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MATT BUXTON Modern Renaissance Man


Okeechobee Health Care Facility Enjoys Halloween Festivities

JEFF GAMMONS / PHOTOGRAPHER

CNA Chanelle Parker (currently enrolled in IRSC LPN program) with her candy-cane daughter, Makenzie (4).

Maintenance staff member, Rich Newhouse, with his wife, Tara, and their daughters, Eveline (6) and Lilly (4).

Resident June Heil, son Scott, Daughter-in-Law Felicia with their children Faith (11), Grace (5) and James (6 months). Check out James’ facial expression!

Former staff member and current resident Hazel Herbert talked candy and costume with Aria (4), escorted by mother CNA Ashley Perez while resident Linda Korpi enjoys the conversation.

A family breakfast affair! Resident Betty Bartle (90) with her friend, Walter, Daughter Mary (Egg), Son-in-Law Reno (Bacon) and Grandson Matthew (11).

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Publisher’s Note

A

s we get ready to welcome 2018, it always amazes me how fast the year goes by. This is the time of year that we spend looking back at how our lives unfolded over the past year and are grateful for who we have in them. We tend to realize when we look back over the year that we have far more than we thought we did, and sadly, that so many have so much less.

The December issue is always one that highlights both giving and need in our community. The Okeechobee community never shies away from helping those in need — whether they know them or not. Our cover story exemplifies one of those in our community that quietly and without fanfare is there for everyone. Meet Matt Buxton, a dedicated father and a man devoted to family and community. Our two feature stories combine both community members giving and helping to fill a need. Malissa Morgan saw a need to make sure that disadvantaged children in Okeechobee would not go without during the holiday season and now leads the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign in our community. Nano Corona turned his own experience fighting cancer into a nonprofit organization — Ride for the Fight — that provides help to those in our community in similar situations that have little or no support. Our Behind the Business features introduce you to Autumn DeCarlo of Teez 2 Pleez and Alan and Cheri Nelson and their team at Platinum Performance Builders. I am so very thankful for my wonderful team of writers, photographers, graphic designers, editors, advertising representatives, office administrators and community contributors. They are truly the heart and soul of this magazine and I could not do this without them.

Caring Beyond Prescriptions

Volume 11, Number 6 │December 2017

Publisher Susan Giddings Creative Director Lorraine Vogel Graphic Designer Valerie Wegener

One of the real joys of the Holiday S n is the opportunity to say Thank You and to wish you a Merry Chreaisstom as and a Happy New Year!

Cover/Feature Photographer Sandra Pearce Photographers Gary Burks Sharon Cannon Jane Kaufman Contributors Teresa Bishop Magi Cable Account Executive Trish Grygo Office Manager Patti Berglund

Wishing you all peace, health and happiness during this holiday season and throughout the New Year!

President Susan Giddings Founder Maureen Budjinski Okeechobee The Magazine, is published bi-monthly in Okeechobee, Florida. Copyright 2017, all rights reserved by OTM Publications, Inc. Contents may not be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to refuse advertising. The publisher accepts no responsibility for advertisement errors beyond the cost of the space occupied by the error within the advertisement itself. The publisher accepts no responsibility for submitted materials. All submitted materials subject to editing.

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

We Dispense Care

Writers Rachel Buxton Raye Deusinger Jann Seal

OTM Publications, Inc. DBA Okeechobee The Magazine 316 N.W. Fifth Street Okeechobee, FL 34972 Phone: (863) 467-0054 www.OkeechobeeTheMagazine.com

4 | December 2017

Serving the Community Since 2010

Editor J.D. Vivian

I am also thankful for each and every one of you in our community and thank you for your support. It’s an honor and a privilege to produce Okeechobee’s only community lifestyle magazine. I always want you to be proud of Okeechobee The Magazine, because after all, it is Okeechobee The Magazine — Your Magazine!

Susan Giddings

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OUR GOAL IS TO MAKE HEALTHCARE MORE AFFORDABLE Here is how we are different... Does your pharmacy accommodate Does your pharmacy have time your special needs? to find ways to save you money Does your pharmacy keep your on your prescriptions? prescriptions up to date with refills Does your pharmacy handle and stock status, etc.? SPECIALITY PRESCRIPTIONS and Does your pharmacy have spare time on demand COMPOUNDING? to discuss your health? We have ways to help Medicare patients not fall into coverage gaps or donut holes

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I

nside this issue

December 2017

42

20

There is no time more fitting to say THANK YOU to our community for their support

36 58

Features:

Matt Buxton.....................................20 By Raye Deusinger

Toys For Tots....................................42 By Jann Seal

Ride For The Fight............................58 By J.D. Vivian

Departments: Behind the Business:

Platinum Performance Builders......78 Teez 2 Pleez....................................82

In The Kitchen With:

D & G Catering................................86

Community Events: Cow-Town Hoe-Down....................12 Labor Day Parade and Festival......16 Labor Day Bull Bash.......................36 Marine Corps Toys For Tots Gala...40 Achieving Excellence Luncheon.....56 Pilots Book Release.......................68 Business of the Year Awards.........72 Boots & Pearls Gala.......................76

Columns: The Crafty Corner...........................88 There’s An App For That................92 Around Okeechobee......................96

Cover photo by Sandra Pearce.

Advertiser Index.............................98

Like Us on Facebook. www.OkeechobeeTheMagazine.com

8 | December 2017

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

86

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Community Event

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A CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON 2017-2018

The 29th Annual Living Christmas Tree December 3, 2017

The Modern Gentlemen January 8, 2018

Pam and Keith Driggers. Noel Stephen and Jennifer Busbin.

3 Redneck Tenors January 18, 2018

The Glenn Miller Orchestra

Okeechobee Cattlewomen’s Association board members, from left: Erica Harvey, Denise Colgan, Crystal Delburn, Lauren Butler, Katie McFarland, Tabatha Banville, Cindy Brummett, Zoe Butler, Jacqueline Claxton and Janet Bishop.

January 23, 2018

Cirque Zuma Zuma February 1, 2018

Hoe-Down

Cowboys & Cowgirls Attend

Disco Inferno: a 70’s Celebration February 8, 2018

Live from Nashville: Country Legends February 19, 2018

For Dinner and Dancing

Comedian Ventriloquist Taylor Mason February 23, 2018

The Okeechobee County Cattlewomen’s Association and guests put on their dancing boots for the second annual Cow-Town Hoe-Down. The sold-out Labor Day dinner and dance was held September 2 at the Okeechobee Shrine Club. Guests enjoyed a steak dinner before dancing the night away to music from the Lee Alcorn Band. All proceeds from the evening went toward the Cattlewomen’s Association’s annual scholarships.

The Annie Moses Band March 1, 2018

Katie McFarland and Reese Harvin.

Million Dollar Quartet March 14, 2018

The MACG Band March 16, 2018

On Golden Pond

Lee Alcorn of the Lee Alcorn Band.

March 23, 2018

Molodi

May 4, 2018 All dates, artists and programs subject to change.

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David Bennett, Jay Crews, Alfred Norman, Matt Arrieta, Jerry Barefoot and Sport Pickering.

12 | December 2017

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

Samantha and Carlos Saucedo.

Kris Rucks and Zoe Butler.

Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts www.OkeechobeeTheMagazine.com

December 2017 | 13


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Community Event

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Making Dreams Come True for 30 years Mack “Hoot” Worley

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Okeechobee’s annual B.R.A.T. (Building Relationships Among Teens) Club Labor Day Parade and accompanying Okeechobee Main Street Festival once again brought out the locals en masse. Crowds lined the parade route and filled Flagler Park with residents looking for family fun.

www.OkeechobeeTheMagazine.com

December 2017 | 17


“I would tell anyone who was considering having this procedure done, to go for it! You will wonder why you waited.”

S U N R I S E T H E AT R E The Best Entertainment on the Treasure Coast • 2017/18 Season T I C K E T S

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General surgeon, Carlos Alejo, and Raulerson Hospital surgical patient Dee Medina

SURGICAL SERVICES @ RAULERSON HOSPITAL DECIDING TO HAVE SURGERY This summer, Dee Medina, decided she was going to make a change to end the months of stomach pain she’d been experiencing. Her breaking-point was when the pain began to interfere with her ability to do the simplest of activities. Dee took advantage of the summer break in her college classes to schedule an appointment with general surgeon, Carlos Alejo to discuss her options for dealing with the painful gallbladder attacks that had been causing her discomfort. Up until this point, Dee had never been a hospital patient, had surgery or even stitches, so she felt nervous about the prospects of having her gallbladder removed. “I am an LPN, and I know that having surgery is a big deal,” Dee explained. That is why she took about two weeks to consider her options, before ultimately deciding that she should proceed with surgery to have her gallbladder removed, or ‘cholecystectomy’ as the nurses would say. Dee said “I felt really comfortable with the decision and was happy to be having my procedure at Raulerson Hospital, where I am employed as a nurse.” THE DAY OF SURGERY: Dee arrived in the Outpatient Surgery Department at 9:00 a.m., where several employees caring for her pre-operatively seemed surprised by her medical knowledge and interest in their techniques. “I realized some of the nurses caring for me pre-operatively didn’t know I was a nurse or that I worked there. It was different to be on the other-side of the care, but everyone was very nice,” she said. Dr. Alejo performed her surgery laparoscopically, avoiding the lengthy healing process open-surgery can require. By 1:00 p.m. Dee was gallbladder-free and on her way home to rest and recover. She said, “It was a great experience. I am so happy that I did it. Within a week, I was feeling very well. Today I feel amazing, better than I have in such a long time. I have no pain.”

