Ocala Magazine May 2021 Digital Issue

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Ocala’s City Magazine Since 1980 Serving the Horse Capital of the World® $5.95

VFW’s Veterans Village: Forgotten in Paradise OCALA MAGAZINE

Traveling Nurse Answers the Call of COVID-19

Over 7,200 families fed per week MAY 2021

His Compassion Food Bank is loads trunks with millions of tons food and takes feeding Ocala to a new level

OM OCALA MAGAZINE

HIS COMPASSION


Country Club of Ocala... It’s Not An Address, It’s A Lifestyle!

IF YOU WANT A PRIVATE RETREAT with lush Live Oaks, landscaped borders designed by Al Dominguez, known for creating gardens filled with unexpected textures, colors, & sounds appealing to all senses, inviting you to genuinely enjoy your surroundings. This is an amazing family gathering place, the enormity & magnitude of the property is fascinating. Enjoy your own sports court- tennis, pickle ball, putting green, gym with infrared sauna, pool, plus all the amenities the Country Club of Ocala has to offer. This magnificent estate sits on 2.26 acres & boasts 10,075+/- SF of living areas. As you enter you immediately feel the peace & serenity of this gracious estate home with 7,779 +/- SF of living area - 5 bedrooms, 5 baths & 2 powder rooms. Dining room is perfect for casual or formal dining. True Chef ’s kitchen has beautiful Brazilian Bahia granite countertops & custom cabinetry by Dixie Millworks, expansive pantry, plus breakfast area. Another dining area or relaxing area is the private interior courtyard featuring a Koi pond. Adjoining the kitchen is the casual family room featuring a wall of built-ins for the Kaleidoscope system for TV, surround sound indoors as well as outdoors. Owner’s wing with office, bedroom, impressive closets, dual vanity area, tub, shower, exercise room & courtyard with sauna. 4 Bay AC garage. Upstairs level sports a large game room or artist’s studio & powder room. 3,096 +/- SF guest/pool home with high ceilings, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, powder room, large exercise room with infrared sauna, kitchen, dining area, family game room opens onto loggia, beautiful infinity pool & spa which is totally private from land viewers. Step out your back gate and you are on the 15th hole of the Country Club of Ocala golf course. The Country Club is a warm blend of lifestyles, landscapes, and friends within minutes to the city’s amenities, Santos Bike Trails plus the Florida Greenways & Trails system, Florida Horse Park, & the World Equestrian Center.

$50,518,700 Sold & Pending for 2021


1

Northwest Ocala — Close to WEC S EC & HIT W o t e s Clo

Minutes from World Equestrian Estate & HITS sits this exquisite 37+/- acres equine estate. Beautiful Spanish style residence with wooden accents, tray ceilings & marble columns throughout the home. Home boasts 6,805 SF of living area with 6 bedrooms and 5.5 baths. Pool and summer kitchen. The equestrian will enjoy the 8-stall center barn, 6 lush paddocks, round pen, plus manager’s home. $3,500,000.

Golden Ocala estate with incredible views of the 15th green golf course. 5,912 +/- SF of living area with your choice 5 or 6 bedrooms, 5 full baths and 1 half bath. First floor features the Chef ’s kitchen, family room, formal living room, dining and master. Enjoy the pool area with covered lanai, summer kitchen and beverage bar with plenty of sitting and conversation areas. Complete with 2 - 2-car garages. $2,257,000

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S EC & HIT W o t e s Clo Spectacular NW Hwy 225A – Prime location on 14+/- acres. 4 bedrooms 4 full baths, 1 half bath plus office or could be 5th bedroom. Pool with separate art studio. 7-Stall center aisle stable with 2 apartments. $1,299,873

SOLD

Country Club of Ocala with magnificent views overlooking the golf course. Estate sits on over 2 acres. Spacious owners suite with fireplace and sitting area. Upstairs 4 BR, game room with beverage bar and space for a pool table. $1,495,000.

SOLD

Adjoins Florida Greenways and Trails, Property features 18 Stall stable, 2 offices, owner and guest residence, European walker, lit arena, 4 bay & 8 bay equipment building plus equine swim lane. $4,590,000.

Gated Entrance estate on 23 +/-acres. Main residence over 5,100 SF with grand interior spaces including 5 bedrooms, 5 baths. Heated pool and spa with waterfall. 2 Carriage homes. Minutes to WEC, Florida Horse Park & Florida Greenways & Trails. $2,500,000

R E A LTO R ®


Waterfront Properties

Bass Country Retreat – 123 +/- Acres $1,885,000 Unique private residence overlooks spring fed lake. 2-story home with 2 BR, 2 BA Cedar home with great room and beautiful views. Detached studio & double garage provide plenty of space for storage.

Lake Weir- Bring the Horses – 300 + feet Water frontage 13+/-acres, 2 story home situated on secluded property 2 BR, 2 BA plus bonus room. Includes fenced paddocks for horses. $2,300,000

C & HITS E W o t Close Stunning 197 +/- Acres - Seller Will Divide Close to town - Beautiful land with Granddaddy Oaks 7,400 SF two-story workshop/maintenance building plus a 5 BR/4BA home. $4,900,000

Prime 28+/- Acres in great NW location. This is your opportunity to build your dream home or farm. Property is perimeter fenced with existing well. No Deed Restrictions. $1,065, 750

g buying or n ri e d si n o c e ’r u If yo call today! selling, give us a R E A LTO R ® For these and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos, and more choices. 352.347.1777 | Cell: 352.266.9100 | Cell: 352.804.8989 | joan@joanpletcher.com Due to the privacy and at the discretion of my clients, there are additional training centers, estates, and land available that are not advertised.



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CELEBRATING OUR 40TH YEAR!

MAY • 2021 p. 24 — Donna Davis Photo by Ralph Demilio

FEATURES 18 24 34 44

His Compassion: A Community’s Bounty Answering the COVID Call Veterans Village: Forgotten in Paradise OM Pulse

DEPARTMENTS 8 Letter from the Publisher 12 Letter from the Editor 14 From the Mayor 47 EAT 48 Treats for Mom 53 Dining Out 57 PLAY 58 Socially Speaking 64 Anthology: Poetry in Motion 67 EQUINE 68 Everything Equine: Equine Industry Expo

ON THE COVER: A car trunk is filled with food from HIS Compassion Photography by Ralph Demilio

Ocala’s City Magazine Since 1980 Serving the Horse Capital of the World® $5.95

VFW’s Veterans Village: Forgotten in Paradise OCALA MAGAZINE

Traveling Nurse Answers the Call of COVID-19

Over 7,200 families fed per week MAY 2020

His Compassion Food Bank is loads trunks with millions of tons food and takes feeding Ocala to a new level

71 ETC 72 Charity Spotlight: Boys and Girls Club 74 Health Journal: Be a Stroke Hero 78 State of the City: Serving up Compassion 80 State of the County: Hurricane season 82 Kiwanis Korner 84 Rotary Circle 88 Looking Back: Ocala’s First Hospital

PROMOTIONAL FEATURE 42 An old-fashion ice cream shop OM OCALA MAGAZINE

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

HIS COMPASSION


Annette Powell, Ocala

The heart. It’s a symbol of caring and strength. It represents compassion and understanding. At UF Health, we put our hearts and expertise into everything we do. From developing new lifesaving procedures to providing routine health services, there is no heart condition too simple or complex for our dedicated doctors and staff. At UF Health, our teams of caring professionals work together to provide personalized treatment plans in one world-class medical center. We care for your heart with all of ours.

Visit Heart.UFHealth.org to watch Annette’s story and sign up for a free Heart Healthy Kit.

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4/15/2021 1:40:13 PM


Volume 40, Issue 11

MAY 2021

OM

OCALA’S #1 MOST AWARD-WINNING CITY MAGAZINE

CELEBRATING OUR 40TH YEAR! Philip Glassman, CCIM | Publisher philip@ocalamagazine.com

Penny Miller | VP/Corporate Development penny@ocalamagazine.com

EDITORIAL Brad Rogers | Editor brad@ocalamagazine.com

ART Jessi Miller | Creative Director jessi@ocalamagazine.com

Ashley Dobbs/City of Ocala | Writer Mayor Kent Guinn | Columnist

Carlton Reese | Senior Writer carlton@ocalamagazine.com

PHOTOGRAPHY

Robin Fannon | Food/Lifestyle Editor

Ralph Demilio | Chief Photographer ralph@ocalamagazine.com

Leslie J. Wengler | Social Editor Sharon Raye | Copy Editor

CONTRIBUTORS Alex AuBuchon/Marion County | Writer

OPERATIONS Randy Woodruff, CPA | CFO randy@ocalamagazine.com

SALES Adam Hamersky | Advertising Executive adam@ocalamagazine.com

ADVISORY Linda Marks | Founder & Advisor

EDITORIAL OR ADVERTISING INQUIRIES 352.622.2995

www.ocalamagazine.com

19 FIVE 20 F E O N I R E WINNR MAGAAZRDS A D I FLO TION AW IA S AS OC

OFFICIAL MEDIA PARTNER HOPS — Historic Ocala Preservation Society MEDIA PARTNER & PRESENTING SPONSOR of the Tailgating Competition at Live Oak International OFFICIAL MEDIA SPONSOR FOR 2021 International Women's Day Celebration EXCLUSIVE MEDIA SPONSOR FOR George Albright Annual Golf Tournament OFFICIAL MEDIA SPONSOR FOR FINE ARTS FOR OCALA

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TEDxOcala · HITS · Equiventure

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OFFICE 743 E. Fort King St., Ocala, FL 34471 MAILING ADDRESS P.O. Box 4649, Ocala, FL 34478 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR by mail or email: editor@ocalamagazine.com SUBSCRIPTION One year - $49, Two years - $95, Single Issue - $5.95. COPYRIGHT ALL contents copyrighted © 2021 by Ocala Magazine Publications. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or advertising content in any manner without written permission is strictly prohibited. Horse Capital of the World® is a registered trademark of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ & Owners’ Association.

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM


BE PREPARED. BE SAFE. Hurricane season is June 1 - November 30 • Make sure all contact information is current on your account. Providing us with an up-to-date phone number will allow you to report your power outage easier and faster.

• If your power is restored while crews are still working in the area, please leave a porch light or externally visible light on so they can see that you have power.

• To view a real-time map of current outages, visit severeweather.ocalafl.org.

• Generators should not be plugged directly into a home’s main electrical system. This could potentially send an electrical charge back to the power grid, which could create an electrocution hazard for utility workers.

• To report a power outage in your area, visit myusage.com, use myusage mobile app or call 352-351-6666. • Please do not report an outage more than once. • For real-time updates and outage information during a storm, please follow Ocala Electric Utility on Facebook.

/OcalaElectricUtility

@OEUinfo

ocalaelectric.org | 352-629-2489

• Generators should be set up outside the home in a well-ventilated area. Individual appliances can be plugged directly into the generator. • Visit severeweather.ocalafl.org to learn more about storm preparation and download your free storm preparation guide.


