Ocala Style | June 2022

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The Men’s Issue

JUNE ‘22




Just Listed

Scenic 28 +/- Acres

Spring Grove – 11.77 +/- Acres

Winding scenic drive leads to the two-story home situated on 28+/- acres. 4 Bedroom, 3 bath, generous formal living room, formal dining room, family room with oversized brick fireplace and extra-large windows to enjoy panoramic views of the property. Barn/equipment building features guest quarters. $2,750,000

Equine friendly gated community located between WEC and The Florida Horse Park. Custom built 4 bedroom/3.5 bath home, plus office with private entrance. 2-Car garage with bonus room. 77’ x 25’ Building for workshop or equipment storage. New roof. $1,397,500 Perimeter fenced.

Just Listed

10 Acres – Minutes to WEC and HITS

14 +/- Acres- 2 Homes

Three stall barn with three large lush paddocks await your horses. The 3 bedroom/ 2 bath home features 1,950 SF of living area. Kitchen is open to family room. Expansive living room with fireplace and large windows overlooking the farm. Property is perimeter fenced and graced with granddaddy oaks. $699,000

Privacy and tranquility! This is a one-of-a-kind family compound located on Hwy 475. Zoned A-1 for horses or cattle. Main residence features 3 bedrooms/2 baths with stone fireplace. Second home is 2 bedroom/2 bath. Paddocks offer lush green pastures and $1,199,000 beautiful oak trees.

Our results speak for themselves. List with Joan today! For these and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos and photos. Call or Text: 352.266.9100 | 352.804.8989 | joan@joanpletcher.com | 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.

Location! Location! Location!

39 +/- Acres – NW Ocala

Prime location for developer with Hwy 27 frontage. 76 +/- Acres with easy access to World Equestrian Center and HITS. Center aisle barn, fenced paddocks; perfect for any discipline. Zoned A-1 with land use of MR (4 units per acre). $9,518,750

Property is just 10 minutes to World Equestrian Center 2 miles to HITS. Two 3 bedroom/2 bath mobile homes with offices. 10 Stall barn with living space/lounge area, restroom, tack and feed room. Fenced paddocks, run-in sheds. Great location! $2,611,750

Emerald Mile Farms

Bellwether – 5.64 +/- Acres

50 +/- Beautiful acres of gently rolling land. Property is 12 miles to World Equestrian Center. Deed restricted community. Perimeter fenced and ready for horses or cattle. Bring your plans $795,000 to build the perfect home or farm.

Looking for the perfect lot close to shopping, medical facilities, and restaurants? This 5.64 +/- acres is located in the prestigious Bellwether gated community. Deed restricted. Premier building sites. Bring the plans for your dream home. $290,000

If you’re considering buying or selling, give us a call at 352-266-9100 today!

Publisher’s Note


have a dear and wise friend who has remarked more than a few times, “If we were all the same, the world would be a dull and boring place.” I couldn’t help but think of her words as we put together this Men’s Issue, which is filled with stories of local men in our community who are quite different from each other—so different it makes this issue a very interesting read! A Firsthand Look At War, our story about a local woman who transcribed and published the diary of her father’s World War II memories as a B-17 pilot, hit home to me as the daughter of a Vietnam veteran. Our father’s lives before they became fathers can often feel like a mystery. For those fathers who fought in wars or overcame significant socio-economic challenges so that one day they could support a family and raise children, their struggles, and even triumphs, are often not discussed. So, I can only imagine the feelings of Helen Walkup Cairns when she found her father’s war diary after he passed away. Her efforts to preserve those memories for her children and other family members and friends is easy to appreciate. We are honored that noted Black journalist Moses Newson, who helped chronicle the civil rights movement, shares his amazing history with us, which includes his connection to Ocala. His nephew Wendell Johnson, who was born and raised in West Ocala, is lauded by Newson for his support of young family members, just as Newson himself was a pillar for a young Johnson. Local businessman and long-distance runner Craig Bachrodt deeply loved and cherished his mother, who encouraged him from an early age to stay physically fit. In running the Leadville Trail 100 Run in August (a 100-mile race in the Colorado Rockies) and creating run100formom.com, he pairs his two passions. He is hoping to raise $100,000 for multiple charities and, if successful, will match that amount. And it’s all to honor the “women in our lives who play such a big role in making us who we turn out to be.” We bring you articles about a pharmacist who took up scuba diving and donated many of the artifacts now housed at the Silver River Museum, a veterinarian who is truly a grill master, a group of men who “cook up” scholarships for local students and two single fathers who share much different journeys. In our exclusive interview with Ocala Fire Rescue Chief Clint Welborn, we learn how he came up through the ranks and is now a highly respected leader. It is our privilege to share the stories of these diverse men with you as we fulfill our mission—Real People. Real Stories. Real Ocala.

Jennifer Hunt Murty Publisher


Saturday, June 25, 2022 • 10am - 3pm College of Central Florida, Klein Center

Enjoy a fun day listening to inspiring guest speakers, watching hands-on demonstrations, shopping at unique booths, meeting wonderful people, eating delicous food and possibily winning a giveaway! Tickets $5 at OcalaStyle.com/WomensExpo or $10 at the door For vendor space call 352-732-0073 or email Cheryl@magnoliamediaco.com

All ticket proceeds will benefit


Center for Girls


FOSTERING EMPOWERMENT – INSPIRING PASSION 10am-3pm Saturday, June 25 Klein Center, College of Central Florida, 3001 SW College Road, Ocala Photography by Meagan Gumpert


he Ocala Style Women’s Expo is designed to foster empowerment and inspire women to pursue their passions. And, with an eye to supporting our future leaders, ticket sales from the event will benefit PACE Center for Girls – Marion, which helps transform the lives of local girls. This one-day event will feature a slate of inspiring guest speakers, demonstrations, shopping, networking, food, giveaways and a chance to take home some awesome raffle prizes. Local vendors, who will be situated in “wings,” such as home and lifestyle, fashion and beauty, and health and wellness, will showcase an array of goods and services that may help you find your new favorite fashion statement or prompt you to sign up a for girl’s day out with your besties. In between perusing the displays and networking to make new friends, guests can sit in on speaker sessions ranging from insights about being in politics to tips for personal safety.

The speaker sessions include: Women in Politics: County Commissioner Michelle Stone & School Board Member Allison Campbell Michelle Stone graduated from the Florida School of Banking at the University of Florida and earned a diploma from the American Institute of Banking. She has long been involved in community

and civic service with numerous area organizations. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, and long-distance running. Allison B. Campbell, APR, CPRC, was elected in November 2020. She graduated from Lee University (bachelor’s degree) and Regent University (master’s degree) and is a doctoral student at Regent. She is an adjunct professor at the College of Central Florida and Southeastern University. She has served with numerous community organizations. Following Your Passion: Dr. Katherine O’Brien Veterinarian Katherine O’Brien, DVM, is the owner of Maricamp Animal Hospital. She and her staff are committed to a positive culture and delivering more than clients expect. She believes people must take personal responsibility in order to succeed and that to grow into an industry or community leader, you must find what “feeds your soul.” Grow Your Small Business: Stacey Ansley Stacey Ansley is a business coach who helps business owners who are feeling overwhelmed, are on the brink of burnout and are wishing there were more hours in the day. She offers personalized strategies to help owners recover time, have greater impact and build an asset. Thus, the name of her business is Build. Change. Impact.

Family Law/Wills & Probate: Mary Catherine Landt & Janet Behnke Mary Catherine Landt has more than three decades of experience in family law and believes it is more nuanced than people realize. She has been chair of the Family Law Committee of the Marion County Bar Association for nine years. She is involved with several local nonprofits and women’s groups. Janet Behnke has practiced in Ocala for more than 40 years, in almost every area of civil law. She is a former Marion County judge and former president of the Ocala Marion County Chamber of Commerce and Marion County Bar Association. She has served with a number of regional and local community organizations. Women’s Safety: Ocala Police Department Major Angy Scroble Angy Scroble earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Florida State University and then attended Lively Law Enforcement Academy. She began her career with the Ocala Police Department in 1994. She has served as an officer and supervisor in a number of departments. She is currently a major in the Special Operations Bureau. Expo ticket sales will benefit PACE Center for Girls — Marion, a nationally recognized organization providing girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy. The Ocala center is part of a network that includes 21 centers in Florida and one in Georgia. Carole C. Savage-Hagans, APR, CPRC, is executive director of PACE programs in Marion and Citrus counties. Tickets for the Women’s Expo are $5.46 in advance ($5, plus .46 cent processing fee) or $10.46 the day of the event and may be purchased at ocalastyle.com/womensexpo


RACE HORSE SUPPLIES FARRIER EQUIPMENT The largest combined selection of race supplies, farrier equipment, general equine supplies, western tack and saddlery in the Southeast.

Publisher | Jennifer Hunt Murty


Magnolia Media Company, LLC (352) 732-0073

1515 NE 22nd Avenue, Ocala, FL 34470

Art Editorial

GRAPHIC DESIGNER/ PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Lisa Maliff lisa.maliff@magnoliamediaco.com

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Amy Harbert amy@magnoliamediaco.com



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ADVANCED COMPREHENSIVE CARE FOR YOUR FEET AND ANKLES Treatment of Common Ailments such as Bunions, Hammertoes, Heel Pain, Sprains, Fractures, Athlete’s Foot, Ingrown Nails, Fungal Nails Sports Injuries Children’s Foot Care Custom Orthotics Diabetic Foot Care Warts Neuromas Ankle Pain Ulcers






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PHOTOGRAPHERS Bruce Ackerman Becky Collazo Dream Catcher Eighteenth Hour Photography Cynthia Wilson-Graham Meagan Gumpert John Jernigan Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery MAVEN Photo + Film Dave Miller Alan Youngblood ILLUSTRATORS Jordan Shapot David Vallejo Maggie Weakley


DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING Andrew Hinkle andrew@magnoliamediaco.com CLIENT SERVICES GURU Cheryl Specht cheryl@magnoliamediaco.com

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MAY 15 – JULY 15

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in this issue



ins ide r

f e a tu r e s



This men’s group provides scholarships for local students.


DIVING INTO THE PAST The Hendrix Collection of artifacts reflects our history.


CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH Events June 18th will fund community programs and scholarships.



Dave reflects on the value of family photos and slideshows.

vow s 27


Join us in celebrating local brides and grooms.



Civil rights journalist Moses J. Newson has an Ocala connection.


55 52


Widower John Streb is looking ahead while reflecting on the past.





Meet Ocala Fire Rescue’s Chief Clint Welborn.

RUNNING WITH A PURPOSE Craig Bachrodt is taking on a 100-mile run to honor mothers and raise money for charities.



Grilling steaks and veggies is a specialty for this veterinarian.




Daddy’s Diary recounts Edwin “Snake” Walkup’s life as a B-17 pilot during World War II.



Equine racing, tailgating and fashions on the field.


Single parenting has many rewards, says Sid Schrum.


Belea T. Keeney kicks off her new gardening column and you may not be able to “Contain Yourself.”



STEWART • WALDEN Your new local leader in equestrian and residential real estate Photograph by John Jernigan


on Stewart III grew up in Ocala. Maria Walden was born in Ecuador but has lived in the U.S. since she was a toddler. The two, who have excelled as luxury leaders in real estate in Wellington and Palm Beach County, are bringing their expertise and passion to Ocala and Marion County. Don is the son of Don Stewart Jr., a renowned rider, trainer, coach and judge in the realm of hunters, jumpers and equitation. The younger Stewart says his family first lived in northwest Ocala, then in the downtown historic district. He attended Grace Episcopal School, then Forest and Trinity Catholic high schools. “I have very fond memories of growing up in Ocala, my closest and best friends are those I made there,” he shares. “I grew up going to horse shows around the country with my dad and the rest of my family. I am very familiar with the equestrian world and have made countless connections around the country over the years.” In establishing a presence locally, he says he and Walden feel strongly that they can provide the highest levels of service in equestrian and residential real estate. “With my Ocala roots and strong connections in the equestrian world, we feel there is a great opportunity to help people discover what Ocala has to offer, including the amazing new World Equestrian Center, and find them the perfect place to call home,” he says.