Broadway & Beyond on 2nd Street Presents

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Thurs., Dec. 21 • 7pm

Broadway & Beyond on 2nd Street Presents

Christmas Wonderland Sat., Dec. 23 • 7pm

State Ballet Theatre of Russia’s

The Nutcracker Fri., Dec. 29 • 7pm

Broadway & Beyond on 2nd Street Presents

One Night In Memphis Fri., Jan. 5 • 8pm

Mature Audience Only

Brad Garrett

Thurs., Jan. 11 • 7pm

THE MUSIC OF STYX

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Broadway & Beyond on 2nd Street Presents

A Night With Janis Joplin

Sat., Jan. 13 • 8pm

Artwork by Adam Larson

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From bop to pop…the evolution of a sound!

The Doo Wop Project

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Co. Sponsored by Holiday Inn Express & Suites. Fort Pierce West, Broadway & Beyond on 2nd Street Presents

Gobsmacked!

Fri., Jan. 26 • 8pm

A 1940’s Musical Revue

Masters of Illusion Sun., Jan. 28 • 7pm

In The Mood

Wed., Jan. 31 • 7pm

ABBA Tribute Concert

ABBA Mania

Sat., Feb. 10 • 8pm

Brian Regan

Sun., Feb. 11 • 7pm

• PODIATRY • UROLOGY 4 Stars from the Original Broadway Cast of Jersey Boys

The Midtown Men

Wed., Feb. 14 • 7pm

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Thurs., Feb. 15 • 7pm

BUDDY: The Buddy Holly Story

Wed., Mar. 4 • 7pm

Wed., Mar. 7 • 7pm

Co. Sponsored by Mike & Mimi Brown Broadway & Beyond on 2nd Street Presents

Tue., Apr. 17 • 7pm

The Beach Boys

Rhythm of The Dance Sun., Feb. 18 • 7pm

Jim Breuer

Thurs., Mar. 8 • 7pm

Thurs., Apr. 19 • 7pm

The Hit Men

Fri., Feb. 23 • 8pm

An evening with

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Neil Sedaka Sat., Feb. 24 • 8pm

The Elton John Tribute

Hotel California Wed., Mar. 21 • 7pm

Thurs., Mar. 1 • 7pm

In Concert Michael McDonald

Sat., Mar. 3 • 8pm

An exciting blend of Ottawa Valley, tap and Irish Stepdancing

Lewis Black - The Jokes On US Tour

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Heart by Heart

Fri., Apr. 13 • 8pm

Thurs., Mar. 22 • 7pm

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One Night of Queen Sat., Apr. 21 • 8pm

Dee Medina, a nurse at Raulerson Hospital, had minimally invasive surgery and is back at work caring for patients.

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For tickets, call 772.461.4775 or visit SunriseTheatre.com 117 South 2nd Street in Historic Downtown Fort Pierce

Additional shows and attractions will be added throughout the season. Visit sunrisetheatre.com to see the videos for these shows!


‘Dad saw my drive and helped me. He was hard on me, but it made me the man I am today.’ ~ Matt Buxton, on working with his father, Paul

MATT BUXTON Determined, Dedicated and Driven Funeral home director focuses on family, community (and, sometimes, fun) By Raye Deusinger 20 | December 2017

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

Photos by Sandra Pearce

A

modern “Renaissance man” (or woman) is defined as an outstandingly versatile, well-rounded person who has talent and knowledge in many different fields. According to many people in Okeechobee, Matt Buxton is that man.

They have described him as determined, inventive, resourceful, a dedicated father, devoted to family and community, a steadfast and true friend, and one who is always seeking new fields and hobbies to conquer. Because he is happiest when he is so involved, his personal side is often hidden. His sister, Rachel, said, “Matt has so many layers that unless you work closely with him on a project, you

may never know the real Matt. He’s not the warm and fuzzy type or a man of many words, but he is one of the most focused and driven people I know.” Matt’s focus is exemplified in his orange Jeep. For the longest time, he was “all-Harley”; but three years ago, he got a Jeep, the same color as the orange for Harley-Davidson. Soon he had orange glasses, an orange shirt and even an orange paddle for his paddleboard. “When he gets involved in a project, an organization or a hobby, he goes ‘all out’ because that is the true Matt,” Rachel explained. Ty Waldron, a friend since high school, said, “He’s one of www.OkeechobeeTheMagazine.com

December 2017 | 21


‘Matt definitely follows the guidelines and personal beliefs of his father as far as serving families as a ministry, not a business.’ ~ Matt’s mother Marilyn

Matt with his father, Paul. Circa 1981.

‘We were the best man at each other’s weddings and are like brothers.’ ~ Ty Waldron

those guys who will be a friend to everybody, with never a bad thing to say about anybody. You can always count on him if you need him.” If Matt sees someone in need and knows he can help, he is there. He tries to use all of his “toys” to provide assistance. Following Hurricane Irma, for example, Matt loaded up one of his generators and trailered it to whoever needed it at the time, including Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, north of Okeechobee. He also has been known to “save the day” when people have been stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire. Matt’s business is the Buxton and Bass Okeechobee Funeral Home, the legacy he assumed on the death of his father, Paul. His mother, Marilyn, noted, “Matt is definitely following the guidelines his father set, but I never doubted he would. He was only five when he said he wanted to do exactly what his father did, and he never wavered or faltered in that. At times, I am concerned that Matt has so many involvements, but he’s like his dad, he has the drive.”

High school graduation ‘93 - Matt with mother, Marilyn. 22 | December 2017

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

Matt graduated from Okeechobee High School in 1993, at the top of his class. He served as Student Council president; was a member of the Beta Club and the National Honor Society; and was involved in sports, including soccer, baseball and bowling. He was offered a full-ride college scholarship out of state but, instead, settled on the University of Florida, where he attended two years but left without a degree because he was impatient to start “accomplishing things.”

Tim, Matt, Marilyn, Rachel and Philip Buxton.

He later received his mortuary science degree from St. Petersburg College, passed the National Board and the state exams, and began working with and learning from his father. Matt recalled, “Dad saw my drive and helped me. He was hard on me, but it made me the man I am today.” A friend said he sees a lot of Paul in Matt. But that side, which mostly remains hidden, pops out when you least expect it — like when he is deep in a story or a plan, looks up, and you catch that exciting, happy twinkle in his eye. Working with his father, Matt was always innovating. In 1996, he urged his dad to begin handling their own monuments, which included designing, sandblasting and installing them. He learned about monuments in one week by working with a master in Georgia and immediately knew they needed to bring in their own granite. He got a truck to haul the granite and traveled to Georgia, eventually bringing back 20,000 pounds of granite at a time.

Matt with Kathy Fisher on Velocity Network’s television show Performance TV.

That led to the obvious: If we have the granite, why not do our own sandblasting? He went to buy equipment, learned how to use it and has done his own work ever since. The next step was to dig graves rather than outsourcing those duties to a subcontractor. He and a worker, Gabriel Cologne, began digging by hand; then with a tractor; then using larger 

Matt in front of his laser machine. www.OkeechobeeTheMagazine.com

December 2017 | 23


have inherited their father’s dedication and drive. Now divorced, Matt said, “The girls are my world.” For years, when the girls were growing up, Matt served as their team coach for soccer and softball.

Matt with daughters Morgan and Dayton.

‘I am proud of my father, how much he’s accomplished and how much effort he has put into the community. Working with him has taught me to find joy in being involved. … It’s a blessing to know how Dad has helped so many people.’ Dayton, Matt and Morgan Buxton.

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Morgan said, “I am proud of my father, how much he’s accomplished and how much effort he has put into the community. Working with him has taught me to find joy in being involved. He is great at coming up with creative ideas. It’s a blessing to know how Dad has helped so many people. Because of what he has taught me and the example he has set, I decided to go into the business.”

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equipment, which could move marble, dig, and do all the other procedures necessary. “I knew I wanted Buxton to be a full-service funeral home that Okeechobee could count on,” Matt explained. But the funeral home wasn’t his sole interest. He grew up, married and had two daughters — Morgan and Dayton. Both

Matt and daughter Morgan.

Matt coaching O.C.R.A. soccer. 24 | December 2017

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

www.OkeechobeeTheMagazine.com

December 2017 | 25


Dayton said, “Dad is an absolutely amazing guy; he’s there for every organization, club or project at school. He is the epitome of what makes a man, and that makes him a legend. He is a supporter — always willing to give up his time for whatever I need to be successful. I am so thankful to have him in my life — to always be there and to know I have someone to turn to.”

Matt helping on the 4th of July committee.

‘Dad is an absolutely amazing guy; he’s there for every organization, club or project at school. He is the epitome of what makes a man. I am so thankful to have him in my life — to always be there and to know I have someone to turn to.’

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Matt’s feelings for Okeechobee go deep, whether dealing with his girls, the family, the business or outside interests: “I am a product of Okeechobee and enjoy seeing what our family has accomplished. I grew up here in the 1980s. Over the years, our involvement grew, and Okeechobee is, forever, home.”

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Matt with daughters Dayton and Morgan at the Adam Bryant Minimal Regatta.

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Matt at a rock painting party he organized.

State College. She will earn her mortuary science degree, making the funeral home a third-generation business. From her father, she has also learned sandblasting and is a certified welder. Dayton, who is still in high school, is active in Future Farmers of America (FFA), for which she served as junior president in 2016 and treasurer in 2017. Her team won in “vegetable judging” competition at the state level and placed fourth in the state individually. Matt said, “I will be surprised if she doesn’t conquer cancer.”

Matt designed, and always wears, a Lake Okeechobee necklace, which is also worn by three generations of Buxtons. Johanna Kenworthy, who met Matt about 10 years ago, said, “We immediately clicked as friends and today have a powerful friendship; every girl needs a male best friend. “Summing up Matt is easy. In the eyes of all his friends, despite all the things he does for this community, those do not define him as a person. So what defines him? The love he has for his girls, his family and his friends.” 

