adults do teaches them something. I’ve always told Jaida and Paitlyn to not be ‘lillies’ or little victims. If something is hard, they have to be harder. I’ve advised them to help before people ask. Even though life doesn’t require this, just see the need and do something, because one day you may be in a bad spot and others will help you. Get your hands dirty and take action for folks you’ve never met. It’s so fulfilling.”

“Having grown up in Antioch, Aaron and I worked hard, helping our mother in her real estate business,” Nate explained. “We’ve realized some of life’s best lessons come from being without. Now that we’ve found some successes in our own businesses (Florida Mortgage Firm and Florida Network Agency), we can do more for others. Many hands make light work and just a little something goes a long way.”

Before heading south to the more severely damaged areas, both business owners purchased 30 Stihl chainsaws from I-4 Power Equipment in Plant City. Aaron said, “Let’s find the Antioch, the place not getting all the help and media attention.” Since the focus was on Fort Myers, they distributed the chainsaws to Port Charlotte volunteers and assisted with Florida Baptist Disaster Relief Ministries, a group already onsite and making an impact.

“We think putting the tools into the helpers’ hands arms them for the long haul ahead,” he added. And thankfully, during their appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, the Davis brothers learned that DeWalt had donated 30 of its FLEXVOLT® 60V MAX* Brushless Cordless Reciprocating Saw Kits for the cause.

According to Nate, “A lot of work was being done on people’s souls in Port Charlotte, too. To see folks humble themselves and ask for help humbled me. Some lost it when others wanted to pray for them. The good in people is really evident in tough situations, and when we can help a genuine helping organization that’s showing compassion, we feel very much at peace.”

Let’s all make a difference by supporting the Kindness for Florida - Hurricane Ian Relief effort at GoFundMe.com.

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PLANT CITY FOCUS

From a young age, Ruby Jean Redman could do anything she decided to accomplish. And until her move to heaven at age 87 on October 26, 2022, she never stopped trying.

The Plant City native was born April 17, 1935, and crowned Florida Strawberry Festival Queen in 1953. After graduating from Florida State University in 1957, she married her high school sweetheart, Jim, a University of Florida Gator. While he earned his law degree and established his practice, she taught school for several years to support the family.

As Jim’s wife and as a mother to their daughters – Susan Sullivan, Pam Bowden, and Jeanne Knotts – Ruby Jean excelled in the homemaking and community service departments. Like her own mother, Ruby Jean taught her girls to follow suit.

Above all, her faith in Christ and her love for family were guiding priorities. And in practical ways, Ruby Jean displayed both.

“We were the only grandkids on both sides, so we could have been spoiled. But we knew our parents’ expectations,” explained Pam. “We had rules, bedtimes, curfews, restrictions, chores, and cleaning

duties. And, if we ever complained of unfair treatment at school, Mom responded, ‘We’ll talk to the teacher for her side of the story.’”

Jeanne added, “Mom always wanted us to play outdoors and was involved in all our activities. She never missed one because she believed ‘Busy kids don’t have time or energy to get in trouble.’”

“Our parents were great examples and we never wanted to disappoint them,” said Susan. Good manners were important. “At dinnertime, we were expected to taste everything on our plate and couldn’t leave the table without saying, ‘May I be excused? I enjoyed my dinner.’”

“Our mother taught us to appreciate everything because she did,” Pam added. “She sewed much of our clothing, but we also shared clothes with the Everidge girls, passing them down and back and forth. Jeanne used to say, ‘Look at my new hand-me-downs.’

Helping others came naturally. Ruby Jean invested time, energy, and resources into her community as an inaugural, longtime member of the Women’s Auxiliary and Pink Ladies at South Florida Baptist Hospital and in service on the SFBH board of directors. She served First Baptist Church as a choir member and Sunday School teacher. After Jim was diagnosed with cancer, she initiated our city’s American Cancer Center’s Relay for Life, remaining involved for years. The Plant City Lion’s Club Auxiliary and the Bruton Memorial Library’s board of directors also appreciated her commitment – as did the Florida Strawberry Festival.

Ruby volunteered countless hours annually, assisting chartered bus operators and passengers by streamlining the drop-offs, parking, wheelchair/scooter rentals and establishing the hospitality area for drivers. “We were carnies because Mom was,” Pam said. “She loved the Festival and always tried to find a better way to do things.”

Her hospitality and cooking were renowned. In-laws were always included in holiday dinners and specialties included lasagna, chili, Spanish Bean and other soups, broccoli, green bean casserole, breads, and desserts like Red Velvet Cake. The grandchildren favored her rice consommé and community members always loved her cranberry salad. After church Sunday dinners were a Redman staple.

She entertained her nine grandchildren often with moviewatching, fort-building, golf cart and old work truck riding, and motor-homing to Medard Park for “mountain-climbing.” She was thrilled with the eight great-grands (#9 will arrive soon), as well.

All three Redman girls remember as young mothers how Ruby planned together times for black-eyed and zipper pea-picking, shelling, blanching, and freezing for future meals. They preserved corn, tomatoes, and other vegetables, too.

“Our mother was always learning something new,” said Susan. “She took classes for art, guitar, and landscaping and made ceramics, stitched needlework, and even got her real estate license.”

“She was also the sweetest, kindest, most pleasant, appreciative, and grateful woman we know,” Pam added. “She had a wonderful sense of humor and never complained. On her last day when a caregiver asked what drink she preferred, Mom said, ‘Sweet tea, please.’ And her final words were ‘Thank you.’ That was Mom, always doing the right thing.”

Obviously, Ruby Jean Redman will be long-remembered for her good life, well-lived. May her example become ours.

22 PAGE Community CHECK IN WITH
April 17, 1935 – October 26, 2022
Ruby Jean Redman Always a Southern Lady

Kiwanis Club Announces Coolest Dog Contest Winners

On November 5, the Kiwanis Club of Plant City held an awards ceremony for the 4th Annual Coolest Dog in Plant City contest winners at McCall Park. The contest, which began on July 1 and ended on September 30, saw six dogs competing for the title of “Coolest Dog in Plant City”. The contest works by dog owners who are 21 and older submitting a photo of their dog and providing a few short sentences that explain why their dog is the coolest. There is a $10 fee to enter a dog for the contest, but the dog will automatically receive 10 votes when entered. Dog owners are also encouraged during the contest window to have their friends, relatives, and co-workers go to the contest website and vote. Votes cost $1 per vote, with no maximum on how many votes a person can buy or how many times they can vote in a day.

“The Coolest Dog contest run by the Kiwanis Club of Plant City is not simply a way to recognize man’s best friend, but it’s also one of our very important fundraisers,” noted Plant City Kiwanis President Dr. Joseph Borrell. This year’s contest raised over $1,600, and all proceeds will be awarded to non-profit organizations in Plant City to benefit and help children in the community. This year’s winner of the Coolest Dog in Plant City contest went to Bugsy, a 12-year-old pug. Bugsy received a firstplace medal, a $300 gift card, and the coolest dog bandana for winning and helping to raise the most money. Second place went to Sage, a 13-yearold Shih Tzu, and third place went to Louie. Louie was not in attendance for the awards ceremony. Sage received a second-place medal, a $200 gift card, and a cool dog bandana. Louie received a third-place medal, a $100 gift card, and a cool dog bandana.

Poppell Insurance was the title sponsor of the contest, with other sponsors including Auto-Owners Insurance, Florida Kiwanis Governor Sharon Moody, Strong Tower Insurance, Haught Funeral Home, Marilyn Williams of Helpful Companion Compassionate Home Care, Octopus Car Wash, Jarrett Scott Ford, Jim and Denise McDaniel, and the Prosser Verner Foundation.

An adorable contest that gives your pooch the opportunity to shine while helping children in need, The Coolest Dog in Plant City contest is a “pawesome” way to raise money and support a good cause. For any questions or more information about the Coolest Dog in Plant City contest, call the Kiwanis Club at 813-453-7134.

Commercial Insurances: Aetna • Avmed • Blue Cross Blue Shield

Cigna • Humana • MultiPlan • United Health Care

Medicaid: Humana Medicaid • Simply Healthcare

United Health Care Medicaid • Sunshine Health

Plant City Pediatrics believes that “children are a gift from the Lord”. We view patient care as an investment in the future of each child and take our mission very seriously. Our providers provide gentle, compassionate care to each patient, offering quality healthcare.