“We’re new here, but we have tons of experience,” adds Walden, who was a firefighter paramedic for The Village of North Palm Beach when she decided to pursue her passion of real estate. “I have a lot of sales in Wellington and Palm Beach County and Don has the relationships in the equestrian community from growing up in Ocala and his dad being a prominent horse trainer in Ocala. And we really believe in this market.” Stewart and Walden are affiliated with BitRealty, a residential and commercial real estate brokerage based in West Palm Beach. “Growing up in a horse family in the Horse Capital of The World, I was able gather a great understanding of the needs to perform at a high level of some of the world’s greatest equestrian athletes from multiple disciplines,” Stewart offers. “As a specialist on the equestrian side of real estate, I am confident I can guide buyers and sellers to achieve the highest levels of satisfaction.”

BitRealty ® 561-644-2353 352-804-0805 maria@bitrealty.com dstewart@bitrealty.com

Antiques, Decor, Furniture & More The Long Tailed Pony 7470 SW 60th Ave., Ocala | 352.300.3438

Shabby Chic Boutique Through January 15, 2023

Finding Beauty

A Collaborative Exhibition with Ocala Civic Theatre

Appleton Museum, Artspace and Store

Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd. | AppletonMuseum.org




-an equal opportunity college-


Social Scene Hannah Harper spends some time backstage with Molly during the Molly’s Law Documentary premiere at the Marion Theatre in Ocala on Sunday, April 24th. Photo by Bruce Ackerman


We Go Together Celebrity Dinner SOUTHEASTERN LIVESTOCK PAVILION AUDITORIUM Photos by Cynthia Wilson-Graham

C Alex Dillard and Shawn Warden

hris Nikic, the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman Triathlon, was one of the special guests at the “Grease”-themed fundraiser for Champions for Champions. The event, held April 8th, featured a performance by Victoria Sexton.

Back row: Kaitlin Anderson, Casana Fink, Kirsten Regalado, Alicia Tullo, Jeanette Benedicto, Bridget Bryant, Daytona Bregenhardt, Roxy Hodzic, Adrienne Bunn, Chris Nikic, Sora Kang, Mary Jane Lyons, 2nd row: Jasmine, Scarlett and Vaughn Hodzic, Seated: Jasper Roman

Mateo Villon and Victoria Sexton

Emily Bunn and June Bunn

Levitt AMP Concert MLK RECREATION COMPLEX Photos by Bruce Ackerman

T Glen Squire Sr. and James Allen

Sandy Downing and Brenda Dukes



he April 22nd concert, with headliners Davina and the Vagabonds, kicked off the 10-show series. The events are a partnership of the City of Ocala and Marion Cultural Alliance and include local vendors and area charities—and lots of people dancing.

Valarie and Lewis Sims

Juan Diego and Susana Diego

Kinzley Kelly and Araya Kelly


Earthfest: Celebrate Arbor Day TUSCAWILLA PARK Photos by Bruce Ackerman

T Paisley Grafing, Eli Grafing and Konner Sweatt

here was plenty of fun to be had on April 23rd, including a youth fishing derby, tree and rock wall climbing, entertainment, food trucks and other vendors, tree giveaways and other activities, all to celebrate our beautiful natural environment.

Cameron Bordner, Dallina Negron and Mason Roman

Killian Brownell and Isaiah Crumpton

Elizabeth Vanderford and Deana Calcote

Tracy Shepler and Tracy Chinn

Molly’s Law Documentary Premiere MARION THEATRE Photos by Bruce Ackerman

T Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, Lilly Baron and Molly

April LeSage, Leslie Hinson, Debbie Wabbersen and Jaye Perrett

he story of Molly, a dog who was beaten and stabbed, led to the formation of Molly’s Law, also known as the Marion County Animal Abuser Registry, which has become a national model. Molly, of course, was the star of the show at the premiere.

Debbie Darino, Lilly Baron and Peggy Hoyt

Jackie Barrett, Mark Barrett and Joe DiOrio

Maggie Weakley, Mary Emery and Mark Emery

June ‘22



Behind The Mask

OCALA CIVIC THEATRE Photos by Bruce Ackerman

B McKenzie Todd, Lena Modders and Kaylee Todd

Dan and Cassidy Murray

ehind the Mask: An Evening of Enchantment, held April 25th, featured Broadway star Grant Norman, who played the Beast and Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, and included French delicacies, signature cocktails, champagne and beastly-yet-beautiful surprises.

Laurie Zink, Grant Norman, Victoria Sexton and Bill Doherty

Naida and Frank Rasbury

Linda Harn and Jacqua Ballas

Off To The Races Fundraiser WORLD EQUESTRIAN CENTER Photos courtesy Grace Christian School

T Joe Johnson and Garla Johnson

Jamie Hampy, Darryl Hampy, Mike Kurbanick, Kim Kurbanick, Sue Keuntjes and Randy Keuntjes



he annual auction fundraiser hosted by Grace Christian School had a Kentucky Derby theme, carried out through a hat and bow tie contest. The April 30th soiree, which included live and silent auctions, raffles and entertainment, raised $110,000 for the school, which serves students from pre-K through eighth grade.

Brittany Batsel and Rob Batsel

David Moreno, Dagny Moreno, Bart Rowland and Kristy Rowland


Ladies High Tea

SOCIAGRO FARM Photos by Bruce Ackerman

I Karin Nicely, Catrina Hajal, Elizabeth Wallace and Kaley Wallace

t was all about flowers, fine china, fun and fundraising for the sixth annual event, which was hosted by Interfaith Emergency Services CEO Karla GrimsleyGreenway. The proceeds, $40,409, will benefit Interfaith’s Homeless Shelter Program for women, children and families.

Michelle Dinkins, center, holds the Golden Teapot Award as she poses with members of her table

Karla Grimsley-Greenway and Amy Lord

Julie Roy, Carolyn Phillips, Diane Irwin and Maria Roman

Festivals of Speed WORLD EQUESTRIAN CENTER Photos by Bruce Ackerman

M Shannon, Charles and Savannah McNulty

Pauline and Gary Hartogh

ore than 200 automobiles, ranging from luxury sedans to high-powered muscle cars, were the center of attention on May 7th. The show kicked off May 6th with a special cocktail event. Both days included top-line vendors and a lot of highly polished chrome.

Daniel Hart, Reid Scale, Michael Hart, Robert Hart, Sarah Hart, Allison Hart and Elizabeth Hart

Claire Rogers

June ‘22



Symphony Under The Stars OCALA GOLF CLUB Photos by Bruce Ackerman


his annual Ocala tradition, hosted by Fine Arts For Ocala and showcasing the Ocala Symphony Orchestra, is always a Mother’s Day favorite. The May 8th gathering drew hundreds of people and lots of oohs and aahs for the fireworks.

Colton Hunt and Joanne Gunning

Evan Popielski, Elena DePalma, and Isla DePalma, Kaja Popielski, Christina DePalma, Daphne DePalma and Sandra Keller

Amanda and Sadie Lane

Natalia Giltner and Isabell Scott



(352) 237-1223




On the Scene A guide to our favorite monthly happenings and can’t-miss events

AMP Music Series (also 10, 17 and 24) 3 Levitt Webb Field at Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Complex

Summer and the tunes heat up at this free music series sponsored by the City of Ocala and Marion Cultural Alliance. Tap your toes or get up and dance; there will be a variety of musical genres played. Admission is free; guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs and a picnic, or food and drink options are available. Artists will display works and nonprofits will share missions. Performers this month are: Reggae Force on June 3rd, Bette Smith on June 10th, Natu Camara on June 17th and Melvin Williams on June 24th. For more info, check out fb.com/levittampocala

First Saturday 4 Free The Appleton Museum of Art

You are invited to peruse the regular and special collections, plus enjoy the grounds and make your own art in Artspace. Current exhibitions include Invented Observations: Photographs by Steven Benson; Depicting the Dancer: Artworks by Ernst Oppler and A Strange and Picturesque Country: Etchings by Earl H. Reed. Renowned local foodie Big Lee’s BBQ food truck will be onsite 11am-2pm. The museum’s garden space centers the buildings and is a lovely place to visit too. Check out appletonmuseum.org for more info.

June Swing Dance Social 4 Jumpin’ NOMA Black Box at the Reilly Arts Center

Photo by Alan Youngblood

Becky Sinn and Swing Theory will sweep you back in time to the 1940s when swing dancers cut the rug and big bands ruled the stage. Dance lessons and specialty cocktails will be offered. Themed dress and grooming are encouraged. And remember: It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing! Check out reillyartscenter.org for more info.

Trails Day 4 National The Cross Florida Greenway Landbridge Trailhead

Whether you want to mosey, amble, hike, bike, ride a horse or skip down the trails, celebrate National Trails Day this year at our own greenway. Enjoy the

magical greenery of the park and you might spot deer, pileated woodpeckers, armadillos, gopher tortoises, wild turkeys and more. Organizers are offering Gatorade and water, and food trucks will be on site. Participants are encouraged to dress for the weather and the terrain with sunscreen, closed toe shoes and bug spray. You can also help out with trail maintenance chores. For more info, see americanhiking. org/national-trails-day or call the trail office at (352) 236-7143.

Polo Club Summer Sunset Games 4 Ocala (also 11, 18 and 25) Florida Horse Park

For a unique evening out, try the Ocala Polo Club’s Summer Sunset matches. You can watch an exciting equine sport from close enough to hear the ponies huffing as they gallop by. Tailgating is easy; just pull right up to the sidelines and set up your goodies. Tailgate decorating prizes are awarded every week. Tents are available for rent. Matches often have a charity component. Dogs on leashes are welcome. And yes, spectators go onto the field and stomp the divots. For more info, ocalapolo.com

History: Frontiers of the Florida War 6 Talkin’ Reddick Public Library

Local historian Annabelle Leitner’s family has lived in the area for seven generations and she has some tales to tell this month in a roundtable discussion about the second Seminole Indian War (1835-1842) and the forts from that conflict that were located in Marion County. With a unique perspective and intriguing details about the past, Leitner will talk about Forts Wacahoota, Drane and Wheelock, the major forts in the area at the time. She encourages participation from people who have memories of their own or know of stories from family members. For more info, see library.marionfl.org

Art Camps 6 Summer The Appleton Museum of Art (through July)

Summer Series: Hunter/Jumper Shows 15 Ocala World Equestrian Center (through August 14th) This starts WEC’s summer hunter/jumper show series with competitions at various class levels including children’s, thoroughbred and pony. Prizes include multiple high-powered Grand Prix, with $50,000, $100,000 and $140,000 classes and a total of nearly $3.5 million in awards to be given. Saturday evening Grand Prix are held in the Grand Arena, with free or paid spectator options. Check out worldequestriancenter.com for more info.