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December 2017 | 27


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Johanna continued, “He doesn’t know how to say ‘no,’ whether to causes, individuals or community requests. His home was on the Christmas Tour of Homes for two years. I was part of his decorating team, and there wasn’t anything there that didn’t have a light on it.” Never one to sit idle, Matt, a few years ago, became interested in laser engraving. Today you will find his work all over town, and not just pieces he has lasered and sold — but award plaques, event presentations, and even the award paddles that were given to the winners of the Adam Bryant Minimal Regatta. That was a special joy for him, as he was a regular volunteer at the Regatta.

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

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He has also helped with the United Way Gala; rodeos; and, last year, he created laser plaques of the sheriff’s star and the Okeechobee Police Department badge for the Okeechobee Blood Roundup Give-to-Live dinner. One of Matt’s most recent community projects was the Fourth of July fireworks celebration. No fireworks were planned because there was no money for them. Then, just two weeks before the date, Florida Public Utilities donated the funds, but everything had to happen immediately. A social media devotee with over 3,400 followers on Facebook, Matt was contacted by J.D. Mixon, Frank DeCarlo and Michael Hazellief to spearhead the event. Matt said, “I ended up making seven trips to haul the needed equipment. I’m a logistics and materials person; equipment is what I bring to the table, even bringing a diesel generator.” His efforts brought joy to at least 3,000 people that day. His continuing interest and passion is

28 | December 2017

the Masons, where, in 2007, he served as Master. He was honored to serve the Masonic Lodge again in 2017 — when he was installed in January as Master, yet again — during the rededication of the Okeechobee Lodge on its 100th anniversary. Always wanting to do more and to give back, Matt spent most of 2017 re-doing the Lodge with paint and new lighting, along with special laser-engraved plaques for the walls; and he plans to do more.

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Al Stone, also a Mason, noted, “Matt is like my son. He is an awesome person, very caring, and he loves his family. I haven’t known a better father in my lifetime. Anytime he does something, his girls are there to help. I met him when he helped me when I was a deputy sheriff. I probably still see him three or four times a week. “When he is dealing with a funeral, he becomes like one of the family. In fact, I’ve seen Matt reach into his pocket to help people out,” Al added.

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December 2017 | 29


an active board member of the B.R.A.T. Club (Building Relationships Among Teens) and Hospice of Okeechobee. He also is a former board member of Big Brothers, Big Sisters; and a member of the Rotary Club. Helping her father with the B.R.A.T. Club inspired Morgan’s work with the club, where she too now serves on the board. Teresa Bishop, founder of the B.R.A.T. Club, explained, “Matt has proven himself as a real team player and an asset to the B.R.A.T. Club as a dedicated board member. He’s present at all tasks and serves endlessly for the youth of Okeechobee.” He has been active in the club for more than 10 years.

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Big cars, big trucks and big equipment led to … motorcycles. Matt explained, “Harleys opened up travel to me. For three years, Police Chief Bob Peterson and I have ridden our motorcycles on trips out West. In 2014, we went to Montana, Idaho, South Dakota and Colorado — covering more than 7,000 miles. Among other sites, we saw the Grand Tetons, Rocky Mountains, and Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks in one week. We are planning a trip to Alaska in 2018. I want to be able to say ‘I rode on two wheels to the Arctic Circle.’”

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‘Matt has proven himself a real team player and an asset to the B.R.A.T. Club as a dedicated board member. He’s present at all tasks and serves endlessly for the youth of Okeechobee.’ – Teresa Bishop, founder of the B.R.A.T. Club

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Their friendship isn’t confined only to traveling far and wide. Chief Peterson said, “Every Sunday, my wife, Loretta, and I, along with Matt and his daughters, get together for kayaking and paddleboarding on the Intracoastal Waterway. Sometimes, even more members of the Buxton family join us.” He added, “I believe the police department belongs to the community, so I hold it in trust knowing that we are here to serve it. Matt Buxton does the same in his business — just a different approach. Both are family-oriented.

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“But no business can exist if you don’t handle it right. He provides a service at the worst possible moment of one’s life, and there’s no better person to go to in those moments. When my mother passed, we didn’t know anyone in Tampa. He went over, picked her up, brought her back here and took care of her and our family. He’s a single dad raising two girls, but he’s a hands-on parenting example for everyone.”  www.OkeechobeeTheMagazine.com

December 2017 | 31


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This year, as always, Matt will get dressed up in a certain red suit and make the children of Okeechobee squeal with joy when they see Santa Claus in the annual Christmas Parade, as he has done the past several years. This is yet another role he inherited from his father, Paul. In addition, Matt has done house parties, gone to the Seminole Brighton Reservation many times, and responded to friends who have asked him to show up on their doorstep on Christmas morning wearing the red suit. Frequently pensive, Matt explained, “When Dad died, it made me consider, ‘What will be remembered about you when you’re gone? What did you leave behind?’ I try to take all of the traits and attributes of my dad and pass them on. Then I will know my greatest legacy will be my kids and what they will accomplish.”

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Community Event

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40 | December 2017

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

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Making kids happy at

T

Christmas by Jann Seal

Photos by Sandra Pearce

he year was 1947, and Diane Hendricks, wife of Major Bill Hendricks of the U.S. Marine Corps, asked her husband to find an organization in their hometown of Los Angeles that could find a home for the homespun Raggedy Ann doll she had just made. Christmas was just around the corner, and Diane knew there were needy children — perhaps one special child — who would treasure her heartfelt gift.

But no organization existed that would take her Raggedy Ann. Diane knew there were children in the area who would go without during the holiday season. Being the Marine wife that she was, orders were issued to her husband to create a toy drive for the needy children of Los Angeles. Major Bill, never one to shirk orders, did just that. The happy result: By the time the Christmas trees were decorated and lighted that year, 5,000 toys were on their way to children — many of whom, perhaps, had been deprived of the spirit of Christmas until then. 

Back, from left: Malissa, Gordie and Kristina Morgan. Front: Justin Morgan, Jocelyn Martinez, Alexis Muller and Jarred Morgan.

‘ Okeechobee’s humanity is unlike any other community’s. You know the people, you know them personally and want to take care of them. They genuinely care about each other and live by the motto “ You get what you give.”’

Toys for Tots started with the donation of a handmade doll.

~ Malissa Morgan, organizer

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December 2017 | 43


Toys for Tots volunteers.

Toys for Tots was officially born the following year, and during the past 70 years, that gift of one handmade doll has mushroomed into nearly 17 million toys — all thanks to the generosity of the U.S. Marine Corps, the Toys for Tots Foundation, local coordinators, and the donations of people who recognize that a simple toy at Christmas can lift a child’s spirit for the entire year. In 1999, Okeechobee resident and new teacher, Malissa Morgan, was armed with a big heart and room on her agenda for a community service focus. Like Diane Hendricks, she realized that too many children in the area went without during the holiday season. Collecting and distributing toys to those with empty spaces under their Christmas trees — if they even had trees — would be her “give-back” to the Okeechobee community. Her Student Council group joined in with enthusiasm. But where should they start? Malissa contacted local schools and organizations and was given a list of local families who would welcome the generosity of her efforts. That year, her first of collecting and distributing toys,

Toy pick up at Gilbert Chevrolet.

was a “do it yourself ” effort. Joined by her Student Council team, deliveries were made to local schools. The following year, Malissa, with the support of her husband, Gordie, and sons, Justin and Jarred, conducted an official campaign. The local Okeechobee effort joined forces with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, becoming a local community organization and coordinating on behalf of the foundation in a community without a Marine Corps Reserve Center. By the year 2000, Toys for Tots was distributing over 4 million toys nationwide. Okeechobee’s link to the charity was solidified, and Malissa and her team shifted into high gear. Local “elves” donated their time and energy, community service hours were tallied, and bags of toys were hand-delivered to children throughout Okeechobee. Malissa recalled, “My oldest son, Justin, was 7 in our second year of toy distribution, and by the end of the day, he was tired

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and done! He didn’t want to wait for the parents to answer the knock on the door, but suggested we just leave the bag on the porch. But that wasn’t what we were about, and when the parents answered our knock, Justin heard a child say ‘Mom, I thought you said Santa wasn’t coming this year!’ Justin’s heart was touched, and since that day, he has been a part of the Okeechobee toy distribution every year!” Some 50 to 75 volunteers devote their time and energy to the Toys for Tots campaign consistently, with about 80 percent of them coming from Okeechobee’s student base. Lonnie Steiert and her son Josef, a freshman who first worked for the campaign when he was in second grade, are at the Okeechobee AgriCivic Center every year to help set up the distribution process.

are separated based on age-appropriateness. My son and I take the babies through to pick up toys and that’s my favorite part. I especially like distributing the educational toys because I know that a child’s future is being impacted.” As the toy collection process expanded throughout Okeechobee’s community to reach beyond the collection bins, local companies

‘ My son (Josef) and I take the babies through to pick up toys and that’s my favorite part. I especially like distributing the educational toys because I know that a child’s future is being impacted.’ ~ Volunteer Lonnie Steiert, who hands out toys at the Okeechobee Agri-Civic Center

Lonnie said, “We go to the Ag Center the night before distribution day and work until we’re finished. Toys come tumbling out of the PODS (Portable On-Demand Storage) that serve as storage units between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and they


After proving that they are truly Okeechobee residents, parents are taken to a room overlooking the floor of the Ag Center where they can watch their children’s faces as volunteers escort each child through the toy lines. “Children are honest and innocent, and the toys they take home with them are the toys they want. For us, it’s all about the children, and our rewards are the smiles and joy on their faces!” Malissa said. “And with anywhere between 1,400 to 1,900 children marching through the Ag Center, that’s a lot of happiness!”

jumped in to help in the coordination efforts. Today, PODS units are brought in to house and to protect the donations, which are relocated to the Ag Center just before teams move in for set-up. “At first, it was easy going from house-to-house. But the massive response we got from the Okeechobee community made us realize that we were no longer a ‘mom-and-pop’ toy drive, but something that was growing, and we needed to initiate controls,” Malissa explained. Rules were set in place and a procedure for distribution was created. Children, not their parents, would be the decision-makers in the toys they chose.