LETTER

from the publisher

The Blessing of the Boys and Girls Clubs THE CHARITY SPOTLIGHT we run monthly in Ocala Magazine might be my favorite regular segment in the magazine – there is always an interesting story to tell, and I love being able to shine a light on those organizations that exist solely to improve the lives of people in our community. In this issue, you will find a story about the Boys and Girls Club of Marion County, and the beauty of this organization is that the stories being written there now will continue to be written over the course of a lifetime. It’s one thing to see firsthand an at-risk youth able to avoid some of life’s many pitfalls by going to the club and being surrounded by so many positive influences. It’s quite another to understand that the fruits bore here often go initially unseen and appear many years down the road. I was blessed in my childhood – two loving parents, a safe neighborhood, many adult mentors who were positive role models – but sadly, that is not the case for many kids these days who are growing up in broken homes and in crime-ridden areas. For many kids, the only world they have known is one of fear and negative influences that serve to send them down the wrong track. The Boys and Girls Club offer another route, one that leads to a bright future and a better community for all of us, even those who were never members of this club. For every child who spends an afternoon at the club and away from a gang or a drug pusher, there is an opportunity for a success story that will affect the lives of so many more in a positive way. The potential of these kids is limitless, and the Boys and Girls Club plays a vital role helping that potential be reached. In this issue’s story, it is mentioned how many productive adults in our community today were once members of this club, and had they not been, their lives would have turned out so much different. The Boys and Girls Club provides not just fun activities but also a safe haven for learning and a gathering place of strong role models. For some of the kids at the club, here may be the only place they interact with an adult that is a proper life guide. When I think of one child going to the Boys and Girls Club, I think of a child who is not being pushed to drugs; I think of a child who is not without adult guidance; I think of a child who may actually get to enjoy a few of the blessings I did. I also think that for every child who goes to the club, there goes one who will grow up to be not only a good citizen but also a strong mentor and guide who will affect multiple lives in the future. I count my blessings every day, and with this being the month of Mothers Day, I cannot think of a greater blessing than my own mother, Sharon Glassman. My hope is that all children can have similar blessings in their lives. ‘Til next month,

PHILIP GLASSMAN, PUBLISHER Kids at the Boys and Girls Club of Marion County Photo by Ralph Demilio

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM


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LETTER

from the editor

‘You can grow from where you stand’

I

t wasn’t surprising to hear that Buddy Martin won the Wilton F. Martin Lifetime Achievement Award from the Florida Public Relations Society/Ocala Chapter at the group’s gathering on April 15. No, the man has enjoyed a long life with a long list of achievements. His is a remarkable career and is more than worthy of the honor. But I have a news flash! “I am not a sports fanatic,” said the gravelly voiced Martin, who at 82 is knee deep in sports journalism, just as he has been for the past 60 years. Imagine what his resume would like if he were a fanatic. As it is, he has garnered more than 200 writing awards, two Emmys in sports broadcasting, authored books on the Florida Gators, Urban Meyer and Steve Spurrier, led the sports departments at more than a half dozen newspapers — the New York Daily, News, the St. Petersburg Times and the Denver Post among them, and today still does a daily online sports show and publishes a monthly Gator sports publication. I sat down with Martin after he had received his honor and asked him what he is most proud of. “My family,” he responded instantly. “That’s what I’m most proud of, my family.” Turns out, the Martin family tree has roots deep in journalism. Martin’s grandfather, William Laban, came to Ocala from Alabama in 1890 and went to work for the Ocala Evening Star. Years later, his father, Wilton F. Martin, also worked for the Evening Star. In the early 1960’s Martin started his career in journalism at the Ocala Star-Banner, eventually becoming its sports editor. Now, his children, are following in Dad’s steps. All are in media. His son, Brenden, is media director at the World Equestrian Center. Even the award Martin received is named for his father, Wilton F. Martin, who in addition to being a newspaper man was the first P.R. guy at Silver Springs. “Four generations! That’s really something, isn’t it?” Martin declared. Beyond his family, there are plenty of highlights in Martin’s lifetime of achievement. Like the book he wrote with and about Steve Spurrier. Martin first suggested the

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idea in 1994. It only took Spurrier 24 years to get around to sitting down and actually doing it. Or how it was his dream to be a sports editor for a New York City newspaper … and then actually doing it. Or how he and his small staff at the tiny Port Charlotte Sun finished as a Pulitzer finalist for their coverage of 2004's Hurricane Charley, which obliterated their town. But through all the stories, all the memories, he kept coming back to his roots, to his family, to Ocala. He played football and baseball at the old Ocala High. He says he was a decent quarterback and a good pitcher. His most memorable game was in a high school Babe Ruth League game -- a game in which recorded 24 strikeouts in 12 innings on the way to a 6-5 victory. That’s right, 12 innings. He was good enough to walk on for the Gators for two seasons, but he knew his talent would only take him so far. “My athletic career didn’t work out, so I started writing about it,’ he said. And write he did. Yet, for all his success as a sports writer, Martin doesn’t think of himself as a sports writer.

“I call myself a journalist. And what does that mean? I guess it means to respect the facts with accuracy and fairness and truth. That doesn’t exist a lot anymore.”

BY BRAD ROGERS

“I call myself a journalist,” he said. “And what does that mean? I guess it means to respect the facts with accuracy and fairness and truth. That doesn’t exist a lot anymore.” In his acceptance speech, Martin talked about getting his first job in journalism at the Ocala Star-Banner when he was 20 and where that led. He said: “What happened after that … well, this is the message I send forth to young people. Tell your children that you can grow where you stand. You start from here. You can make it from here. Dream. Go ahead and dream.” He told of his early days at the Star-Banner. He hired four high school boys to cover sports for $5 a game. They were Jim Huber, Jim Waldron and brothers Van McKenzie and Jay McKenzie. The four went on to highly successful careers in journalism – Huber as a network sportscaster, Waldron as the publisher of the Voice of South Marion, Van McKenzie as the most respected sports editor of his era and Jay McKenzie as managing editor of the Star-Banner. “All that talent at the Ocala Star-Banner,” Martin said. “Working for $10 a week. Started right here. “So please, please, please believe in your young people. Give them a chance to show what they can do. Let them know that it can be done, and it can start right here in Ocala, Florida.” That message, my friends, comes from a lifetime of achievement. It’s worth heeding. Congratulations, Buddy!


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MAYOR

from the

A Derby Mayoral Wager Hoping Soup and Sandwich delivers some Kentucky bourbon BY MAYOR KENT GUINN

Photos courtesy of Mayor Kent Guinn

T

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he month of May means one thing to most of us around here: The Kentucky Derby. For the past six years I have entered into a friendly wager with Greg Fischer, the mayor of Louisville, Ky., where we each pick a horse bred in our home state, but honestly neither of us have been too successful. In the last two Runs For the Roses, we have relaxed the nature of the bet so that we can select any horse in the field, but this has only revealed what poor handicappers we truly are. We both picked favorites but saw them finish last and second-to-last, respectively. For our wager, Fischer puts up a Woodford Reserve bottle of Kentucky bourbon while I put up a Stonestreet Estate chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon – the local connection there being that Stonestreet has a farm in Ocala that is owned by the Kendall Jackson family. For my part, I’m going with a Florida-bred as I am sure Fischer will cast his fortunes with a Kentucky-bred, but as of just two weeks before the race he has not disclosed his pick. Representing the Ocala mayor’s office will be Soup and Sandwich out Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Kent Guinn of Live Oak Stud and owned by Charlotte Weber. Trained by Mark Casse, Soup being interviewed and Sandwich won his debut at Gulfstream Park and finished second to Known by Louisa Barton Agenda in the Florida Derby. At the time of my writing this, Casse was to have Soup and Sandwich as well as Tampa Bay Derby winner Helium. Historically speaking, Kentucky-breds have dominated the Derby as one would expect and this year’s race gives Fischer plenty of options as well, including the overwhelming favorite Essential Quality, undefeated and champion 2-year-old colt for 2020. Of course, those reading this will know who has won the bet when this issue comes out on Derby Day, so we’ll know already whether I’m sipping some celebratory Kentucky bourbon or donating to Fischer’s wine cellar. It’s all for fun and part of a friendly rivalry that exists between our two regions. I love to remind Fischer that Ocala is the “Horse Capital of the World” and his response is always perfect: “Us being good Kentuckians, we let Ocala think they’re the horse capital of the world – we’re real nice about it – but we know who really is the horse capital of the world.” Kentucky has produced by far the greatest number of Derby winners, 112 by my last count. Florida has produced six Derby winners (the last being Silver Charm in 1997), making it the state with the most Derby winners outside Kentucky. So Fischer may be correct insofar as thoroughbred racing is concerned, but as we all know the horse industry encompasses so much more, and on that no place delivers like Ocala, Florida. Due to the pandemic, the usual pomp and atmosphere that makes this race so unique and one of the greatest sports events in the world will be significantly weakened. In 2022 we believe all the ceremony will return to its former glory and I hope to be in attendance. For now, though I’ll be watching from home and rooting for our hometown four-legged heroes. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Kent Guinn

| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

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HIS Compassion: A Community’s

Bounty Local food bank meets a high standard for efficiency and volume of distribution BY CARLTON REESE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY RALPH DEMILIO

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T

he dark silence of 3 a.m. suddenly breaks with the sounds of diesel engines roaring to life. The trucks that start the day long before the sun has granted its permission warm up for a journey that culminates in the feeding of hungry people. It resembles a major food distributorship, but it is actually an all-volunteer army at His Compassion, a charity food bank where no one from foot soldier to four-star general accepts a single dime in compensation. The original goal, berthed in love and care for one’s fellow man in need, seemed subdued and not so unattainable: feed 30 hungry families at the Living Waters Church in Ocala. Wrought from this humble mission was the embodiment of the mustard seed parable itself – a grain of goodwill sprouted into a colossal giving tree measured not in tens or hundreds, but in millions. On any Tuesday or Thursday, one may bear witness to the grand scale of charity on display at His Compassion Food Bank, where last year 13.1 million pounds of food were distributed to families of Marion and surrounding counties. Such volume is a far cry from whence the program began in 1998. At its inception, the mission was to bring food to a number of church fami-

ly members who the congregation noticed were in dire need. Embracing the mission as more of a calling, the church’s food drive quickly evolved into a food bank that would require a new building in 2007, then the latest expansion to a 28,000-square foot facility in 2016. No longer just a site for handing out food, His Compassion has become a vast distribution network that involves other churches and food banks. The trucks head out to suppliers located not just in the Ocala area, but to Jacksonville, Milton, Gainesville, Tampa and as far away as Miami. They return with a bounty that is then distributed to various churches and food banks in all parts of Marion County, including the His Compassion hub on North Jacksonville Road.

From meals for just 30 families in 1998, His Compassion has created a system of such monumental efficiency that it is on pace to distribute around 24 million pounds of food in 2021, clearly a sign of the bitter economic

...last year 13.1 million pounds of food were distributed to families OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

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toll endured through the pandemic. “We get our product through relationships we’ve built through the years with different distribution centers and other food banks,” says Joy Guydan, who organizes volunteers for His Compassion. Food comes mainly from the distribution centers and companies like Tyson Foods and others. There are also nearby egg farms that have become suppliers as well as food banks in Ocoee and Jacksonville that distribute USDA farm-to-family boxes. “We have a good, clean reputation so they keep giving us more,” Guydan said. “There’ve been other food banks that have been cut out of their lists and we’ve been given more because of it.” The list of suppliers kept growing and now His Compassion is able to deliver not just enormous volumes of food, but a variety that did not exist before as food banks all seemed to rely on the same suppliers. It all makes the days of the typical school can food drive seem irrelevant with such volume and precision involved, but His Compassion is still happy to receive donations from other churches and organizations on a regular basis. What mainly keeps things going are donations of money and time. Even those waiting in line to receive food often donate several dollars, and every little bit helps. There are trucks to repair, fuel to be purchased and utility bills to be paid. As such, 100 percent of monetary donations go to operating

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

Each car has its trunk filled with 80-90 pounds of food. costs and none to employee salaries. Guydan claims that every week around 400 families are served at His Compassion, and that does not include those being delivered to its own remote clients and served at around 112 different agencies in six counties. Cars run through His Compassion

from 9:30-11:30 every Tuesday and Thursday picking up dry goods, produce and even meat and chicken – all quality products with plenty of shelf life. Among the cars is an elderly couple with children in Ohio. They routinely come through His Compassion and about once a month drive food to their families in need up north. Guydan notes that at times the car lines have backed up nearly a mile to SR 326. “We’ve been around 15 years, but still a lot of people don’t know us,” Guydan said. “We’re God-based; we don’t do anything unless our board and our volunteers take it to God first. We pay no salaries, so we’re able to do a lot more with less money. “These are the hardest working people I’ve ever met – people who get paid don’t work as hard as these volunteers do. It’s a call-


ing that everyone has to help the community.” Most volunteers work with their hands loading boxes and distributing on-site, but others help out in what Guydan calls her force of “Prayer Warriors.” Those who are not physically able to help are able to join a prayer team that routinely calls on clients to check up on them and inquire about their well-being. “They’re thrilled to have someone call them and ask about them,” Guydan said. Also part of the network is a large yard sale that provides funding for His Compassion. Twice monthly, the sale takes place on Jacksonville Road and includes not only typical yard sale items that are used, but also many new items – all products of donations such as wheelchairs, scooters, bikes, shampoos, hand sanitizers, vitamins, over-thecounter medicines and more. “We have to keep those trucks moving, and the (yard) sales help fund that,” Guydan said. In the end, everything comes down to the mission of feeding hungry people in need, specifically those in Marion County. To do this, a fleet of five trucks operates seemingly nonstop and scores of volunteers ensure the lifeblood of the organization. From hands on deck to prayer warriors and even those submitting recipes relevant to the products distributed, devout volunteerism makes it all work. People wanting to volunteer can go the organization’s web site, hiscompassionflorida.org, where a registration form can be filled out and even donations made.