Juneteenth Celebration 18 Ocala Webb Field at Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Complex

The Ocala Juneteenth Celebration Commission and City of Ocala will host the second annual Juneteenth event to celebrate the emancipation of slaves in the U.S., first celebrated in Texas in 1865. The holiday in Ocala includes entertainment, vendor booths, nonprofit groups, food options, businesses and mentor groups. Funds from sponsorships will provide scholarships for local high school seniors for acceptance into a university, college or vocational program. Free to attend. See facebook.com/pg/ OcalaJuneteenthCelebration

Top Photo by Bruce Ackerman

Come get artspired at the Appleton Museum’s Summer Arts Camps. Age groups are 4-6, 7-12, and 12+. Create art about dogs, cats, superheroes or Florida wildlife. Experiment with fashion/wearable art, wonky sculpture classes and clay creations. Media will range from painting to sketching, sculpting to sewing. Class times vary and some camps are for two weeks. For more info, appletonmuseum.org

World Record Attempt—Most Dogs 25 Guinness at a Movie Screening Downtown Market Square


Juneteenth Celebration and Fundraising Dinner One Health Center

Another Juneteenth event takes place in the evening, sponsored by R.A.M.A.L Educational & Social Services as a fundraiser. It will offer dinner, live entertainment, music, a DJ, dancing, silent auctions and raffles. Proceeds will help provide social services including employment assistance, affordable housing, tutoring and literacy efforts and will benefit community projects, scholarships for at-risk and non-traditional students, tutoring and mentoring. African or casual chic attire suggested. The cost is $50 per person and tickets are available at Eventbrite.com. To learn more, go to ramalservices.org

Hearts Healing Hearts, Inc., a local nonprofit that trains therapy dogs, is attempting to beat the Guinness World Record for Most Dogs at a Movie. The previous record was 120, set in Brazil in 2019. Can we do better? Dogs have to be accompanied by a well-behaved human, be leashed and be at least 1 year old. Clifford, the Big Red Dog will be shown. Two levels of participation include Red Carpet entry for one handler and dog, the movie, popcorn and a drink; VIP comes with additional event T-shirt, swag bag and preferred seating. For more info, see the events page at H34Dogs.com

Run 5K—Run Ocala Race Series 25 Retro Citizens’ Circle, downtown Ocala

Top Photo by Becky Collazo

Put on your retro duds and run/walk this 5K through the downtown and historic district areas. You can wear your old high school team running shorts, maybe some Chuck Taylors (there’s actually a competition for those wearing them) and good old cotton T-shirts for a ‘70s or ‘80s vibe. You might win the Best Dressed award or prize for fastest time for a runner in Chuck Taylors (or similar canvas shoes). Awards include Top 3 overall and Top 3 for each age group. For more info, facebook.com/ events/452299339640024/

Robotics Camp, 27 IHMC Session 1: Eighth Graders

IHMC in downtown Ocala

Middle school students have the chance to dive into computer programming and working with robots. Aa an introduction to scientific research, hands-on creating and working through Lego Mindstorms challenge exercises, campers will develop problem-solving skills, learn teamwork and enhance their confidence. No prior experience required. The three-day camp fee is $180 and financial assistance is available for qualified candidates. For more info, ihmc.us/robotics-camp

White and Ocala Symphony Blue July 3 Red, Reilly Arts Center

The Ocala Symphony Orchestra presents A Salute to Our Troops with your favorite patriotic songs. Celebrate the red, white and blue with the symphony’s rousing marches, music from the movie The Patriot and a special salute to our troops. Student tickets are $10; adults $15-$40. Go to reillyartscenter. com for details and tickets.


Cooking for a Cause This men’s group provides scholarships for local students, among other outreaches. By Beth Whitehead | Photograph by Bruce Ackerman

Front row from left: David Woodbury and Ronald Jones. Back row from left: Harry Williams, Chris Hagins and Wayne Rush.


en Working to Better the Community (MWBC) is putting a new twist on takeout. Throughout the year, members of the nonprofit bring a smoker and propane burner to Ocala Park Estates to smoke chicken and ribs and fry fish. For every 40 to 50 meals they sell, the men are able to award a $500 scholarship to a local high school student. Since 2000, MWBC has awarded more than $40,000 in scholarships to local students through these fundraisers and club dues. Although scholarships are the primary focus, the members of MWBC also work to meet needs in the community such as helping with home repairs, food preparation for the annual Back to School Bash hosted by the Marion County Children’s Alliance, putting together Thanksgiving food baskets and sponsoring a Marion County Youth Football team.



MWBC President David Woodbury says it all started in 1997, when some of the men working with Marion Service Roofing and Sheet Metal saw houses in disrepair around the community. They decided to form a club and donate their skills to help people who couldn’t afford to repair their homes. “It was for anybody, anyone who asked,” Woodbury says. Woodbury, a founding member of the 25-yearold organization, has been president for the last 22 years. MWBC became an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2011. “Years and years ago,” he offers, “we were the first organization to team up with the Back to School Bash with the E.D. Croskey (Recreation Center) and we were buying hamburgers, hotdogs and whatever they wanted us to serve the kids.” They team up with churches to pack the Thanksgiving baskets for donation to families, Woodbury says. Last year, the group worked with the E.D. Croskey Recreation Center to pay for a free swimming session for around 50 to 75 kids, adds member Chris Hagins. They intend to continue the activity this year and combine it with their 2022 scholarship award ceremony on June 11th. Applications for MWBC scholarships are sent to guidance counselors with Marion County Public Schools. The club typically awards four to five scholarships every year to students who demonstrate a love for community service, have vivid long-term goals and will be attending a trade school or college after graduation. Grade point average (GPA) is a strong consideration and applicant GPAs are generally 3.5 or above. The men host the fundraising cookouts nearly every month and typically raise $800 to $900, Hagins says. The dinners cost $10 to $12 and include chicken, ribs or fish, along with a drink and two sides. The cookouts are advertised on the group’s Facebook page. To donate or learn more about becoming a member, email menworkingtobetterthecommunity@gmail.com

“My goal is to help clients and real estate agents realize their dreams, just as I worked hard to do many years ago.” – Luis Lopez

Luis Lopez is on a mission to serve, lead and inspire people who want to have a positive life experience as a result of real estate. At the age of 12, he came to America from Cuba with his family to have a better life. Now, after almost 30 years in the real estate industry, he has not only been living the American Dream but also has helped thousands of buyers and sellers and coached hundreds of real estate agents into successful and thriving careers. Luis works with his wife, Elisha, who is the broker and co-owner with Luis of Ocala Realty World.

Become a Realtor ® - Classes starting soon! 2709 SW 27th Ave. Ocala, FL 34471 | 352-789-6746 | www.ocalarealtyworld.com

Photo by John Jernigan


Diving Into the Past By Scott Mitchell | Photography by John Jernigan


he rivers of North Central Florida are not only beautiful, they are also portals into the past. Waterways such as the Ocklawaha, St. Johns, Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers have provided sustenance and transportation to generations of people, and this includes the earliest inhabitants of our state. Each generation, and there have been many, left behind objects such as lost or discarded tools, the remains of past meals and even fossilized teeth and bones. For the most part, the treasures remained scattered along river bottoms for centuries, guarded by dark water and alligators. That was until the development of scuba gear in the mid-20th century allowed a few brave souls to explore these murky depths. Alvin Hendrix worked as a pharmacist in McIntosh and had always been fascinated by history. A chance encounter around 1960 with scuba divers who had retrieved ice age fossils from a local river inspired him to learn to dive. He spent the next 20 years exploring the bottoms of rivers in North Florida and carefully documenting his finds.



Since he was among the first to dive these rivers, he encountered thousands of years’ worth of prehistoric artifacts and relics left behind by Native Americans, riverboat passengers and early settlers. Hendrix’s approach was unique among river divers. He collected the finest of specimens as well as broken and mundane objects (many other collectors only kept the most complete pieces). More importantly, he recorded where each item was found. The result was a well-documented collection that tells the story of our collective past. By the time he hung up his air tanks he had retrieved thousands of relics and his home was looking a lot like a museum. During the early 1970s, Hendrix became friends with fellow history buff and river diver Guy Marwick. In 1991, when Marwick launched the Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center, Hendrix was there to lend his support. Many of Hendrix’s most unique fossils and artifacts—including arrowheads, spear tips, mammoth teeth and mastodon jawbones—were among the first to be put on display. Hendrix also


donated small numbers of artifacts to the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida and to the University of South Florida for research purposes. By 2011, he had donated the bulk of his collection, more than 16,000 objects, to the Silver River Museum to be permanently curated. As others discovered they, too, could don dive gear and explore river bottoms, fewer and fewer artifacts remained to be found. Collectors began paying large amounts of money for artifacts, which led to a black market and the destruction of many archaeological sites. By 2005 the collection of artifacts from “submerged lands” (coastal areas, rivers and lakes) in Florida had become illegal. Alvin Hendrix deserves special recognition for his generous gift to our community. The Hendrix Collection remains one of the best-documented collections in Florida and is regularly used by visiting researchers. Visit the Silver River Museum any Saturday or Sunday and see some of his unique finds for yourself.

Alvin Hendrix photo courtesy of Scott Mitchell.

Scott Mitchell is a field archaeologist, scientific illustrator and director of the Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center, located at 1445 NE 58th Ave., Ocala, inside the Silver River State Park. To learn more, go to silver rivermuseum.com.

Alvin Hendrix


Celebrating Juneteenth Events on June 18th will commemorate the end of slavery and fund community programs and scholarships. By Susan Smiley-Height



Ocala on June 18th. The Ocala Juneteenth Celebration Commission and the city of Ocala will host an event from 10am to 4pm at Webb Field at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Complex, 1510 Northwest 4th St., Ocala. It will include entertainment, vendors, nonprofits, businesses and mentor groups. Funds from sponsorships will provide scholarships for local high school seniors for acceptance into a university, college or vocational program. The event is free to attend. R.A.M.A.L. will present a dinner/dance fundraiser that starts at 7pm at the One Health

Left photo courtesy of Sharington Houston. Right photo by Becky Collazo.


uneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19th, 1865, an estimated 250,000 African Americans in Galveston, Texas learned they were free. They were the last slaves to be told of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed months earlier. Juneteenth is a time for reflection of African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievements. “Juneteenth is important to me because I am only three generations from slavery,” says Barbara J. Brooks, Ph.D., president of the Ocala-based R.A.M.A.L. (Reach, Aim, Motivate and Lead) Educational and Social Services, Inc. “I am fortunate to have been born in 1948 and not 1848,’’ she explains. “I would have been a slave. I was born in a segregated society and lived 20 years of my life under segregation. Juneteenth is a time of reflection of a race of people who, in spite of oppression, helped moved this country forward toward a free society. If it were not for the Emancipation Proclamation, we would not have movement toward equality, inclusion and diversity in every segment of our society for all people.” “Juneteenth is important to recognize and is necessary to educate others about because of the historical significance,” offers Sharington L. Houston, president of the Ocala Juneteenth Celebration Commission. The importance runs deep for Houston “because of my boys, my nieces, nephews and those I mentor in the community.” “My husband and I do not want our children to be ashamed of who they are and what their ancestors had to endure for them to be in the positions they are in today,” she adds. “Black Americans and our entire African diaspora are proud people and deserve this time to reflect, educate and celebrate.” Two Juneteenth celebrations will take place in


Above, Whitfield Jenkins and Loretta Pompey Jenkins, and left, Sharington Houston and Aisha Pete, attending previous Juneteenth celebrations.

Center, 1714 SW 17th Street, Ocala, with entertainment, a silent auction and raffles. The cost is $50 per person and tickets are available at Eventbrite.com. Proceeds will benefit community projects, scholarships for at-risk and nontraditional students, tutoring and mentoring. “Juneteenth is a federal holiday and the Ocala City Council recently voted to include Juneteenth as a holiday,” Brooks notes. “Let us all make the Juneteenth celebration an annual tradition by participating in the events that remember, honor and work to improve our community.” To learn more, go to fb.com/OcalaJune teenth Celebration/ and ramalservices.org

Let us all make the Juneteenth celebration an annual tradition by participating in the events that remember, honor and work to improve our community. – Barbara J. Brooks

June ‘22



Photo Flashback By Dave Schlenker | Illustration by David Vallejo


he box on the dusty shelf was marked “Family and Pretty Girls.” The title made me nervous, frankly. This was one of several boxes of photo slides taken by my late grandfather, a dentist with a love of photography, orchids, mischief and “pretty girls.” Doc Finley’s muse was my grandmother, the sweet-as-sugar Atlanta girl who adored fishing, manners and, apparently, posing seductively on beaches. A quick Grandad story for context: In third grade, I played hooky one day and stayed with Grandad. He knew I was not sick. We even discussed my glaring lack of illness. But he wanted a playmate, so we boldly soldiered on with my guardian-sanctioned truancy. On that day, Grandad emerged from his greenhouse with stacks of green orchid pots. For hours, we built an elaborate Emerald City as the pots were meticulously fashioned into grand towers and paths on the patio. When Grandma arrived home, she had to walk through the emerald path to the door, which was blocked by our Wizard of Oz—a football with a hand-drawn face and a sign that read “Go back to Kansas, Grandma.” Grandad was loads of fun. Until he broke out the “picture show.” We visited my grandparents often. Grandma was an amazing Southern cook (okra, black-eyed peas, fried fish from recent catches), yet there was a danger in staying too long after supper. That unmistakable whine of a retractable screen signaled our captivity. Another Grandad slideshow.