Tin Fish toy pick up.

‘ At first, it was easy going

from house-to-house. But the massive response we got from the Okeechobee community made us realize that we were growing, and we needed to initiate controls.’ ~ Malissa Morgan, organizer

Once through the gift line, the children are introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Claus, portrayed for years — too many to count — by Tom and Bonnie Peer. Photos are taken, and one year, Santa distributed treasured Hess gasoline trucks! “Malissa makes it a point to create a memory for the children. She and her family ‘get it,’ and that message is passed down to all her team members. I feel blessed to be a part of Okeechobee’s Toys for Tots volunteer team,” Lonnie said. 

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December 2017 | 47


Volunteers arrive “gift-wrapped” in the eyes of Malissa’s team. Drop-off locations are the heart of the toy collection process. But in 2015, there weren’t enough toys for every child, so the call went out for financial contributions. “Ten dollars buys three toys from our wholesale vendor,” Malissa noted. “But the more the need grew, the thinner our donations became. We knew we had to do something to stem this tide.”

Toy pick up at Tenniswood Dental.

Calling on her niece, Kristina Morgan, to help come up with an idea for fundraising, Malissa and Kristina looked to the personalities of Okeechobee residents. “Everyone knows how much the people in Okeechobee love an event!” said Malissa, and a dinner-dance concept was born. The Toys for Tots Formal Affair Gala debuted in 2016, with the initial announcement for the September affair made public the previous February. Within one month, the event was sold out!

Former Marine and Seminole Tribe of Florida Brighton Council Representative Andrew Bowers has contributed cash to the gala since its inception on behalf of the Seminole Tribe Brighton community. As a local sponsor and Gala Presenting Sponsor, the Seminole Tribe and Andrew appreciate that the funds and toys stay in Okeechobee — that fact serves as the impetus for their generosity. “For me, donating money is more effective, since the people working the fundraising and toy distribution know more about what they are doing than I do. I let the experts run with it!” Andrew said.

more effective, since the people working the fundraising and toy distribution know more about what they are doing than I do. I let the experts run with it! ’ ~ Former Marine Andrew Bowers

For the record, every toy collected and every dollar raised stays in Okeechobee. Funds collected are deposited into the Okeechobee account at the Marines’ Toys for Tots Foundation. Through their financial generosity, the citizens of Okeechobee assure less-fortunate families that their children will not go without during the holidays. Platinum Sponsor Christa Luna, of the Gilbert Family of Companies, recalled the days her grandfather opened his movie theaters in Okeechobee and invited the children to watch films for free during the holiday season. Christa said, “We all have to take an interest in our children, and our family’s

48 | December 2017

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

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December 2017 | 49


given their service to our country — in helping to brighten the lives of our children — means we’ve accomplished our goal.” John and Dorothy Wright, Presenting Sponsors for the 2017 Marine Corps Toys for Tots of Okeechobee Gala, credit their son Brian’s four-year tour with the Marines as their link to the toy campaign. A teacher in the Okeechobee school system for 30 years, John had an epiphany during a cruise with his wife. Lance Corporal Cole Herdon, Jarred, Gordie, Malissa, Kristina, Wayne and Justin Morgan and Lance Corporal Monique Masterson at the 2017 Gala.

ethic goes all the way back to the Depression. Gilbert Culbreth Sr. set the pattern, and we’ve lined up behind him and his memory since then. I applaud Malissa for her organizational skills and advocacy for the children. Before her, we didn’t have a local advocate. But when she creates an event, it scores top ratings! It takes a leader to command our community effort, and she has the heart to get the community excited and ready to work!”

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OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

All the Gilbert companies jump in to help during the Toys for Tots season, serving as drop-off centers. Chevrolet’s corporate office is a National Sponsor and was the link that cemented Gilbert Chevrolet’s and the Gilbert Family of Companies’ commitment to Okeechobee’s local effort. “The heartstring tug of the Toys for Tots campaign are our veterans and active military,” Christa explained. “Joining forces with men and women who have

“I needed a community service project and wanted to give back. The Toys for Tots campaign seemed to jump into my mind, and before I knew it, my wife and I were involved!” he remembered. Dorothy, a former kindergarten teacher, understood John’s need to help the community’s children, and the two became dedicated volunteers and sponsors. Since they travel during the holiday season, they help to sort the toys prior to leaving the area.

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“I learned about giving from my father, and my giving is year-round. I take the kids to baseball games, sponsor a scholarship for kids who choose to go into the field of education, and want to honor students,” said John. With his combat-veteran son, Brian, and Brian’s friend Larry Lazaro, the recipient of the Navy Cross, the entire family’s generosity extends to the community of Okeechobee. 

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December 2017 | 51


chobee County Sheriff’s Office, who provides traffic coordination and security; the Okeechobee Fire Department’s Santa delivery; use of a delivery truck from Morgan’s Furniture; 1 Stop Party Shop’s lending of tables and tents; and Matt Dorriety, director of the Okeechobee Agri-Civic Center, who sets aside the date for our drive; and BOCC’s (Board of County Commissioners) letting us use the space — they all enable our success. We couldn’t do this without them,” Malissa explained. “Okeechobee’s humanity is unlike any other community’s. You know the people, you know them personally and want to take care of them. They genuinely care about each other and live by the motto ‘You get what you give,’” said Malissa, with pride in her voice and enthusiasm in her every word.

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innocent, and the toys they take home with them are the toys they want. Our rewards are the smiles and joy on their faces! And with anywhere between 1,400 to 1,900 children marching through the Ag Center, that’s a lot of happiness! ’ ~ Malissa Morgan, organizer Malissa is a woman who eagerly shares credit for success. She knows that without the enthusiasm of the entire Okeechobee community, the Toys for Tots drive wouldn’t be as successful as it is. “Everyone seems to have adopted our commitment to the children of Okeechobee, and I credit the people and businesses of our area to our success,” she said.

Okeechobee’s Toys for Tots drive goes into full gear just after Thanksgiving, with signs going up, collection bins appearing in businesses, and Santa dusting off his Christmas clothes! The actual distribution celebration is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 16. The 2017 Marine Corps Toys for Tots, Okeechobee campaign and Malissa Morgan and her team of volunteer elves at the helm, assure that Okeechobee’s children will celebrate Christmas with smiles on their faces.

“Radio station WOKC and their on-air mentions of our toy drive; the Okee52 | December 2017

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December 2017 | 53


Community Event

Photos by Trish Grygo and Courtesy of Okeechobee Educational Foundation

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Helps Students Achieve Excellence

The Okeechobee Educational Foundation hosted its annual Achieving Excellence Luncheon September 27 at the First United Methodist Church fellowship hall. The foundation manages the majority of the scholarships given by the community to the graduating seniors of Okeechobee High School, along with all the mini-grants.

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NOW ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS RaeAnn Whiteside, mini-grant recipient and reading coach at Central Elementary School.

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FIG

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AGAINST THE WORST FOE Nano Corona

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E H G T O O G D FI N IT

ew diseases cause, in someone just had surgery — a gastric pull-up — then two months’ rest, and then three months diagnosed with a particular affliction, Turns Adversity into of chemo.” the terrified reaction that cancer proa Personal War to vokes. Often, what makes the situation End Cancer worse is that by the time a cancer patient Nano was born in Santiago de Cuba, the country’s realizes he or she has a problem, the disease has second-largest city and about 550 miles southeast By J.D. Vivian of Havana on the eastern end of the island. How did advanced. Photos By Sandra Pearce he end up with the nickname “Nano”? “It was given to me by my parents — I believe after my great-uncle.” Nano Corona is a prime example. In August 2010, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. His early symptoms? He and his wife, Kelly, have two sons: Antonio and William. As is too often the case, virtually none — either that, or the Antonio, the older one, has a wife, Stephanie; they have a son, soon-to-be patient doesn’t realize their significance. Kase. Nano, who operates Corona Ranch in Basinger, also has a brother and five sisters. “I had them but never put ‘2 + 2’ together until one Friday,” he says. “My heartburn wouldn’t go away with over-the-counter meds. On Monday, I went to the doctor and then to a GI Kelly and Nano live in Okeechobee but also own a condo (gastrointestinal) doctor, had a colonoscopy and endoscopy, in Jensen Beach. “My wife and I love the sun, saltwater and outdoors. And it’s only an hour away.” and a large tumor was found. And here the fight started.” And what a fight it was. During a visit to the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Nano, whose actual first name is Mariano, consulted with a surgeon and an oncologist to formulate a plan. On the Tuesday after Labor Day 2010, Nano began an aggressive chemotherapy treatment.

He credits various sources with helping him to defeat his disease: “It’s all about God, family and friends.” Then he quips, “But you’ve got to have an awesome team of doctors and nurses, too!”

“I would leave Okeechobee about 5 a.m. Monday, get bloodwork, meet with the doctor, and then get hooked up to chemo — five different ones — until Tuesday, in early evening. Then it was, go back home.

It was because of what he experienced during those 18 months that led Nano to begin his nonprofit charity Ride for the Fight in 2013. He realized during his battle that he was fortunate to have health insurance, family and friends — but that many others in a similar situation have little or no support.

“In the meantime, my sisters were with me, and so was my great friend Gus Posada. He would come Monday with supper, so we would just have a big time. I did chemo for three weeks, and then off one week, for eight months. I rested for two months, 58 | December 2017

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‘It’s all about God, family and friends. But you’ve got to have an awesome team of doctors and nurses, too!’ ~ Nano Corona

Altogether, Nano’s ordeal lasted about 18 months.