A fund-raising campaign with a goal of $250,000 is under way for the Ocala-based His Compassion, a regional food bank serving feeding programs and churches across several North Central Florida counties. Ocala Magazine is proud to be among the first donors to this worthy cause and urges its readers to also give. THE CAMPAIGN HAS THREE PRINCIPAL GOALS: 1) To give local residents a way to help purchase food for the hungry in our community. His Compassion started at Living Waters Church on U.S. 441 North in 1998 to help a handful of church families who were in need. Over the years, it has grown exponentially, especially since the start of the pandemic. This year, the organization is projected to distribute 24 million pounds of food to thousands of hungry families in our region. Donors can feed a family of four for a month by making a $120 donation – that’s $4 a day. Or, if you want to feed one person, the cost is $30, or $1 a day. Of course, any donation, no matter the amount, is welcome. 2) Because His Compassion relies on food distribution programs as far away as Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville to supply its program, and it must distribute that food across multiple counties in North Central Florida, it needs trucks. It recently acquired three trucks but needs to pay them off. Some of the money raised through the campaign will go toward helping to achieve this goal. 3) Finally, because of its explosive growth over the past few years, the all-volunteer His Compassion is having to expand its storage facility here in Ocala.

$250,000 GOAL

Help feed the hungry

So far,

$24,000

has been raised toward the $250,000 goal.

Donations can be made by going to His Compassion’s website at www.hiscompassionflorida.org, or you can just scan the adjacent QR code, which will take you to the website.

OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

21


HIS Compassion

FOOD BANK Over 13 million pounds of food distributed in 2020 377,000 boxes of food given in 2020 Over 7,200 families fed per week

at remote handouts in Alachua, Putnum, Marion, Lake, Citrus and Sumter Counties

86 agencies received 186 pallets of food distribution every week (9,672 pallets in 2020) Over 500 families served at our campus weekly

“For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; ...” 0 hthriss 0 0 , 5 1 Over in 2020 at y

—Matthew 25: 35

genc ered volunteolunteer run a total v

To donate, volunteer, help raise food, or hold a drive, visit

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM


ANSWERING

THE COVID

CALL Ocala nurse Donna Davis shares her experience at the pandemic epicenter in New York City BY CARLTON REESE

A

mong soldiers in the American Civil War, to have engaged in battle directly against the enemy was to have “seen the elephant” and many volunteered for service hoping to gain some invigorating, life-altering experience. In the current war with COVID-19, Elmhurst Hospital in New York City is the Battle of Antietam. Consider Ocala’s Donna Davis then to have “seen the elephant.” As a traveling nurse who heeded the call at the onset of the pandemic, she earned the dubious assignment of the country’s viral epicenter in Queens, N.Y., where she would discover mounting casualties, confusion and chaos unlike anything she had ever witnessed during her years in the medical profession.

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“It was apocalyptic – a real mess.

Arriving with other nurses to Elmhurst Hospital, the Davis group entered the fray just as the 101st Airborne drops into a hot zone – no moment to catch one’s breath or assess the situation, just the urgency to get in and fight. For Davis and many other nurses, the fight started and did not diminish for months. “At the time, I didn’t know what I was walking into,” Davis said. “We had no clue if it was for real.” That was in late March of 2020, when the nation was locking down and in a panic over a virus that just two months earlier leaders in the United States Congress, the White House and even the Centers for Disease Control stated “. . . this is not something that citizens of the United States right now

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

should be worried about.” Forgive Davis for thinking at the time she was going to take on normal nursing duties then enjoy the city of New York for a little while. What ensued was 21 straight days of 12-hour shifts dealing with a virus that did not behave like the normal flu. Hospital protocols for this novel coronavirus were wanting and were yet to evolve where efficiency and expertise had taken root. Davis arrived after the battle had already commenced – bodies lying in hallways of triage, veteran nurses battered to exhaustive breaking points and new patients streaming in on a seemingly endless train of viral affliction. It became abundantly clear to Davis that this was the epicenter of something much larger than what she had planned. “It was apocalyptic – a real mess,” Davis said. “There were patients in the hallways

and they were stacked close to each other. It was dirty; there was stuff everywhere and they were very short-staffed.” Upon arrival at the hospital, Davis and the other “nurses to the rescue” prepared for a simple orientation that would include proper donning of personal protective equipment, New York nursing protocols, the lay of hospital landscape and such. What started as a self-guided tour with a “treasure map” given to each nurse to help them locate relevant places with which to become familiar quickly turned into an all-hands-on-deck situation. Over the loudspeakers blared “402 D-Sating! 402 D-Sating! 307 D-Sating!” Davis and the other nurses understood perfectly what was happening: oxygen levels were plummeting to critical levels in many rooms, simultaneously. Orientation would have to wait, if it would happen at all.

Photos courtesy of Donna Davis

There were patients in the hallways and they were stacked close to each other.”


...oxygen levels were plummeting to critical levels in many rooms, simultaneously. Orientation would have to wait, if it would happen at all. “We’re trying to find the stuff on our list and I notice all the nurses are in full-on PPE at the nursing station – this is not normal,” said Davis, fully aware that donning of gowns is supposed to take place going in and out of rooms. “No sir, everybody had COVID and everybody was really sick.” The realization finally hit that half the nursing staff was out sick – no nurse would be able to take any time to orient the new arrivals to Elmhurst Hospital. Davis and the others were to “see the elephant” sooner than expected. “We were like, ‘What do we do?’” Davis said about trying to rally the new nurses. “We huddled together and asked ourselves, ‘What can we do? What is our skill set that we can help?’ “I said, ‘Listen, we can all tech; we can draw blood. Let’s just jump in and start doing stuff. We didn’t do direct patient care, we just

jumped in and started acting like extra arms.” Davis says she remembers the nurses on duty hardly noticed them at the time – that was how busy they were. “God bless these New York nurses!” she lauded. “They kept going and going and going, practically climbing over each other to check on these patients.” Davis said the first night was the worst, but there was no letting up. As one patient left a room, another would fill that space within seconds. Back at the hotel between shifts were constant reminders of the grim situation as news reports saturated the airwaves with headlines of the recent casualties that had taken place at Elmhurst and elsewhere. She was living the daily life of a M.A.S.H. unit with the perpetual sound of choppers hauling in wave after wave of wounded soldiers.

But these weren’t infantrymen charging hills or beachheads, they were mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, grandmothers and grandfathers, all struggling for breath against a virus no one was certain how to combat. “Death became just like another thing,” said Davis, who is also a practicing minister. “Because of all the people who died, you just numb out to it – it becomes part of the routine; ‘Oh, we lost that one.’” With each death, Davis would appeal to a higher power. Often, she would sneak into the room of a recently deceased patient to pray for that soul. “I don’t know if this person had a religion; it didn’t matter. I just thanked God for that person’s energy, whatever they did in the

OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

Early on in Davis’ tenure, patients would arrive deep into COVID’s grip and often too late to save or beyond the safe use of therapeutics. Nearly all patients would endure either a noninvasive ventilation such as BiPAP or high-flow oxygen by nasal cannula before heading to ventilators. These became major sources of observation for the nurses, who were constantly wary of patients removing these devices. With the nurse-to-patient ratio so low, the required constant supervision often suffered. Patients many times would remove oxygen devices to go to the bathroom which would lead to them passing out and sometimes dying. Others would sometimes panic once an oxygen device was administered. “The only time we intubate a patient is when that patient can’t struggle (to breathe) anymore,” Davis said. “When you have a patient holding your hand saying, ‘I can’t breathe; help me,’ you try to put the BiPAP on them and because they’re so confused this feels very suffocating, so now they fight you to take it off. “Now you have to sedate that patient and that’s when we have to put a ventilator on.”

Once the ventilator goes on, the chances of survival diminish. Davis remembers as time passed more patients would be weaned off ventilators and the extubation process would be cause for celebration. On one bus ride back to the hotel, the nurses were asked who had witnessed a successful extubation that day and many hands went up. Cheers ensued as though a glimmer of light had been detected at the end of a long tunnel. “I had one patient, the tube came out and I noticed him on his phone texting! He was texting! How great was that?” So why Elmhurst as the epicenter? Surely there were many other places around the country which experienced similar circumstances, but early in 2020 New York City suffered by far the largest number of cases and deaths, and in the city with the highest volume Elmhurst was the hardest-hit hospital. Demographics certainly played a key as New York is and always has been the main port of international travelers to and from the United States and for immigrant populations in general. In the Elmhurst community is a

Photos courtesy of Donna Davis

world, whatever people they touched.” After Davis’ 21st straight day on the job, a small respite came in the form of a day off and a chance to see some of the city she had pined to visit. Walking around an empty Times Square was a surreal experience, certainly not like the images of teeming crowds and noisy traffic she remembered from pictures and television. Perhaps the juxtaposition of a quiet Manhattan offered the perfect escape from the bustling madness at Elmhurst. Back to Elmhurst the following day and back to the grind, back to the arrhythmic tide of death and disease. By this time, Davis had moved from floor nurse to team leader with 123 nurses under her guidance for the night shift and methods were improving. Paramount to the mission at this point was to relieve the lungs of fluid on a constant basis. This meant every 20 minutes a nurse was to “suction out the gunk” of those patients relegated to the use of ventilators. “That’s how you saved lives,” Davis said. “You suction out the mucous and that’s why you need the ICU nurses – they became a big thing.”


population of which 70 percent were not born in the United States and many of the families are large and crowded into tight spaces. It also did not help that in early March the New York mayor sent out tweets encouraging New Yorkers “To get out on the town despite Coronavirus.” Amazingly, while Elmhurst was overrun, many hospitals in the city, including some just 20 minutes away in more affluent districts, were enjoying plenty of unused space. According to a May 2020 New York Times story, “3,500 beds were free in New York City” but little cooperation was taking place at that time between hospitals. For Davis and the other nurses battling in the trenches of Elmhurst, nearby vacancies were of little thought or consolation. What did matter was her feeling the work did not go unappreciated. “The thing that struck me the most was how grateful New Yorkers were,” said Davis,

Photo by Ralph Demilio

“The thing that struck me the most was how grateful New Yorkers were,” I had never experienced anything like that.

whose tour of duty at Elmhurst lasted three months. “Everywhere we went, they saw the scrubs and would say, ‘Thank you so much for coming!’ Almost every single shift we would come in, there were people honking and applauding us. I had never experienced anything like that. “It boosts your self-confidence and makes you feel like what you’re doing is important. It strikes you that somebody cares.” Davis recently returned to New York, working at Coney Island Hospital. She said the difference between then and now is “night and day.” One main difference is that patients

started checking themselves into hospitals during earlier stages of the virus, not waiting until it was nearly too late for treatment. Also, hospitals now have “protocols in place for supporting staff ” better than before. The result has been a dramatic easing of the hospital overcrowding, especially at Elmhurst. For a country which set out to “flatten the curve” of hospitalizations, it appears the efforts of Davis and many other traveling nurses has paid dividends. A desperate nation called upon these heroes, and now a weary nation extends its gratitude for manning the front lines in this battle that now seems like a winnable proposition.

OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM


Forgotten in Paradise The VFW Veterans Village is often overlooked despite its noble mission BY BRAD ROGERS PHOTOGRAPHY BY RALPH DEMILIO

OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

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T

hirty-five miles northeast of downtown Ocala, at the end of a long, narrow country road about a mile south of Fort McCoy, sits the VFW Veterans Village. It’s a residential facility for veterans that provides their every necessity for daily life. By all accounts, it more than lives up to the billing on its web page: “Comfort and affordability set on 42 acres in sunny Marion County.” Yet, the Veterans Village, celebrating its 30th year in existence, has 20 of its 70 rooms sitting vacant. And for Director Al Lugo, it is perplexing. “No one knows we’re here,” said Lugo, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served in Afghanistan and finished his career on the Army General Staff in the Pentagon. “The thing is, the people who move in here and live here never leave.” The Veterans Village was built by the Florida Department of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and opened its doors in October 1991 to “provide a home-like atmosphere offering affordable housing and services to qualified veterans and their spouses.” The building is made up of six wings, with five of them named for one of the military branches and the sixth named in honor of women in the military. Each of the Veteran Village’s 70 rooms is a studio apartment with a living area, sleeping area, bathroom, walk-in closet and individually controlled heat and air. But that’s far from all that residents get for $1,415 a month, or $1,615 for a couple. Also included in the monthly rent is three meals a day and snacks, a 24-hour kitchen, telephone service, internet service, laundry rooms, library, fitness center and, of course, more than 40 acres of tranquil, oak-covered acres to roam. The Veterans Village also provides residents – if they want – toilet paper, toiletries and linens. On top of that, each resident gets weekly housekeeping service, including clean linens and cleaning service. “This is like a cruise ship on land,” Lugo said. “It’s all inclusive. The only thing they have to pay for is their beer, their scotch and their cigarettes, if they partake in those things.” The difference in the Veterans Village and most old soldiers’ homes across the country is that the Fort McCoy facility is

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

“No one knows we’re here. The thing is, the people who move in here and live here never leave.” not intended to be an assisted living facility, although residents get plenty of assistance. Rather, it is what Lugo calls “an independent living” facility where residents must be able to care for themselves. That means they must be able to self-administer medications; feed themselves; be self-ambulating if they use a walker, a scooter or a wheelchair; and be able to bathe, groom and dress themselves. Qualifying to live in Veterans Village requires only that you be a veteran with an

honorable discharge or their spouse. That spouses are welcome at the Veterans Village sets it apart from most veteran residential facilities, Lugo said. “Most of the veterans’ facilities around the country are for veterans only, not spouses,” he said. “But here’s the key. When that veteran dies, they ask their spouse to leave – usually within 60 days. I think that’s criminal.” Like most organizations, its leader invariably leaves his or her mark. In Lugo’s


“I moved to Ocala because they respected and honored military veterans.” case, you see it the moment you walk in the door. Greeting visitors is a welcome sign, some perfunctory COVID-19 rules and warnings and a sizeable display of Mickey Mouses and other Disney characters and memorabilia. Curious. Then walk into Lugo’s nearby office and it is immediately apparent the tall, burly ex-Army officer has an obsession with Mickey Mouse. Stuffed Mickey Mouses, dozens of them, line the walls and floor of

the office. And, of course, he wears a Mickey Mouse watch. But why? First of all, Lugo says most of the Mickey Mouses in and around his office were gifts. And he is happy to have them. “The way I see Mickey Mouse is he is a character that brings joy and cheer to people,” Lugo said. “Nobody’s ever mad at Mickey Mouse.” Not coincidentally, Mickey Mouse is

kind of responsible for bringing Lugo to Ocala. As an enthusiastic Disney fan, Lugo for years would stop at the former Disney Welcome Center at the State Road 200 exist off Interstate 75 on his way to vacation at Disney World. He got a glimpse of Ocala each time he stopped, and when he retired from the military, he came back for a closer look. He was looking for a community where his children could go to the same school. When he came here, though, he found something surprising. Ocala, home to more than 40,000 veterans, is a military town. “I moved to Ocala because they respected and honored military veterans,” he said. “Ocala has the feel of being outside a military post.” Once he moved here, Lugo took the job of running Veterans Village. His first impression was that it was “kind of dilapidated,” “It needed a lot of work, a lot of TLC,” he said.

OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

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He said there also was a total lack of networking in the community as well. Again, “No one knows we are here.” But Lugo found a friend in local government. Pat Howard, a retired Marine Corps general, was the county administrator at the time and was sympathetic to the Veterans Village’s and Lugo’s needs. Howard ultimately helped Lugo land two grants totaling more than $1 million to fix and renovate the Veterans Village. It also, at the time, raised sorely needed awareness about the VFW facility, especially among the County Commission and local veterans’ organizations. “He created a public relations opportunity that has grown,” Lugo said. Veterans Village employs 20 staffers and has an annual budget of about $1 million. The budget is determined by the number of residents, because the facility’s revenue is almost entirely derived from the rent income. Although the VFW of Florida owns the building and land, the operational costs fall totally on the Veterans Village itself. So, Lugo said he operates under “Lugo’s Principle,” which is “don’t spend more than you take in in a month,” which currently is about $50,000. Obviously, the more residents who live there, the bigger the budget. For residents, though, Veterans Village is a haven and a bargain. Frank Felker is a 74-year-old and has lived in the Fort McCoy facility longer than anyone else, 14 years. He said he was attracted to the quiet, country atmosphere “I grew up in the country in Texas and I loved it,” he said. Felker said he has seen the changes, indeed the improvement in Veterans Village since he moved in. “It was still a nice place (when he arrived),” he said, “but it was kind of dismal.” Today, he said, the facility is cleaner, brighter and the services are better. “It’s a good place to live,” said Felker, a retired sales executive who, after he moved in, got a degree in Christian studies and became ordained. “The rent’s about half of what they’d be at similar places. I wouldn’t live anywhere else.” Sharon Beam, the resident coordinator, is responsible for making sure the residents’

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has not been one case of the virus among residents or staff.

needs are met and oversees the upkeep of the facility. With residents who range in age from 64 to 99, she said most people who come to the Veterans Village are looking for a safe place to live and to be among other veterans. “It’s peaceful and tranquil,” she said. “We have events. It’s the camaraderie. They eat together. We have bingo and picnics. If someone is missing, they notice and want to know where they are and what’s wrong. It’s like family.” As a measure of how safe and secluded the Veterans Village is, consider this: Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has not been one case of the virus among residents or staff. Beam acknowledges, however, that some who come to visit are turned off because there is no pool or golf course and that it is located so far from town. Echoing what Lugo said, a lot of people simply are unaware of the Veterans Village’s existence. “I get that all the time – ‘I didn’t know you were here,’” she said. “We try to market … but we really don’t have the funding for marketing.” Another problem, Beam said, is so many veterans who come to the village simply do not have enough income to live there. “Some of these veterans only get about $900 a month in income,” she lamented. And because the Veterans Village is not supplemented by any government or private source, they cannot accept them. To try and help these veterans, Beam is currently work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to get housing assistance for low-income veterans. “We’ve got to do something to help people,” she said. Lugo has started getting some help from the community. Lowe’s Stores, through its “Heroes Program,” recently built a gazebo overlooking the lake behind the Veterans Village. The Fraternal Order of the Police Lodge in Ocala also built a fishing pier. But, not surprisingly, he said the Veterans Village could use more help. If you want more information about or to take a tour of the Veterans Village, call 352/236-0823, or go to their website at www.vfwveteransvillage.org.

OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

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PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

l o o h c S Old

m a e r C e c I and

Scooby's Subs PHOTOGRAPHY BY RALPH DEMILIO

T

here really is no such thing as a bad ice cream shop. But make no mistake, some ice cream shops are just better than others. You know, like one that offers the best ice cream in a lot more flavors. Or, one that is fun to go to – and not just because of the ice cream. Or, one that tries to give back to the community. Or, one that does all of the above. That’s Old School Ice Cream, located on Baseline Road, across from the Baseline Golf Course. Owned and operated by Beverly and Terry Angelotti since July 2019, Old School Ice Cream is much more than just an ice cream shop. Upon entering, it’s something of a step back in time. “Yes, it’s just like an old-fashioned drug store ice cream counter,” Beverly said. A perfect description. Beverly, whose husband, Terry, runs the adjoining Scooby’s Subs/Real Gourmet Subs, has filled her store with vintage ice cream shop memorabilia. So much so, that the walls are virtually covered with old scoops and vintage ice cream posters and there is a plethora of ice cream glassware as well. How it got that way is a tale of new friendships and an unexpected common cause. Beverly, who owned a pre-school in Broward County for 29 years and one in Ocala, Creative Beginnings Preschool (right next to the ice cream shop) for 10 years, initially planned to make the motif of her new venture reflect her years of running pre-schools. She was going to make it that of an old-fashioned schoolhouse. She even tried to buy an old

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

Terry and Beverly Angelotti

one-room schoolhouse but had trouble finding one that was habitable or close enough to make it practical to move it to her land. Nonetheless, while she looked for an available one-room schoolhouse – an effort that eventually was for naught – Beverly was buying old schoolhouse items, everything from benches to desks to rulers — all from right here in Marion County, she says. So, when she abandoned the dream of buying a one-room schoolhouse, she nonetheless proceeded with the “old school” theme, except in a modern store along Baseline Road. Today, when you enter Old School Ice Cream, you will be greeted by old-fashioned desks, benches and an array of old school memorabilia. But there’s more. Through a mutual friend, Beverly met Jim Phillips. They got to talking about what the Angelottis were doing and Phillips, a retired chief assistant state attorney, said he thought he could help with the décor in a special way. In fact, he was sure

he could. Boy, could he. Turns out, Phillips is a collector of ice cream parlor memorabilia. Just his collection of antique ice cream scoops totals more than 300 of all sizes, shapes and colors. Phillips started putting some of his items on display at Old School Ice Cream. Beverly said it blended in perfectly with the old schoolhouse items, and people started to take notice. “A customer came in one day and said, ‘This looks like a museum,’” she said. “So, I told Jim that, and it gave him a place to display his stuff. Now we have every kind of ice cream memorabilia.” Just one display of ice cream scoops located behind the cash register includes 134 of Phillips’s scoops. Yet, he still has hundreds, maybe thousands of other ice cream shop mementos in his collection at home. Beverly says she is so grateful to Phillips and his wife, Connie, for helping make her ice cream shop so beautiful and memorable and giving parts of the ice cream memorabilia col-


Jim Philips

lection that they have spent 40 years amassing. “I have no way to thank him for all he’s done for us,” she said of Phillips. “People love it. It gives them something to do while they’re waiting.” To be sure, Old School Ice Cream is more than a cool place to visit. It offers three brands of top-grade ice cream – three dozen flavors of Blue Bell Ice Cream, two dozen flavors of Moo Moo Ice Cream and seven flavors of Dole Whip. Oh, and there’s Soft Serve, too. And connected to the ice cream shop in the adjoining space is Scooby’s Subs/Real Gourmet Subs. In addition to subs, Scooby’s Subs sells deli sandwiches, soups, salads and snacks. “Terry designed each and every sandwich on the menu,” Beverly said. “We went around and ate every sub we could before we opened.” Beverly said the meats and vegetables are all fresh daily. Scooby’s Subs uses only the highest quality products and none of the meats contain any antibiotics, steroids or hormones. Since opening Scooby’s Subs, Terry has added wings to the menu. There are 10 different sauces and wings can be purchased in servings of 10-50 wings. “People know what they like,” Beverly said. “And when they come here and see the wings are bigger and cooked the way they are, they come back.”