“This was the circus that came to town,” he’d say amid rolling eyes. “Hee, hee. Look at that.” We knew the script. “Canada. Look at those gardens. And this is the Biltmore.” Then came the slides of my mother, the fairhaired only child of Katherine and Red Finley. There was little Kay wearing jammies, holding a dachshund, lifting a beach ball, feeding a rabbit, modeling an Easter dress. The showstopper (as in the last slide before the show mercifully stopped) was a grand silhouette of my dressed-to-the-nines grandmother holding my mother’s hand. They were on a hill against a Southern sky at dusk. My mother held a leash attached to a perfectly posed dachshund. The photo likely was shot shortly after WWII. It is nothing short of breathtaking. More than a decade ago, I pulled that slide out of a carousel and made prints for my siblings. Then I stashed the carousel boxes back in the closet. Weeks ago, while organizing a chaotic pants pile, I saw the boxes again. Turns out, the “pretty girls” were my mom and grandmother. Most remarkable, though, was the photo collection itself—the art of an innovative dentist, veteran, orchid grower and Oz mastermind. These were the images I gagged over in the 1970s. Now my lens has changed. These are masterworks of color and composition that tell marvelous stories of a young family finding beauty. They no longer bore me. They melt me. Final lessons from Doc Finley’s unburied treasures: Take photos, print them, display them. Be in family photos, don’t hide. Your grandchildren will thank you.


Celebrate... You are cordially invited to celebrate Ocala’s newest brides and grooms, get a glimpse into their most special of days and hear firsthand about the memories that will always hold a place in their hearts. Pictured: Kodi and Garrett Lillard | Photographed by Dream Catcher


KODI & GARRETT LILLARD March 19th, 2022

Venue: Horseshoe Bend, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona Photographer: Dream Catcher Wedding planner: Monumental Arizona Weddings Florist: Bloomers Flowers and Decor Hair: Cjtaylorhair Makeup: Beautybyluvi Her favorite memory: “Finally seeing Garrett standing there waiting for me after hiking in my wedding dress and heels to get to him.” His favorite memory: “When I turned around and saw Kodi standing there looking absolutely stunning, with the biggest smile on her face.”


CHEVY & KASEY FRITZ January 1st, 2022 Venue: Silver Springs State Park Photographer: Brittany Strebbing with Eighteenth Hour Photography Her favorite memory: “Slipping away from the reception to walk down to the river with Kasey and enjoy a little peace and quiet.” His favorite memory: “Watching her come down the aisle after the suspense of watching the bridal party.”

Moses J. Newson Photo courtesy of AFRO

FREEDOM RIDERS and FATHER FIGURES Moses J. Newson—author, reporter, editor and public affairs specialist—is an American treasure. In Ocala, he is affectionately called “Uncle Mose” by his nephew Wendell Johnson. By Leah A. Taylor


s a newspaper reporter and later editor, Central Florida native Moses Newson sometimes risked his life to bear personal witness to virtually every tear-stained milestone of America’s civil rights movement. Newson’s career highlights read like a History Channel biopic. As a writer for the Tri-State Defender in Memphis, Tennessee and later as a reporter for the Baltimore Afro-American, he covered desegregation in Hoxie, Arkansas; Clinton, Tennessee; at Central High in Little Rock; and at the University of Mississippi. He also reported on the infamous Emmett Till murder case in Mississippi, interviewed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., traveled with Medgar Evers and was part of the May 1961 Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) Freedom Ride. “Probably no single reporter with the exception of Simeon Booker covered more of the early events Below photo: On Mother’s Day 1961, a bus carrying Freedom Riders was firebombed near Anniston, Alabama. Moses Newson (standing between the two men in suits and facing the camera) was the last person off the bus. Photo by FBI. Right photo: Newson’s camera that he had with him on the bus. Photo courtesy of Moses Newson.

of the civil rights movement than Moses Newson,” notes Eugene Roberts, former managing editor of The New York Times. Responding to this reporter’s questions via email correspondence through one of his daughters, Newson, 95, recalled a particularly harrowing experience from those turbulent times. “The Freedom Riders story was probably the most challenging because of a lack of being able to communicate with others,” he shares. “There were no cellphones then. When I called my wife from Atlanta on Mother’s Day (May 14, 1961), I told her I would be on one of the Freedom Ride buses headed to Birmingham, Alabama. But in Anniston, a mob of angry Ku Klux Klan supporters attacked the bus I was on and threw a firebomb behind the seat

used to be looking down the road” in anticipation where I was sitting. I put my camera under my seat of the Newson family’s annual summer vacation to and helped as many people as I could. My camera was left on the bus, charred beyond further use. We Ocala. “We did not go to sleep for two weeks.” Newson, “the best uncle in the world,” according got it back from Greyhound, and it was destined to Johnson, has similar memories of a tradition for museums. It was late Mother’s Day before my that continued until their last visit in 2016. worried wife learned through another source that I “Ocala, Florida is where my wife’s family relowas OK.” cated when they moved from the Leesburg/FruitWhen asked why he put himself at risk, he land Park area,” recalls Newson. “Our summers replies, “I was a journalist and we always took the were for spending quality time with our families position that Black journalists needed to be on the and friends. We would visit for two weeks, often scene where news was being made.” staying in Ocala with Lucille’s large family. AnyThat philosophy inspired him to report on thing you needed, Ocala had it.” global civil rights events, such as the Independence Lucille and Newson met while attending high Ceremony in the Bahamas, a Commonwealth Naschool together in Leesburg. They married in 1948 tions meeting in Jamaica, post-civil war struggles and had four daughters. After 73 years of marriage, in Nigeria and protests in Panama, South Africa Lucille passed away in 2021. One of the daughters, and Cuba. Pat Newson Benns, is the same age as Johnson. But prior to Newson blazing a trail for Black Johnson’s mother, Rosa Wallace, raised three journalists, he worked alongside his father in Fruitland Park, 30 miles south sons and two daughters in Ocala. of Ocala in Lake County, where Because Johnson’s mother did not drive, their vacations were limithe was born. He then served in ed. But when the Newsons came the U.S. Navy before learning to town, joined by other family his craft at Lincoln University in members from as far as Chicago, Jefferson City, Missouri. the gatherings turned into a cele“The reason I got my jourbration, complete with trips, two nalism degree in Missouri was - Wendell Johnson or three times a week, to places because, at that time, there were such as Disney World and Busch no schools in Florida that would Gardens. Johnson felt blessed because most of his accept Black students into the journalism degree friends could not afford those luxuries. program,” he says. “Cousins would walk back and forth,” Johnson A winner of numerous writing awards from the describes the days they spent hanging out between National Newspaper Publishers Association and family residences. “Back then, the roads were dusty the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association, limerock roads that tractors had to smooth out.” Newson served thrice on Pulitzer Prize jury panels Johnson says his cousin Pat feared the dirt, so and covered four presidential nomination convenhe would put her on his back and carry her to The tions. In 2014, he was inducted into the National Big House. Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame. Benns echoes similar experiences: “Two weeks in Florida with our aunts, uncles and cousins were the A Native Son best two weeks of the summer. There were family Wendell Johnson, 60, of Ocala missed those early picnics, fish fry events and many late-night bid whist reels of Newson’s life. His fondest recollections card games. We spent time at Silver Springs with begin in the 1970s, when his uncle (who he called Uncle Mose) and his Aunt Lucille Wallace Newson, the glass-bottom boats, the (Ocala) Jai Alai, Daytona Beach, Disney World and Universal Studios.” on his mother’s side, left Baltimore for balmy sumCompetitions around card games still dominate mer vacations in Florida. family gatherings. Johnson grew up in a neighborhood with Johnson recalls that youngsters did not particiseveral family members nearby. His childhood pate in the adult conversations at the card table in home on Southwest Second Street was down a dirt road from his grandmother’s home—“The Big those days and says Newson called the children “jitterbugs.” He says he and Pat would sit and watch, House”—on what is now Martin Luther King Jr. longing for the day they could play cards with the Avenue. And his Aunt Dot lived a street over from grown-ups and join in the banter. his home, on West Fort King Street, all within walking distance. Listening to Elders Johnson remembers those visits as the “best “Tap into the wisdom of older folks while they are times” of his pre-teen life. alive,” advises Johnson, who has made the art of lisReenacting the excitement, Johnson says, “I

Tap into the wisdom of older folks while they are alive.



Wendell Johnson Photo by Bruce Ackerman

tening to his elders a lifelong practice. He believes he is strengthened by attaching himself to wiser people, like Newson. He jokes, “You know what people your age know.” Newson’s travels intrigued Johnson early on. Two incidents specifically. The first was an occasion when Newson traveled to cover a Miami Dolphins practice. “He was the only Black reporter that day and he said they would not let him in,” Johnson explains, until a white reporter vouched for him. Johnson boasts that Newson wrote about the occurrence

and was never again denied access. The second event involved a Confederate flag waving at an establishment Newson visited in South Carolina. Johnson says Newson was offended by the flag and when he returned home he wrote a letter and the flag was later removed from that location. Johnson says his uncle has always been calm, gentle and wise. He never saw the civil rights journalist get upset, even as Newson replayed infuriating moments from his past. Johnson said Newson encouraged the children to enjoy their youthfulness. June ‘22


“Almost like he wanted to protect us,” Johnson says. Johnson also credits his father, Solomon Shuler, who died in 1997, for instilling a strong work ethic within him. Shuler, a field contractor, harvested watermelon, oranges and peanuts and enlisted his young son to work with his 150-person crew. After work, Johnson says, his dad would take him to the store for a soft drink and an “ikey mike”—a gingerbread cookie with icing. In the back seat of Shuler’s truck, he would eat his snacks while listening to his father, his Uncle Jack and other men talk under a shade tree. Later in life, Johnson would gather knowledge from men 30 and 40 years his senior. Locals like the taxi driver James Roberts, businessman Austin Long, historian Albert Jacobs, William James, Whitfield Jenkins, Ed Fordham and others. Johnson eventually experienced adult conversations with Newson. “He loves sports,” says Johnson. Newson coauthored Fighting for Fairness: The Life Story of Hall of Fame Sportswriter Sam Lacy with his friend and autobiographer, Lacy. Johnson professes that Newson’s wealth of knowledge overwhelms him. He refers to his uncle as the “country boy who did all of this,” including lectures, interviews and phone calls from Hollywood and New York filmmakers. “Someone was always contacting him about a movie or Black history or the voting issues,” says Johnson. Justifiably impressed, Johnson invited three buddies to meet Newson while attending the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., in 1995.

Family Impact

Johnson has grown from “jitterbug” to his family’s “go-to guy” and exhibits Newson’s giving characteristics. As foreign to cold weather as Benns was to dirt, Johnson chose not to move up north. Instead, he stayed in Ocala, raised four kids and took them on biannual vacations. With lessons from his father on work and a mother who taught him how to cook anything he and his brother, Maurice, killed and brought home to eat, Johnson has worked to offset food desert issues in the West Ocala community for 25 years. On Fridays and Sundays, he provides fresh fruits and vegetables through his company, Fresh Florida Fruit, on the corner of Silver Springs Boulevard, north of Mary’s Cleaners. 34


Moses J. Newson Photo by Brian Palmer

One of the things I appreciate most about Wendell is that he is always helping and supporting other family members. His support of young family members is legendary. - Moses J. Newson

“The freshest food is found on the side of the road,” declares Johnson. From 2001 to 2007, his generosity extended to the Lake Weir High School track team. “I fell in love with those kids,” says Johnson, who changed his work schedule to accommodate his coaching assignments. Johnson says he “loves talking to kids” and acts as an influencer in the lives of his nieces and nephews in Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware and Florida. He says he enjoys guiding them to better decisions based on the knowledge he has received from his elders. “It meant a whole lot to have my aunt and uncle come visit,” Johnson says. “I will never forget the impact he had on my life.” And Johnson’s contributions have not gone unnoticed. “One of the things I appreciate most about Wendell is that he is always helping and supporting other family members,” Newson asserts. “His support of young family members is legendary.”