Timothy B. Williams, D.O., M.Ed., F.A.A.P., and Associates

www.plantcitypediatrics.com

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING! BEST PEDIATRICIAN 2022WINNER
24 PAGE THE PICK OF THE PATCH! 2022WINNER BEST REALTOR Call Our Team at 813-802-3452 813-684-0016 OFFICE | Nicholemoody@gmail.com nichole-moody.remax.com GET TOP DOLLAR FOR YOUR HOUSE, AND GET IT SOLD FAST!
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People of Plant City

Lisa Granger

Although born in Jacksonville, Lisa Granger has lived in Plant City since she was a toddler. After graduating from Plant City High School in 1979 and Hillsborough Community College in 1980, she changed her plans for a nursing career to graduate from the University of South Florida (Class of 1982) with an Elementary Education degree instead. For seven years, she taught children in Hillsborough County schools before deciding to work at her husband’s CPA firm.

Today she enjoys spending time at home with him, caring for their beloved canines, and traveling to visit children and grandchildren.

Tell us a little about your family.

I married Douglas Granger in 1981 and we had three beautiful children. Our son Casey, 38, is an American Airlines Captain who lives with his family in Charlotte, North Carolina. Our first daughter, Amanda, passed away at five-months-old. Our daughter SunnyRae, 36, is a Certified Nurse Midwife and lives with her family in Easton, Maryland. We adore and are very proud of them and our five beautiful grandchildren.

Can you share a sweet memory or two with us?

Some of my fondest include gardening with my grandmother every day after school, picking/pruning fruits and vegetables, and learning to can them. She influenced me to love gardening and I’m a decent landscaper as a result. In the past, Doug and I had a few cows and raised chickens and turkeys. We also dabbled in a small pine tree farm business. That was a fun time in our lives.

What are your favorite pastimes now?

I love to hike established trails in the NC mountains, play with our dogs, fish, drive heavy equipment (smile), and read (often). Doug and I have volunteered in various ministries and became ordained ministers in 2010. I spent a few years volunteering at Caring People Ministries, an Addiction Recovery Center in Bowling Green, Florida, where we met many beautiful people. I’ve been unable to return, however, due to some health issues with a rare, incurable cancer I’ve battled now for four years. Today, I am extremely grateful for each day I have with my family.

What do you enjoy most about your hometown?

I love seeing former classmates when we’re out and about. It’s so wonderful to see friends at different restaurants and hug them and catch up with what’s happening in their lives! When our children visit and we dine out, they see this and they see some of their friends, too. They also love the small-town feel that is uniquely Plant City!

You have several projects in the works, right?

Yes, in addition to taking some seminary courses online and enjoying the challenging reading in Biblical Theology, my daughter-in-law Tina has had me writing letters to my children and grandchildren since last January. I hope to complete all 52 by year-end. She plans to publish them in a keepsake book. I’ve rekindled some writing skills and am continually editing to polish up my stories. I sign each with: ‘Much Love, Mama/GoGo’ (my grandmother’s name). This labor of love and privilege has allowed me to say things important to me. As I speak into their lives, I offer advice and am honest about learned lessons and even regrets. In expressing my love for family, I talk about my faith, our happy times, and my hope for more time with them. The letters include funny stories, recipes, family traditions, favorite songs and books, advice for life, how I met Doug, and general silliness. I try to keep the stories light and upbeat and hope it turns out well.

Would you like to offer advice to our readers?

Enjoy life. Thank God for every day. Hug folks as often as possible because you never know what people are going through. Be good news and the reason someone smiles today!

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Did You Know?

A Time for Giving, A Time for Thanks

As we steadily progress through November, we also move into the final weeks of 2022. This is the period when we begin to look back on the year, reflecting on our triumphs and our challenges. Traditionally, this is also the time we give thanks. As Thanksgiving grows closer, we ask ourselves, “What are we thankful for?”.

For Plant City Photo Archives, the answer is its members, volunteers, board, and staff. With the retirement of its longtime leader Gil Gott, PCPA welcomed a new executive director and staff members into its folds. The Photo Archives also received a fresh coat of paint and some upgrades to its main gallery with the addition of large digital displays and shelving for artifacts. These changes could not take place without the dedicated efforts of PCPA’s members and volunteers, whose generous donations of funds, talents, and personal time help us to complete our mission of preserving Plant City’s

history. We take this time to say thank you for your endless support and encouragement.

And to follow days filled with gratitude and thanks, opportunities arise for the spirit of giving. 10 years ago, Giving Tuesday began as “a day that encourage people to do good”. Occurring the week after the Thanksgiving holiday, Giving Tuesday promotes charitable gifting after a weekend filled with consumerism. This global movement is a great chance to contribute to local non-profits that give back to the Plant City community.

However, the Plant City Photo Archives has the opportunity to take this day of giving one step further. At the Meet & Greet Reception on November 3, it was announced that due to the generosity of an

anonymous local donor, any donations received from the local community will be matched, dollarfor-dollar, up to $30,000. A 1:1 ratio means that this benefactor will donate the exact same amount that participants generously contribute to PCPA. This matching campaign will last until March 2023 or until the $30,000 goal is reached. Donations can be made on our website or by mail.

You can discover more about our city’s heritage at the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center, located at 106 S. Evers St. and open Mon-Thurs, 10:15am-7:00pm. We invite you to become a member and/or volunteer with the Photo Archives, simply email info@plantcityphotoarchives.org or call the office at 813.754.1578.

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38 PAGE BEST VETERINARIAN 2022 WINNER 2021 WINNER 2020 WINNER BEST BREAKFAST THANK YOU PLANT CITY FOR VOTING US BEST VETERINARIAN 2 YEARS IN A ROW! 3012 James L Redman Parkway, Plant City, FL 33566 (813) 707-0520 berrypatchanimalclinic.com

2022 Holiday Gift Guide

FOCUS Magazine makes it easy for our Plant City readers to find the perfect gifts to give for the holidays.

Some holiday traditions may come and go, but some never change: Choosing a beautiful Christmas tree as a family, cooking with Grandma, and heading into town to find the perfect gift. From the hottest gifts to holiday classics, our city has so many local businesses to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

Take a stroll through downtown Plant City to find gifts at Brick City Bricks, Fringe Boutique and Salon on the Park, or visit Brown’s Jewelers uptown to give the gift of elegance and style. Keel Farms and Parkesdale Market have the gift basket perfect for the hostess of the holiday party and Russell’s has something for the cowboy and cowgirl on your list. Your CBD Store has all your wellness needs. RAOK Boutique and Lakeland’s Yates and Hagan have a little something for everyone, even the pickiest family member.

Shopping small supports the local economy

When you shop local, $68 of every $100 spent stays local when you shop small, that’s almost twice the amount when you shop with a corporate giant, according to Forbes. When you shop from an independent, family-owned business, money spent is

in turn cycled through local schools, sports teams, and charitable organizations.

Local businesses provide a more personal touch Buying from a corporate giant has advantages, but customer service isn’t always one of them. Local businesses will often offer a one-on-one experience helping find a gift and two of our gift guide advertisers—RAOK and Fringe—offer gift wrapping, free of charge.

Should the gift recipient have any issues with their present, our local businesses make exchanges and returns easy. While our local businesses don’t see the volume of customers as big retailers, they can address customer concerns quickly and easily.

In the spirit of “Shop Local,” FOCUS is proud to present its annual Holiday Gift Guide! Inside, you’ll find great gifts for everyone on your holiday lists from a variety of local businesses.

Your local merchants—your friends and neighbors— work hard each year to create an exciting and magical experience in the community. Celebrate the season by shopping small this holiday season!

