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Meet Raye Deusinger Woman Behind the Blood Roundup


Lisa Lumpkin and Debi Large The ‘Dynamic Duo’ Behind the Pregnancy Center

John Glenn of Freedom Ranch

Happy Winter Friends and Neighbors, After 33 years of service to our community, Raulerson Hospital remains dedicated to enhancing the healthcare coverage and services we provide. I am very excited to announce an important addition to our medical coverage in the field of Orthopaedics. In October, Raulerson Hospital welcomed Dr. Benjamin Espstein to our Medical Staff. Dr. Epstein is an orthopaedic surgeon with twenty years experience and he is Board Certified by the American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics. The goal of our Raulerson Hospital Family is for our community to enjoy the convenience and access to excellent medical care - locally. There are, admittedly, some select services not provided by Raulerson Hospital. When our patients or members of the community require such treatments, they can rely on our sister-facilities in the Treasure Coast: Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute , St. Lucie Medical Center and the ten other HCA facilities in our Eastern Florida Division to provide the precise care and treatment needed. Raulerson Hospital works together with our sister-facilities to provided patients with a seamless transition – all under the safety of medical professionals. Our patients benefit from our coordination of care and integrated services, which leads to successful outcomes and positive experiences. I realize you and your loved ones may not spend a lot of time thinking about hospitals and I hope that you will never need to. But as the CEO of your community hospital, having services available and being prepared with the latest technology, the friendliest, most professional staff members is my passion. We at Raulerson Hospital spend every day thinking about our patients, their loved ones and the healthcare services our community needs. Raulerson Hospital hosts many events, giving the pubic an opportunity to meet our medical staff members, learn about ours services and see our facility. We are proud to offer a new series of Open House Meet & Greet events, which feature various departments and their staff. We will have refreshments during our Meet & Greet events so when you see them advertised in the newspaper and on the radio, RSVP and join in the fun of learning new things. My door is always open, so if you have any hospital related topic you’d like to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact me. Sincerely,

Robert Lee, Chief Executive Officer

1796 Highway 441N • Okeechobee, FL 34972• 863-763-2151 •

CONSULT-A-NURSE ® • For Free Physician Referral & Health Care Questions call 763-9228

Dr. Charles W. Bartels Board Certified Optometric Physician

(863) 763-3937 We Accept and Bill Most Major Insurance, Medicaid, Medicare & BlueCross Blue Shield Healthy Kids

606 North Parrott Ave Okeechobee   863-763-3937   Visit :

Okeechobee Health Care Facility We LOVE To Care...

We’re State 5-Star Rated! Okeechobee Health Care Facility Provides the Highest Quality Nursing Care in a Relaxed Residential Setting.    

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Medicare/Medicaid Program Specialist Located just south of Raulerson Hospital


1646 US Highway 441 North - Okeechobee, FL 34972

4 | Winter 2012


Winter 2012 | 5

Okeechobee Main Street thanks our community for your support! Corporate Members Bank of America Seacoast National Bank

Big Lake Cancer Center Florida’s Blood Centers 14 Karat Gold Store

Okeechobee the Magazine Raulerson Hospital

Syfrett Feed Company TD Bank

Business Members

Dave’s Mattress Outlet Direct Hit Marketing- The Pennysaver Accident Law Office of Philip DeBerard Dorothy C. Westby, artist Advance America, Cash Advance Center Aecom Technology East Coast Signs and Shirts Affordable Art and Framing, LLC Edward Jones Investments American Cancer Society EGP, Inc. American Red Cross Elliott’s Pawn Shop American Drilling, Inc. Fawn’s Studio Ameriprise Financials Fitness and Aquatic Center Amerisweeps Florida Outdoors RV Country Anderson Realty Company Flower Petals Backyard Bar-B-Q Freedom Ranch Bandanas and Bows Garrard’s Tackle Shop Bass Okeechobee Funeral Home Gateway Medical Group Bella Rose Day Spa and Salon - Garcia and Garcia, M.D., P.A. Berger Real Estate, Inc. Golden Corral Best Western Bowline Construction, Inc. Brahma Bull Restaurant and Lounge Habitat for Humanity of Okeechobee Hair Cuttery Brennan Eyecare Hampton Inn Bridgette Waldau - Graphic Design Harbor Community Bank Brown Cow Sweetery, LLC Heartland Discount Pharmacy Bruce Homer Insurance Company Henderson’s Sani-Services, Inc. Burgess Paint and Supply Holiday Inn Express Buxton Funeral Home Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, P.I. Hospice of Okeechobee C&B Background Fingerprinting Humana Cassels and McCall Humane Society Pet Rescue C.A.S.T.L.E. CEECO ICS Computers CenterState Bank Independent Newspapers Chamber of Commerce of Okeechobee County Jones Supply A-1 Sales and Service, Inc. Charlie’s Lawn and Landscape Chiropractic Group, LLC L. Berger Insurance Associates, LLC Close Construction Labor Finders of Okeechobee Colin M. Cameron, Esq., P.A. Lake Okeechobee Digestive Disease Center Costopoulos & Helton, P.A. Lake Okeechobee Insurance, Inc. Cowboy’s BBQ and Steak Lake Okeechobee Real Estate Guide Culpepper & Terpening Lehman Auto Body, Inc. Curren Electric Luviano Roofing Co., Inc. Custom Window Treatments & Blinds Martha’s House