Enroll in a day! Express Enrollment Event Saturday, June 11 Ready to earn a degree or certificate? Visit the Ocala Campus Bell Tower for everything you need to get enrolled – applying, registering for classes and filling out your financial aid application. Don’t miss this one-stop enrollment event. We’ll include free lunch and a chance to win free tuition for a 3-credit class at the in-state rate this fall!


Visit CF.edu/Express to learn more and RSVP.

-an equal opportunity college-

Call Us First!


A CALL TO DUTY Ocala Fire Rescue Chief Clint Welborn quietly took up his leading role during a transitional moment in the organization’s history. However, the 23-year department veteran, who diligently worked his way up through the ranks, has maintained a low profile since assuming the post. And that’s OK with him. By Nick Steele | Photography by Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery


lint Welborn is highly regarded for his management of Ocala Fire Rescue (OFR) by his own team and city officials alike. Welborn was introduced as chief on July 9th of last year, after serving as interim chief following the former chief ’s departure. And while the circumstances of his ascension may not have been ideal, he is certainly proving he is the ideal person for the job. As we settle in for our chat, I explain that I could not find much about him online in preparation for our interview, to which Welborn amiably replies, “That’s how I like it. I am a private person” Welborn is plain-spoken with an innate tone of authority, attentive and engaged, approachable, yet somewhat cautious in a “just the facts” sort of way. “I was born in Munroe hospital here in Ocala,” he explains. “My family is originally from Mississippi. My mom and my dad both went to Ole Miss (The University of Mississippi). That's where they met.” His parents also both went on to work in the education field. After the family relocated to Florida, Welborn had a unique educational experience of his own. “My dad was my elementary principal and my mom was my eighth grade English teacher. And then, as I went on through, she was a guidance counselor and ended up being principal. So, not fun. I couldn't get away with anything in school,” he offers with a chuckle. He says he knew early on that he did not want to follow in his parents’ footsteps. “I didn't want anything to do with the education system,” he asserts. “I knew that whatever I would be doing would be an outside type of job. I grew up doing everything outdoors. I loved to do things growing up that would create the adrenaline rush. There were several things we would do that probably we shouldn't have, like trying to find caves to explore and towers to climb.” But Welborn says that didn’t provide a clue to his future career path. “Firefighting was not always a dream of mine. I'm not one of those who, when I was a kid, wanted to be a firefighter,” he admits. “Maybe it was something inside that I didn't realize was there because there was

June ‘22


patient safely out of a vehicle. He was also extremesomething about seeing emergency vehicles going ly patient and genuine, always trying to make sure to scenes. I can remember times when if there everybody working around him was safe and sucwas a fire engine with its lights on going down the cessful in whatever the task at hand was.” street, I would go in that direction and I wondered, After receiving his certification, Welborn was ‘What's going on? Is anybody hurt?’” hired part-time at the fire department in Newberry, Welborn was an avid sportsman until he sufa small town west of Gainesville. fered an arm injury following his senior year of “I worked there for about six months and was high school, after which he attended Florida State then offered a full-time job at Dunnellon Fire University (FSU). Rescue. About six months after that, I got the call “I started becoming interested in the medical that they were going to hire me here in Ocala,” he side of things, but I didn't necessarily want to go explains. “I started here in August of 1998.” to college for eight to 10 years to be a doctor,” he On a similar path, O’Connor had a front row recalls. “So, I started looking at physical therapy seat to Welborn’s rise. and sports medicine. I spent “One of the things I remema couple of years there and ber while we were working decided that I just didn't together for the City of Ocala want to spend my time in was that he was always raising college anymore. That's when everybody else to a higher level I realized that firefighting of standard,” O’Connor shares. would be something that “So, it makes perfect sense Clint would be enjoyable and a way has been put at the helm of that that I could help people on department. He is respected by the medical side.” the men and women who work He explains that fighting for the city because of the way fires represented a chance to he moved up through the ranks. not only serve the community, He listens and has a way of but to experience the same helping others come up with a type of adrenaline rush he had solution. He’s not a micromanenjoyed as a kid. ager and he’s never judgmental. “Unless you fight fire, That is one of the reasons he is a you really don't know what successful leader.” I'm talking about,” he offers. It is a sentiment echoed by “But firefighters have a Richie Lietz, Welborn’s deputy special sense when it comes chief. to going in there and fight“We were both promoted up ing ‘the beast,’ which is what through the ranks,” Lietz states. they would call it. You don't - Chief Clint Welborn “He got promoted to captain ever let the fire defeat you. early in his career and then to We're going to go in there and battalion chief. That was when I started working put it out as quick as we can. Now, if there's a situation where there's a rescue or something like for him as one of his captains. He set expectations and ground rules and then basically got out of the that, then that is going to take precedence. Your way and let me manage my crews, the day-to-day ultimate goal is to save lives. And then you're focused on saving property. We are there to assist operations for my fire station and whatever call I was on. I learned a lot from him by the way he those people on what could be one of the worst handled me, whether it be motivating my guys or days of their life and do what we can to minimize setting ground rules and expectations for my team. any type of damage.” He's an excellent leader.” Following FSU, Welborn trained at the Another quality that Capt. Jesse Blaire says is Florida State Fire College and pursued his EMT one of Welborn’s greatest is the steadfast support certification. It was during that time that HCA he shows to the team. Healthcare EMS Manager Michael O'Connor “He's very warm. He cares very much about his first met Welborn. employees, about people,” Blaire shares. “And his “We were in fire college together and we hit it door is always open.” off. We've remained very good friends ever since,” Welborn acknowledges that a big part of his role O’Connor offers. “He was very dedicated, whether is remaining accessible to team members so he can it was learning to tie knots or how to extricate a

I just want everybody to enjoy coming to work and to take ownership of what they do, I have great staff around me. My chiefs are great mentors to those who are coming through the ranks. We always try to prepare the person for the next step...

June ‘22


support them through the inevitable challenges they will face. “I just want everybody to enjoy coming to work and to take ownership of what they do,” he says of the 141 souls under his command. “I have great staff around me. My chiefs are great mentors to those who are coming through the ranks. We always try to prepare the person for the next step, prepare the firefighters to be drivers, prepare the drivers to be captains, prepare the captains to be battalion chiefs. When you are promoted through the fire department, you face challenges every time you go to the next level.” For those coming through the ranks, like Fire Equipment Operator Thiago Novaes, who first had the opportunity to work with Welborn in 2016, the 46-year-old chief is a source of inspiration. “I could see he was a natural leader by how he held himself, how he talked to people and his knowledge,” Novaes recalls. “I wanted to learn from him, to be around someone who held himself to a higher standard and wants to keep everybody around him to the same standard. He makes you want to be better.” Welborn recognizes the pressures his team faces and tries to prepare them for success as they navigate their career paths. “There's great responsibility in every aspect of being a firefighter, especially when we're talking about a person’s life. Obviously, that's the greatest responsibility and probably what creates the greatest pressure because you're pulling somebody from a fire or out of a building because of a fire, trying to save somebody's life who's been in a vehicle accident and has severe injuries or somebody who's experiencing a life-threatening medical episode,”

he explains. “After the call, you go back and you're thinking in your head, ‘Did I do this right? Did I do this?’ Step by step, you're checking all the boxes. All you can do is your job. You do what you're trained to do, which is why the training is long and rigorous. But if you follow your training, you're going to be successful in what you do. And if you stay up on your training, you're going to be confident. And you always have to be confident in what you do. Confidence breeds competence. If I'm confident in myself, I'm going to do a good job. Now that I'm the fire chief, my concern is the entire department. The organization, as a whole, is my responsibility. With that responsibility comes the morale of everybody.” When I point out that this was this first time during our chat that he referred to himself as fire chief, he nods and owns it. “I don't think that many people become a firefighter to be the fire chief. So, being the fire chief, there is definitely a feeling of humbleness. I am grateful I had the support of the personnel. And the fact that I had the support from my superiors is humbling. It is...it's humbling,” he continues thoughtfully. “Obviously, it’s a great responsibility, but it’s a challenge that I accepted. And if I accept the challenge, I will do the best that I can.” After a moment of reflection, I ask what he wants the community to know about OFR. “I do want the community to know that as the fire chief, I feel that....and yes, I'm biased, I feel the citizens of Ocala have the best fire department around. The personnel are top-notch people who care about the community and they are always striving to do what's best and to be better at what they do. The citizens deserve the best medically trained EMTs and paramedics and the best trained firefighters. I believe that we have that at Ocala Fire Rescue.” When he is not leading OFR, there is nowhere he would rather be than with his wife of 24 years, Aubrey, and sons Cade, Coye and Case. “I love to spend time with my family. I think the best day would be to be able to spend it with my wife and sons, doing something we all enjoy. Being able to laugh and just spend all day together,” he reveals. “I enjoy anything outdoors. I also just like working at my house on our property. It's a little five-acre piece, but it's ours and we’ve got a garden going. I coach my youngest son’s baseball team and in my off-time I'm watching my middle son’s high school baseball games. I do like to cook. If it's grilled, smoked, or anything like that, I enjoy doing it. My favorite thing to smoke is brisket. It's actually something that I would love to do once I retire. One of my dreams would be to own a food truck type thing.”

RUNNING with a PURPOSE Craig Bachrodt is taking on a 100-mile run in the Colorado Rockies to honor mothers and raise money for charities. By JoAnn Guidry Photography by Alan Youngblood



physically active person, no matter how busy my life gets. It is part of who I am.” In addition to an active lifestyle, the other constant in Bachrodt’s life has been the family business of owning car dealerships. “My grandfather owned car dealerships and my father, Lou Bachrodt III, continued on in that business. My father currently owns car dealerships in Pompano Beach and Coconut Creek here in Florida,” explains Bachrodt, who is involved in the management of his father’s dealerships. “I guess it was only a matter of time before I owned a car dealership. In 2001, I bought Palm Chevrolet and moved to Ocala.”

Finding the Greenway and Love

Shortly after moving to Ocala, Bachrodt was introduced to the Cross Florida Greenway trails system by local mountain bikers. “I was absolutely amazed by the Greenway and what a gift it is to have it right here in Ocala,” he notes. “While I was still running, I began to spend more and more time on the mountain bike trails.” Not only did Bachrodt fall in love with the Greenway, he also fell in love with Anna Redgate, an art teacher at The Cornerstone School. Redgate, whose 9-monthold daughter Grace Sarah Bachrodt was killed by a drunk driver in 2000, was also the founder and CEO of YouImpact, an online program that supports the court and probation systems by offering an alternative to traditional victim impact panels for convicted drunk drivers. “Anna quickly became the love of my life,” says Bachrodt, his eyes brightening. “I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.” In fact, Redgate played a large role in Bachrodt’s first participation in a Leadville Trail Series race. In 2015, he took on the Leadville Trail 100 MTB, which is the mountain bike race of the series.