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40 PAGE 2 0 2 2 G I F T G U I D E Brown’s Jewelers 1705 James L Redman Pkwy Suite G, Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 754-2360 Brown’s Jewelers 1705 James L Redman Pkwy Suite G, Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 754-2360 Beautiful Necklaces, Rings, & Earrings Gorgeous 14K Pendants Brown’s Jewelers 1705 James L Redman Pkwy Suite G, Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 754-2360 Brown’s Jewelers 1705 James L Redman Pkwy Suite G, Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 754-2360 Charles Hubert Watches for Men & Women Men’s, Women’s, and Children’s Rings for All Occasions
41 PAGE 2 0 2 2 G I F T G U I D E Brown’s Jewelers 1705 James L Redman Pkwy Suite G, Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 754-2360 Brown’s Jewelers 1705 James L Redman Pkwy Suite G, Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 754-2360 Nautical and Gold Bar Pendants Ladies Hoop Earrings Brown’s Jewelers 1705 James L Redman Pkwy Suite G, Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 754-2360 Brown’s Jewelers 1705 James L Redman Pkwy Suite G, Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 754-2360 Rosaries and Religious Items Women & Girls Stud Earrings
42 PAGE Yates and Hagan 1452 Town Center Dr, Lakeland, FL 33803 | (863) 603-7078 Corkcicle Tumblers, Canteens & Mugs $34.95-$44.95 More Colors to choose from & Collegiate too! Yates and Hagan 1452 Town Center Dr, Lakeland, FL 33803 | (863) 603-7078 Brighton Handbags & Accessories Interlok Handbag, Wallet & Jewelry $58-$460 Endless jewelry & handbag collections available in store Yates and Hagan 1452 Town Center Dr, Lakeland, FL 33803 | (863) 603-7078 Barefoot Dreams Home & Accessories Luxuriously cozy throw & slippers $18-$158 Cardigans, lounge wear & more available in store Yates and Hagan 1452 Town Center Dr, Lakeland, FL 33803 | (863) 603-7078 Frasier Fir Fragrance & Candles Everyone’s most loved Christmas scent $10-$40 Over 30 different items to choose from in store 2 0 2 2 G I F T G U I D E
43 PAGE Yates and Hagan 1452 Town Center Dr, Lakeland, FL 33803 | (863) 603-7078 Bogg Bag Original & Baby Bogg Bag $74.95-$107.95 More colors, patterns & accessories in store Yates and Hagan 1452 Town Center Dr, Lakeland, FL 33803 | (863) 603-7078 Dr. Squatch Soaps #1 Natural Men’s Soaps $7 each Several scents to choose from Yates and Hagan 1452 Town Center Dr, Lakeland, FL 33803 | (863) 603-7078 eNewton Jewelry 14kt Gold filled jewelry $28-$128 More necklaces, bracelets & earrings available in store Yates and Hagan 1452 Town Center Dr, Lakeland, FL 33803 | (863) 603-7078 Nora Fleming Changeable Serving Dishes & Décor $13.95-$42 Year Round Collections available in store 2 0 2 2 G I F T G U I D E

Parkesdale

44 PAGE Parkesdale Farms 3702 W. Baker Street, Plant City, FL 33563 parkesdale.com 813.754.2704 Parkesdale Farms 3702 W. Baker Street, Plant City, FL 33563 parkesdale.com 813.754.2704 Garden And Home Flags And Mats Cookies & Bread Basket 2 0 2 2 G I F T G U I D E
Farms 3702 W. Baker Street, Plant City, FL 33563 parkesdale.com 813.754.2704
Parkesdale
Farms 3702 W. Baker Street, Plant City, FL 33563 parkesdale.com 813.754.2704 Taster Tower Fruit Trio
45 PAGE Russell’s Western Wear 3014 James L Redman Pkwy, Plant City, FL 33566 | (813) 624-6362 Western Boots for Men & Women including Ariat & Lucchese Russell’s Western Wear 3014 James L Redman Pkwy, Plant City, FL 33566 | (813) 624-6362 Straw & Felt Cowboy Hats for Everyone on Your List Russell’s Western Wear 3014 James L Redman Pkwy, Plant City, FL 33566 | (813) 624-6362 YETI® Coolers, Tumblers and More 2 0 2 2 G I F T G U I D E Parkesdale Farms 3702 W. Baker Street, Plant City, FL 33563 parkesdale.com 813.754.2704 Grand Slam Basket
46 PAGE Brick City Bricks 107 E Reynolds St, Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 756-6256 LEGO® Star Wars ™ Helmets Collection: Luke Skywalker™ (Red Five) Helmet 75327 The Mandalorian™ Helmet 75328 Dark Trooper™ Helmet 75343 Brick City Bricks 107 E Reynolds St, Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 756-6256 LEGO® Movie Collection: Back to the Future Time Machine 10300 Ghostbusters™ ECTO-1 10274 Transformers Optimus Prime 10302 Brick City Bricks 107 E Reynolds St, Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 756-6256 LEGO® Botanical Collection: Flower Bouquet 10280 | Succulents 10311 Orchid 10311 | Bonsai Tree 10281 Bird of Paradise 10289 Brick City Bricks 107 E Reynolds St, Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 756-6256 LEGO® Christmas Collection: Christmas Tree 90573 Wintertime Polar Bears 40571 Wreath 40426 2 0 2 2 G I F T G U I D E
47 PAGE The Flo-Go Shop 301 S Collins St Suite 102, Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 730-7003 Sports Cards & Mini Helmets The Flo-Go Shop 301 S Collins St Suite 102, Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 730-7003 Team Merch for Every Fan on your List The Flo-Go Shop 301 S Collins St Suite 102, Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 730-7003 English & Japanese Pokémon Cards The Flo-Go Shop 301 S Collins St Suite 102, Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 730-7003 Sports & Pokémon Funko Pop! Figures 2 0 2 2 G I F T G U I D E
48 PAGE Fringe Boutique 108 NE Drane St, Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 754-4438 Consuela Everyday Tote Diamond - $165.50 Consuela Mona Brown Leopard Sunglass Case - $41.25 Fringe Boutique 108 NE Drane St, Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 754-4438 Away in the Manger Bath Bomb Set - $48 Fringe Boutique 108 NE Drane St, Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 754-4438 Cozy Chic Ribbed Charcoal Throw - $150 Cozy Chic Womens Malibu Slipper - $64 Fringe Boutique 108 NE Drane St, Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 754-4438 Old South Strawberry Trucker Hat - $33.50 2 0 2 2 G I F T G U I D E
49 PAGE RAOK Boutique 2804 James L Redman Pkwy APT 103, Plant City, FL 33566 | (813) 754-7265 Capri Blue Capri Blue 3oz Glimmer Mini Tin Candle- Tinsel & Spice $12 Capri Blue 8oz Glimmer Petite Tin Candle- Tinsel & Spice $28 Capri Blue 19oz Glimmer Tin Candle- Tinsel & Spice $38 RAOK Boutique 2804 James L Redman Pkwy APT 103, Plant City, FL 33566 | (813) 754-7265 Gift Ideas Dip It In Glitter Confetti Mug $25 Mary Square Tumbler $21 Here I am, Lord Devotional $16.99 RAOK Boutique 2804 James L Redman Pkwy APT 103, Plant City, FL 33566 | (813) 754-7265 Kendra Scott® Jewelry Blair Butterfly Necklace (gold) $75 Blair Pendant $55 Blair Stud $55 Faceted Alex Earrings $65 RAOK Boutique 2804 James L Redman Pkwy APT 103, Plant City, FL 33566 | (813) 754-7265 Kimono Rose Kimono Rose Body Lotion $28 Kimono Rose Hand Creme $12 Kimono Rose Eau de Parfum $49 Kimono Rose Body Wash $21 2 0 2 2 G I F T G U I D E
50 PAGE Your CBD Store 2909 James L Redman Pkwy #7, Plant City, FL 33566 | (813) 652-8191 Elevate Yourself Delta-8 & Delta-9 THC Gummies, Vape, & Pre-Rolls Your CBD Store 2909 James L Redman Pkwy #7, Plant City, FL 33566 | (813) 652-8191 Pet Products USDA Organic Peanut Butter Oil | Bacon Oil | Chillin’ Out Treats Movin’ Easy Treats | Cat Snacks Your CBD Store 2909 James L Redman Pkwy #7, Plant City, FL 33566 | (813) 652-8191 Pain Relief Topical Relief Spray & Creams- Up to 2000mg Starting at $40 Your CBD Store 2909 James L Redman Pkwy #7, Plant City, FL 33566 | (813) 652-8191 Weight Loss TRIM Tincture Clinical trial have shown up to 18lbs in weight reduction Buy One, Get One Free (Save $100) 2 0 2 2 G I F T G U I D E
51 PAGE Keel Farms 5202 Thonotosassa Rd, Plant City, FL 33565 | (813) 752-9100 TASTE THE MAGIC! Autumn Apple, Sangria, Taste the Blues, Black Raspberry, Wild Berry, Strawberry, KeyLime and Peach. LIMITED AVAILABILITY Keel Farms 5202 Thonotosassa Rd, Plant City, FL 33565 | (813) 752-9100 Keel Farms 5202 Thonotosassa Rd, Plant City, FL 33565 | (813) 752-9100 Variety of Gift Baskets AVAILABLE FOR ANY OCCASION! Keel Farms 5202 Thonotosassa Rd, Plant City, FL 33565 | (813) 752-9100 Agrarian Ale & Ciders Choose from flavors like: Strawberry-Lime, Elderberry, Mango & Pineapple. 2 0 2 2 G I F T G U I D E
52 PAGE 2 0 2 2 G I F T C A R D S Nick’s Pizzaria & Wings 1707 James L Redman Pkwy D, Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 757-5900 Parkesdale Farm 3702 W Baker St, Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 754-2704 Fazoli’s 238 W Alexander St, Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 441-4260 O’Brien’s Irish Pub 1701 S Alexander St suite 112-3, Plant City, FL 33566 | (813) 764-8818 The Brick House Cafe 206 S Evers St, Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 752-8546 Bubbakoos Burritos 1701 S Alexander St Suite 108, Plant City, FL 33566 | (813) 704-5850
53 PAGE 2 Hotdogs, chips and drink $5.99 FRESH CUBAN SANDWICHES made fresh daily
54 PAGE Trinkle Redman, P.A. Attorneys at Law *The hiring of a Lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide,ask the lawyer to send you free written information about their qualifications & experience. 121 North Collins Street Plant City, FL 33563 • 813-752-6133 Corporate & Business Law • Incorporations, Partnerships & LLC”s • Acquisitions, Sales & Mergers Family Law • Dissolution of Marriage • Adoptions Estate Planning & Probate • Will & Trust Drafting • Probate & Administration of Estates Real Estate • Commercial & Residential Closings • Title Insurance • Development, Planning & Zoning • Foreclosures • Landlord -Tenant Litigation & Lawsuits • Commercial Litigation & Collections • Real Estate • Property Damage • Probate 2022 WINNER
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Steve Hurley opened Stingray Chevrolet on Park Road in 2008. Today, the business has earned the Chevrolet Dealer Award for 10 years.