Acevedo, Daisy Altman, Sandra Altobello, Frank Arnold, Joe and Melissa Barber, Rebecca Birdashaw, Dan and Cindy Boni, Jonathan Branstetter, Bob Burroughs, Terry and Maureen Chandler, Teresa Clemons, Pete and Susan

Mary Kay Cosmetics, Gayle Molyneaux Maxwell and Maxwell, P.A McAlpin, Cavalcanti and Lewis, CPA’s MetLife MidFlorida Credit Union Mims Veterinary Hospital Mixon Real Estate Group, LLC Murray Insurance Services, Inc. Neese Enterprises, Inc. New American Physical Therapy Newman Air Conditioning North Park Tire Center Nurse on Call Nutmeg’s Café Okeechobee Big Lake VFW Post 10539 Okeechobee Claws and Paws Pet Boarding Okeechobee Correctional Institute Okeechobee County Board of Realtors Okeechobee Democratic Party Okeechobee Golf and Country Club Okeechobee KOA Okeechobee Landfill -Waste Management Okeechobee Substance Abuse Coalition Optical Gallery Papa John’s Pizza Photography by Bobbi Physician’s Weight Loss Center Pine Creek Sporting Club Platinum Performance Builders Platinum Performance Realtors PNC Bank Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee Primerica Financial Services -Pat Shepherd Primerica Financial Services -Sharon Bennett Quail Creek Plantation

Friends of Main Street

Cooper, George and Mary Beth Cracraft, Dennis Deusinger, Raye Doyle, Justin and Shelly Elliott, Josie Evans, Kent Fehrman, Jan Ferrara, Jerry Ferro, Mary Ann and O’Roke, Ed Folbrecht, Jon and Kasey Fritts, David and Lisa

Find Us On Facebook

55 S. Parrott Ave - Okeechobee

George, Susan Gillette, Debbie Gurney, John Gutierrez, Marilu Hadley, Marilyn Irby, Frank Kaye, Damien Kirsch, Lonnie Kowal, Bruce and Edna McNierney, Jane Nunez, Antonia


Radio LOBO/BGI Broadcasting Corp. Rafael Pacheco Photography Real Life Children’s Ranch Regions Bank Renegades Country Bar and Grill Republican Party of Okeechobee RSVP Okeechobee Rustic Style and Cabins Serenity Coffee Shop Sims and Younger, CPA, PLLC Skull Hill Steel, Inc. St. Lucie Battery and Tire Stafford’s Salon State Farm Insurance Stitchin’ Post Surfin’ the Net Syble’s Flowers and Gifts Taylor Rental Teez 2 Pleez The Alarm Company of Okeechobee The Canvas Shop, LLC The Frosty Mug The Heritage Assisted Living Facility The Tucker Group, LLC Thirty One Gifts and Accessories Tires Plus Total Car Care Tobacco Place, LLC Toni’s Chic Boutique Total Roadside Service, Inc. Tradewinds Tree Locators UBS Financial Services, Inc. Villa Margaret RV Park Visiting Nurses Association of Florida Wicks, Brown, Williams and Co. CPA’s Willson Appraisal Associates WOKC/Glades Media

Special Thanks To

Okeechobee County Board of County Commissioners The City of Okeechobee

O’Connor, Mike Parker, Anita Pierce, Stephanie Renfranz, Lisa Reynolds, Mark and Billie Jean Sevigny, Sr. Elenor Shatto, Alan Stepanovich, Amie Taylor, Bettye Vaughan, Nancy Vensel, Jim and Sue

Wallace, Sharon Walther, Mari Watford, Dowling and Cherie Watts, Lisa Williams, Elizabeth Williams, Haynes and Susan Williams, Timothy and Elizabeth Williamson, Jack Wolff, Jack Woloski, John and LInda

Quality - Commitment - Design

Wind Mitigations & Home Inspections STATE LICENSED & INSURED - #CRC058109

Blue Ribbon Winner Treasure Coast Parade of Homes

863-467-1933 221 NE Park Street - Okeechobee, FL 34972 We now have a 2nd location at 1120 NW Park Street Winter 2012 | 7