Photo courtesy of Bachrodt family.


raig Bachrodt remembers his first run with a specific sentimental clarity. “My earliest and fondest memory of running was with my mom when I was 14. It was a snowy night in my hometown of Rockford, Illinois,” Bachrodt, 54, says with a smile. “The night was nearly silent other than our feet making gently crunching sounds over the three inches of snow as we ran straight down the middle of Inverness Drive. Just my mom and me. I still remember it like it was yesterday.” Already an all-around athlete, that snowy-night run led Bachrodt to add running to the long list of sports he competed in as a youth. “My mom, who ran and was always a fit woman, believed children needed to get outside to run, play and be active. She drove me to baseball, swimming, golf, tennis, football, soccer, snow and waterskiing practices and competitions. Soccer was my favorite,” shares Bachrodt, whose mother, Sarah Bachrodt, was an internationally known abstract artist. “But now I added a love of running, both track and cross-country. I would take the bus from my middle school and be dropped off at the high school to practice with the varsity track team. I enjoyed a successful freshman track season before we moved to Boca Raton in 1981. I continued to run on the cross-country team through high school and did well.” Bachrodt’s running became recreational when he attended the University of Wisconsin, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication. He kept running as he began his professional business management career, adding road and mountain biking to his workouts. “My mother was very successful in molding me into someone who believed in lifelong fitness,” he says with a grin. “I just can’t imagine not being a

My mother was always excited to hear about my adventures. And she ended up being the reason that I finally decided to do the Leadville Trail 100 Run. – Craig Bachrodt

“Anna and my trainer Beau Chavez, from the Institute of Athletic Performance in Ocala, were the best support crew for that mountain bike race that anyone could ask for,” says Bachrodt, who finished the event in 10:13.54; the 10 being 10 hours. “It was a great experience and I started thinking then about coming back for the Leadville Trail 100 Run.” With that in mind, and having accomplished the Leadville Trail 100 MTB, Bachrodt refocused his attention on running. His increasingly long runs were with his friend Chester Weber around the Weber family’s expansive Live Oak Stud property and on the Greenway trails. “The great thing about trail running is that you can run on the same trail every day and it’s always different,” Bachrodt points out. “Nature is never stagnant and surprises you on every run with a different experience.”

Seeking Solace

On April 15th, 2017, Bachrodt lost the love of his life when Redgate died at 48. “After Anna passed away, my runs on the Greenway trails gave me time to be with my thoughts and memories,” shares Bachrodt. Over time, he dealt with his grief through run-

ning. “People would always tell me that I looked like a marathon runner,’’ says Bachrodt, who has been a vegetarian since 1997. “But I hadn’t run any marathons, so I started thinking maybe that I was something I should do.” In 2019, Bachrodt ran two marathons three weeks apart. First came the Lake Tahoe Marathon on October 14th-16th, where he finished the 26.2 mile-distance in 4:01.35. That was followed by the New York City Marathon on November 3rd, which he finished in 3:49.21. “I loved running those marathons and decided I definitely wanted to do more,” he says. “And then COVID-19 shut down everything, including marathons, in 2020.” Not to be deterred, Bachrodt ran solo marathons, 16 of them in 12 months, on his own just for, well, because he loved the training process and the experience of completing the goal. He also began extending his miles beyond the marathon distance. For his 53rd birthday in 2020, Bachrodt did a 53mile run in the Greenway. “I found that I really liked long-distance running. Road runners run in miles while trail runners run in hours,” notes Bachrodt, who kept challenging himself. “In the summer of 2021, June ‘22


Above left, Craig Bachrodt with his mom, Sarah. Above right, Craig with Anna Redgate. At bottom, Anna and Sarah.



big smile and a giggle, she enthusiastically replied, ‘Absolutely!’ So I had my answer.” Three days later, sometime after going to sleep, Sarah Bachrodt suffered a massive stroke. She passed away in the early morning of November 5th, 2021, at 78. “During my mom’s last few days, and with that video for inspiration, I knew I would run the Leadville Trail 100 in her honor,” says Bachrodt. “I finally had my ‘Why.’”

Expanding the Why

While running on the Greenway trails shortly after his mother passed away, Bachrodt was thinking of her and of the major role she played in shaping his life. And he thought about how many people felt the same way about their mothers as he did about his. In but a few strides, he had an epiphany. “I decided to run Leadville not just for my mom, but for other moms and for charity. So, I created run100formom.com,” explains Bachrodt. “Through that website, anyone can donate any amount in the name of their mom, or their grandmother or aunt, any woman who nurtured them

Photos courtesy of Bachrodt family.

my friend Rami Ghandour and I ran across Yosemite National Park with Aspire Adventure Running. We ran 99 miles in four days, and it was fantastic.” Throughout his running evolution, Bachrodt says his mother was his biggest fan. “My mother was always excited to hear about my adventures,” he shares. “After she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2021, she moved in with me. And she ended up being the reason that I finally decided to do the Leadville Trail 100 Run.” While Bachrodt had been considering returning to Leadville, this time for the 100-mile run, he says, “I never had a big enough ‘Why?’—the reason one needs to get through those long miles.” On October 26th, 2021, Bachrodt had a phone call with his running coach Jason Koop, a wellknown accomplished ultrarunner, coach and author. The subject of Leadville again came up during the conversation. “As soon as I got off the phone with Jason, I asked my mom if she thought it was a good idea for me to run the Leadville 100,” says Bachrodt, who used his cellphone to video tape the moment. “She replied ‘Yes.’ Then I asked her again and, with a

and encouraged them to get outside and be active. People can designate a charity if they want to and I want them to post their stories on the website to share with others.” Bachrodt, who has long donated to charities such as PACE Center for Girls - Marion, Save The Children, Smile Train and GO Campaign, is hoping to raise $100,000 and will match that with another $100,000 for several charities. “We should hold in reverence our mothers and the other women in our lives who play such a big role in making us who we turn out to be,” Bachrodt offers. With the Leadville Trail 100 Run on August 20th in his sights, Bachrodt has been steadily increasing his weekly running time from an average of seven to nine hours a week and will progress to 20 hours. The record time for the Leadville Trail 100 Run is 15:42:59, set by Matt Carpenter in 2005. In addition

to the distance, the race in the Colorado Rockies features elevations of 9,200 feet to 12,000 feet. “I’m going to do a self-supported training camp in Leadville the first weekend of June,” notes Bachrodt, who also has his weekly coaching phone sessions with Koop. “And then I’ll run the Leadville Silver Rush 50 Run on July 9th. That run starts at 10,000 feet and reaches 12,000 feet on four separate occasions.” Bachrodt is savoring the training process and anticipating the experience of the Leadville Trail 100 Run. “I’m a very coachable, goal-oriented person and I love to run,” he says, adding, “But running for run100formom.com is going to make it even more of a great experience.” To learn more and support Bachrodt’s run for charities, go to run100formom.com

We should hold in reverence our mothers and the other women in our lives who play such a big role in making us who we turn out to be. – Craig Bachrodt

STEEPLECHASE RETURNS TO FLORIDA Equine racing, tailgating and even fashions on the field thrill participants and attendees. By Michael Compton Photography by Meagan Gumpert




n equestrian circles, it is widely understood that the first Saturday in May represents just one thing: the running of the historic Kentucky Derby in Louisville. If Archie Macauley and Jessica Berry have any say, the first Saturday in March will become synonymous with The Florida Steeplechase in Ocala. On a sun-splashed Saturday afternoon March 5th, steeplechase racing returned to Florida with the inaugural running of The Florida Steeplechase at the Florida Horse Park. The festive event, co-founded by Macauley and Berry, proved a hit for participants and attendees alike, suggesting that the day of steeplechase racing might become a permanent fixture on the sport’s annual calendar. In the works since 2020, The Florida Steeplechase proved well worth the wait for the couple, who reside in Boynton Beach. Despite delays that stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic, Macauley and Berry stayed the course, generated sponsorships and, two years after their original idea of bringing steeplechase racing back to the Sunshine State, executed a captivating day of competition in Ocala/Marion County, The Horse Capital of the World. Florida last hosted a steeplechase event in 2009 at The Little Everglades in Dade City, a popular meet that began in 2000 and continued through 2009. “The day was a great success,” says Macauley of The Florida Steeplechase. “Everything went well, everyone was happy with the races. The tailgating groups had so much fun all afternoon. It was just phenomenal.” “It was almost surreal to see the event come to fruition after so long and to see how well it was received by the local community,” offers Berry, echoing Macauley’s sentiments. “There were quite a few first-time steeplechase attendees who came, and we tried to encourage people to embrace steeplechase racing traditions like tailgating and fashions on the field through our social media prior to the event. We were absolutely blown away by the response we received. From the unbelievable tailgates to the sheer number of participants we had in the fashion competition, it was fantastic to see everybody participating with such enthusiasm.” Created by Macauley and Berry to fill a void in the sport’s schedule, The Florida Steeplechase was run with the guidance and supervision of both the National Steeplechase Association (NSA), the governing body of American steeplechase racing, and the Temple Gwathmey Steeplechase Foundation. Buoyed by the results and feedback from the first running of The Florida Steeplechase, Macauley and Berry are hopeful the event has the potential to grow into a sanctioned event on the NSA calendar. “We had small fields, but we anticipated that for this time of year,” Macauley shares. “While the fields were small, they were competitive. Every fence was exciting and we had some thrilling finishes. We are already calling on sponsors for next year’s event. We are already planning for next year. We want it to be bigger and better next year, and have a sanctioned race meet with purse money. That will lead to even larger, more competitive fields.” Support from horse owners, trainers and riders, as well as the local equestrian community, was imperative for the initial running and is important for the long-term viability of the event. Macauley expresses gratitude for the widespread support they received and for the buy-in from horsemen, sponsors and fans. “The horsemen were very happy, and our sponsors all had a June ‘22


We’re so glad that everyone had such a good time. This is just the beginning. What everyone saw is just the start. There are bigger and better things to come. – Archie Macauley

in a three-horse field, it was tough to keep him covered up (racing behind horses). When I asked him a little bit at the last jump, he just took off. I am happy I got to ride him. My trip to Ocala was worth it. “I’m thrilled that Archie and Jessica put this event together,” Boucher added. “They are giving us all a shot at another place to compete. There aren’t a lot of places (courses or race meets) that offer steeplechase racing, so it’s a big effort to put something like this together. They’ve created a great atmosphere here and I’m happy that so many people showed up to support the event. A meet like this has the potential to get a lot more people Archie Macauley and Jessica Berry involved in our sport.” In addition to the exciting racing action, The Florida Steeplechase also featured a great time in the tent,” Macauley says. “It was a host of exhibitions and competitions, including a positive day. We had volunteers who really looked Ladies’ Fashions on the Field contest. Celebrating out for us. Everyone came together to make it all happen. We are so pleased to have brought steeple- fashion and millinery, the fashion competition was sponsored by Odette Boutique, which is in the chase racing to Ocala.” World Equestrian Center. Prizes were awarded to Among the winners on the five-race card was the top three participants as voted on by Michelle Allison B. Fulmer’s The Happy Giant, who won Barnecett, founder and curator of Odette, Devon the Brown Advisory Hurdle at the distance of Zebrovious of Cherry Blossom Millinery and Louisa two miles. Sixth in a maiden special weight race Barton, host of The Horse Talk Show. at Tampa Bay Downs in February, the 6-yearSouth Creek Foxhounds, located in the Tampa old gelded son of Frost Giant-Marquet Rate, by area and Florida’s oldest foxhunting club (officially Marquetry, was ridden to victory by Mell Boucher, founded in 1965), was among the initial sponsors who made the trip to Ocala from Camden, South of the event. Steeplechase racing and hunting have Carolina, where she is a freshman in college. “I’ve ridden him a couple of times before,” relat- been intrinsically linked and the hounds paraded on ed a jubilant Boucher moments after the victory. “I the racecourse between the first and second hurdle races of the day. love this horse. He’s been at a flat track (Turfway “Archie called me because I used to be very Park in Kentucky) all winter, so he hasn’t jumped. involved in The Little Everglades Steeplechase,” He is a horse who likes to come from out of it, but 48


notes Vicki Reeves of the South Creek Foxhounds. “We had a group of 30 people at the event, with some opting for the Turf Club and others trackside tailgating with us and our staff. It was my first visit to The Florida Horse Park and it is just gorgeous, absolutely beautiful. The event has met all our expectations. Of course, we’d like to see a little larger turnout, but it was just the first year. It was the same thing with Little Everglades. It (The Florida Steeplechase) will grow and expand as time goes on.” The Florida Steeplechase was run as a preliminarily sanctioned meet. The hope is that it returns as a fully sanctioned meet in 2023. “The turnout completely exceeded expectations and we were delighted with how the event went,” Berry states. “All the races went off without a hitch and we had some very exciting close finishes. Next year we aim to run fully sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association and offer prize money. This year was a great introduction of steeplechase racing to the Ocala community and we will spend the next year planning to grow the event significantly in 2023. “We would like to thank all our volunteers and sponsors, without whom this event would not have been possible,” she continues. “A special thank you is owed to Mason Lampton, who in addition to being a sponsor, has been a mentor, voice of reason and a friend to us through-

out this journey. The horsemen and sponsors all enjoyed themselves tremendously. They were very pleased with the event and all the horses came out of their races well.” “When everything was said and done at the end of the day, it was a tremendous relief and a feeling of achievement,” offers Macauley. “We’re so glad that everyone had such a good time. This is just the beginning. We built the entire thing in a relatively short period of time and we produced a product that everybody loved. What everyone saw is just the start. There are bigger and better things to come.” To learn more, go to thefloridasteeple chase.com