The secret, she said, is Scooby’s Subs’ wings are not fried, but rather cooked in an air oven so they are more baked and grilled than fried. The sub shop has its own museum atmosphere, too. It’s a “sub”marine sandwich, so the theme is submarines, and customers have sent the Angelottis dozens upon dozens of vintage postcard-size pictures of subs from World War II and America’s other wars, as well as models of subs. Maybe even more impressive is the collection Coca-Cola memorabilia that is stacked (cases of vintage Coke bottles), hung (vintage Coke signs and posters on the walls) and scattered (Coke items on tables and shelves) throughout Scooby’s Subs. Beverly said the Coke memorabilia, like the ice cream items, were loaned by friends. As testament to the quality of Scooby’s subs, when they opened nearly two years ago, there was a Subway sandwich shop right next door. It is no longer in business, to which Beverly says, “There is no comparison to Subway and what we’re selling.” For Beverly and Terry Angelotti, owning the businesses means also giving back to the community. One way Beverly is trying to do that is through a tip chest that sits on the Old School Ice Cream counter top. She

Beverly Angelotti

lets the tips build up and recently gave each of the two high school students who work in the shop after school and on weekends $1,500 scholarship checks. Again, there really is no such thing as a bad ice cream shop – or a gourmet sub shop, for that matter. But Old School Ice Cream and Scooby’s Subs are different because they not only provide their customers the highest quality of food but also a museum-like atmosphere that makes good eats good fun, too.

OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

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OM PULSE Each month, Ocala Magazine will showcase the tastes, opinions and desires of its readers through its online survey. For May, we discovered these inclinations:

19% OF OM RESPONDENTS SAID KETCHUP IS THEIR MOST-USED CONDIMENT. 14% each claimed salt, hot sauce and mayonnaise as their most-used condiment.

18.8%

OF OM RESPONDENTS SAID THEIR FAVORITE CONDIMENT IS EITHER BARBECUE SAUCE, HOT SAUCH OR KETCHUP.

42.9%

OF OM RESPONDENTS SAID THEY WILL CELEBRATE MOTHERS DAY WITH A FAMILY COOKOUT. 19% will enjoy lunch or dinner at a restaurant while 19% will have a picnic outdoors

75%

45% listed the Navy and 20% the Marines

OF OM RESPONDENTS SAID THEY HAVE OR HAD A MEMBER OF THEIR FAMILY SERVE IN THE ARMY. 44

| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM


60% 38.1%

OF OM RESPONDENTS SAID THEIR OFFICE OR WORKSPACE OBSERVES

OF OM RESPONDENTS

football

“Casual Friday”

SAY IS THEIR FAVORITE SPECTATOR SPORT. 19% say baseball and 19% say basketball.

23.8% of OM respondents say Christmas is their favorite holiday. 19% list Thanksgiving and 15% list Halloween.

80%

OF OM RESPONDENTS SAID THAT AS SINGLES THEY DO NOT UTILIZE ONLINE DATING APPS. 20% do.

47.6% 47.6%

OF OM RESPONDENTS SAID THEY MAKE IT A POINT TO BUY

organic produce

WHEN AVAILABLE.

OF OM READERS SURVEYED SAID THAT ITEMS SUCH AS T-SHIRTS, SHORTS, SANDALS, FLIPFLOPS AND CAPS ARE NOT PROPER RESTAURANT ATTIRE. 42.8 percent believe t-shirts, though, are proper restaurant attire.

The rest do not.

OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

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IVY ON THE SQUARE

BOUTIQUE

Come visit Ocala’s chic boutique experience, where you’ll discover oneof-a-kind posh gifts, accessories and apparel. Stop by today and get ready to answer the question,

“Where did you get that?”

We appreciate our wonderful customers and the friends they bring by to see us!

42 SOUTH MAGNOLIA AVE., OCALA, FL • (352) 622-5550


eat

Homemade Gravlax Photo by Robin Fannon | Recipe on page 50

Mother’s Day Treats p48 | Dining Out p53

OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

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TREATS FOR

Mom

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBIN FANNON

H

aving lost my own beloved mother in 2018, Mother’s Day is bittersweet for me and I’m sure many other daughters and sons are thinking about their dearly departed. This year, Ocala Magazine is embracing the idea of celebrating ALL mothers globally who are fighting the good fight. It’s been an extraordinarily tough year for matriarchs all over the world. They have struggled to keep their families safe from a global pandemic, lost income, school closings, home schooling, isolation and immense pressure. We applaud their bravery, stamina, survival instincts and the unconditional love they shower on their loved ones every day. With that being said, there is no better way to show Mom how much you love and appreciate her than a leisurely breakfast in bed. No matter what her preferences are, we have some terrific ideas for you to lovingly pamper her. After all, food is the ultimate universal love language. Happy Mother’s Day!

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

For the Heath Conscience Mom BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE

INGREDIENTS

» 1 ½ cups apple juice (can substitute white grape juice, dairy milk, or almond milk) » 1 banana halved » 1 ½ cups frozen blueberries » ¾ cup vanilla Greek yogurt » fresh blueberries and mint sprigs for garnish optional

INSTRUCTIONS

• Place the apple juice, banana, blueberries and Greek yogurt in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into glass of choice and garnish with mint or fresh berries if desired.


For the meat lovers PROSCIUTTO AND MELON, CRISPY MAPLE WOOD-SMOKED BACON OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

49


For the Pescatarian Mom HOMEMADE GRAVLAX This is a labor of love, but the store-bought smoked salmon works fine! INGREDIENTS

» One 3- to 4-pound cleaned salmon without the head, skin on » 1 cup salt » 2 cups brown sugar » 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper » 1/4 cup spirits, like brandy, gin, aquavit or lemon vodka » 2 good-size bunches of fresh dill, roughly chopped, stems and all » Lemon wedges for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

• Fillet the salmon or have the fishmonger do it; the fish need not be scaled. Lay both halves, skin side down, on a plate. • Toss together the salt, brown sugar and pepper and rub this mixture all over the salmon (the skin too) then splash on the spirits. Put most of the dill on the flesh side of one of the fillets, sandwich them together, tail to tail, and rub any remaining salt-sugar mixture on the outside; cover with any remaining dill, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Cover the sandwich with another plate and top with something that weighs a couple of pounds -- some unopened cans, for example. Refrigerate. • Open the package every 12 to 24 hours and baste, inside and out, with the accumulated juices. When the flesh is opaque, on the second or third day (you will see it changing when you baste it) slice thinly as you would smoked salmon -- on the bias and without the skin -and serve with rye bread or pumpernickel and lemon wedges.

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM


For the Mediterranean diet lover Mom SPINACH, FETA AND TOMATO OMELETTE INGREDIENTS » » » » » »

4 large organic eggs 1 cup baby spinach, chopped ½ teaspoon dried oregano ¼ teaspoon salt 1 plum tomato, sliced 2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled

INSTRUCTIONS

• Combine eggs, spinach, oregano and salt in a medium bowl. Beat until well blended. Lightly coat a 9-inch nonstick skillet with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Pour egg mixture into skillet. Cook until bottom is lightly browned and firm, about 5-6 minutes. With a spatula, flip the omelet to the other side and cook 3 minutes. Transfer omelet to a platter. Sprinkle tomatoes and cheese on one half (and onions, if desired) and fold over other half to cover.

Instagram @RSVP_ROBIN

OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

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S

HAPPY

DOGGIE MOM DAY! 52

| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

amson is my protector, confidante, companion and best friend. This past year we experienced unspeakable loss and there was no choice but to start over. I began the process of creating a new life for myself, and my two furry companions. My little one, Julia Child, came from “Danny & Ron's” rescue of Netflix’s “Life in the Doghouse” fame, and Samson came from Officer Rod King of the OPD and trained by local trainer extraordinaire Letty Towles. Little Julia is always happy, can eat or drink anything and lives for treats and belly rubs. Sammy, on the other hand, is an emotionally sensitive creature who is totally in tune to his surroundings and effected by whatever energy is in the air. We already had a strong bond, but during this past year he has been my shadow. He is always by my side, gently nudging me with his big snout when either one of us needs some attention. When someone or something passes by the house he immediately snaps to attention and begins his investigation. Glancing back at me for approval, focused eyes blazing, and hackles up, he confronts the intruder like a silverback gorilla pounding on his chest. He is my child in every sense, except I don’t have to worry about his education, drunk drivers, too much screen time or bad influences. I don’t have to worry about some undeserving girl breaking his heart, for he has found his forever love in me. I am so grateful and thank God for him (and happy little Jules) everyday. Happy Mother’s Day to all you dog moms out there!


dining out

EAT

Ivy On The Square Whether gathering with friends or family for lunch or a night out, you’ll enjoy fresh salads, mouthwatering comfort food, late-night tapas and drinks. Specials include our Pecan Salmon, Southern Fried Lobster and famous baked Krispy Chicken. After dining enjoy a stroll in our boutique where we offer a variety of gifts, jewelry, home decor and clothing. Looking to host a special event or dinner? Call and talk to one of our staff members on the options we have available.

Let us cook for you... Make Mother’s Day reservations!

Gift certificates available.

53 S. Magnolia Ave., Ocala | (352) 622-5550 Closed Mon, Tues 11am-2pm, Wed 11am-9pm, Thurs 11am-9pm 106 NW Main St., Williston | (352) 528-5410 Sun-Wed 11am-2pm, Thurs-Sat 11am-8pm | ivyhousefl.com OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

53


EAT

dining out

Milano Pizzeria and Ristorante NOW OPEN! Milano Ristorante Italiano — a pizzaria bringing authentic cuisine to the Ocala area. Enjoy made-from-scratch Italian cuisine every day, including freshly baked bread. • Wednesdays— Buy One, Take One Home - select pasta dishes with purchase of an entree. Valid with entrees of $16.99 or more. • Tuesday— $5 Calamari App • Thursdays— Buy One, Get One Half Off any Takeout Pizza • Sundays— 2 for 1 chicken parmesan every Sunday all day (with purchase of 2 beverages)

Now Delivering!

OFFERING TAKEOUT & CURBSIDE ORDERS!

For curbside service including wine, beer and full menu, call 352-304-8549 We’ll bring it out to you! Get $25 back for every $100 in gift cards purchased.

Open Daily 11am-9pm 5400 SW College Road, Unit 106 | Ocala, FL 34474 | (352) 304-8549 www.milanotogo.com

Legacy Restaurant At The Nancy Lopez Country Club Join us at The Villages‘ Best Country Club for lunch and dinner. Serving steaks and seafood with various wine selections. Monday - Prime Rib Night Tuesday - Three Course Dinner starting at 14.99 Tuesday - Lobster Night Friday - $1 oysters all day (raw, broiled, rockafeller(+.25) Saturday - Legacy BOGO 1/2 off anything on the menu (with purchase of two beverages. Must show coupon.) Sunday Evening - Special Filet Oscar $19.99 Weekends - Weekend Brunch! 11am-3pm Live outdoor entertainment! See website for schedule!