Publisher’s Note As 2012 comes to an end, this issue marks the end of six years here at Okeechobee The Magazine. There’s nothing we value more than volunteerism, and when it comes to logging long hours for no pay — and making a huge difference in the community — Raye Deusinger has shown that she is committed to helping others. And as the driving force behind the Okeechobee Blood Roundup, Deusinger has her work cut out for her. But she’s not alone. Read about the roundup and its tremendous support from the Okeechobee community. Over on U.S. Highway 441, south of town, you’ve likely driven by the Freedom Ranch and wondered what it’s all about. Well, we take you inside to meet John Glenn, a former Vietnam combat medic-turned-preacher/teacher/cowboy who runs a faith-based recovery-counseling training and retreat center at the ranch. Learn about the good work he is doing at the “Cracker cowboy” camp. If you think the Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee offers only pregnancy tests, then we suggest you read our feature on the center. Lisa Lumpkin and Debi Large explain how it’s so much more, with services including ultrasounds, parenting classes, life coach sessions, adoption information, education assistance and more. And most important, clients are treated like family. In Okeechobee at Home, we visit the 2,500-square-foot home of Greg and Vicki Kennedy, who built and designed their home off Eagle Bay Drive with a vision for the future, intending to remain there for the rest of their lives. Events featured in this issue include Hospice of Okeechobee’s annual Boots & Pearls gala, the Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee gala featuring former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee as the keynote speaker and many more.


6, number 4 | Winter 2012

publisher/managing editor

Maureen Budjinski creative director

Bridgette Waldau copy editor

Jason Budjinski office assistant

Rose Brennan bookkeeping

Carol Lieberman account executive

Trish Grygo Gail Lockwood photographers

Sharon Cannon Felicia Maxwell Sandra Pearce writers

Jason Budjinski Ron Bukley Rachel Buxton Chris Felker Tonya Young contributors

Chauna Aguilar Reneé Mims Charles Murphy Michael Shellen distribution

In Behind the Business, we take you inside the mind of Okeechobee attorney Glenn Sneider, who after reconnecting with his Jewish roots has been on a mission to give back to the community in various ways. Also, meet Dr. Juan M. Teodoro and Dr. Glen T. Casto of Dental Surgery Specialists of Okeechobee. Learn about their backgrounds and the dental services they provide. And because it’s the winter issue, fishing columnist Mike Shellen welcomes back our northern friends. Of course, we join him in that sentiment and wish everyone a great holiday season and happy new year. And we hope that as 2013 rolls around, you’ll continue reading Okeechobee The Magazine — your magazine.

Jackie Martin Ryan Martin Okeechobee The Magazine

111 NE 2nd Street Okeechobee, FL 34972 Phone: (863) 467-0054

Maureen Budjinski president

Joshua I. Manning vice president

Barry S. Manning chairman & ceo


Publisher 8 | Winter 2012


Okeechobee The Magazine, is published quarterly in Okeechobee, Florida. Copyright 2012, all rights reserved by Okeechobee The Magazine, LLC. Contents may not be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to refuse advertising. The publisher accepts no responsibility for advertisement errors beyond the cost of the space occupied by the error within the advertisement itself. The publisher accepts no responsibility for submitted materials. All submitted materials subject to editing.

2013 Top of the Lake Art Fest & Chalk Walk February 9th & 10th Saturday & Sunday -10 am - 4 pm

7th Annual

Top of the

w! e N Inaugural

Top of the



Art Fest

Chalk Walk Street Painting

s Free!

ion i s s i m d A

Famil y

In Beautiful Flagler Park

True Juried Art Show with local and national artists.



New! Chalk Walk Street Painting! Watch the artist create on the treets in Flagler Park.

Fine Art - Artisan Crafts Chalk Street Art Art Gallery Tent featuring Local and Student Artists Entertainment Okeechobee Main Street ‘s 5th Mural Dedication Children’s Art Activities For information contact

Cindy at 863-357-6246

Main Street Office: 55 South Parrott Ave.

Call to Artists!

If you are interested in showing in the Top of the Lake Art Fest or participating in the Chalk Walk contact Okeechobee Main Street now!