Tailgating spread

Ladies’ Fashions on the Field contestants

Coach andFriend

Single parenting has its ups and downs but also many rewards, says this Ocala dad. By Marian Rizzo

Pictured above, Matthew, Anna and Sid Schrum, with family dog, Gracie. Photo by Becky Collazo. 50


Photo courtesy of Sid Schrum.


he consensus is unanimous. Sid Schrum is a great dad, say his 23-year-old sons, David, Matthew and Sam, and daughter Anna, 19. All four of the children were adopted as babies through overseas agencies—the three boys, unrelated, are from Kazakhstan, and Anna is from China. Raising four children, especially when they’re close in age, can be a challenge. But Sid says everyone has worked together to keep the household going— like a “well-oiled machine.” “The kids pretty much knew how to do their laundry by the time I was divorced,” Sid notes. “They also cleaned their own rooms. We had a chore list. Typically, I would cook, but as the kids got older, I would encourage them to cook. Basically, I had a rule that whoever cooked didn’t have to clean up, so everyone else pitched in to clean up after a meal. Matthew was a natural at cleaning up the kitchen, so he kind of took the lead and still does to this day.” As far as Sam is concerned, he learned a lot more from his dad beyond how to dry the dishes, mow the lawn and take out the garbage. “He put us ahead of himself,” notes Sam. “He taught us that people matter and you have to put people first. He taught me how to have a servant’s mindset, that you have to get up and work hard.” Sam recently graduated from the Valor School of Leadership, an extension of Southwestern Assemblies of God University, and has been working part-time as a youth pastor at a church in Georgia. All four of the Schrum children have embarked on individual pursuits. Matthew is a firefighter/ paramedic with Marion County Fire Rescue, David attended the University of South Florida and works in a high-end restaurant in St. Petersburg and Anna will graduate in August from the University of Florida with plans to pursue a master’s degree in clinical psychology working with children. “I feel great about the kids,” declares Sid, who until recently had to drive a great distance to his job. “It was exhausting. I would come home and a lot of times I would sleep for a good part of the day on Friday because I was so tired. My biggest challenge was keeping them on course with their schoolwork. All the boys played basketball and Anna did ballet until she went off to UF. It was tough on me at times, juggling the demands of a job, finances and having to encourage my kids, and trying to keep them from the pitfalls and temptations that high schoolers face today. My faith in Jesus Christ was definitely something that helped me during this very difficult time, where it would be easy to fall into despair and wonder, ‘Why this? Why me? Why my children?’” But there were a few extra responsibilities that

had him reeling, particularly when it came to Anna’s needs. “It seemed like every time I went to the grocery store, I was buying shampoo and hair conditioner,” Sid recalls. “I didn’t want to go through the grocery line with watermelon and chicken legs and sanitary napkins. It was very embarrassing. Now, it’s water off a duck’s back.” Until the children started cooking, the job usually fell to Sid. “I often cooked at home in order to serve home-cooked meals to the kids,” he says. “I actually learned how to splay a turkey by Googling the instructions on the internet. But there was a lot I didn’t know. For example, I didn’t know you shouldn’t use a metal spatula on a nonstick pan.”

From left, Matthew, Anna, Sid, Sam and David Schrum.

At 64, Sid continues to work as an electrical engineer but now does so mostly from home. Though two of the children have moved out to pursue their goals, Matthew still resides with his father and Anna spends time there on some weekends and during holiday breaks from college. “He did a really good job of helping us learn everything—how to do our taxes, college applications, buying a car,” says Anna. “He also was helping us decide what to do with our future. My dad and I are very close. He’s been a role model for me to work hard in everything that I do.” Looking back, Sid admits single parenting hasn’t been easy, but the rewards outnumber the difficulties, he insists. “There were times when it was really tough, when I was questioning, ‘Is this going to turn out OK? Are we on the right path? Are they going to be OK?’” he shares. “I would say that I have today a closer and more positive relationship with every one of my kids. My reward, I think, is the relationship I have with them. As a parent of young adults, I’m their coach, but I’m also their friend.” June ‘22


Step By Step For the sake of his children, widower John Streb is looking ahead while reflecting on the past. By Marian Rizzo | Photography by Dave Miller Pictured from left, Jonathan Streb, Ryan Streb, John Streb Sr., Sara Streb and Kyle Streb. (John Streb Jr. is not shown.) 52



ife was good for John and Chelsea Streb make sure it’s Pyrex, otherwise it’s gonna blow up. Mine shattered and it ruined the oven. I was makand their five children. Apart from work ing meatloaf and had been watching it. We left the and school activities, Chelsea often kitchen and when we came back, smoke was complanned weekend getaways—camping, ing out of the oven. There was meatloaf and sauce cruising on their pontoon boat, and trips to one of all over the inside. We ended up going out to dinner Central Florida’s many theme parks. that night. And I had to replace the oven.” Then tragedy struck in 2019 when Chelsea was Chelsea’s aunt, Mary Piccin, has only praises for diagnosed with cervical cancer. She passed away on John and the way he took on the role of a single dad. February 13th, 2021. “He and I talked a lot about the grief and im“Everything pretty much came to a standstill,” pending responsibilities,” Piccin reflects. “He never John recalls. “We each grieved in our own way and complained. He always managed to be where he kept going on. I tried to do stuff my wife liked to do. needed to be. He just was exhausted all the time, I made sure I took weekends off and worked normal but he always coped. As Chelsea became more and hours during the week to spend time with the kids.” more ill, one could almost say he graduated into Three of the children—Jonathan, 27, John, 26, being a single father.” and Kyle, 23—were already on their own when But John didn’t always have to handle things their mother became ill. Ryan, 14, and Sara, 13, alone. Chelsea’s mom, Diana Burke, moved in while are still living at home. They are her daughter was ill. among the 3 million children “It added a little bit of under the age of 18 who are continuity for the kids to have living with a single dad. Like their grandmother there,” John, 6 percent of all single fanotes Piccin. “We didn’t know thers are widowed, according how quickly Chelsea would deto U.S. Census Bureau statistics. cline. Both Chelsea and Diana John owns a business installing got COVID and survived. John burglar alarms and commercial fire had a lot on his plate. I have alarm systems. Though Ryan and never seen a man more stalwart and moving on, day-toSara share some of the household day, taking care of things. My duties, such as cleaning and taking sister-in-law was an invalid. care of the animals, Sara credits John treated her like his own her father for keeping things going mother. She died in November the way her mother did. of COPD. When she passed, it “He takes us to school every was doubly hard on them.” day,” Sara offers. “He does the John claims he simply cleaning and shopping, and he moved on, step by step. takes us to do stuff our mom took “I just kept going,” he mainus to do. The biggest change is not – John Streb tains. “I had to concentrate being able to talk to someone about on the kids and my business. girl stuff,” she adds, giggling. “My When my wife got sick, my entire life’s focus bedad just has no idea at all.” came her. Holidays, especially Christmas, were a Unknowingly, John has become a role model for big thing. I never had to worry about buying gifts his son Ryan, who claims he wants to go into the before. I just supplied the money and by the end of family business someday. Ryan also says he and his the year we had Christmas done.” dad enjoy role-playing board games and monster Chelsea’s mom also helped with such things fights on the computer. before she died, he adds. “We like Dungeons & Dragons,” Ryan shares. “This year, I’ll have to figure it out or start buy“I play the warrior and he’s usually the dungeon ing gifts early,” John notes. “With five kids, I’ll have master or necromancer or wizard.” to plan ahead and budget through the year.” “My dad’s actually been doing a really good job John’s advice to other fathers embarking on with cooking,” Ryan adds. “He’s been making a lot single parenthood? of meals, trying new things like meatloaf, steak, “There’s no reason you can’t do it,” he insists. hamburgers and bratwurst.” “It takes some patience and compassion, but you’re But experiments in the kitchen don’t always run just gonna have to let some things go. That’s why smoothly, admits John. some people have such a problem with it, they want “I discovered you can’t put any kind of glassto control every aspect. Sometimes, you just gotta ware in the oven,” he says, laughing. “You have to go with it.”

It takes some patience and compassion, but you’re just gonna have to let some things go. That’s why some people have such a problem with it, they want to control every aspect. Sometimes, you just gotta go with it.

June ‘22


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In The Kitchen With Alberto Rullan Grilling ribeye steaks and veggies is a specialty—and tradition—for this Ocala veterinarian. By Susan Smiley-Height | Photography by John Jernigan



he gorgeous hues of red, yellow and green bell peppers, and the velvety brown of the portabella mushrooms, all awaiting preparation on the wood-topped kitchen island, are the first clue that Dr. Alberto Rullan, DVM, is about to create some menu magic. But it is when he steps outside and goes to work behind the Big Green Egg grill that you really get a sense that this dude knows what he’s doing when it comes to grilling a perfect steak. After all, when he and some classmates at Pennsylvania State University wanted “to have some fun” while enrolled in a meat science class, they would spend Friday nights mastering how to tell the difference between grades of beef, such as choice and prime. Rullan was born in Puerto Rico and grew up on a cattle farm. He says he learned most of his cooking skills from his father. “I was raised in a little town named Adjuntas, in a valley surrounded by majestic mountains,” Rullan shares. “There is one area that, if you are in the bottom and look up, it looks like a person is asleep. My hometown is called the City of the Sleeping Giant.” He says his family’s farm “had cattle and horses and every animal you could imagine, but there was no veterinarian in town because it is so remote. I got tired or our animals dying without care. I always wanted to save these animals. My dad used to be the quote/unquote caretaker, but he didn’t go to vet school, he just learned it.”

Rullan says when he was 8 years old a driver had an asthma attack and his vehicle ran into his dad, who was on horseback. The crash broke the horse’s leg. “And that was my favorite horse,” he recalls. “I couldn’t save that horse, so I said I’m not going to let broken-leg horses die anymore.” At 12, he was “running around with veterinarians in the city, two or three hours away, and one of them took me under his wing and told me, ‘You need to go to Pennsylvania,’ because that’s where the best school is.” Rullan says he studied hard so he could win scholarships to attend college. He earned his undergraduate degree at Pennsylvania State University in 2002 and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2006. He then did a medical and surgical internship at the Louisiana State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital and clinic. “And that’s where I met my wife,” he says with a broad grin. “We have been together since 2007.” Rullan owns Performance Equine Veterinary Services. His wife, Dr. Katherine O’Brien, DVM, also a veterinarian, is the owner of Maricamp Animal Hospital. The couple have two sons, William and Michael. “Alberto’s cooking is one of the reasons I married him,” offers O’Brien. “It is like magic every day he whips up something from nothing in our kitchen. I consider his cooking to be his happy place—stress free and creative.” Rullan says his grilled steak and veggie meal is a family favorite, which he cooks every weekend. The meal is so popular, in fact, he cooked it for their wedding reception when he and O’Brien were married in Ocala. Rullan says that in picking out a good cut of meat, the marbling makes all the difference in texture and flavor. “When I go to the supermarket, I know which one to pick,” he boasts. “You need perfect marbling, or it won’t be as good.” And if you are standing next to Rullan when he is grilling, all your senses will be on high alert as the veggies char and become tender and the ribeyes sizzle under his watchful eye. To round out his favorite meal, Rullan likes to serve a bottle of Annadoll Proprietary Red Blend from Katya Vineyards, based in downtown Ocala, and a special guava cake made by his sister-in-law, Carolyn Rullan, the wife of his brother William, which can be ordered by sending a message at fb.com/Caros-Sweet-Tooth. “This is soooo good,” he says after taking a bite of the cake. “There’s no way this one will make it through the weekend!”