Susan Clemons isn’t surprised that Nano didn’t concede defeat and, instead, turned his long, brave, difficult fight into something that would benefit others. “I think Nano’s idea here is 

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December 2017 | 59


‘Ride for the Fight helped me with financial support while I was fighting my first cancer.’ ~ Michelle Harper

Nano, Kelly and William Corona, and the late Rebekah and Jared Prescott.

Ride for the Fight has since broadened their fundraising efforts to also include barbecue fundraisers and most recently a CrossFit competition. Financially, Ride for the Fight helps to pay household and travel expenses, as well as insurance co-payments for cancer patients. It also provides transportation to and from doctors’ appointments and treatments, and supplies meals to lighten the burden. 

Nano Corona.

remarkable,” she says. “He has a heart for the families who cared for their loved ones with cancer, and he offered them financial help for peace and respite.” Susan and her husband, Pete Clemons, know Nano well and donate money to Ride for the Fight. She explains, “I met Nano about 25 years ago, a few years after Pete and I married and I moved to Okeechobee. Nano worked at the Okeechobee Livestock Market, which is owned by Pete and his family.” One main factor that makes Ride for the Fight stand out is that all monies raised stay within the community. There are no 60 | December 2017

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

administrative costs, so 100 percent of donations go to help those who need it. Susan notes, “The money is raised locally and helps our local families. We witnessed the generosity when we participated in an amazing fundraiser for our friend Rebekah Bishop Prescott, a precious young woman who fought a valiant battle with cancer.” Rebekah, wife of Jared Prescott, died July 10, 2017. She had been serving on Ride for the Fight’s Board of Directors. Jared still does. Ride for the Fight is most well known for its rodeos to raise money. And why a rodeo for the main fundraiser? Nano’s two sons raise rodeo bulls and that is what he knows; that gave him the idea. Their ranch even provides some of the bulls for the rodeo.

Antonio, Kase, Stephanie, Nano and Kelly Corona, Lanie Culligan and William Corona.

‘Our community is very fortunate to have Nano, Kelly and family. They are truly a blessing to all of us.’ ~ Lynda Durrance, friend of Nano and supporter of Ride for the Fight Nano with his brother, Ray; son, Antonio; and nephew, Mon. www.OkeechobeeTheMagazine.com

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Cancer is what spurred the start up of Ride for the Fight but Nano also founded his organization with the idea of helping those with other problems — such as people dealing with a different type of medical challenge, and those who are food-insecure. Toward those ends, he designed his nonprofit to help in various ways.

In 2016, Ride for the Fight contributed more than $15,000 to help residents of Okeechobee County. Another of its contributions was to a food pantry in Okeechobee: almost 40,000 pounds of foods. So many lives have been touched by Ride for the Right, including Michelle Harper who has defeated two types of cancer. An Okeechobee resident for 43 years, Michelle met Nano just after the diagnosis of her first cancer. “We were both at a meeting of the Heroes for Hope,” she says. Michelle, who owns Wagon Wheel Horse Farm and volunteers at the Ride for the Fight rodeo in January, won her first battle with the disease. “I began treatment for small-cell carcinoma on August 11, 2014, and completed treatment in April of 2015.”

Debi Large, who received a golf cart from Ride for the Fight to get around, Frank DeCarlo, the late Rebekah Prescott and Nano Corona.

‘The first person that came to visit me at home after getting home from the hospital was Nano from Ride for the Fight. He calmly handed me a check to use however I needed. He was a gift from God to me that day!’ ~ Debi Large

CrossFitters Against Cancer. 62 | December 2017

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But then … “In September of 2016, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma (breast cancer). As of July of 2017, I am once again cancer-free.” She praises Ride for the Fight. “They helped me with financial support, while I was fighting my first cancer, to assist with the deductible on an expensive test. Also, when my youngest daughter was 13 years old, her father was diagnosed and sent straight to hospice with the prognosis of hours to live. Ride for the Fight’s financial assistance helped 


‘The money is raised locally and helps our local families. We witnessed the generosity when we participated in an amazing fundraiser for our friend Rebekah Bishop Prescott.’ ~ Susan Clemons, friend of Nano and supporter of Ride for the Fight

Nano Corona, the late Rebekah Prescott and Janet Bishop.

her get there in time to see him, hours before he passed.” Ride for the Fight wouldn’t be the charity that it is nor would it be able to help those in need if it wasn’t for the help and generosity of the residents of Okeechobee.

Lynda Durrance and husband, Roland, have known Nano for almost three decades. The two, both lifetime residents of Okeechobee, sell tickets for Ride for the Fight events and donate to the organization. What does she think is the most important thing that Ride for the Fight and Nano Corona accomplish? “Helping our hometown people in need and relieving some of their stress during stressful times. This is an organization that helps our local community in every aspect.” 

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Ride for the Fight board members: Antonio Corona, William Corona. Not pictured: Dr. Claudia Puerto,

Shandi Croncich, Nano Corona, Jared Prescott and Richard Puerto and Maria Posada.

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Adds Lynda: “Nano is very considerate, generous and the most kind-hearted person. He is always ready to help others.” So often, a serious illness can teach a valuable lesson — not only to the patient but to a variety of other people.

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And that is exactly what happened to Nano. “Nano will not talk about himself,” says Susan. “He is very self-effacing, but I do know that he and wife Kelly enjoy life. He feels blessed to have survived a life-threatening cancer. He and Kelly have traveled and experienced things he might possibly have taken for granted. He is a really good man and a good friend. “Nano does not take life and good health for granted.” And that’s a valuable life lesson for us all.

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Ride for the Fight 2018 will be held January 6. To make a donation, make checks payable to: RIDE FOR THE FIGHT CORP. 6830 S.W. 13th Street Okeechobee, Florida 34974 863-634-3971

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Community Event

Photos by Magi Cable

Love Grows Here 743 SW 24th Ave Okeechobee FL 34974 863.801.6393

Pete Clemons and Jim Hendrix. Sonny Williamson, Betty Chandler Williamson and Jim Hendrix.

Flying High

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joy of Christ. d an e ac pe e th h it w es m your ho May this Christmas fill py New Year from our Family to yours. ap Merry Christmas and H

54 Pilots Featured in Just-Released History Book

The family of Hildry “Buster” Christopher standing in front of the terminal building named for him along with the Okeechobee Historical Society gift of the photo collage. Front, from left: Kya Santiago, Buster’s wife — Barbara Christopher and Stephen Christopher. Back: Eric Santiago, Sarah Douglas, Amanda Markham, Darla Rose, Jan Matchnik, Kim Mucherino and Sue Christopher.

The Okeechobee Historical Society hosted a book-release event on Oct. 10 at the Landing Strip Restaurant at the Okeechobee County Airport. Betty Chandler Williamson chose this location as the perfect backdrop to release her newest book, Pilots That Have Flown Into Okeechobee County Airport in the Twentieth Century. The event was well attended by many of the 54 pilots, or their families, who were featured in the book. During the program, the Historical Society also presented to the family of Hildry “Buster” Christopher, whom the Okeechobee Airport terminal building is named after, a photographic collage. The book is available for $10 at the Okeechobee County Airport Terminal as well as at the Historical Society Museum.

Melissa Battle, Theresa DeLange and Belinda Shellen of the Landing Strip Restaurant.

25 Years er v O r fo d te a er p O d Family Owned an

HOURS: MONDAY - FRIDAY 8am-5:30pm Frank Irby, Celeste Watford, Marie Culbreth and granddaughter Madelyn Culbreth.

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Dave Cook and Heather, Clint, Delainey and Marshall Rucks.

Pilot Paul Bramlett with County Commissioner David Hazellief.

317 SW Park Street • Okeechobee, FL •

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December 2017 | 69


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OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

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December 2017 | 71


Community Event

Winner, Gross Sales 1 Million or more: Green Design Construction & Development.

Photos by Gary Burks

Local Businesses Awarded for Outstanding Achievement & Service

Nonprofit winner: Martha’s House.

The Chamber of Commerce of Okeechobee County held its fourth annual Business of the Year Awards Luncheon Oct. 18 at the Williamson Center at Indian River State College. Award recipients included Waste Management, Green Design Construction & Development, The Lounge at Sacred Sanctuary and Martha’s House. These four esteemed businesses were honored for their solid commitment to the community and their clients and employees.

Winner, Gross Sales Under $1 Million: The Lounge at Sacred Sanctuary.

National Corporate winner: Waste Management/Okeechobee Landfill.

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74 | December 2017

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Community Event

Photos by Sandra Pearce

Frank Irby and Gala Coordinator Lynda Durrance.

Boots & earls P

The Hospice Board.

Donna Walpole and Cindi Domer.

From Your Farm, to Your Family Pet We Have it All

Draws Crowd in Support of Hospice

Hospice of Okeechobee hosted its 12th annual Boots and Pearls gala Oct. 20 at the KOA Convention Center. The always-popular event featured both a silent and live auction to help raise funds to benefit Hospice of Okeechobee and the Hamrick Home. Attendees mingled and danced the night away to music by Chris MacArthur and the Florida Cracker Boys. For more information, visit www.hospiceofokeechobee.org.

Andy and Raylan Gilliland.

Tommy and Katrina Zigler.

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Tricia McWhorter, Kristy Crawford, Jennifer Lafferty and Heather Hancock.

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Corey and Desiree Penrod, Kristy and Bert Culbreth and Leslie and Justin Maynor.

Hospice President Frank Irby and Hospice Board Member and Major Sponsor Fran Syfrett.

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December 2017 | 77


E M C U N A N M I R T O A F R L P PE

satisfy his need to swing a hammer, Alan built dozens of spec houses.