The Joy

of Giving

Steve Hurley on Business & Generosity

Steve Hurley, the managing partner of Stingray Chevrolet, was born in Mount Clemens, Michigan, a suburb 30 minutes north of Detroit. It’s no wonder Hurley developed a love for cars—foreign and domestic. At 13 years old, Hurley moved with his family to Lakeland, Florida where he attended school until graduation from Lakeland High School in 1980. During his high school years, he and his friends would often head over to Plant City to attend the Florida Strawberry Festival. He then attended the University of Florida and transferred to the University of Texas at San Antonio. With a double major in Business Management and Finance, a 20-something-yearold Hurley began his car career in the finance and insurance office of a San Antonio Honda dealership in the mid-1980s. Through a series of automakers, economic crises, and world events, Hurley and his business partner opened Stingray Chevrolet on Park Road in Plant City in 2008.

In late December 2015, Steve drove a COPO Camaro Drag car down the track at Bradenton Motorsports Park, pulling the front wheels off the ground.

Immediately, the Hurley family took to Plant City and began generously supporting the community that supports their business. Fourteen years later, Stingray Chevrolet is renowned for its annual Chevy Corvette Charity Raffle, benefiting Unity in the Community. To date, the dealership has raised $2.5 million for Unity from the sale of $5 raffle tickets. Those dollars have stayed in the city through Unity’s mission “To help those in need in and around the community of Plant City.”

In this interview, Hurley chats about business, the city, and the joy of giving to Plant City.

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SPOTLIGHT

Steve, how did you get into the car business? What led you to open Stingray Chevrolet in Plant City?

Not long after graduating college, I went to work for a large dealer group at a Honda dealership in San Antonio, Texas. Because of my Finance background and after going through a training program, I was placed in the finance and insurance office soon after being hired. While I was with that auto group, I worked at Honda, Nissan, Acura, Infiniti, Land Rover and Dodge over the next 15-plus years as I moved up through the management positions in the company. During my last four years with the company, I held the position of general manager; I had a personal goal to be the GM of a dealership by age 35 and was 34 when I had my first opportunity to be a dealership general manager.

By the summer of 2000, I left the company and worked for a consulting firm helping auto dealerships in financial trouble. When 9/11 happened in 2001, our company lost funding from the parent company due to the impact to the travel industry at the time. I was actually on a commercial flight during 9/11 and spent the week out of town before being able to get back home. Afterward, I went back to working as a general manager for two different publicly-owned auto dealership companies over the next six years or so. While working in the Dallas, TX area at the time, I became friends with a dealer who eventually referred me to my current business partner in Texas. I went to work for him initially as his general manager of what was the largest Chevrolet dealership in the US at that time. The plan was for us to purchase a dealership together when the opportunity arose. Later that same year, the great recession of 2008-2009 happened. My partner was approached about several dealerships in bankruptcy and we came to Plant City and inspected the current Stingray location in October 2008. We named the new dealership Stingray and opened on December 26, 2008. People in the automobile business thought we were crazy to reopen a dealership that had failed and never been profitable at that location; particularly at a time when General Motors was headed toward bankruptcy itself. In June of 2009, just six months after we had been in business, GM went bankrupt and fortunately continued manufacturing vehicles. After losing money in 2009 and having to borrow more money to recapitalize, we began being profitable in 2010. We have been growing our market share and profitability ever since. Since we opened, no other Chevrolet dealer in west central Florida has sold more retail or commercial Chevrolet vehicles than Stingray.

It seems as if you faced a lot of challenges throughout your career. What advice would you give to those considering entrepreneurship, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic and the grip of inflation?

Throughout my career, we have had prosperous times and we have always had recessionary periods. I would expect that to always continue. When times are booming people often feel like their success is all due to their hard work. While their hard work may very well have put them in the position to succeed, I feel like it’s important to keep your ego in check and recognize when you are doing well in good times that it may not last. You need to be nimble and willing to tighten up when it does end. You can be aggressive and willing to “go for it” to be successful, but I feel like it’s also important to be humble. It’s particularly important to give your people credit when you have employees in your business and appreciate how you can’t possibly succeed without them. I try and do what I can to allow our people to take ownership, for example. I refer to the parts department warehouse like my parts director owns it. I’ll often ask him for example, “how are your people doing in your warehouse?” He is there every day. He is responsible for it and as long as he’s in charge of it, I consider it his building no different than if he owned it to run his business. When you are treated like you own it, you tend to operate like it’s yours.

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Hurley spoke at the 2022 YMCA Strong Leader Award on behalf of recipient Sharon Moody.

What does the future hold for your business? What are some projects you’re looking forward to in the new year?

We are preparing a major expansion here at Stingray beginning this coming year. We are going to build a 50,000-square-foot state-of-the-art Collision Center on the property immediately to the north of Stingray on Park Road. This facility will impact all of our fixed operations which includes the body shop, as well as the service department, and the parts department. After the body shop moves into the all-new collision center, the service department and parts department will both absorb the current 38,000-square-foot facility which will increase the capacity of both of those departments. We will also be improving our logistics for the entire property as the expansion will improve the flow of traffic. This will include vehicle delivery transports, fuel trucks and semi-trucks delivering parts, and our trucks that ship parts from Stingray. The facility will grow to about 236,000 square feet. Of over 4,000 dealers, Stingray is currently the 11th largest provider of GM parts in the US. That department is one of the largest at the dealership. In October 2022, Stingray ranked #12 in dealer fleet and small business commercial sales in the US.

What an accomplishment! Speaking of growth, what is your wish for Plant City as the city grows?

The future for Northeast Plant City in particular is incredible. With the new BayCare South Florida Baptist Hospital opening next year and all of the coming development on and around Park Road, we expect to really see some great improvements to our community.

The new neighborhoods of North Park Isle and Varrea will bring many new residents to Plant City, creating opportunities for all of our local businesses to employ more people locally. The area around Stingray almost won’t be recognizable in five years with all of the planned growth. Just as the past several years have been so important for our growth in logistics and transportation, I truly believe our community will continue to grow and thrive with the continued development.

What is something people may be surprised to learn about you? I really do love our business; being blessed to make a living around

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date, the dealership has raised $2.5 million for Unity from the sale of $5 raffle tickets. Those dollars have stayed in the city through Unity’s mission “To help those in need in and around the community of Plant City.”
Monthly, the Stringray hosts a dealership team meeting and pass out awards, then department directors serve lunch to the employees.
To

cars, which I have had a passion for my entire life, is amazing to me. Some people may not know I rebuilt the engines of several cars I owned while in high school and college and that I also painted two of those cars; I enjoyed working on cars and I appreciate a huge variety of cars. Naturally many of my favorites are certainly Chevrolets, but I own a British car, an Italian car, and of course, Chevys too. But I like exotic cars as well as classic Fords and Dodges as well. Being able to own a business doing something you really enjoy and having your family also in the business knowing the passion they also have for cars really makes it special for me.

Also, volunteering on the Unity in the Community board is a very humbling experience as well. I am so fortunate to work alongside so many great community and business leaders here in Plant City. I never could have foreseen what a great fit the organization has been for me personally. I have learned so much about giving back and helping those in need from so many of the talented people on our board. That experience is one of the highlights of my professional career.

Please share with readers more about your involvement with Unity in the Community.

I met Joyce Jordan-Hooke at a Plant City Chamber lunch at the Red Rose Inn in December 2008, before we opened and before we sold the first Stingray vehicle. She told me about Unity in the Community and I knew this was an organization that we wanted to be a part of. When I learned the mission of Unity was “To help those in need in and around the community of Plant City,” it made perfect sense to work with Joyce knowing we wanted to give back to the community that would support our business. We raffled off two TV’s the first year at the Festival in 2009.