Okeechobee Main Street Event

OKEECHOBEE MAIN STREET CORPORATE SPONSORS: Bank of America - Big Lake Cancer Center Florida’s Blood Centers - Okeechobee the Magazine Raulerson Hospital - Seacoast National Bank Syfrett Feed Company - TD Bank

Also Sponsored By Winter 2012 | 9


Winter 2012


22 Raye Deusinger

Woman Behind the Blood Roundup By Jason Budjinski

52 Debi Large and Lisa Lumpkin


The ‘Dynamic Duo’ Behind the Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee By Rachel Buxton

64 John Glenn Of Freedom Ranch By Chris Felker


30 Okeechobee at Home By Ron Bukley


Behind the Business 40 Dental Surgery Specialists 42 Attorney Glenn Sneider


78 Fishing on Lake Okeechobee By Capt. Michael Shellen

82 Hunter Pritchard By Charles Murphy



62 10 | Winter 2012


12 14 16 18 20 36 38 46 50 60 62 72 74

Labor Day Festival and Rodeo Pregnancy Center Gala Kids Fishing Day Boots & Pearls Kiwanis Minimal Regatta Fall Concert with Tom Jackson Rylee’s Hope Chili Cookoff Halloween Fest Rocking Rod Car Show Okeechobee Blood Roundup FFA Fun Shoot Chamber Leadership Okeechobee Kickoff Big Brothers/Big Sisters Bowl-athon

84 Around Okeechobee 88 Advertiser Index



Meet Raye Deusinger Woman Behind the Blood Round-Up


Debi Large and Lisa Lumpkin The “Dynamic Duo” Behind the Pregnancy Center

John Glenn of Freedom Ranch

ON THE COVER Raye Deusinger Story on page 22 Photo by Sandra Pearce

Upcoming Shoots Dec. 8 - Highlands County Citrus Shoot Jan. 5 - FL Cattlewomen Shoot Jan. 18 - Master Custom Builders Shoot Jan. 25 - St. Thomas Aquina Shoot Jan. 26 - M.E. Team’s Shoot Feb. 1 - Lake Wales YMCA Shoot

Winter 2012 | 11

Community Event

Labor Day Festival & Parade The 2012 Labor Day Festival, organized by Okeechobee Main Street, was held Sept. 1-3 in Flagler Park. The streets were lined with family and friends as the parade made its way down Park Street. The park was filled with something for everyone: arts and crafts, great food, vendors and live entertainment. It was a fun-filled day for all who attended. For information, visit

Dally Exposito proudly carries the flag.

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12 | Winter 2012



1. Clay Starling knocks down the canisters as Bobby Steiert watches. 2. Shriner Jack Townsend stops to say hello as David Pontoon looks on. 3. Dahlia Grzech tries to catch the bubbles. 4. Ronald McDonald with Okeechobee The Magazine photographer Sharon Cannon. 5. Ronald McDonald poses with Aaron Gaucin, Elias Garcia, Jose Serrano Jr. and Elyssa Gaucin as Yonel Garcia takes a picture. 6. Kaylee Whidden with her Flower Child Bowtique. 7. The Adam Bryant Minimal Regatta pirate ship float was a crowd favorite.

Photos By Sharon Cannon

Labor Day Ranch Rodeo 2012 The Okeechobee County Cattlemen’s Association held a Labor Day Ranch Rodeo Saturday through Monday, Sept. 1-3 at the Okeechobee Agri-Civic Center. There were 24 ranch rodeo teams, and the top five teams from Saturday and Sunday rodeoed for a short go on Monday. The three-day event was full of excitement as spectators watched team roping, team tying, team sorting, team branding and the traditional kids ribbon chase.


The opening ceremony begins with prayer.


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1. Jeff Bell of West Palm Beach admires Brad Phares’ paintings. 2. Miss Rodeo Okeechobee Princess McKenna Brooke Hickson (front) and Miss Teen Rodeo 2012 Sierra Megan Coward. 3. Rooster Durrance of Flying L with his horse. 4. Rocking U team roping. 5. Keith Lewis of K.L. Bar ropes the calf. 6. The calf scramble is a crowd pleaser. 7. Reed Durrance’s horse patiently waits for him.



Winter 2012 | 13

Community Event

Photos By Felicia Maxwell

Gov. Mike Huckabee Keynote Speaker at Pregnancy Center Gala The Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee held its third annual fundraising gala Sept. 18. In attendance were many distinguished local guests and keynote speaker, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. The event helped to raise funds to support the local center which serviced 766 clients this year. For information, visit (Left) Pregnancy Center Executive Director Lisa Lumpkin, Gov. Mike Huckabee and Development Director Debbie Large.

(Above) Merle and Scott Vidal with Raymond and Judy Jolly.

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14 | Winter 2012


The CenterState Bank table: Tabitha and Jay Trent (back), Kristy and Neal Crawford, Heather and Ty Hancock and Jennifer and Steve Lafferty. 1. Pastor Mickey and Laura Maye Evans. 2. Pregnancy Center President Cheri Watford and Dowling Watford with Gov. Mike Huckabee. 3. Pete Gawda with Pastor Jim Benton (as Drew Carey). 4. Gov. Mike Huckabee is greeted by Mark Reynolds. 5. Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks to the crowd on the importance of the pregnancy center’s work.