Family-Driven Construction Firm Builds Forever Homes

and graduated from OHS. During high school, Alan took shop classes and actually helped build some of the portables still on campus today.

In the late 70s, Alan partnered with his brother-in-law, Phil Avant, and started a construction company. After almost four years and once construction slowed down, Alan decided to go into the nursery business where he became a “frustrated builder,” as he put it. To

“We got very proficient at moving,” laughed Cheri. “We moved 20-something times. We can do it very quickly.” After over 20 years in the nursery business and when he should have been ready to “hang up his hammer” and spend his days fishing, Alan, in 2004, decided to start his own construction company. But not just any construction company. If you’ve ever built your house from the

By Rachel Buxton

Sitting on a deserted island, sipping a

margarita and just basking in complete freedom and relaxation is what most people think of if they could pick the ultimate retirement. However, that’s not the case for Alan Nelson and his wife, Cheri, of Platinum Performance Builders.

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ground up, you know the process can be anything but fun, and can quite possibly turn into a nightmare. That’s where Platinum Performance is different. They try to take the stress out of the process and turn it into a fun collaborative effort. “We do things a little different,” said Justin Nelson, son of Alan and Cheri. “We work individually with the client to make it fit for them. Everything residential is done in-house. They can pick everything out right here in our office.” Platinum Performance specializes in customized traditional Southern living homes; no two are the same. With a small staff, mainly made up of family, they are able to all be very hands-on in the building process. From house plans to cabinetry, flooring, granite and anything in between, everyone in the office works together with the client. “We want the houses to be forever homes,” said Lori Bundy who works in the office and is a huge asset to developing floor plans. Cheri, who loves the construction process, helps with design details, such as coordinating backsplash tile with countertops and cabinets.

“He wouldn’t be happy if he wasn’t building something,” Cheri said of husband Alan. Alan got started in construction as a teenager. In the ninth grade, he moved from Hollywood, Fla., to South Carolina for a summer to work and learn the trade. He then moved to Okeechobee

S R E D L I U B

Back, from left: Olie Hendrick, Justin and Alan Nelson. Front: Lori Bundy and Cheri Nelson.

BEHIND THE BUSINESS

Cheri’s brother-in-law, Olie Hendrick, also works in the office and helps with the planning process. Olie is a retired Okeechobee firefighter who, just like Alan, didn’t want to sit still for retirement. Olie earned his residential contractor license and joined the Platinum

Performance team. Alan and Justin spend their days on site physically doing the building construction. Justin joined his father in 2007 after leaving a high-stress job in motorsports. Having grown up around construction, Justin joining his father at Platinum Performance was a natural fit. He said he loves every minute of what he’s doing now, and has even taken a huge liking to carpentry and trim work. Justin has his home inspector license and is currently taking classes to earn his building contractor license. “I don’t not want to be in this business,” he said. When family members work together, you don’t always get that perfect harmony but the Nelsons are quick to say it works for them and they wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s more enjoyable for us,” said Alan. “It’s more of a hobby.” Justin said he and his father complement each other. “We are complete opposites but are exactly the same. We have never had an argument. I’ve learned 90 percent from him.”

It is that family element the Nelsons try to carry over to their clients and work that truly sets Platinum Performance apart. “A lot of our clients have turned into family,” said Cheri. After Hurricane Irma, Alan and Justin spent a good solid two weeks going by former clients’ houses and helping clean up or repair any damage. “They’re just so nice,” Lori said of the Nelsons. “So loving and giving. I love coming to work.” So, what do the Nelsons do after hours and on the weekends? Spend time as a family, of course. Justin, along with his 9-year-old son, Beckham, can often be found at his parents’ house hanging out. As a family, Platinum Performance Builders has found a way to take something that is usually a stressful time in someone’s life and turn it into one of the greatest and most exciting experiences. Platinum Performance Builders 221 N.E. Park Street 863-467-1933 www.OkeechobeeTheMagazine.com

December 2017 | 79


1008 N. Parrott Ave. Okeechobee, FL 34972

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December 2017 | 81


BEHIND THE BUSINESS

2 Z Z E E E E PL T I do this, do you think I will make it?” she recalled.

Quality, Service Gains Custom Apparel Shop National Attention By Rachel Buxton

dery machine and a silk screen press machine, allowing them to produce a couple hundred shirts a week.

With the help and words of wisdom from her father, Autumn opened up her own store. Although her father had owned and operated a similar business years ago, Autumn said she literally had no clue what she was getting herself into. “There was a lot of trial and error and a lot of ‘YouTubing’ that went on.”

They soon outgrew their space and needed to relocate. At the time, the long-standing local embroidery store the Stitchin’ Post had closed down and Frank knew the location would be perfect for their growing business. In 2011, Autumn moved into the prime location just off SR 441. She and her team got settled into the new space quickly as word of mouth got around.

Teez 2 Pleez started out with a direct to garment printer, which allowed them to do a few shirts a week. From there they upgraded to a single-head embroi-

“The demand really picked up,” Autumn said. “Customers would come in for something, leave happy, and end up coming back for more.”

a slight interest in custom apparel has turned into a full-fledged business, and a busy one at that, for Autumn DeCarlo of Teez 2 Pleez. At the age of 21, Autumn was working for her father, Frank, at his local shop, American Drilling Services, doing administrative work. It wasn’t until the middle of the recession and when things were slow around the shop that Autumn got the idea of opening up a custom apparel store.

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Quality is something Autumn takes great pride in and something she stresses to the team of girls who work with her. “The phrase, ‘Team Work Makes the Dream Work’ is one of our favorite phrases around here,” said Autumn. “We work as a team and that best represents us.” On staff, Teez 2 Pleez has a full-time graphic designer, Gerardo Bustos, who helps bring the customer’s vision to life. “It isn’t always easy. I don’t have design experience, and I could not do what I do without him,” Autumn said. In the shop, Autumn is joined by her stepsister Raegen Bush who knows the business almost as well as she does. Raegen can do both screen printing and embroidery. “We have learned together and grown together practicing new things,” Autumn said. “She is constantly pushing me to learn more and do better for the business. I am so thankful for that.”

What started out as a dream with

“I still remember asking someone, ‘If

Just a few years ago, the company upgraded their equipment once again to meet the demand. They now have a six-head embroidery machine that can embroider 1,000 hats a week as well as sew 3D puffy custom embroidery designs.

Accompanying them are Jacey Mullis who does screen printing and Naomi Stevens who does embroidery.

Raegen Bush, Jacey Mullis, Autumn DeCarlo, Naomi Stevens and baby Leif.

Over the years, Teez 2 Pleez has added a variety of products to their inventory. Not only do they do T-shirts, but they

also custom decorate hats, koozies, bags, towels, seat cushions and baby items. “If the dryer doesn’t burn it up, we can print it,” Autumn said. “The same goes for the embroidery side: If we can get the hoop to hold it, we can normally sew it.” They’ve even personalized one of those fabric collapsible chairs that go in a bag. Most recently their hats have become quite popular and can be seen all over town. They come in about 40 different colors and fit both men and women. Autumn tries to make sure that the products she provides for her customers are of the best quality. “You can give someone a bad product with a really nice print on it, but it’s still a bad product,” she said. “The cheapest isn’t always the best.” The quality of their products speaks volumes as they ship their products all across the country. Autumn recently shipped custom decorated apparel products to New York City, Washington, Texas and Oklahoma. “I take great pride in this because I know they could get these products from a hundred other custom apparel companies closer to them, but they don’t.” The last three years have been pretty steady, she said. They have created shirts for local boutiques, such as Lillies & Lace, and provided items for charitable

organizations, including the Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee and Ride for the Fight. Something that sets Teez 2 Pleez apart from other local embroidery shops is that there is no minimum purchase necessary and customers can bring their own items in to be decorated. Always adapting to the demand, Teez 2 Pleez has begun providing marketing collateral for businesses. They now offer business cards, paper goods, signs, banners, trophies, plaques and more. You name it, Teez 2 Pleez does it. “We want to be your one-stop printing shop,” Autumn said. When Autumn is able to scrape up a few free moments, she enjoys spending time with her family and competing in barrel racing. And even though she probably doesn’t get as much free time as she would like, Autumn says she is blessed to have a very busy to-do list. “This little town has been very good to us and Teez 2 Pleez.” Teez 2 Pleez 620 S. Parrott Avenue 863-467-0580 Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. www.OkeechobeeTheMagazine.com

December 2017 | 83


C A R PE N T E R I N S U R A N C E

Located on the Rim Canal of Lake Okeechobee, Water's Edge is just minutes from shopping and restaurants in the nearby community of Okeechobee. The Resort is only a short distance from the Seminole Casino, I-95 and the East Coast of Florida, with major malls and some of the most beautiful beaches of Florida.

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VP & Commercial Account Specialist

3960 SE 18th Terrace, Taylor Creek Plaza • Okeechobee, FL 34974 • 863-824-0885

OKEE-TANTIE TITLE COMPANY, INC.

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Schedule an appointment online and print new-patient forms.

WILLIAMSON CATTLE COMPANY Presents ‘Photos of the Past’ COSSIE SIMMONS, the ninth Sheriff of Okeechobee County

GLADES COUNTY ABSTRACT

105 NW 6th Street | Okeechobee, FL 34972 863-763-2898 | Fax 863-763-0541 Stephen E. Burk, VP Suzie Burk, CEO okeepackage@earthlink.net | www.okee-tantie.com

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84 | December 2017

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

As a Democrat, he is shown with a donkey. In the hundred years since Okeechobee County was created, there have been twenty sheriffs representing our county. The first in 1917 was Smith J. Drawdy. Noel Stephen is our twentieth local sheriff. Cossie Simmons served as a deputy after his brother, Claude Simmons, died in office. Claude’s widow, Eugenia Hollingsworth Simmons, was appointed by the Governor and became the first female sheriff in the state of Florida. She stated “I never carried a gun or arrested anyone; my deputy took care of those matters.” “I decided not to run for office and raise my children.” Cossie Simmons, a Democrat, was elected the ninth sheriff of our county.