Grilled Peppers

Grilled Portabella Mushrooms

Three bell peppers (red, yellow and green) Asian sesame salad dressing (bottled or homemade) Butter

Six portabella mushrooms Pink Himalayan salt Spray on cooking spread (such as I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter) Minced garlic (freshly minced or from a jar)

Wash the peppers. > Cut each pepper in half and discard the seeds. > Slice each pepper into strips and place onto a cast iron or other grill-safe cooking container. > Drizzle salad dressing over the peppers and top with a large pat of butter (about two tablespoons). > When ready to cook, put the peppers on the grill first as they need the longest amount of cooking time. > As they cook, stir the peppers occasionally and add more dressing if needed.

Place the mushrooms stem-side up on the grill. > Sprinkle with pink Himalayan salt. > Spray with cooking spread. > Spoon minced garlic over the surface and spread around. > Grill until tender. June ‘22



Grilled Ribeye Steaks Four ribeye steaks with good marbling Montreal Steak Seasoning Pink Himalayan salt Olive oil Prepare grill to achieve a high heat. > Sprinkle each steak with pink Himalayan salt and Montreal Steak Seasoning. > Pour a little olive oil over each steak and coat both sides. > Put steaks on grill. > After one minute, flip each steak over. > Cook for one minute, then flip again. > Reduce the heat valve and let the steaks sit for two to four minutes, which should yield a perfect medium rare condition. > Remove the steaks from the grill and serve. 58


Guava cake made by Carolyn Rullan.

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A Firsthand Look at War

Helen Walkup Cairns, who grew up in Marion County, has published her father’s diary, in which he recounts being a B-17 pilot during World War II. By Susan Smiley-Height



Left photo, Edwin “Snake” Walkup. Right photos, Mary Elizabeth and Edwin Walkup, and Edwin Walkup, standing in center, with his B-17 crew. Photos courtesy Helen Walkup Cairns.


ighth Army Air Force pilots of the B-17 Flying Fortress flew some of the most dangerous missions during World War II. These brave aviators, many of whom were novices, came from all over the U.S., including a young man from McIntosh, a small town in northern Marion County. “They were tasked with flying their war machines into some of the most heavily fortified airspaces in the world. The German Luftwaffe attacked them relentlessly on every mission and the skies were filled with antiaircraft fire. The missions were long and hazardous, but were critical to the war effort,” writes Charles V. Ickes II, a retired U.S. Air Force major general, in the foreword of Daddy’s Diary: The War Journal of B-17 Pilot Lt. Edwin “Snake” Walkup. Helen Walkup Cairns lovingly transcribed her father’s handwritten diary, in which he faithfully recorded his impressions—and exploits—from May 19th through December 7th, 1944, during which he was a pilot or copilot on 35 missions. Edwin F. Walkup received his unusual nickname when he was a tall and thin 14-year-old and resembled what one McIntosh resident called a Snake Doctor, a dragonfly-like bug. Walkup, the son of a farmer and homemaker, attended local schools as well as the University of Florida and Stetson University, where he played baseball, football and ran track, and earned a degree in economics and business administration. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps cadet training program in July 1942 and earned his wings in July 1943. He got a pass home to McIntosh so he could marry his longtime sweetheart, Mary Elizabeth Harrison, on August 1st, 1943. In 1944, he was bound for England. “Airplanes flying over woke me about 0400 and from then until now they have not stopped. At any time, you can see some of them. Saw swarms of P-38s and B-26s and large formations of 17s and 24s. From this I thought that something was up,” Walkup writes on June 6th, 1944, which came to be known as D-Day. “About noon we heard the invasion is on and landings are being made in Northern France. Orders came out and from now on we wear our 45 pistols, gas masks and helmets at all times.” Walkup’s writings range from the seriousness of war to his bad luck at shooting craps and adjusting to life and the language in foreign lands. After the war, Walkup remained in the Army Air/U.S. Air Force for another 11 years. He and his wife had two children, Helen and Edwin Jr. Once they settled down in McIntosh, he began a long in-

volvement as a town councilman and civic leader, including with the McIntosh Lions Club. He was well known for his gardening abilities, especially with cucumbers and tomatoes. “My parents were ever-present and supportive. They were the parents who drove the cheerleaders to games, had the slumber parties, had the family reunions and the church picnics,” recalls Cairns. “We had dinner together every night. During the fall, we went to Gator games and dove hunting. Always to Sunday School and church on Sundays. When Daddy came home from work, he changed clothes and went out to his garden to pick the ripe vegetables or tend to the citrus and camellias he grafted.” She has fond memories of summer visits at her mother and father’s lake house on Island Lake, near the Ocala National Forest, and says her children “adored them.” “He did talk some about his military service, but I did not listen as well as I should have,” she shares. “He had taken a lot of movies during the war and during the airlift and would show them to us. I doubt he talked about feelings, at least if he did, I do not remember it.” It was after Walkup died on November 28th, 1996, that his wife found his diary. “I promised her I would transcribe it,” Cairns notes. “Thanks to her for helping me with Daddy’s handwriting, interpreting some of the words and clarifying various things.” “His writing was clear, direct and succinct,” writes Ickes. “I found Snake’s diary to be highly informative and entertaining. He had a great sense of humor and like most of the junior aviators I knew, he had a belief that he knew how to do it better. He pulled no punches and captured the essence of what it was to be in the midst of war as a B-17 pilot.” Mary Elizabeth passed away on March 2nd, 2015. Edwin Jr. died on March 27th, 2018. Cairns currently lives in Orlando. Daddy’s Diary: The War Journal of B-17 Pilot Lt. Edwin “Snake” Walkup is available through Amazon. June ‘22


Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille 24 SE 1st Avenue, Ocala

(352) 840-0900 › hookedonharrys.com Mon-Thu 11a-9p › Fri & Sat 11a-10p › Sun 11a-8p Located in the heart of downtown Ocala, Harry’s offers traditional Louisiana favorites like Shrimp and Scallop Orleans, Crawfish Etouffée, Jambalaya, Shrimp Creole, Blackened Red Fish, Louisiana Gumbo and Garden District Grouper. Other favorites, like French Baked Scallops and Bourbon Street Salmon, are complemented with grilled steaks, chicken, burgers, po’ boy sandwiches and salads. Their full bar features Harry’s Signature Cocktails, such as the Harry’s Hurricane, Bayou Bloody Mary or the Cool Goose Martini. They also feature wines by the glass and a wide selection of imported, Grande Isle Barramundi Available 6/1 – 7/31 as a part of our Summertime Features. domestic and craft beer.

Happy Hour Specials: 2-7p every day $3 Draft Beer $4 House Wine & Premium Cocktails $5 Super Premium & $6 Harry’s Signature Cocktails $7 off bottles of wine We are open for dine in, carryout and delivery through Doordash and BiteSquad

El Toreo

3790 E Silver Springs Boulevard, Ocala

(352) 694-1401 › 7 days 11a-10p SR 200, Ocala › (352) 291-2121 › 7 days 11a-11p

Head to El Toreo for the best Mexican food this side of the border! Enjoy all of your favorite traditional Mexican dishes in a friendly and festive atmosphere. Dine-in or take out available

Specials: Mondays and Wednesdays, Margaritas are $2 Saturdays, 2 for 1 Margaritas All Day


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Contain Yourself Gardening can be easy when done in pots that allow for blending plant types, simple seasonal changeouts and control of the microenvironment.

By Belea T. Keeney Illustrations by Jordan Shapot and Maggie Weakley


ontainer gardening is an easy way to get into growing plants, flowers and veggies. If you’ve ever had a houseplant, then you’re already a container gardener. Containers are great for folks who are restricted to a balcony or patio space, or just want a simple garden to manage. If you’re looking forward to getting your hands ( just a little) dirty and want some near-instant gratification, all you need is a pot, potting mix/soil and the plants you choose. There are many advantages to container gardens. “They’re a way to have fun and experiment with plant colors, textures and sizes,” says Laura Perdomo, owner of The Peacock Cottage, a local plant store. “You can do plant combinations that wouldn’t necessarily work in the ground.” Greg Vandeventer, City of Ocala Downtown Parks Operations Supervisor, agrees. “You can add a combination of foliage and color to any space. In the home setting, you can give a warm welcome to guests, enhance a patio or even showcase a driveway. Landscape containers come in all shapes, sizes and designs, leaving it up to you to create the atmosphere you are trying to achieve.” Advantage 1- You have complete control of the soil content and any amendments. A commercial, bagged potting mix will be sterilized, have bits of helpful compost mixed in and may include fertilizer. As tempting as

it is, you can’t just shovel up some dirt from your yard. In the Ocala area, it can be too sandy or contain too much clay. Advantage 2 - You’ll be able to rotate the containers for sun exposure. I had been keeping some potted caladiums on my front porch but, when the morning sun shifted in late May, becoming way too harsh for the tender tropicals, I moved the pots to my screened porch. Plus, moving pots around can give you variety in your garden spaces. Advantage 3 - By having control over the soil and location with your containers, you’ll often have fewer pests and diseases, and the plants will grow well. There are some disadvantages to using containers. You’ll have to watch moisture levels more carefully as pots may dry out quickly in the wind and sun. (You may have to water smaller pots twice a day.) They might get knocked over by the wind or critters digging around in them. If you choose the wrong plants, they may outgrow the pot quickly or just croak on you. You also can plant in nontraditional containers. We’ve all seen some Instagram silliness (like using old boots) that won’t work well in real life. Remember, containers need to breathe a bit and they definitely need a hole for drainage at the bottom. Not to say you can’t use canvas bags or boots or whatever the latest trend on social media might be, but keep in mind the actual requirements of the plants you’re (Continued on page 64) June ‘22



working with. (Plus, how long before those cutesy canvas bags get stained with soil and water? Um, about a week.) The basic planting concept behind a gorgeous mixed container is a tall thriller, a mounded filler and a vinelike spiller. Choose plants with similar water and sun requirements—you don’t want a delicate fern that needs shade mixed in with marigolds that need full sun to flower. My favorite combination this time of year is a tall variety of white caladium like Aaron or Florida Moonlight, a shortish bird’s nest fern and draping Purple Queen to make a pretty tropical mix. Another option is tall, spiky African flax, a mound of Indian Summer or ColorBlaze Keystone Kopper coleus, with asparagus fern as the spiller. Vandeventer often does a seasonal theme for his home hanging baskets. “My favorite combo at home is a hanging basket with Red Mandeville, Blue Daze (Blue My Mind) and Snow Princess Alyssum,” he shares. “This great combination of red, white and blue flowers brings some patriotism to the back patio.” For summer, Perdomo suggests, “Try a hibiscus with yellow or orange flowers, a couple of day lilies for filler and tradescantia (wandering Jew) in one of the purple varieties as a filler.” For fall, she suggests an upright camellia variety and some ornamental cabbage or kale combined with sweet potato vine, which will give a nice contrast of dark greens and deep purples. You can grow veggies in pots, too, and some varieties have been hybridized to do well in containers. Many varieties of peppers, toThe container to the right incorporates flax as the thriller, caladium and coleus as the filler and purple queen and asparagus fern as the spiller. 64


matoes and squash come in “patio” varieties that will perform well in a pot. Herbs have long been nurtured in pots and it’s so delectable to have a sprig of fresh rosemary or basil at your fingertips. So, get thee to a garden center, have fun choosing plants and enjoy the instant gratification of a mixed container garden. It will bring a smile to your face whenever you see it. A native Floridian and lifelong gardener, Belea spends her time off fostering cats and collecting caladiums. You can send gardening questions or column suggestions to her at belea@magnoliamediaco.com

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