For 2010 we decided to take it to another level and raffle off a new vehicle for just $5 per ticket. We submitted our plan for the raffle to the State Attorney’s Office to make absolutely sure we were in compliance as a legal raffle to be conducted in Florida. Once we knew we were in compliance, we started before the 2010 Florida Strawberry Festival where we displayed the yellow Camaro at the time with the approval of the Board of Directors and former Plant City Mayor & Chair of the Festival, Mike Sparkman. That year we drew the winning ticket from the homemade “hopper” on the last Sunday of the Festival and have been doing it the same way for the past 13 years. This coming Festival will be the 14th year of the raffle.

We have been able to donate over $2.5M to Unity in the Community from the new vehicle raffles, still at just $5 per ticket. It’s so amazing to be able to donate to 30-35 different organizations each year. It’s so humbling to know that there are so many people in our community who are impacted directly through the donations we make from Unity. We focus quite a bit on helping kids who may be in a difficult situation that they naturally have no control over. I’m particularly proud of “Lots of Hugs Summer Reading Camp” that our board member Sharon Moody runs each summer. She has 85-100 kids that otherwise might not have a safe place with adult supervision to go during the summer break. They work on their educational skills and also take many field trips which expose them to places they may not otherwise be able to see such as Legoland and getting to see a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game. The 1200-1500 backpacks donated through a joint effort with Plant City Kiwanis’ “Stuff the Bus” program is another great event each year. Many of these kids simply would be going to school without a backpack if that program didn’t exist. It’s really rewarding to deliver the backpacks to

the school guidance counselors and to get to see their appreciation. We were able to help Plant City High School purchase laptop computers so that each student would have the access needed for academic testing. Without the help from Unity and other matching-funds donations from the community, that wouldn’t have happened since there was no budget for it.

We also have two other major fundraisers each year; the Henry Falcon Memorial Golf Tournament and the Unity Clay Pigeon Shooting Tournament. Our Henry Falcon Memorial Gold Tournament is usually the first Friday of October and takes place at Plantation Palms Golf Club in Land ‘o Lakes and the Clay Pigeon Shoot is generally the first Friday of November at FishHawk Sporting Clays.

What other charities/nonprofits do you support and what drew you to these causes?

My wife Susan was approached by Anna Reitz and Sharon Moody from Plant City Kiwanis about their “Angel Tree” Christmas Program for Children not long after we first opened the dealership. We had about 30 children to purchase gifts for when we started. Susan passed them out to our team members and our people bought the gifts. Every year Sharon brings the names to Susan and our people buy gifts for the children; The number has grown to around 400 kids now! Our people fill up a box truck full of unwrapped presents for the kids. Susan still coordinates it here at Stingray to this day and our people get the job done.

We support many events and organizations in and around the community. When we first opened, I was approached by a volunteer with the Lakeland Shriners Organization. They used to drive children from the Polk County area to the Tampa Shriners Hospital for appointments and procedures. Since this was all-volunteer, they needed gas for their van. So we became their “pit stop” each week when they brought the kids to Tampa. The driver of the van would call ahead and stop here at the dealership and we would fill up their van with gasoline from our fuel tank located here on the property. We provided all of their gasoline for 12 years until they closed the Shriners Hospital in Tampa. We also donated a used handicapped accessible van to the Shriners during that time.

We have supported Plant City Black Heritage, the Plant City United Food Bank, Plant City 4th of July Fireworks, The Plant City Railroad Viewing Platform, The Plant City Christmas Parade, Dancing with the Locals, SFBH Diamonds and Denim Event, Plant City Improvement League, families of fallen officers and deputies, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Shooting Event for Charity, Plant City Family YMCA, The Bullard Family Foundation Vehicle Donation Program for Single Mothers, as well as many other programs and organizations.

Why is it important to you to support these causes? What drives your spirit of giving?

As I mentioned earlier, we feel like it’s so important to support the community that supports our business. We don’t do what we do just to sell another car or to service another truck. It just makes sense to me, how can you expect a community to care about your business or feel connected to your business if you don’t first show that you care about your people and your community? In my experience, you can’t fake it. If you care about your community it shows. We love Plant City. People that work and live here know how special our community is. Plant City comes together and supports its community and its people as well as anywhere I have seen.

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Joyce Jordan-Hooke, Unity in the Community founder, and the 2016 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen and Court next to the Stingray Corvette raffled that year. The car was custom painted. Steve Hurley, in partnership with Santa Sled, gave away a car to Justine Fuerst. Photographed is Fuerst’s children, WWE Hall of Famer Titus O’Neil, and Santa Sled organizer Sharon Moody.
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BEST CLEANERS
2022
WINNER
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The Flo-Go Shop is operated by Greg Shawgo, his mom Lori, and his wife Victoria and their children. Greg said its important to him to create a familyfriendly atmosphere at The Flo-Go Shop, where families can share a love for sports and sports cards.

The Flo-Go Shop

Plant City was without a sports card and memorabilia shop for many years until March 25, 2022, when Greg Shawgo, and his mother Lori, opened The Flo-Go Shop. The Flo-Go Shop, located at 301 South Collins Street in Suite 102, is a small, family-owned business that specializes in sports cards, Japanese and English Pokémon, sports memorabilia, Funko Pop! vinyl figures, and more.

“My grandma, Donna, got me into sports cards,” said Greg. “My dad got me into sports, he coached baseball and basketball, and I remember shooting baskets while he was working with high school kids. I played baseball into college.”

In the early 90s, Greg’s love for sports cards grew and he would drive an hour just to go to a card shop and always held onto the dream of owning a card shop. When his father passed away, Greg made the dream a reality, opening The Flo-Go Shop. The shop started with family at the center and it runs that way: It’s not uncommon to see Greg, his mom, and his kids behind the counter on any given day.

“My wife Victoria is from Plant City and went to Durant and her parents are still here, so we came back here to raise our kids, be near a big city, but also feel safe. We have two girls and two boys,” said Greg. “The atmosphere in the shop is to be family-friendly and family is at the center. We want to create a place where families can come in together and it’s good, clean, safe fun.”

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BUSINESS PROFILE

Located in a historic building just south of Brick House Cafe, step inside, and the first suite on the right showcases sports cards in NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA, UFC, WWE, and Soccer. The shop features a wide selection of individual player cards, sold in protective sleeves, the shop has vintage and modern sports cards, as well as sealed card boxes. On December 10, from 10:00 to 4:00 p.m., the shop will host a card show. They will also be hosting events such as Live Box Breaks and Pokémon and Sports Card Trade Nights, which will take place in-store Thursdays at 7:00 p.m., and will also be streamed on Facebook. The shop boasts a large collection of hard-to-find football cards that are highly desirable.

“If anyone is looking for specific players’ cards for their collection or looking for new release items, give us a call and we can place an order for customers,” said Shawgo. “If ordering for Christmas, I’d say you need to reach out to us and order by mid-December.”

The shop features a retail space with mini puzzles, metal signs, sports jerseys, and other merchandise for local sports teams. For autographed memorabilia, Flo-Go offers helmets, pucks, and baseballs signed by top prospects and fan favorites, and all autographs come with a certificate of authenticity. The shop also

has an exclusive Pokémon room with both English and Japanese Pokémon cards as well as Funko Pop! Vinyl figures.

The Flo-Go Shop also has an event room, complete with a theater screen, popcorn machine, and lounge chairs. This space is ideal for business meetings, birthday parties, and game day celebrations. To rent this space, call the shop for more information.

They can be contacted at 813-7307003 or flogoshop@gmail.com, and their website is www.flogoshop.com for more information. For all your sports and sports card needs, make sure to go with the Flo-Go Shop.

The Shawgo family is proud to be a part of midtown Plant City and the community. The family is active at Ahava Baptist Church and Greg is involved in the church’s youth ministry. The Flo-Go Shop is also a part of Plant City Main Street and sponsors FOCUS Magazine’s Team of the Month article.

With over 30 years of card collecting experience, Shawgo can provide great knowledge and information to fellow card collectors and sports fans. Visit The FloGo Shop at 301 S. Collins St. Suite 102 and support this family-owned and operated business for all your sports cards, memorabilia, and gift needs.