Now Open For Dine In! OFFERING TAKEOUT & CURBSIDE ORDERS!

For curbside service including wine, beer and full menu, call 352-753-1475

We’ll bring it out to you! Get $25 back for every $100 in gift cards purchased.

17135 Buena Vista Blvd | The Villages, FL 32162 | (352) 753-1475 SuleimanLegacyInc@gmail.com | Follow us on Facebook www.legacyrestaurant.com Open Fri-Sat 11 am-8:30pm | Sun-Thurs 11 am-8:00pm

Havana Country Club We offer an extensive variety of cuisines—these include superior hand-cut steaks, freshly caught seafood, and authentic Italian fare. A Suleiman Family Restaurant. Tuesday - Italian Night Wendesday - $1 oysters all day (raw, broiled, Rockefeller (+.25) Thursday - Prime rib night Saturday - New Orleans Night! Featuring Louisiana Style Seafood Boil Sunday - Southern Fried Chicken Outdoor entertainment Tues, Weds, Thurs, Sat, Sun 5-8 2484 Odell Circle | The Villages, FL 32162 | (352) 430-3200 Suleimanrestaurants@gmail.com | Follow us on Facebook www.havanacc.com Open Every Day 11am–8:30pm

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

Now Open For Dine In! OFFERING TAKEOUT & CURBSIDE ORDERS!

For curbside service including wine, beer and full menu, call 352-430-3200

We’ll bring it out to you! Get $25 back for every $100 in gift cards purchased.


dining out

EAT

Ipanema Brazilian Steakhouse Experience an authentic taste of Brazil featuring roaming gauchos slice and serve fire-roasted meats from skewers in continual fashion. Ipanema Brazilian Steakhouse boasts 12 of the finest cuts of meat complemented by an opulent 50 item salad-vegetable bar, decadent desserts, wines, beer and cocktails. Our Sunday Brunch from 11a to 3p includes the 50 item salad bar plus crepe, waffle and omelet station. For $32.95 you’ll receive all of the above plus a free mimosa or bloody Mary and five different cuts of meat and our grilled pineapple. Save the date for our April 12th Easter Sunday Brunch!

Our keto, paleo, gluten friendly buffet menu will allow you to stick to your dietary new year resolutions. Our NEW 3’s Catering Company brought to you buy our family of restaurants Ipanema, Latinos Y Mas and Craft Cuisine. 3sCateringCompany.com

Follow us on social media for updates. 2023 S Pine Avenue, Ocala | (352) 622-1741 | ipanemaocala.com Lunch Friday 11am-2:30pm › Brunch Sunday 11am-3pm Dinner Tue-Thu 5pm-9pm › Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm › Sun 4pm-8pm

Latinos Y Mas Our restaurant is the perfect atmosphere for business lunches, family lunches or romantic dinners. Since 1991, Latinos y Mas restaurant has been serving our valued customers in Ocala and surroundings. Try the exquisite fusion of Latin food, such as one of our entrées, including Pargo Rojo, Paella, Ceviches, homema de Tres Leches and our amazing passion fruit Mojitos. Enjoy in house or order from the takeaway menu. Our friendly staff is more than happy to help plan an extraordinary dining experience. Try our keto, paleo, gluten friendly menu options

Our NEW 3’s Catering Company brought to you buy our family of restaurants Ipanema, Latinos Y Mas and Craft Cuisine. 3sCateringCompany.com We are open for to-go orders, curbside pickup and Door Dash for deliveries. Online Gift Cards

Happy Hour Mon-Thur 3-7pm. | Kids Eat Free Mondays

Follow us on social media for updates. 2030 South Pine Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471 | (352) 622-4777 www.latinosymas.com Mon-Thurs 11am - 9pm | Fri-Sat 11am-10pm | Sun closed

West 82° Bar and Grill Looking for a flavor party in your mouth with the best view in Citrus County to tantalize your eyes? The West 82 Bar and Grill offers fun innovative dining options with niche regional and eclectic southern charm. We use the freshest ingredients to include locally caught fresh seafood, Florida beef, as well as locally harvested fruits and vegetables.

9301 West Fort Island Trail Crystal River, FL 34429 (352) 795-4211 plantationoncrystalriver.com

We invite you to catch your own in season fish and scallops which we can prepare in a variety of ways, served family style. Overlooking the beautiful Kings Bay and Crystal River, the West 82 satisfies all of your senses in one place.

Call for reservations and weekly specials. Breakfast: Monday-Sunday 6-10:30am Lunch: 11:30am-2pm, Dinner: Daily: 5-9pm 9301 West Fort Island Trail, Crystal River, FL 34429 | (352) 795-4211 www.plantationoncrystalriver.com

OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

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HOPS Set amid the ambience of the city’s oldest historic district and through the generosity of the homeowners, H.O.P.S. is pleased to showcase some of Ocala’s distinctive architecture, history, and culture. Since 1992, these home tours have provided a rare opportunity for guests to go inside some of our community’s most beautiful private residences.

2021 Historic Ocala Preservation Society Board Members

Coming Soon: The sequel to David Cook’s book, with new articles and history.

The Way It Was: A Trek Through Marion County’s Past $25. More information coming soon on purchase locations.

Brian Stoothoff — President Rhoda Walkup — Vice President Richard Perry — Secretary Dennis Phillips — Treasurer Pamela Stafford — Past President Linda Anker Daniel Banks Giorgio Berry Bryan Caracciolo Robin Fannon Sean Gallaway Leon Geller Stephanie Howard R.J. Jenkins Lela Kerley Trish Kilgore Sarah Kirk Caryl Lucas Penny Miller Suzanne Thomas Diana Williams Link Wilson Holly Yocum

712 S.E. Fort King St. Ocala, FL 34471 | (352) 351-1861 | www.HistoricOcala.org Follow us on Facebook


play

“The Memory of Oceans” by Kelli Money Huff 16”x16” | Acrylic | kmoneyh@cox.net

Socially Speaking p58 | Anthology—Poetry in Motion p64

OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

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EVENTS

socially speaking

Faces of Pace STORY AND PHOTOS BY LESLIE WENGLER

O

n March 26, PACE Center for Girls, which provides services such as counseling, education, and other programs for at-risk teens, held the “Faces of Pace” event at NOMA Gallery. Artist Mel Fiorentino-Degener taught a Piccaso portrait-style class via zoom to the young women who cultivated their artistic skills. Members and leaders of the community gathered a few weeks later to view these beautiful portraits and held a fund raiser for the organization. Any patron who generously donated $250 or more was able to bring home one of these pieces of work. I was able to watch several thrilled couples select their painting and take it home that evening. Fiorentino-Degener said, “It was an honor to be a part of the girls’ personal growth through this project with PACE. One thing that I love about this project is that as the girls’ talents evolve, their self-image improves and you can see the confidence just from the pieces that they created. I am excited to continue teaching these classes and see where their future lies.” We are so fortunate to have programs such as PACE in Ocala that provide services to enrich women’s lives.

Carole Savage, Executive Director of Pace, with Husband Jim Hagangs; Amy and Allen Musikantow

Mel Fiorentino and Lisa Midgett

Pace portraits

Pamela Calero Wardell and Jessi White

Craig and Mary Baggs

Jessica Mcclain and Rep. Stan MCClain

Leslie Wengler OM Social Eidtor

Giselle and Eric

58

| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

Clint and Angie Lewis, Megan Whitaker


OM 40 OCALA MAGAZINE

under FORTY

TWENTY21

ACCEPTING NOMINATIONS IN MAY. WATCH FOR DETAILS: facebook.com/ocalamagazine OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

59


EVENTS

socially speaking

Artists Ignite

O

n April 8, Ignite Ocala held an auction benefiting The Boys & Girls Club of Marion County, Wear Gloves and Marion County Children’s Alliance. This event, held at NOMA Gallery, featured local artists who donated their work to the cause to be presented alongside aftercare students of the Boys and Girls Club. The art was evaluated by a panel of judges before the auction with categories ranging from first place overall to the People’s Choice award. The People’s Choice award was given out by inspired admirers via ribbons for a small donation. The event was open to the public and bidding continued online through April 18. The event featured live music by Left on Broadway while artist Jessi Miller painted a beautiful multi-color acrylic piece. Educational articles were present about each organization to promote their goals. We look forward to witness how they will benefit Marion County in the years to come.

Beth Mccall, Monica Bryant and Kelly Whyndm

Ken and Wendy Kebrdle of Wear Gloves

Jim Hilty and Jaye Baille

STORY AND PHOTOS BY LESLIE WENGLER

Lina Piedrahita and Jeanne Henningsen speaking

Laurie Zink

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

Jessi Miller

Mike Wall

Olivia Ortiz


EVENTS

socially speaking

A Kut Above the Rest

O

ld School Ice Cream and Scooby’s Subs held an All-VW Car Show on April 10 to help raise funds for Kut Different, a youth mentoring program headed by Jamie Gillmore. The All-VW Car Show was sponsored by Beverly and Terry Angelotti, owner of Old School Ice Cream and Scooby’s Subs, located on Baseline Road near Baseline Golf Course. In addition to Kut Different, the event also recognized former chief assistant state attorney Jim Phillips and his wife, Connie, who have been collecting ice cream memorabilia for 40 years and have loaned a large portion of their collection for display in Old School Ice Cream. Ron and Lily Kapsos were also on hand providing great music all day. Ron is a DJ well-known for his show “For the Good Times by Ronnie D.”

VW enthusiasts

Children from Kut Different group

DJ's, Ron and Lily Kapcsos

Jim Philips

Jamie Gillmore , Founder with Children from Kut Different

Courtesy of Beverly Angelotti

Joyce and Ron Raben; Terry and Beverly Angelotti

Terry and Beverly Angelotti

OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

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EVENTS

socially speaking

CEP Annual Luncheon

T

he Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership held its annual luncheon on April 7. The demand was so great for tickets that the CEP had to use two venues – the Church of Hope in Ocala and the Circle Square Cultural Center at On Top of the World. The event celebrated many victories for the CEP and the community over the past year, all presented within the theme of iconic movie character Indiana Jones. Among the high points noted during the presentation by CEP CEO/President Kevin Sheilley was the CEP being named the national chamber of the year. Sheilley also noted that Ocala is among one of the fastest growing communities in the country, as well as one of the fastest growing job markets, with new job wages growing at a faster pace than the goal the CEP set of 115 percent of the average local wage.

Leslie Wengler, Adam Hamersky, Jessi Miller, Brad Rogers and Carlton Reese

Indiana Jones aka Kevin Sheilley

Indiana Jones cast aka CEP staff

Manal Fakhoury and Sandra Wilson

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

Rebecca Rogers and Jessica McCune

Kathleen Bogolin

Laurie Zink and Dorothy Pernu


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PLAY

anthology — poetry in motion

Changes BY JERRY GLASSMAN

Seasons change four times a year The weather changes every day Your mood changes constantly Change is in the air, It's happening everywhere So beware and prepared. Make it fun and embrace the change It's coming at lightning speed Lifestyles will change The climate will change Your values will change Technology will make sure you experience it Look forward to the future Your well being depends on you

parted ways PHOTO AND POEM BY LESLIE JEAN WENGLER

As our lips parted We exhaledFor we both knew It was for the last time. And, then we died A slow death Separately

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM


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OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

65


ELITE EQUESTRIAN

®

Celebrating The Equestrian Lifestyle

We are America’s Favorite Equestrian Lifestyle Magazine, Published Since 2008.