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Winter 2012 | 15

Community Event

Photos By Felcia Maxwell

Kids Fishing Day Fun Taylor Creek Bass Club held its annual Kids Day Oct. 28 at the Okeechobee Agri-Civic Center. More than 200 children were in attendance, participating in casting contests and a fishing tournament. This year, a rod and reel was provided for each child thanks to a grant from Fish Florida. Prizes were awarded for first, second and third place in different age groups. For more information on the Taylor Creek Bass Club, call Chan Garrett at (863) 357-0028. The crowd gathers around the lake while kids fish for catfish and small pan fish.

Lori Kelly with Okeechobee Sheriff’s Office representatives John Munger and Jermain Charpentier.

Troy Huffman gets instructions on casting from Big O teen angler Nathan Center.

Event organizers Bill Sietz, Terri Johnson, Vicky Brackin and Mike Zubricky.

Employee Commitment, Dedication and Community Partner “My staff and I are proud to be solid community partners in Okeechobee.” Tony Bishop, Sr. District Manager

Waste Management Okeechobee Landfill, Inc. 863-357-0824 Fax: 863-357-0772

10800 N.E. 128th Ave. Okeechobee FL, 34972 16 | Winter 2012


All Florida Junior Team Rodeo American Cancer Society Relay For Life Annual Christmas Parade Annual Halloween Festival Annual Labor Day Festival ARC of Okeechobee Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Battle Of Okeechobee Event Big Brothers Big Sisters of Okeechobee B.R.A.T. Club, Inc. B.R.A.T. Labor Day Parade CASTLE Economic Council of Okeechobee Faith Farm of Okeechobee Florida Blood Centers Blood Roundup Habitat for Humanity Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee March of Dimes Walk

Okeechobee Landfill, Inc. Martha’s House My Aunt's Closet Okeechobee Cattlemen’s Association Okeechobee Chamber of Commerce Okeechobee County Fair Okeechobee County School Board Okeechobee Educational Foundation - Achieving Excellence Campaign Okeechobee Emergency Management Special Disaster Team Okeechobee Health and Safety Fair Okeechobee High School GRAD Night Event Okeechobee High School Marching Band Okeechobee High School Sports Okeechobee Main Street Okeechobee Youth Lovestock Show and Sales Real Life Children’s Ranch Waste Management local Scholarships Waste Management Take Stock in Children Scholarship

Winter 2012 | 17

Community Event

Photos By Sandra Pearce

Seventh Annual Boots & Pearls Benefits Hospice of Okeechobee Hospice of Okeechobee held its seventh annual Boots & Pearls gala at the KOA Convention Center on Friday, Oct. 12. This fun-filled signature event featured silent and live auctions with plenty of music and dancing. Funds raised will benefit Hospice of Okeechobee and the Hamrick Home. For more information, visit


2 3 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.


David and Betty Hazellief. Frank and Linda Pearce. Diane an Robert Prescott. Cindy and Ray Domer. Christa Luna, Gil and Marie Culbreth, Kriss Dail and Bert Culbreth. 6. Sharon and Wayne Prevatte. 7. Craig and Jeanette Miller, Gary and Maureen Budjinski, Donna Huth and Bill Fowler.

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18 | Winter 2012



Peace Lutheran School Presents Jeans, Jewels and Jazz! A Night in New Orleans

BAr-B-Q steAK CO. E DATE SAVE THrday Satu 16, 2013 y r a u r b e F A at the KO

A Dinner, Dance and Auction for improvement and benefit of Peace Lutheran School. For more information please call Karen Smith at 863-763-7566

$5 Appetizers after 9pm in the Saloon

AYsr W L OU sA it’ ppY HBOYsr HA COWottles Bee At uding B incl



On W ts eD.

Ladies Night 6pm-10pm Thursday

863-467-1104 102 SW 14th St. -Okeechobee

Winter 2012 | 19

Community Event

Photos By Sharon Cannon

Second Annual Adam Bryant Minimal Regatta The Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee held its second annual Adam Bryant Minimal Regatta Oct. 6 at C. Scott Driver Park on the Kissimmee River. The event was a huge success with an estimated 2,500 people in attendance and more than 80 boats. Proceeds will go to a scholarship fund in memory of Adam Bryant. The scholarship is to be awarded to a graduating Okeechobee High School senior who plans on a career as a firefighter/EMT. Next year’s event is already being planned for Oct. 5, 2013. For more information on the Kiwanis Club, visit


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20 | Winter 2012



1. And they’re off! 2. Dickie Legassi of Butch’s Redneck Yacht Club won the Old Salts Division. 3. Titanic Award winner Joey Bunker (center) with J.D. Mixon and Teresa Chandler. 4. “Popeye the Sailor Man” Brandon Baughman. 5. Jeff Reno of Rock and Roll Racing won Best Boat. 6. April Hartseil shows her team support with a pink feather hat. 7. Budding photographer Blake McDonald. 8. Mojito and Munk play in the water as their owner Edna Hofmann closely watches them. 9. A huge crowd enjoyed the races. 10. The Byrant family memorial sign for Adam.