301 S Collins St Suite 102 | Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 730-7003

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10AM to 6PM

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The Flo-Go Shop offers jerseys, mini helmets, signs, and mini puzzles for the Bucs, Rays, and Lightning. The Flo-Go Shop offers sports merchandise in hockey, football, baseball, and other sports. The Flo-Go Shop offers signed memorabilia including signed baseballs, bats and pucks. All signed merchandise includes a certificate of authenticity. Japanese and English Pokemon cards can be found at the downtown shop, with a room dedicated to the video game series.
66 PAGE Never Had a Dog! Whoever said Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend 3012 James L Redman Pkwy, Plant City, FL 33566 (813) 588-3540 Plant City’s Only Boutique Pet Store Pet Clothes, Collars, Leashes & More! Highest Quality Dog & Cat Food & Treats Grooming starting at $47 Our Dogs put up with so much during the year. SO, why not treat them to a present for the holidays at OMD!
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RISING STAR boyd Olivia

Olivia Boyd, an international baccalaureate (IB) student at Strawberry Crest High School, is a newcomer to the world of sports. Without previous experience on a sports team, Olivia always focused on her academics. However, after the Chargers’ Swim and Dive team’s diver graduated this past year, there was a void on the team that needed to be filled. Without a diver, the team was losing points every swim meet, points that are crucial for victory. Brenda Starford, one of the swim moms for the team, knew Olivia and her family for years and both families developed a friendship. Through both the Boyd and Starford families hanging out and spending time together on the Boyd’s boat, Brenda observed Olivia’s diving abilities. This led to Olivia being asked about becoming the new diver for the Strawberry Crest swim and dive team; the rest is history.

Starting on the team on September 7, Olivia competed in Districts after just one month of diving. Olivia said about Districts, “To compete in Districts you have to know 11 different dives, and if you fail to execute two of them properly, you will be disqualified. Since I had been diving for such a short amount of time, my only goal was to not be disqualified, which was a serious possibility. I’m happy to say I completed the meet without being disqualified.”

Both the girls’ and boys’ swim and dive teams ended up getting first place in Districts, with the girls’ team becoming back-to-back District champions and becoming Western Conference champions. Not having won any individual trophies or medals yet, Olivia is hoping to do so next year, in addition to making regionals. A member of the National Honor Society, Olivia is also a part of Chargerthon, a yearlong charity that raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network. She is also a part of The Spring’s Youth Action Committee, a group that is trained to become peer educators on healthy relationships and teen dating violence.

Since Olivia is new to swimming, she doesn’t have a dream team or college she hopes to swim for, but noted, “You never know what the future may hold.” While we don’t know what Olivia’s future may hold in regards to swimming beyond Strawberry Crest, you can be sure that her future on the Chargers’ swim and dive team will continue to make waves.

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As we approach another Holiday Season and New Year, we should all give thanks for our health and prosperity. The things we take for granted and are not a given. Every time I’m feeling a little down in the dumps, I take a look around and am reminded real quick just exactly how fortunate I really am. Take this Holiday season and embrace the people you love and cherish the time you spend with them. These are the things that will always sustain you. I have found in my old age that what use to make me happy does not anymore. What makes me happy these days is my family, my friends and my health. It is amazing how your priorities will change as we grow old. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. And as always, if I can be of service to you in any way fell free to contact me at 813 -767-6317.

Billy Herold’s

AUTO SALES

201 East Baker Street

Plant City, FL 33565

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71 PAGE Veterans, enjoy a Free Pizza Baked Spaghetti and cookie or brownie with any purchase for Veteran’s Day on Friday, November 11 INCLUDES ALL ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY Key’s Restaurants, Inc., Franchisee, owner/operator of Fazoli’s Plant City, Florida. Price and participation vary by location. Fazoli’s and logo are federally registered trademarks of Fazoli’s System Management, LLC, Lexington, KY Copyright © Fazoli’s 2470 Palumbo Drive, Lexington, KY 40509-1117 Key’s Restaurants, Inc., Franchisee, owner/operator of Fazoli’s Plant City, Florida. Price and participation vary by location. Fazoli’s and logo are federally registered trademarks of Fazoli’s System Management, LLC, Lexington, KY Copyright © Fazoli’s 2470 Palumbo Drive, Lexington, KY 40509-1117 FREE COOKIE OR BROWNIE FOR VETERAN OR ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY FREE PIZZA BAKED SPAGHETTI WITH ANY PURCHASE One coupon per customer/visit. No substitutions. Not valid with any other offer. Cannot be copied or sold. Internet distribution prohibited. Must surrender coupon at redemption. One coupon per transaction. Valid only at participating locations. Expires 12/31/22 Coupon Code: C92416 One coupon per customer/visit. No substitutions. Not valid with any other offer. Cannot be copied or sold. Internet distribution prohibited. Must surrender coupon at redemption. One coupon per transaction. Valid only at participating locations. Expires 12/31/22 Coupon Code: C92397 DOWNLOAD OUR APP PLANT CITY: 238 West Alexander PLANT CITY: 238 West Alexander DOWNLOAD OUR APP

Team of the Month Titanium Gymnastics and Cheer

Located at 402 W Ball St, Titanium Gymnastics and Cheer has grown exponentially since its founding in 2014, to become a highly successful program that seeks to train its athletes in “body, mind, and spirit.” Originally located in Lithia, the gym expanded in 2016 and opened a second location right here in Plant City. Competitively, the athletes set the bar high, experiencing a great deal of success over the last eight years. Currently gearing up for their ninth competitive season, expectations are set for continued growth.

“The goal for this season is building additional skill work and leveling up the types of skills we’re going to be competing,” shares Gina Pribil, one of Titanium’s founders and director over their competitive All-Star Cheer program. “First place is great, however, we’re definitely a skills-focused program, so we’re working to make sure the kids have more confidence in what it is that we’re asking them to do and the level of expectations that we hold. So this season is definitely about growth from a skill and competence standpoint than anything else.”

Two weeks ago, the Titanium gymnasts had the opportunity to put their skills to the test in the first pre-season meet. The competitive teams are divided into three groups based on ability level: Excel Bronze, Excel Silver, and Excel Gold. Both the Bronze and Gold teams placed first as teams, and the Excel Silver team placed second as a team.

“All around we were very impressed with all of our kids,” Pribil reflected. “For most of them it was

the first time competing at any level, which meant the advancement of skills, and they executed very well on it. We were very much impressed with all of our kids and their confidence levels coming into this first competition.”

The official competitive season for both gymnastics and cheer will begin in the Spring and will include a trip to Pigeon Forge, TN for the gymnasts, while the All-Star cheerleaders will compete locally.

Although gymnastics is more individualized than cheer, all of Titanium’s competitors are

motivated by this season’s motto, “Better Together.”

“We really emphasize them encouraging one another and playing to the strengths of the individual teammates,” Pribil states. “[It’s about] making sure the kids and coaches are doing everything in their power to uplift each other to be better all around in both the sports and their academic lives as well as just personally”

This year, the coaches are hoping to place an emphasis on service as well as skills. Pribil shared their love for the community and the desire to be a business that positively impacts Plant City. They are currently looking for service opportunities for their competitive teams, and are looking forward to serving at a gala benefitting children of military families in the Fall of 2023. In the meantime, they would love to know of other ways to serve the community and if you would like to contact them regarding service opportunities you can email them at titanium.gym.cheer@gmail.com.

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As we approach the busy holiday season, we believe it is important that there is a purposeful reflection on the true meaning of the Christmas season: a celebration of the birth of Jesus the Messiah. We recognize Jesus of Nazareth as the one through whom God established his long awaited kingdom.

Because of this turning point in the history of humanity, we are all tasked with being stewards of creation and with reflecting Gods wise rule on earth as it is in heaven. This task is one that is both heavy and energizing at the same time; and one that requires sacrifice and responsibility. Humbly, we try and live out this service in our restaurants.

We are truly thankful for all you have done to make Fred’s Market and Johnson Barbeque part of the fabric of the community for so many years; we are privileged to serve you.

Johnsons

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-the
Merry Christmas!

Meet the Maker:

Moo Moo’s Custom Creations

With the holidays quickly approaching, consumers have already begun shopping to ensure they get everything they need for their loved ones, friends, and co-workers. While finding items that are mass produced and viewed as ordinary could work as a gift, it’s nice to give someone something unique and creative that puts a genuine smile on the gift receiver’s face. If you’re looking to give the gift of a cool t-shirt or one-of-a-kind tumbler, then you need to meet Madison O’Connor, owner of Moo Moo’s Custom Creations. Madison, a 20-year-old full-time college student, mom, and self-proclaimed queso lover, began Moo Moo’s Custom Creations for her eight-month-old daughter, Paislee.

Madison said about starting her own small business, “I created Moo Moo’s Custom Creations to do what I love while being able provide everything my daughter needs. I absolutely love making tumblers, t-shirts and crafting of all sorts. It has been a passion of mine since I was a child.”