ELITE

EQUESTRIAN

®

Celebrating The Equestrian Lifestyle

CURO- Diagnostics “Revealing the Unseen”

NIC ROLDAN Peek Inside His Life SPRING Fashion

AIKEN, SC Highlight

Volume 21 Issue 2 Complimentary

TRAILER SAVING A TREASURE Maintenance Persano Breed www.EliteEquestrianMagazine.com

is not a gentle hobby, Ridingto bea horse picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. I t is a grand passion. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

ELITE EQUESTRIAN Magazine RANKED 7TH WORLD WIDE Equine Magazines to watch -according to Feedspot Blog

www.EliteEquestrianMagazine.com To request on-line subscriptions and for media kit inquiries, email info@eliteequestrian.us


equine

Gracious Living in the Horse Capital of the World®

Everything Equine p68

OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

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everything equine

Equine Industry Expo Success BY LOUISA BARTON,

Equine Initiative Director at the Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership, Farm Realtor and Host of the Horse Talk Show on the Sky 97.3

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

Photos courtesy of Louisa Barton

EQUINE


I

n March, the Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP) held an Equine Industry Expo at the Downtown Market. The event was part of the Equine Initiative at the CEP, presented by Pyranha. This event morphed from a parade held in downtown Ocala the past few years to an event that really helped our community understand all the moving parts involved in making Ocala the Horse Capital of the World. It was educational and a wonderful experience for all ages.

The stalls provided by Fredericks Equestrian and sponsored by Larsen Hay were a wonderful addition, as people could stop by and learn about the horses individually and meet them face to face. Entrepreneur and equestrian Abbey Slaven, who is also a CEP board member, did an amazing job stepping in to emcee this event. As we grow the event in the coming years to a 20-horse breed exhibit and more equine industry learning experiences and demos by professionals, I think it will draw even greater crowds to learn more and hopefully grow the interest of our youth in the opportunities available for the many equine industry career opportunities. The CEP staff and volunteers were joined by equine professionals from Peterson and Smith Equine Hospital and Complete Care, the Equine Performance Innovative Center, Ocala Breeders Sales, de Mer-

ic Training and Rice Horse Stables. Eddie Esparza, EQDT, was able to give a very interesting equine dental demo, and Master Farrier Jack Montgomery showed spectators how to trim and shoe a horse. A total of 13 equine industry entrepreneurs joined us to showcase their inventions and creations, as Ocala leads as the launching pad for new equine business, centered around the CEP’s equine incubator. The Historic Stagecoach, sponsored by Larsen Hay, was a big hit as always. The “Pony Corral” provided and sponsored by Miller and Sons Plumbing (who, by the way, always step up to support the equine industry events) included a photo booth area and fun family activity area that was a favorite for families with young children. The Equus Inn provided a tasteful VIP area for our sponsors to enjoy with a Carpet One red carpet area for photos. The event program was well put together by First Impression Printing and the incredible signage and banners by Locographics helped visitors find their way around. Thank you always to our Equine Initiative Committee with presenting sponsor Pyranha, who are always involved in making this community and the equine industry here the best it can be. In future years, I see the schools, colleges and technical institutes getting even more involved in this event, as the CEP moves forward to engage the younger generations in a huge industry here in Ocala that is rapidly growing all the time.

OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

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etc

Wood ducks on Silver River Charity: Boys and Girls Clubs p72 | Health Journal p74 | State of the City p78 State of the County p80 | Kiwanis Korner p82 | Rotary Circle p84 | OM Marketplace p86 | Looking Back p88

OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

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ETC

charity

Safe Harbor Marion County Boys and Girls Club offers a positive program for at-risk youths

BY CARLTON REESE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY RALPH DEMILIO

S

ometimes the walk home from school entails unsolicited engagement with nefarious characters who have nothing to offer but drugs and a negative world view. The walk may even include the occasional sound of a gunshot. Many times, the walk home from school is the easy part, with an abusive adult waiting at the end of the journey. Such scenarios happen every day all over the country and, fortunately, not all are relegated to sad endings.

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

For many youths age 6-18, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America become a port in a storm, a place to avoid many of the pitfalls that plague disadvantaged kids in this country. A safe haven that also acts as a den of learning as well as good, clean fun makes the club perhaps the most important part of the day in steering one’s life through troubled waters. At the Boys and Girls Clubs of Marion County, the tradition of guiding and men-


“Kids are not going home alone. They’re not hanging out with less-than-desirable influences; they’re in a safe environment.” —April Savarese

toring vulnerable children has been going strong since 1967 even through the recent pandemic which has strained but not diminished the proud mission at stake. “In general, our mission is to enable all young people, but especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as responsible, caring and productive citizens,” said April Savarese, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Marion County. Many of the children who walk through the doors of the club seem to be on a trajectory far from the adjectives used by Savarese. The overwhelming majority of members come from low- to moderate-income households, most of which are headed by just a single parent or grandparent while located in neighborhoods burdened by an abundance of crime. Savarese notes that three-fourths of the members come from households living at or below the poverty level. In Marion County, clubs exist in Ocala, Dunnellon and Silver Springs Shores – in communities where the need is highest. Instead of heading directly home after school, kids go to the club which is more than just a building in which to hang out with friends. Once there, members are engaged in learning activities to supplement school with many programs ranging from academic to hobby to sport, all with caring mentors that become not just helpers and tutors, but role models.

It’s all part of three-pronged mission for the kids, according to Savarese: Safety, enriching environment and fun. “Kids are not going home alone,” Savarese said. “They’re not hanging out with less-than-desirable influences. They’re in a safe environment.” Savarese notes that in addition to entering a safe environment, members are able to receive help with schoolwork, engage in academic success programs and learn healthy habits. There are even opportunities for kids to participate in drama, gardening, cooking and the arts. “The third piece is fun,” Savarese said. “We want it to be safe and enriching, but when the kids come, we want them to have fun. We’ve got games, such as basketball and billiards, and we want them to have a good time when they’re here.” Between the three Marion County locations, the club serves anywhere from 1,000 to 1,300 kids a year, with most of them unable to afford the $30/week charge. As such, many of the fees are covered through fund raising donations as the majority of kids participate via scholarship or discounted rate based on financial need. Among the ways of raising these funds is the Car, Truck and Motorcycle Festival hosted by Ocala Car Audio and War Horse Harley Davidson. The festival, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 16 at War

Horse Harley Davidson on North Highway 441, will feature over 300 show cars, music, games, vendors, food and awards. That event, plus the recent Bourbon in the Barn Spring Gala at the World Equestrian Center, help raise funds for the summer camp program in which close to $60,000 is needed. With the club close to operating pre-pandemic style and summer camp just around the corner, the hope is that the usual routine is returning for the kids. “Their sense of normalcy, whatever that looked like, has been gone for the last year,” Savarese states in reference to the past year of school closures and temporary quarantines. “We’ve been able to loosen up some of our restrictions. More recently we’ve started to invite more of our volunteers back and we’ve started allowing small group offsite trips, so we’re getting back to what they’re used to.” Savarese noticed how the pandemic has taken its toll on the kids both academically and socially. With the socialization aspects of the club returning to normal, it has been time to ramp up the academic side for members, many who were left behind as a result of poor bandwidth and inadequate equipment for virtual learning. As such, the summer reading program was instituted in January and testing showed that 65 percent of the kids were reading below grade level, an unusually high number. While the Boys and Girls Club of Marion County has a direct effect on those members, Savarese correctly points out that the community as a whole benefits with the proper nurturing and mentoring of these kids, many of whom may have turned out to be detriments to the community otherwise. “It’s hard to measure the result because you don’t know who – because they were at the club – didn’t have to go home to an abusive home or didn’t contemplate hurting themselves or didn’t get in trouble or arrested,” Savarese said. “It’s hard to measure the ‘what-ifs’ that we saved. “I am surprised at the number of adults in our community that will say, ‘If it wasn’t for the Boys Club I would be in jail’ or ‘All my friends got into drugs, but I didn’t because I was at the club.’” Anyone wanting to volunteer at or make a donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Marion County may visit the organization’s website, bgcofmarionofmarion.com.

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ETC

health journal

Be a stroke hero How to identify the signs of stroke and why you should act fast

BRANDPOINT

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he sudden onset of stroke symptoms can happen to anyone at any time, making education about the signs and symptoms of a “brain attack” the first line of defense to stroke prevention. “I’m a fanatical fan of football, so you can imagine how excited I was to enter the stadium to see my favorite team play; but I lost my balance and fell. I’m lucky the people near me jumped into action and called 911,” recalled stroke survivor William Martin. “They are the real heroes in my medical emergency story; they knew the signs of a stroke.”


Strokes are common and deadly, but the good news is almost all strokes can be prevented.

Stroke is the second leading cause of death and third leading cause of disability worldwide. Today, only 10 percent of stroke survivors make a full recovery and 25 percent recover with minor impairments. Forty percent of survivors experience moderate to severe impairments that require special care. Strokes are common and deadly, but the good news is almost all strokes can be prevented.

WHAT IS STROKE?

A stroke happens when the blood vessels carrying nutrients to the brain either form a clot or rupture, causing a sudden blockage in the arteries leading to the brain. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it and brain cells die.

HOW TO PREVENT STROKE

Generally, there are three treatment stages for stroke: prevention, therapy immediately after stroke and post-stroke rehabilitation. Engaging in active prevention is the most effective treatment.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT STROKE?

1. Monitor your blood pressure 2. Control your cholesterol 3. Keep your blood sugar down 4. Keep active 5. Eat healthy 6. Lose weight if necessary 7. Do not smoke 8. Talk to your physician about aspirin and other medications

IN THE EVENT OF STROKE: ACT F.A.S.T

“Every minute from the time the stroke occurs to when you receive treatment makes a difference,” said neurointerventional radiologist at St. Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City Jared Halpin, M.D. “Many types of stroke are now treatable with emergency medical interventions to either quickly dissolve or remove the blood clot or stop the bleeding that is causing symptoms.” Seek treatment, F.A.S.T. Follow the acronym below to check for signs of stroke: • Face drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the per-

son to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven or lopsided? • Arm weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? • Speech: Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. • Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately. “My doctor restored the blood flow in my brain by threading a tube through an artery in my leg and used a medical device called Solitaire X to remove the clot. I was surprised I didn’t need brain surgery,” said Martin. “The best part, I watched the final quarter of the game on TV while in the hospital recovery room.” Eighty million people have survived stroke worldwide. For more information on stroke prevention tips and treatment options, visit the Medtronic Stroke Heroes page at https://global.medtronic.com/xg-en/c/neurological/world-stroke-day.html.

OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | MAY 2021 |

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ETC

state of the city

Compassion and Community BY ASHLEY DOBBS

T

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

LaToya Artis and Grace Huffman

received USDA food boxes. With the help of a local business owner, Clark Funeral Home and church pastors, volunteers helped pick up and distribute these boxes weekly, including dropping off 30 boxes at the senior center. The distribution happens three days a week and 100 boxes per day have made their way Barbara Gaskin Washington Adult Activity Center - Food Box Delivery into the hands of people within the community. The food boxes have remained consistent since July 2020, with the government placing the program on hold for two months during the fall season but resuming earlier this year. The program concluded this past April. However, those who are still just wanted to make sure that we were taking in need may reach out to His Compassion care of our seniors. I couldn’t keep distributFood Bank at 352-351-0732. ing this food on my own, but then another Although LaToya and another volunpartner stepped in to help. I don’t know if you teer put the wheels in motion, Grace Huffbelieve in God, but honestly, we never asked man, a recreation leader at the center, now one question, and everything continually fell oversees the program. “They really enjoy the into line. When one thing fell though, anothcommunication and fellowship that they er person stepped up and that’s how we were have here,” Huffman said. “They really enjoy able to keep this food distribution.” the food. It’s helpful to them because lots of them can’t get out to the grocery stores.” Ashley Dobbs is the Marketing and CommuniArtis added: “It started out so simple. We cations Manager for the City Of Ocala.