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Winter 2012 | 21

“She’s just a giving person, but also very dedicated.” - FBC Donor Development Coordinator Russ Colwell

22 | Winter 2012


A Raye of Hope

Behind Raye Deusinger’s Efforts To Roundup Lifesaving Blood. By Jason Budjinski O Photos By Sandra Pearce


2007, when the Okeechobee Blood Roundup was in its second year, T-shirts were made displaying the names of people who donated at least $200, whether as money or as value in goods and services, whether it be hotel stays, fishing trips or coupons. There were 12 names on that shirt. Five years later, there are more than four times that many names, as 61 people have made such donations for the 2012 roundup, held Nov. 17-18. “We’re running out of room on the T-shirt,” joked Raye Deusinger, the drive chairperson and main force behind the roundup, which she started in 2006 with former Okeechobee Times editor Joan Dyer.

“I retired in ’98, and when I did I couldn’t stand the thought of sitting at home and doing nothing, so I went over to the new newspaper starting at the time, the Okeechobee Times,” Deusinger said. “I asked, ‘Would you allow me to write a column?’ because at that time, physically, my doctor said, ‘Stop donating so often.’ I thought, well, I’ve got to be able to help get blood, so maybe I can write a column about it. I asked the Times, and they said yes, and so I began writing.”

For eight years, Deusinger wrote a weekly column about blood, from developments to history, going all the way back to the gladiators, as well as the An award “for her dedication to the Okeechobee Roundup and her first transfusions. During Commitment to Saving Lives” was presented to Raye Deusinger in Deusinger’s last year with July. Shown here are FBC Vice President of Blood Systems Alicia the Times, Dyer told her Prichard, Deusinger, FBC Chief Technical Officer Mike Pratt, and A longtime blood doshe wanted to do someDistrict Donor Coordinator Russ Colwell. nor, Deusinger has seen thing to give back to the the roundup grow over people of Okeechobee. the years, and she credits the generosity of the Okeechobee “Just as she was considering what to do, my column came in community for making it such a success. According to and she thought, aha! I’ll do a massive blood drive,’” DeusDeusinger, the origins of the roundup were a bit fortuitous. inger said. 

Winter 2012 | 23


Claws & Paws Come and See us for

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Treating your pets like our family.

Call us at

863-357-6700 Find Us On FaceBook

2949 Hwy 70 West - Okeechobee,FL

Waldau Bridgette studio of graphic design

Dyer and Deusinger got together and came up with the idea for the roundup and launched the drive in 2006. However, Dyer fell ill the following year, and Deusinger was on her own. But with help from dedicated volunteers and support from the community, Deusinger managed to keep it going … and going … and going. That is no small feat, and it’s not what usually happens. “On the fourth year, it dawned on [Florida’s Blood Centers], hey, this is consistently building, which is against the pattern,” Deusinger said. “The pattern for blood drives is you can have a phenomenal first year and generally a pretty good second year, but by the third year it begins to go downhill in most locations. Ours keeps building.”

She is a walking blood drive promotion machine.

- FBC Executive Director of Public Relations Pat Michaels

In total, the Okeechobee Blood Roundup has collected 3,152 units of blood in seven years. This year’s roundup collected 471 units, with 526 people attending. For her efforts, Deusinger was named an ambassador for Florida’s Blood Centers. She is one of only two in the state.

fine arts & graphic arts from concept to print

111 NE 2nd Street Okeechobee Florida 34972 24 | Winter 2012


863 467 7300

Born in Detroit, Mich., Deusinger has lived in South Florida most of her life, having moved with her family to Miami in 1944. While enrolled at the University of Miami, where she majored in journalism and minored in religion, Deusinger took a job at the Miami Herald, where she met her husband, Frank. They married three days after her graduation and remained together until Frank’s passing in 2004. Their two daughters,

Winter 2012 | 25

Mama Flegos Italian Restaurant


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The Deusingers began building a home in Buckhead Ridge as a “getaway” in the mid 1970s, and after Frank retired in 1983, the couple moved there permanently. Frank passed away Jan. 2, 2004, following complications from double bypass surgery, which resulted in severe blood loss. “He went in for a double bypass, and not having anything whatsoever to do with that, he ended up with a massive bleed,” Raye said. “They were just bringing him out of that when he ended up with another massive bleed, from another totally unrelated thing, and used 36 units of blood during that period.”