Madison can make bleached and regular t-shirts ranging in sizes from newborn-2XL, with the t-shirts being unisex. The tumblers are 20 ounces, with Madison planning to sell 30-ounce tumblers in the future. With designs for every holiday, occasion, or theme, Madison can create a t-shirt or tumbler with your favorite sports team, holiday, or with designs such as cow print or floral to show off your personality. Before having her daughter Paislee, Madison was a collegiate athlete and earned her associate’s degree in business management. Currently, she is almost finished with her bachelor’s degree at the University of South Florida.

Born and raised in Florida by her parents, Susan and Richard, Madison noted, “My family has always been such a great support system. My wonderful parents truly helped me achieve my childhood dream of playing collegiate volleyball.”

Under Moo Moo’s Custom Creations, Madison has over 300 tumbler designs and over 250 t-shirt designs, and can also customize them by adding images of people, pets, or objects. With a quick turnaround time of 24-48 hours, the custom tumblers are sold for $20 each and custom bleached and regular t-shirts are sold for $15-$20 each.

“This price is for individual items, for any orders of five items or more, we offer 10% off. We also do company and bulk orders -25 or more- that receives a huge discount,” Madison stated.

When asked about her future goals, Madison said, “With the support of my amazing fiancé, Lane Newton, I hope to be the best mother to Paislee, grow my business while bringing smiles to everyone, and finish my bachelor’s degree.”

If you would like to order a t-shirt or tumbler that is customized and unique, visit Moo Moo’s Custom Creations page on Facebook or email Madison at moomooscustomcreations@gmail.com. You can also reach her at 813-2636025. She accepts payments through Apple Pay, Cash App, Venmo, and PayPal.

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Leaders in Faith

Sherry Scheitler

Sherry Scheitler loves Plant City because it’s reminiscent of her childhood hometown, a suburb of Flint, Michigan. Having lived in big cities for so many years because of her career, she always yearned to return to a smaller one. She especially enjoys the various annual events Plant City offers and likes seeing folks she knows often, all while still being able to get across town in 10-15 minutes.

With a heart for missions, Sherry serves her church, GracePoint Plant City, as an Outreach Committee member.

Share a little of your background.

I earned a B.A. degree from Tulsa Junior College and then a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from LeTourneau University while I worked for American Airlines in Ft. Worth, Texas. During my 38-year career with American, I also lived in Detroit, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis. I was a first-time bride at age 58 and have been married to Ken Scheitler for 11 years.

How did you come to faith in Jesus?

The bottom dropped out of my life in 1989, which convinced me I needed something more. So, I started searching for God and His Son Jesus. It took three years of diligent seeking before I finally accepted the free gift of eternal life through Jesus as my Savior. I will never forget that beautiful Tulsa sunny Sunday afternoon (02.09.92) and feeling like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. One of my favorite Scripture passages is Ephesians 2:8-9. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God —not by works, so that no one can boast.” I love this because it was one of the first Scriptures I memorized for Evangelism Explosion, and it is so TRUE; nothing I did. Salvation was a free gift from God and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

What prompted your service on the Outreach Committee at GracePoint?

Missions have been a passion of mine from the very beginning of my walk with Jesus, especially mission trips to many countries within Africa, India, Russia, and more recently, Guatemala. I chaired the missions committee for five-plus years at my previous church in Dallas, along with chairing our Billy Graham Call Center and being an Evangelism Explosion (EE) teacher/trainer for ten years. So, when I moved to Florida and found a church where I could learn-grow-and-serve, it just seemed natural to engage with the Outreach ministry.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I love helping people who are helping others, including sharing the gospel with and through the love of Jesus. That’s why I coordinate the Chefs for the Empty Bowls project that benefits the United Food Bank of Plant City and am also the liaison for two great local ministries. I serve

as coordinator for the “Stove Project” for the Little Lambs ministry in Guatemala as well as buy all the supplies for my church’s Pig-A-Palooza fundraiser in early February.

How do you spend your spare time?

In addition to being my 90-year-old mother’s caregiver and always having one or two volunteer projects in progress, I serve with the outreach ministry at GracePoint and as president of a woman’s political club. But whenever possible, I try to do something with Mom, like burger night with the exercise girls, Friday night dominos with neighbors, and various day trips or vacations with her. On weeknights, we watch TV in our recliners with an ice cream or yogurt treat while I play Canasta on my tablet.

Any suggestions for those considering the Christian faith?

DO IT! Accepting Jesus as my savior is the best thing that ever happened to me. He’s made such a positive impact on my life. I had a hole that needed filling and Jesus filled it. He is true to His word and is always there for me. He has used me and allowed me to do things in ways I never imagined.

And to those already Christ-followers?

Regularly attend a Bible-believing and preaching church, stay in the Word through either private or group study, and be in daily prayer.

GracePoint and its friendly congregation welcomes everyone to its weekly Sunday morning services at 9:30, Sunday School at 11:00AM, and Wednesday studies at 6:30PM. To learn more, visit the campus at 1107 Charlie Griffin Road, search online at gracepointpc.org, or call 813-7599383.

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Candy’s Corner

Everyone is voting for Jack!

’Cause he’s got what all the rest lack.

Everyone wants to back—Jack Jack is on the right track. ‘Cause he’s got high hopes He’s got high hopes

Ninteen Sixty’s the year for his high hopes.

Come on and vote for Kennedy Vote for Kennedy And we’ll come out on top!

Oops, there goes the opposition (3x)

KERPLOP!

K-E-DOUBLE N-E-D-Y

Jack’s the nation’s favorite guy

Everyone wants to back-Jack Jack is on the right track. ‘Cause he’s got high hopes

He’s got high hopes

Nineteen Sixty’s the year for his high hopes.

Come on and vote for Kennedy Vote for Kennedy

Keep America Strong.

AHHHH! Now that was a great campaign strategy, sung by Frank Sinatra who took the 1959 hit single, “High Hopes,” and changed the lyrics in support of his close friend John F. Kennedy, the 1960 Democratic presidential candidate.

Despite his busy star studded schedule, Sinatra made many campaign appearances singing his High Hopes, and keeping a flame under other celebrities to keep on for Kennedy. On Election Night, he gathered at the home of fellow loyalist movie stars Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, hunkering down for what proved to be a long night waiting for the state vote counts which eventually gave Kennedy victory in the early morning hours.

Back in January of 1961, on a bright, frozen Washington morning, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was inaugurated, declaring, “The torch has been passed to a new generation—born in this country, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage.”

It wasn’t just Kennedy’s speech, youth and good looks that gave people the reason to feel optimistic. It was also the undeniable history of the occasion. Kennedy was the descendant of an Irish Famine survivor and America’s first Catholic president.

So, awareness of this “ancient heritage” was going to trickle down and change the kinds of people at the center of American power.

I was born during the Kennedy administration and my parents were big Kennedy supporters. As a child I remember our coffee table and bookshelves were filled with books and magazines regarding the Kennedys. Anything to do with the Kennedys received attention in our house. My Dad was a History teacher and kept a close ear on anything to do with politics and/or our country. My Mother loved the Kennedys and everything about them, their class, their culture, their brilliance, their elegance, their sense of style, and their age. To this day, my Mother will look up, smile, and say: “The Kennedys made America young.”

I can remember the first Presidential Election that I took part in back in the 1968-1969 school year. I was a Jackson Elementary firstgrader and my teacher, Mrs. Myra James Weldon, along with our college intern, Mrs. Sandy Black, announced that we would be holding a “Mock Presidential Election.” We had no idea that the word “mock” meant not real or fake. We thought this was the real deal and was just as important as what our parents did when they stepped behind those dark blackout curtains. Mrs. Weldon wrote the candidates’ names on the blackboard: Richard

M. Nixon(R), Hubert H. Humphrey(D), George C. Wallace(I), and Pat Paulsen(Comedian from The Smothers Brothers TV Show and Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In).

We were so excited. Mrs. Weldon explained that we did not have a real voting booth so we would all put our heads down on our desks with our eyes closed. When she called the name of the candidate we wanted, we raised our hand and each vote was marked on the board. When we were told to raise our heads, we saw the votes tallied on the blackboard. George C. Wallace and Pat Paulson were in the lead followed by Richard M. Nixon. The tail end was held by Hubert H. Humphrey, who received only one vote (from yours truly— haha!). Some children in my class clapped for the winner while others booed or stuck their tongues out because their candidate lost. That was serious business to us back then and I can assure you that our teacher gave us a lecture about sore losers.

Here we are some 50-plus years later and election time is upon our country. In the past few months I have seen such unbelievable behavior and heard such unkind words between the two candidates, far worse than the days of sore losers sticking their tongues out at one another or booing! In fact, their bad behavior is beyond measure in my book.

They say: “History Repeats Itself.” Does it? Are we back in the days of the Caveman? Are we in a place where if someone doesn’t like you or doesn’t like what you say, that you just run up and smack them in the head with a club?