Business • Commercial • Residential STATE CERTIFIED: BK3268539 CBC1256085 PCC056704 DIRECTOR OKEECHOBEE BOARD OF REALTORS & OKEECHOBEE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

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Submitted by Betty Chandler Williamson “Happy Centennial to All.” www.OkeechobeeTheMagazine.com

December 2017 | 85


In The Kitchen With… D & G Catering

There is no better way to celebrate the holiday season than with sweets and spirits. The holidays always bring about hectic schedules with last-minute shopping and lots of festive parties. If you need a few easy but delicious treats to either serve at your own holiday party or to wrap up as gifts, these cookie recipes are sure to delight. And to help you unwind just a bit, this fizzy pomegranate cocktail will hit the spot, and with each sip, help get you in the holiday spirit.

Pomegranate-Rosemary Gin Fizz

You can substitute cranberry juice and vodka for the pomegranate and gin.

Diane Conway and Gary Burks

Russian Cherry Teacake Cookies ~ A twist on the traditional “snowballs” ~ Yield: about 4 dozen

Ingredients:

• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for rolling • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or almond extract • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

Cream the butter, ½ cup sugar, and vanilla (or almond) extract thoroughly. Sift together flour and salt, add to the butter and mix well. Fold in the nuts and cherries. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes or until firm enough to handle. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until set. Do not brown, about 10 minutes.

For ONE serving:

Ingredients:

• 2 ounces gin • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice • 1 tablespoon rosemary simple syrup (recipe follows) • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice • Chilled club soda • Rosemary sprigs for garnish • Pomegranate arils for garnish

While still warm, roll the cookies in confectioners’ sugar and cool. When cool, roll in confectioners’ sugar again.

Piparkökur

(Icelandic Pepper Cookies)

*This recipe requires the dough to refrigerate overnight.

Ingredients:

Mix all ingredients (except club soda) in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and pour over ice. Top with chilled club soda. Garnish with rosemary sprig and pomegranate arils.

• 1 ¼ cup softened butter • 1 ¼ cup sugar • 3/4 cup light corn syrup • 2 eggs • 3 cups all-purpose flour • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

Rosemary Simple Syrup:

Directions:

Directions:

1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 sprig rosemary. In a medium saucepan, add water and sugar. Bring to a boil until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add rosemary and let steep for 15 minutes. When cool, remove rosemary and chill the syrup.

86 | December 2017

• 1/4 teaspoon salt • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans • 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped (you can substitute cherry flavored craisins)

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

• 1 teaspoon baking soda • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper • Powdered sugar, optional for decoration

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Stir in corn syrup and eggs. Cream until light in color. In a separate bowl, sift together remaining ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spice and pepper). Add the dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixture and blend until smooth. Cover and refrigerate dough overnight. When ready to bake, remove dough from refrigerator and allow to soften slightly. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a floured board to 1/4 inch. Cut with a 2-inch round cookie cutter. Place on a greased cookie sheet at least 1 inch apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. When cool, dust with powdered sugar if desired. www.OkeechobeeTheMagazine.com

December 2017 | 87


Linda’s

Style Style&Trends From Scrap Wood to Holiday Treasures

Come meet Okee the Reindeer!

By Teresa Bishop

E

veryone is getting excited for December. It is the end of the year when many families will enjoy time with loved ones, family dinners, the smell of Christmas trees, and apple and pecan pies. Oh, and you can’t forget the “gift exchanges” for company parties, unexpected guests and that long-lost relative. Scrap pieces of wood can provide many things: a treasured item, a tabletop centerpiece, a shelf, a display of a beautiful statement or family name. A scrap piece of wood to many is a blank canvas to crafters. But to me, it is so much more. The possibilities are endless. Before you throw that next piece out, take a look at its shape, think of your favorite color and imagine a picture. Wooden family signs are great gifts for anyone at Christmas, and a piece of wood can provide just that. Grab a piece of wood from 12 to 16 inches long and add hooks to the bottom of the wood. Cut out shapes (circles or hearts) from colored cardstock. Punch a hole in the top of the cutouts and add a small loop of rope. Write in each family member’s birthday and place on the hook. Now you have a treasure that will help remind you of your loved ones’ birthdays at a glance! Scrap wood can also be turned into great Christmas centerpieces. Centerpieces display a variety of personalities and are so much fun to create. One simple rustic design includes wooden twigs. Start by collecting twigs found around your yard. Place the wooden twigs into a small round or square glass vase, add salt to make them stand (which 88 | December 2017

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

Let us help you find the right gift! also gives the appearance of snow), sprinkle glitter into the top of the vase and add your favorite colored ribbon.Voila! You have a perfect centerpiece to decorate your holiday table.

863.763.3823

Located inside Badcock Furniture 512 W. North Park Street Okeechobee, Florida

Another fun craft for Christmas is “Santa’s Laundry” display. Take a piece of wood and paint it white, cut out “Santa’s Laundry” from pieces of felt, add some cotton, grab some string and there you go, you have a handmade crafted sign to display for your parties! This type of craft is simple, quick and fun. Why not make a few extras for gifts?

BAGSTER

Visit: www.thebagster.com

BUY.FILL.GONE.

Everyone loves snowmen. Take a piece of luan wood and cut out the three sections for a snowman. Decorate them using buttons, beads, fabric and whatever else you can find to create your very own “Frosty.” Using the necessary hardware, hang your creation on the wall or even the door. And best of all, because of the shape, you can repurpose this craft next year using the backside and turning it into pumpkins. Suddenly, it becomes a craft you can use through many months of the holiday season. See how simple crafting can be. And you’re using scraps. So, close the laptop and put down your phone. Now is the time to get outside in the ole woodshed and find your masterpiece!

Okeechobee Landfill hosted the 2017 Chamber of Commerce Leadership class. Students toured the landfill, learned about recycling processes and the on-site certified wildlife habitat.

Drivers Josh Teague and Sonny Lowe participated in the GFWC Touch-A-Truck event teaching safe truck operations, playing games and giving away prizes.

www.OkeechobeeTheMagazine.com

December 2017 | 89


MASTECTOMY & BRACING

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• ARCH SUPPORTS & SHOES • MASTECTOMY BRAS AND PROSTHESES • OTC ANKLE, KNEE & WRIST BRACES • CUSTOM ORTHOTICS & CUSTOM SHOES

Professional Quality with a Personal Touch Diane Conway & Gary Burks 863.634.7840 or 863.634.3131 chefs@dgcaters.com www.dgcaters.com

SAND • FILL • SHELL • ROCK House Pads Land Clearing Debris Removal

MOST INSURANCES ACCEPTED

HOME VISITS IN SEBRING AND LAKE PLACID 1138 SOUTH PARROTT AVE OKEECHOBEE, FL

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Rick Chartier (863) 467.9090

Demolition Culverts Driveways

• Sales • Service • Audio Visual • Networking

OFFICE (863) 623-5274 DUMP TRUCKS...SITE WORK... HEAVY EQUIPMENT LIC# CRC 1327160

COMPUTERS

• Phone Systems • Cabling • Accessories

403 South Parrott Avenue Okeechobee, FL email: sales@icsflorida.com www.icsflorida.com

We Thank Our Patients for their Support this Year & Look Forward to Serving our Community in the New Year! We Thank Our Patients theirAll Support Year & Look Forward to Serving Community in the New Year! Wefor Wish a Verythis Merry Christmas & A Blessed Happyour New Year!

We Wish All a Very Merry Christmas & A Blessed Happy New Year!

New Patients Welcome

Implants • Restoring Implants 3D Imaging • Invisalign • Root Canals COMPREHENSIVE DENTISTRY

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Flower Petalsank would like tobthee Okeecho for its supportses es of Small Busin

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Okeechobee Dental Care 175 SW 28TH STREET / OKEECHOBEE, FL 34974 / www.OkeechobeeDentalCare.com 90 | December 2017

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

Title Insurance • Real Estate Closings 202 NW 5th Street • Okeechobee, FL 34972 Telephone: 863.824.6776 Fax: 863.824.6778 titleandlegal@ymail.com

207 NE Park Street Okeechobee, FL 34972 www.flowerpetalsokeechobee.com

863.763.5051 • 800.260.2592

www.OkeechobeeTheMagazine.com

December 2017 | 91


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Christmas Shopping Made Easy By Rachel Buxton

I

f only there was a way to keep track of Christmas lists and a way to make the whole holiday shopping experience quicker and easier? Uh, it is 2017 (almost 2018), of course there is, and it is literally right in the palm of your hand. There are hundreds of apps that you can download to help streamline your holiday shopping. No more waiting in lines, fighting fellow shoppers for the last laughing Elmo creature doll thing, or standing in the aisle trying to figure out what to get great-aunt Betty. You’re more than likely already on your phone, so take advantage of one of these apps and eliminate one holiday headache.

1. The Christmas List Ranked as the number one shopping app, the Christmas List is the perfect shopping assistant that helps to plan, organize and track your holiday shopping. This app allows you to sync gift lists via email or even AirDrop. It helps to budget your purchases, adds photos and details of possible gift ideas, provides you with local retailers and then creates shopping lists by store so you don’t have to make multiple trips or purchases. With the built-in Christmas countdown and the easy progress tracking labels (purchased, shipping, received, and wrapped), you will be able to spend more time with your loved ones rather than shopping for them.

directly to your list to be added as a new gift. And for those out-of-town relatives, send gift cards straight from the app via email or text message, no postage necessary.