George Marshall, Jr. Owner

202 NE 2nd Street - Suite 10 Okeechobee, Florida

Across from Bass Funeral Home - Additional Parking in Rear of Restaurant

Major Credit Cards Accepted

Dental Surgery Specialists

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863-261-7273 Fax 863-261-8274

Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 am to 5 pm. Most dental insurance plans accepted.

113 NE 19th Drive Okeechobee, FL 34972 26 | Winter 2012

Diana Damiano and Ann Rodgerson, are both married and employed in their own businesses.


Although Raye is well-known in the area for her work with blood donation, she’s also involved with her church. Deusinger has taught Sunday school, mostly for teens and young adults, and currently teaches a senior women’s class at First United Methodist Church. She also serves as an usher and a member of the Community Life Committee, does work with Hands on Okeechobee and worked with Habitat for Humanity to help build the first five Habitat houses in Okeechobee. Raye is also involved with Okeechobee Community Theatre, having appeared in four plays and currently serving as an usher at most of its productions. Additionally, Raye is the coordinator of the Okeechobee Business Women’s Referral Network. All of this speaks to Raye’s giving nature, which is something those who know her will attest to. One person who has worked on the roundup with Raye from the beginning is Florida’s Blood Centers Donor Development Coordinator Russ Colwell. “She’s just a giving person, but also very dedicated. She’s very detailed,” he said. “Raye will go out of her way to take care of people any way she can. She

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Winter 2012 | 27



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talks the talk and walks the walk.” Colwell stressed how crucial blood donation is to the community, and how one person can make a huge difference, noting that one unit of blood can be used for three people. “Say 500 people give blood; that’s 1,500 people you can save,” he said. Marilyn Rinear, data recorder for the Okeechobee Blood Roundup, credits Raye’s personable character with helping grow the roundup each year. “Raye is the heart and soul of this thing,” Rinear said. “Everybody knows her. When we go out and start canvassing every year, everybody recognizes that this is time for the blood roundup. People look forward to us coming out and asking to help.”

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Florida’s Blood Centers Executive Director of Public Relations Pat Michaels calls Raye “the drive chairperson of the highest order.”



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“She is a walking blood drive promotion machine,” Michaels said. “She gets people to give in kind, and that includes donor gifts, a place for the blood drive to be held, community involvement, and no one can tell Raye no.” Michaels emphasized the importance of the roundup, and what it means locally for the people it benefits, from cancer patients to people needing emergency surgery. “Every unit of blood that’s donated goes to patients in local hospitals,” Michaels said. “This type of outreach, this community event, is literally in most cases a lifesaving event.” And that’s why it’s so important to everyone involved, especially Raye. She not only rounds up blood; she rounds up community spirit, and that is key to creating something that will last long into the future — and save many more lives. To learn more about blood donation, visit O

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Winter 2012 | 29



At Home

Greg and Vicki Kennedy By Ron Bukley O Photos by Felicia Maxwell

Greg and Vicki Kennedy built and designed their Okeechobee home off Eagle Bay Drive with a vision for the future, intending to remain there for the rest of their lives.

own bathroom, office/workout/storage room, and his-and-hers closets between the bedroom and bathroom. “Her closet is quite a bit bigger, but it’s nice to have my own,” Greg said.

The Kennedys had the 2,500-squarefoot home built a little over five years ago by Platinum Performance Builders. “We went through two full sets of drawings,” Greg said. “We had two houses drawn up, engineered and ready, and kept finding things we wanted to change and actually looked at a home they had built. [We] liked the floor plan, but we expanded some things. We stretched it a little bit in the kitchen and dining room. We were able to pick all the colors, trim, doors, knobs.”

The bathroom has extensive tile work,

The home, which has a 10-foot ceiling and crown molding throughout, is built for both hospitality and livability, featuring a foyer and dining room on either side of the front entrance facing north, with accessibility to the dining room from the kitchen. The kitchen opens to the back with a counter to an informal dining area, which has a large window view to the covered patio and large back yard to the south on just over an acre. “We wanted a house that was open and inviting,” Greg said. The bedrooms are on separate wings of the house with separate bedrooms on the east side for their two daughters, Kiersten, 8, Jillian, 11, and the master bedroom on the west, which has its 30 | Winter 2012


(Above) The Kennedy family: Kiersten,Vicki, Greg and Jillian. (Right) One of the daughter’s airy bedroom, accented with a burst of color.

with his-and-hers vanities and separate corner tub with faucets on the entry side and walk-in shower with a frameless glass enclosure. “We picked the tiles and did some upgrades just getting the trim work added in,” Greg said. “The effect was quite nice.”