Watching the Presidential Debates on TV reminds me of two first graders that both want to be the line leader. I’m afraid the next time I turn on the television, I might see the two candidates in the middle of the Roman Coliseum fighting each other with anything they can get their hands on.

I hope history does repeat itself! I hope America can find its way back to a time of civilized behavior. I hope we Americans can go back to a time when people respected one another, a time where the elderly, the sick, the Veterans, the working class, and the people with special needs are cared for in a respectful manner. A time where people waited their turn. A time where people held their tongues if they couldn’t say something nice. A time where people said: “Please,” “Thank you,” and “Pardon me.” A time when people put their best foot forward. A time when people where thankful for their many blessings.

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Plant City Happenings

Every Tuesday

Crochet Buddies

3:00PM

Bruton Memorial Library @ 302 McLendon St Cost: Free Info: 813-757-9215

Musical Storytime

10:30AM

Welcome

Bruton Memorial Library @ 302 McLendon St Cost: Free Info: 813-757-9215

Every Thursday

Baby Time

10:30AM

Encourages Language Development | For Children 0-18 Months & Their Caregiver | 30Minute Lap Sit Program

Bruton Memorial Library @ 302 McLendon St Cost: Free Info: 813-757-9215

November 18 - 19

Plant City Pig Jam

5:00PM-10:00PM Friday; 10:00AM-5:00PM Saturday BBQ | Food & Drink Vendors

Live Entertainment | Kids’ Zone

Randy Larson Softball Fourplex @ 1401 Gordon Food Service Drive

Cost: $10 Parking Fee; Free Admission Info: 813-754-3707 or www.plantcitypigjam.com

November 19

Red Barn Block Party

10:00AM-3:00PM Car & Bike Show | Free Food | Live Music Jump House for Kids Red Barn Ranch @ 4409 Thonotosassa Rd Cost: Free Info: 727-667-2052

Strawberry Classic Cruise-In

3:00PM-6:30PM

Classic Cars & Trucks | Food | Vendors Downtown Plant City @ 102 N. Palmer St Cost: Free & Free Car Registration Info: 813-754-3707

Bluegrass Night

6:00PM

Southern Express Bluegrass Band | Limited Seated | Food & Drinks Krazy Kup @ 101 E. J Arden Mays Blvd Cost: $15 per Ticket Info: 813-752-1220

December 1

24th Annual Lights of LoveTree Lighting Ceremony

5:30PM-9:30PM

Community Tree Lighting Ceremony Photos with Santa | Musical Program McCall Park @ 100 N. Collins St

Cost: Free; Lights & Sponsorships Available for Purchase (Proceeds to Benefit South Florida Baptist Hospital) Info: 813-757-8478 or www.sfbhfoundation.org

December 2

Plant City Christmas Parade

7:00PM-9:00PM

Holiday Floats | Beads | Family Friendly Alsobrook & Collins St in Downtown Plant City Cost: Free Info: 813-453-7134 5th Annual Merry Market @ Plant City High School

December 3

5th Annual Merry Market @ Plant City High School

10:00AM-3:00PM

Boutique Vendors | Jewelry | Handmade Crafts Holiday Shopping | On-Site Car Show Plant City High School @ 1 Raider Pl Cost: Free Parking & Admission Info: merrymarketpchs@gmail.com

December 6

Christmas Trivia Night

6:30PM-8:30PM

All Ages Trivia | Holiday Attire Encouraged Top Three Teams Win Prizes

Keel & Curley Winery @ 5210 Thonotosassa Rd Cost: Free Trivia Info: 813-752-9100

December 7

Sunset Yoga in the Vines

6:00PM-7:00PM

Wildflower Yogi | All Experiences Welcome One Drink Voucher Included

Keel & Curley Winery @ 5210 Thonotosassa Rd Cost: $10 Info: 813-752-9100

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Bring/Work on Latest Crochet Project | Ages 9 & Up | Limited Space | Registration Not Required
November 30 Dog Tales with Fuzzy Rogers
Improve Reading | Build Confidence | For All Ages | Read and Pet Fuzzy Rogers
302 McLendon St Cost: Free Info: 813-757-9215 Saturdays and Sundays Through November 27 Corky’s Corn Maze 10:00AM-6:00PM Corn Maze | Hay Rides | Keel Farms Wines & Ciders | Kids’ Play Zone | Farm Animals 1603 Hawk Griffin Rd Cost: Kids 3 & Under- Free; Kids 3-12; $10; Adults- $15 (Due to Limited Parking, Purchasing Tickets Online is Recommended)
813-560-0253 or www.corkysmaze.com
3:00PM
Bruton Memorial Library @
Info:
Interactive Stories | Music & Movement | For Children 2-5 & Their Caregiver | Siblings
85 PAGE 2022 WINNER BEST INDOOR AND OUTDOOR PEST CONTROL

Gallery of Plant City

DANCING WITH THE LOCALS

On Friday, Oct. 28, 10 couples put their all on the dance floor for the 2022 Dancing with the Locals, presented by the Plant City Rotary Club. Ali Sobh & Jenny Rothman took home the top award, followed by Kenley & Joel Connell and Chris & Jeaneane Pennell.

a. Daddy-daughter duo, Joel Connell (left) and 2022 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen Kenley Connell (center) were named second place fundraisers. The dancing couple are joined by Festival president-elect Kyle Robinson.

b. 3rd Place winners Chris and Jeaneane Pennell performed lifts and flips, concluding their mashup routine with confetti and pyrotechnics.

c. Sebastian & Serenity Ball told the story of their marriage through their routine, complete with a tuxedo and wedding dress ensemble.

d. Chris and Julee Shepherd performed a Top Gun themed routine, tying into Chris’s career as a pilot for Tampa Police Department and the release of the 2022 Top Gun: Maverick film.

e. Taylor and Breanna Clark before a Texas Two Step, performing the only routine to country music.

f. Greg Williams, and his daughter Samantha Roberts, incorporated a tuck flip into their the routine.

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a b c d e
f

g. Rick Lott, Candice Snyder, Eric Randall, and Alex Rhodes served as judges for the night’s competition.

h. Jenny Rothman and Ali Sobh were named the top fundraisers, bringing in $44,000, breaking the previous record of $25,000 raised by a single dance couple. The duo are joined by Doug Watson (left) and Jodi Stevens (right), co-chairs of Dancing with the Locals.

i. Jay and Erin Hollenkamp performed the dance routine from the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, including the iconic overhead lift. The

crowd was excited to see the locals achieve the challenging lift with perfection.

j. Playing on Rachel Dummeldinger’s love for the arts, her and her husband Mark, portrayed their dance as the subject of an artist’s painting. At the end of their West Coast Swing, the artist revealed the completed portrait to the couple.

k. Denisse and Steven Riddle performed a Salsa Fusion routine, encapsulating Denisse’s Latin roots.

87 PAGE Gallery
of Plant City
g h i j k

a.

Gallery of Plant City

WOMAN OF DISTINCTION SUSAN SULLIVAN

On November 2nd, Aspire Plant City presented Susan Sullivan with the 2022 Woman of Distinction award. Sullivan is the principal of Plant City High School and has a 40-year career in education. Gwen Thomas, 2021 recipient, presented the award to Sullivan, with Audrey Schmidt, David Sullivan, Pam Bowden and Jeanne Knotts speaking on her behalf.

b. Audrey Schmidt, Drama teacher and director at PCHS, spoke about working with Susan Sullivan.

c. Susan’s sisters Jeanne Knotts and Pam Bowden gave everyone in attendance some big laughs with their stories about Susan.

d. Susan Sullivan thanked everyone for attending and thanked Aspire Plant City for receiving the honor of being the Woman of Distinction.

e. Sophia Hyde of Aspire, 2022 Woman of Distinction Susan Sullivan, and 2021 recipient Gwen Thomas

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Sandee Parke-Sytsma (left) and Kayla Drawdy (right) attended the event in celebration of Susan Sullivan (center) and acceptance of the award.
a b c d
e
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“We provide compassionate care for you and your family.”

At South Florida Baptist Hospital, the team members who wear this badge give you high-quality care in a comfortable atmosphere. Our wide range of specialty services includes comprehensive orthopedic care, sports medicine services and total joint replacement procedures. We have a comprehensive gynecology program that offers a variety of women’s services, and our weight loss surgery program meets nationally recognized standards. And if surgery is required, we have surgeons who are experts in minimally invasive robotic surgical procedures, which means shorter hospital stays and smaller incisions that reduce the risk of infection. All of this means you get outstanding, compassionate care right here in Plant City. Learn more: SouthFloridaBaptist.org

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It’s not just an ID badge.
It’s a badge of honor.
22-2419203-1022
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