3. Giftry This is a great app for big families. With Giftry, family and friends create “wishlists” (basically a gift registry) for everyone to view. It shows product details and where they can be purchased. Once a gift is bought from a wishlist, it is marked as “purchased” so others won’t buy the same thing. This app helps you give the gifts that people really want. The Christmas countdown is on, but no need to stress. You’ve got “Santa’s Little Helper” on your phone to help you find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Merry Christmas and Happy Shopping!

BIBLES • BOOKS Journals Children’s Books

Gifts

Jewelry • Antiques

AND FURNITURE! 863.357.3010 • 513 SW Park Street • Okeechobee, FL 34972 www.thehopechestokeechobee.com

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” Luke 2:11

2. Gift Planner An Excel spreadsheet wrapped up in an app sums up Gift Planner. This app keeps you more than organized while shopping. It keeps track of all the details, even down to Mom’s clothing sizes. You can scan barcodes to load product information into the app, and if you are browsing the web and come across a gift idea for someone on your list, you can easily import the page

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

IN HOUSE JEWELRY REPAIR STATE OF THE ART LASER WELDING Gift Certificates Available 411 W.S. Park Street • Okeechobee, FL 34972

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December 2017 | 93


Joyous holiday wishes to you and your family...

A good neighbor has your back. from your good neighbor. May all your wishes come true this wondrous season. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.®

CALL ME TODAY.

From our family to yours, we want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and all the blessings of our Lord Savior. We greatly value our community for all the business and support throughout the years. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you!

Darryl & Heather Allen

863.623.5919.

Life’s a combination of good days and bad. I have your back for both. And who has my back? The company more people have trusted for 90 years. I’m here to help life go right. CALL ME TODAY. TM

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94 | December 2017

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

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December 2017 | 95


Around Okeechobee

Brought to You By:

When only the best will do.

Around Okeechobee

When only the best will do.

Brought to You By:

Main Street Mixers

Back, from left: Maureen Thomas, Lalo Rodriguez, Board Member Brian Melear, Robert Coleman, Kristina Stas and Paulette Wise. Front: Corey Wheeler (Class of 2016), Stephanie Quesinberry, Melanie Giles, Melisa Jahner, Donald Hagan, Jennifer Tewksbury, Chamber President Tabitha Trent and Board Member Wayne Cunningham.

Echols Plumbing & Air Conditioning

Top Cops Meet With Residents Over a Cuppa Joe

Chamber Leadership The Chamber of Commerce conducted its final leadership session prior to graduation. The eight-month program is designed to cultivate leadership through education, exposure to the community and interaction among class members.

Okeechobee residents joined Sheriff Noel Stephen and Police Chief Bob Peterson for a cup of coffee Oct. 4 at the Serenity Coffee Shop. The Coffee With A Cop event gave community members a chance to meet and visit with local law-enforcement members to ask questions and to voice concerns, in an informal venue, to help strengthen the partnership among the Sheriff’s Office, Police Department and the communities they serve.

NOPE Candlelight Vigil Raises Awareness Okeechobee residents gathered on Oct. 25 at the Civic Center for the national NOPE (Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education) Candlelight Vigil. Candles were lit in memory of those lost to drug- and alcohol-related incidents and for those who continue to suffer from substance abuse. Sponsored by the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office and the Okeechobee Substance Abuse Coalition, the vigil raises awareness about the effects of substance abuse and the stigma associated with addiction.

From left: Okeechobee City Police Chief Bob Peterson, Okeechobee Mayor Dowling Watford, Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel Stephen and Serenity Coffee Shop owners Jenny and Curtis Tyson.

Grand Oaks

Women’s Health Luncheon On October 26, women of all ages came together at Raulerson Hospital’s Women’s Health Luncheon held at the Williamson Conference Center at IRSC as Dr. David Sigalow and Dr. James Bradfield, members of Raulerson Hospital’s medical staff, presented health information on various topics, including breast cancer awareness.

Kiwanis board members from left: Past President Terry Burroughs, President Ken Keller, Teresa Bishop, Lt. Gov. Jim Vensel, Courtney Moyette, Heather Hancock and Jim Bush.

Kiwanis Board Installed Kiwanis of Okeechobee held its annual installation banquet Sept. 23 at KOA. With a Hollywood Nights theme, guests entered on a red carpet and had a photo op with the Hollywood background. Lt. Gov. Jim Vensel installed the incoming officers, and past President Terry Burroughs presented gifts and awards to several members who provided special services to the Kiwanis Club throughout the service year. 96 | December 2017

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

From left: Raulerson Hospital Surgical Services Director Stephanie Quesinberry, Dr. David Sigalow, Dr. James Bradfield, Raulerson Hospital CEO Brian Melear, Raulerson Hospital ICU Director Deborah Benitez and Raulerson Hospital CFO Terry Brown. www.OkeechobeeTheMagazine.com

December 2017 | 97


List of Advertisers 14K Gold Store .................................93

Gilbert Ford.......................................75

Rabon's Country Feed........................77

Glades AC..........................................37

Raulerson Gyn, LLC............................49

A Child’s World...................................51

Glenn Sneider, Attorney.....................57

Raulerson Hospital.............................18

A & G Pools........................................64

Golden Corral.....................................73

Raulerson Orthopaedic Specialists.....27 Raulerson Surgical Specialists...........84

Abney Building & Consulting, Inc.......37 Addington Satellite TV.......................70

Heartland Discount Pharmacy..............5

Remington Real Estate......................84

American Drilling Services.................95

Highland Pest Control.......................30

Royal's Furniture................................32

Anchor Dental...................................38

Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd.............31

Rustic Style Gift Shoppe....................84

ICS Computers...................................91

S. Cruz Lawn Service..........................94

Inkwell Tattoos..................................81

Sandra Pearce Photography...............94

Anderson Realty.................................33 Andrea Noelle's Boutique..................93

Okeechobee The Magazine gives our community exactly what it needs — a metropolitan quality-type publication that still resonates Okeechobee's rich heritage and intimate community bond.

— Lori Mixon,

Mixon Real Estate Group

Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser,

Badcock Furniture.............................77 Bass Electric.......................................52

Lake O Real Estate.............................25

Zoeller & Overbeck...............................80

Berger Clinic......................................24

Lake Okeechobee Digestive Disease......28

Seminole Brighton Casino..................10

Berger Real Estate..............................81

Lawnwood Regional Medical Ctr......100

Shoe Box...........................................90

Big Lake Eye Care.................................3

Lightsey’s Seafood Restaurant...........15

Shutters & Gutters, Inc.......................41

Brown Cow Sweetery.........................39

Lillies & Lace......................................52

St. Lucie Battery & Tire.......................63

Buxton & Bass Funeral Home.............66

Lillie’s In Bloom Daycare....................69

Staffords Salon...................................51

Linda’s Style & Trends........................89

State Farm.........................................94

Los Cocos Mexican Restaurant...........81

Sunrise Musical Theatre.....................19

Carpenter Insurance...........................85

Superior Water Works.........................31

Clear Title & Legal Services.................91

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Keep up with “Your Community!” Enclose a check for $18.00 (made payable to Okeechobee The Magazine) and mail along with this completed form to:

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M&M Auto Brokers...........................66

Cooling Refrigeration Services...........30

Main Street Salon..............................91

Crossroads Restaurant........................74

Mary Kay...........................................50

Teez 2 Pleez.......................................95

Custom Sights and Sounds.................95

Mixon Real Estate Group...................55

Tenniswood Dental Associates...........14

Custom Window Treatments.............89

Mohawk Construction, Inc.................90

The Hope Chest..................................93

Morgan's Furniture.............................53

The Lounge........................................95

Murray Insurance Services...................6

The Purple Orchid...............................29 Tin Fish..............................................64

D&G Catering.....................................91 Doctor Ramesh Kumar.........................65

Off The Chart Nutrition & Fitness.......95

Tire Zone............................................71

Doctors Clinic Family Health Center.....28

Okee-Tantie Title Company, Inc..........85

Todd Everett Flooring........................26

Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center..........13

Okeechobee Community Theatre.......71

Treasure Coast Food Bank...................32

Domer’s.............................................39

Okeechobee Dental Care....................90

Treasure Coast Medical Specialists

Don's Appliances................................69

Okeechobee Fishing Headquarters......7

....................................................39, 57

Okeechobee Health Care Facility..........2

Trinidad Garcia, M.D..........................81

Edwards Jones...................................81

Peace Lutheran School.......................81

Visiting Nurse Association..................41

Everglades Pediatric Dentistry...........54

Penrod Construction..........................29

Echols Plumbing & A/C......................25

Platinum Performance Builders...........34

Waste Management..........................89

Family Dentistry of Okeechobee.........67

Plaza 300.............................................33

Water's Edge RV Resort......................84

Fast Break Bait and Tackle.................27

Porcelain Esthetics.............................49

Wemmer Family Orthodontics..........70

Florida Outdoors RV...........................28

Pritchards and Associates..................57

Williamson Cattle Company.............85

Florida Public Utilities........................35

Pueblo Viejo VI Restaurant.................47

WOKC 100.9 FM.................................74 Worley Construction..........................17

Flower Petals.....................................91

Phone:

Quail Creek Plantation.........................9 Gilbert Chevrolet..............................99

98 | December 2017

OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

Syfrett Feed........................................71

Close Construction, LLC......................85

D4 Powersports..................................93

Customer service is always important. I emphasize its importance to my students and Gilbert does the same with their team. The staff is always friendly and positive. That is why I come back to Gilbert for sales and service. - Russ Brown

Quality Air Conditioning...............47, 53

500

Over

NEW and Pre-Owned Vehicles to Choose From!

(863) 763-3154 3550 U.S. Highway 441 South Okeechobee, FL 34974

www.GilbertChevrolet.com Serving the Okeechobee Area for over 90 Years!


Okeechobee The Magazine December 2017  
Okeechobee The Magazine December 2017