Photos courtesy of The City of Ocala

he two adult activity centers within the city limits, the Barbara Gaskin Washington and Eighth Street Adult Activity Centers, have been serving an older generation of residents for many years. Offering a variety of social activities, arts and crafts, and time spent with friends, these adult centers have become an extension of family within the community. Visitors are greeted with joyful hugs, excited smiles and familiar faces. However, during the height of the pandemic last year, city staff soon realized that many of these activities would be put on hold until it would be safe for this vulnerable population. Concerns over seniors being able to acquire the food and supplies needed to survive the isolation during the pandemic soon became a reality. “Some of our seniors didn’t have cars, were in a crunch, didn’t have food or milk and didn’t have the simple basic needs,” said LaToya Artis, Recreation Programs Supervisor for the City of Ocala Recreation and Parks Department. “I started making bags to give out to our seniors to make sure they had pantry items. One of our seniors attended art class and volunteered at His Compassion [food bank]. They asked if any of our seniors needed food.” Through the recommendation of the food bank, city staff worked with the seniors to fill out forms needed to register for the incoming food boxes. Between the two senior centers, 65 residents filled out paperwork. “Early in the pandemic, there were about 10-12 seniors that were not physically able to lift or transport the boxes, so I would pick them up and deliver to them,” Artis said. “Between me and one volunteer we were able to get this food to people who needed it. For the first month of the pandemic I would personally deliver the food to our seniors in need. Believe it or not, about twice a week I was getting these boxes to our 10-12 seniors that weren’t mobile. The rest were able to pick up their boxes.” His Compassion contracted with the federal government to ensure that residents


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ETC

state of the county

Keeping You Safe During Hurricane Season BY ALEX AUBUCHON

T

he start of the 2021 hurricane season is just days away, and we want every Marion County resident and visitor to be fully prepared for the possibility of severe weather. That’s why we’re offering these tips to keep you safe and informed in case disaster strikes.

ALERT MARION

The best (and easiest) thing you can do to prepare for severe weather in Marion County is to sign up for our Alert Marion system. This enables you to receive the very latest information before, during and after times of emergency directly from our emergency management professionals. You can choose to receive alerts by phone, email, text or any combination thereof relating to severe weather events, evacuation orders and critical law enforcement operations. This free emergency notification system ensures you will be kept up to date when the need for information is at its most crucial. Visit AlertMarion.com to register today.

SPECIAL NEEDS REGISTRY

Marion County also maintains a confidential special needs registry for residents who require assistance during emergencies or evacuations due to a disability or impairment. Our emergency management staff operates a special needs shelter to provide services such as oxygen for medical care, uninterrupted electricity for medical devices, and certain nursing and medical care services. You can register yourself or a loved one for this program at AlertMarion.com.

SHELTER WITH YOUR PETS

When the Emergency Operations Center is activated and storm shelters are opened in Marion County, one or two of these shelters

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will be ready to keep you and your pets safe. Marion County Animal Services and Emergency Management teams provide kennels and everything your pet will need to ride out the storm in a secure facility with constant care. Owners are encouraged to bring pet care items like food, litter and toys, but essentials will be provided for all pets. “We know many residents will refuse to evacuate if they can’t bring their pets,” said Animal Operations Manager Stephanie Kash. “Our pet-friendly shelters allow families to stay together and stay safe.” Many types of animals are welcome, and residents are strongly encouraged to bring proof of current vaccinations to the shelter upon check in.

tions and any pet care items. Take advantage of Florida’s severe weather sales tax holiday.

TOP TIPS FOR HURRICANE SAFETY

• Protect your documents

• Have a plan Make a detailed emergency plan and review it with the whole family before the threat of severe weather.

• Stock up on supplies

Keep necessities on hand, such as water, non-perishable food, blankets, flashlights, a weather radio, batteries, first aid kits, medica-

• Keep a contact Make sure to have a friend or family member outside the area that can check on you.

• Follow emergency instructions Check Alert Marion as well as radio and television outlets for emergency information. Follow instructions regarding evacuation and other safety protocols.

• Know your route Make sure you’re comfortable with your evacuation route before the hurricane hits, and keep a full tank of gas in your vehicle. Make sure your identification cards and other vital information are kept in a secure, waterproof container. Follow these tips and register for alerts at AlertMarion.com and you’ll be prepared for hurricane season. Alex AuBuchon is the Public Information Officer for the Marion County Board of Commissioners.


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ETC

Kiwanis

Korner

Growing Together in Service Above Self

Tyler Stentiford, Paul Stentiford, Jenny Conley, Wes Wheeler, George Albright, Justin Garner and Phil Olstein

Wes Wheeler, Cyndie McQuaig, Allison Campbell, Brady Ackerman, Tom James, Beth McCall, Mike McGuinnis and Buddy Martin

D

Buddy Martin

Penny Miller, Adam Hammersky, Joe Voge, Joy Guydan, Guest Speaker His Compassion and Philip Glassman

uring the month of April, Kiwanis of Ocala brought forth several guests of honor through the efforts of Program Chair, Phil Olstein, hosting speakers that are serving Marion County in giving back while covering multiple walks of service and life. His Compassion, a 501c3 organization, was introduced by Philip Glassman, member and Publisher of OM/Ocala Magazine and Adam Hammersky, USMC and OM Business Analyst. Joy, Director of Staff, shared of their founding and touching story of feeding the multitudes weekly and how they provide help to those less fortunate on a daily basis. She gave the current status and numbers of individuals and families served, including how they interact and work with all agencies in Marion County, especially during this last year of COVID. They are changing lives daily. The famous Wes Wheeler, and Kiwanis member, introduced a special guest of hon-

Philip Glassman

Mike McGuinnis, Buddy Martin and Doug Oswald

or, Mike McGinnis, Captain of the Ocala Quarterback Club, former SEC Official and AD at CFCC. His next introduction was Buddy Martin, not only a champion of Marion County but also of Florida and beyond, and is a renowned talk and radio show host, author, publisher and editor of his own Sports Magazine. Buddy and his family have given back to our City and County throughout many generations. A special introduction was then given by Buddy for guest speaker, Brady Ackerman, the running back for UF, well-known sports broadcaster, coach and philanthropist for the Boys and Girls Club. He is currently the coach for Belleview High School and gave a heart-warming talk of his life story which lifted the spirit of everyone in attendance. The Guest House, one of Ocala’s bestkept secrets for giving healing and hope, was introduced by Phil Olstein, member. The Guest House was represented well by

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Brady Ackerman

Steve Geohegan, Rick Fungaroli, John West, Andy Spahn, Phil Olstein, Tom Pecca and George Albright

staff and the co-founder and owner, John West also known as a star in Hollywood, of whom we now tout as our own Marion County Star. They shared of bringing healing, hope and new life to the hurting over the years and updated statistics during the year of COVID. They have made and been the difference to thousands that are hurting, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Paul Stentiford, member, introduced guest speaker, Justin Garner, Director of Hospitality, for the World Equestrian Center. He shared of upcoming events, the new Hotel and updates of the overall status of WEC. Tours are given daily, along with having 4 restaurants that are open to the public. Their amazing staff is now booking venues, whether it is for weddings, equine, or other special events. There is nothing to be found like it anywhere in the world and Marion County is proud to be the home of the World Equestrian Center.

Kiwanis International is a global community of clubs, members, and partners, dedicated to improving the lives of children one community at a time. Today, with more than 550,000 members in 80 Countries, Kiwanis empowers members to pursue creative ways to serve the needs of our children, such as fighting hunger, improving literacy and being a mentor. Kiwanis Clubs host over 150,000 service projects per year. www.facebook.com/KiwanisClubOfOcala

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Rotary

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Being the Difference While Having Fun

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elping one another is what we do best, be it for the Boys and Girls Club of Marion County, Interfaith Emergency Services or in travels to Haiti to help hurting and hungry children. Along with many other charitable causes we take under our wings, we can still enjoy the fellowship of our brothers and sisters of Rotary.

Ocala Sunset Club Lacey redd, Brandon Philips, Billy Gilchrist

Brick City Club Presenting Paul Harris Fellow Award to Bonnie by Karen Hatch with Lauren Delorio

Brick City Club Trivia Night with Karen Hatch and Lauren Delorio

Ocala Rotary Club: Kimberly Porcelli and Sandra Wilson

Ocala Rotary Club Tom James, Natalie McComb, Kimberly Porcelli and Toni James

Ocala Sunset Club Angie Lewis and Paul Stentiford

Golfers Having Fun for the cause

Tim Dean (Duck Outfit)

Al Formella, Lacy Redd, Billy Gilchrist and District Governor at Sunset Rotary Club meeting

Patricia Sutton and Karla Grimsley

Classical Greece

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www.indus.travel/tour/classical-greece-with-ocala-rotary-club To learn more about joining Rotary, please visit: www.RotaryInternational.com

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

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87


HOPS

looking back

Newspaper Office, 1898 TT Munroe Marion General, 1915

Health Care on the Third Floor The home of Ocala’s first hospital was atop a newspaper building

T

he day was like any other in Ocala during the late 1890s. Ben Rheinauer stood outside his dry goods store located downtown hoping to see more customers the way he had during the economic boom of the decade’s early years. The freezes of 1894-95 had devasted local agriculture, particularly the citrus industry, and an economic depression had the area in its grips. On this day, Rheinauer witnessed a pedestrian run over by a horse and wagon on Exposition Street, or what is now called Broadway. The victim had suffered a broken leg and needed immediate attention, but no hospital or emergency room existed at the time. The man was taken to Dr. E. Van Hood’s office where he received treatment, but the whole episode created a spark in the minds of Rheinauer, Hood and Dr. La Foss who also arrived on the scene to help. Ocala needed a hospital, this much was clear to the three community leaders acting as good Samaritans on this day. Undaunted by the current economic depression that included many bank failures and a serious lack of capital, Rheinauer and several other

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| MAY 2021 | OCALAMAGAZINE.COM

civic leaders banded together in getting the project off the ground, which eventually led to the opening of Ocala’s first hospital in February 1898. Marion General Hospital, as it was called then, resided not in its own building but in a three-story structure located at what is now the downtown parking garage. The first two stories of the building housed the Ocala Evening Star newspaper and the Florida Baptist Witness newspaper, owned by the Rev. J.C. Porter. It was Porter who realized the third floor was vacant at the time and allowed the temporary hospital to occupy that space free of charge. In those early days, hospital staff was limited and it was common for doctors to call upon newspaper personnel for assistance. It was not uncommon for printers and reporters to help take patients to the top floor or even help doctors in setting broken legs. In time, the lack of space and poor third-floor logistics would expedite a move of the hospital, which took place in 1901 to a former private residence on the corner of what is now N.W. 2nd Street and 1st Avenue. Certainly an improvement over the newspa-

per building, the new arrangement was still meant to be temporary until enough capital could be generated for a permanent location. In 1915, as the economy recovered, the hospital project received the capital infusion necessary to construct a three-story building near the current site of AdventHealth Medical Center. The last great move would be in 1927 to where Advent currently exists. This would be a four-story building that could house up to 73 patients. Earning much credit for this expansion was banker T.T. Munroe, who served for 23 years as president of the Marion General Hospital Board of Directors. It was in his honor the hospital was renamed Munroe Memorial Hospital in 1928. The ensuing years would bring more expansion, a name change to Munroe Regional Medical Center, the leasing of operations to Community Health Systems and later to Adventist Health Systems. Today, the hospital has 425 beds with many locals still referring to the hospital as “Munroe” – and it all started thanks to a traffic accident and the dedication of a dry goods store owner.

Photos courtesy of Historic Ocala Preservation Society

BY CARLTON REESE WITH THE HISTORIC OCALA PRESERVATION SOCIETY


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