To soften the bathroom design they incorporated a 45-degree design in one corner of the bathroom, opposite a 45-degree entry to the toilet, which is separated with a door from the rest of the bathroom. The Kennedys were able to use real marble for the countertops because synthetic marble was more expensive due to fuel prices at the time. Greg likes the underhung sinks because they are easier to keep clean. “I’m very oriented on ease of maintenance,” he said. “We take care of everything ourselves. We have no cleaning or lawn help, so we want everything as easy to maintain as we can get.” When the couple first started planning the home, Greg’s brother gave him a book called Make Your House Do the Housework, which provided good advice, such as using light covers that are open on the bottom so insects don’t accumulate on the bottom. The bathroom has a flat-screen television so they can get updated on current events while preparing for the day. “It’s a very livable space,” Greg said. There is a larger flat-screen television in the main living room, as well as a smaller one in the kitchen, which is the focus of most activity. “We can watch some cartoons while the kids are eating breakfast,” Greg said. “We do homework on the bar. We do breakfast and dinner every day. I try to cook the kids breakfast every morning, bacon and

Winter 2012 | 31

(Above) The Kennedysâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; home off Eagle Bay Drive. (Above right) This ballerina sculpture adorns a wall. (Right) Welcoming decor in the foyer. (Below) The formal dining room has a large window view to the porch.

(Above) The master bedroom. (Left) Unique framed photographs hung at the head of both daughtersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; bed. (Below) One of the closets with additional storage space above.

(Below) A floral piece located in the living area.

32 | Winter 2012


eggs before they go to school. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It’s kind of the center of everything.” Many of the appliances, including a large kitchen stove, are gas-powered, which Greg said is economical and practical if the electricity goes out. “We ran gas for the hot-water heater, the clothes dryer and the stove, and actually plumbed it out to the back porch for a future outdoor built-in kitchen,” he said. “We did that work when we built it, trying to plan ahead. We have a cutout out there that has hot and cold water, drain line and gas. We plan to spend the rest of our time here, so we wanted to do it right.”

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The girls’ bathroom has two sinks and a door that opens to the back yard and possibly a pool one day, Greg said. “[Vicki’s] sister lives next door and has a beautiful pool,” he said. The girls’ bedrooms both have closets with additional storage overhead. “There’s three feet of clearance and it’s all decked in with heavy lumber so it’ll hold a lot of weight. We have all of their keepsakes and baby stuff and all the family papers, so it’s stored in air conditioning.”

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16162 Highway 441 N. Okeechobee, FL 34972 (10 Miles North of Hwy 70) The attic, which opens from the two-car garage, is also trussed out so there is an additional 16- by 24-foot space with a 7-foot head clearance for storage. “I’m a bit of a pack rat; I hunt and fish and scuba dive,” Greg said, noting that when equipment is out of season, it goes up there. 

Winter 2012 | 33

“We tried to make good selections on everything,” he said. “Until you build a house it’s hard to imagine how laborious it is to decide. I’m sure we visited over 100 homes in the course of five or six years to try and get ideas, and pick things from one place or another.” The Kennedys also spent several years searching for the right property, first looking at waterfront lots but deciding to favor convenience. “We both wanted to be closer to town, running to cheer, running to dance,” Greg said, referring to his daughters’ involvement in cheerleading and dancing. “Both of us commute less than a mile to our jobs. It’s phenomenal to have that.”

(Above and left) The kitchen. (Above left) The laundry room. (Below) Wine on display.

Greg works for the Department of Environmental Protection, and Vicki teaches first grade at Central Elementary School. They both graduated from Okeechobee High School. O




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Winter 2012 | 35

Community Event

Fall Concert

Submitted By Jason Flesch

Okeechobee Shooting Sport

Okeechobee Shooting Sports held its first-ever fall concert on Nov. 10. An evening of fun was had by friends and family with great food, music and kids activities. The featured artist was Tom Jackson, along with Coon Doggin Outlaws. For information on any future events at Okeechobee Shooting Sports, visit

(Above) Coon Doggin Outlaws’ (L-R) Anton Lauter and Brett Huff. (Right) Nashville recording Artist Tom Jackson. (Far right) The crowd enjoyed the food, catered by Dee-Stefano’s of Indiantown.

No Need To Go Out Of Town For Expert Health Care Services! We Are Right Here In Okeechobee, Your Hometown!

Over 15 years experience in the treatment of all digestive disorders. Colonoscopy & Endoscopy  Capsule endoscopy  Liver disease (Hepatitis & Cirrhosis)  Colon Cancer Screening  Irritable Bowel Syndrome  Gallbladder Disease  Ulcerative Colitis  Crohn’s Disease  Removal of Polyps  Treatment of Ulcers  Diverticulitis  Gastrointestinal Bleeding  GERD Most Insurance Accepted 36 | Winter 2012

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Happy Holidays from Atlantic Wealth Management Group The Atlantic Wealth Management Group proudly supports the Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee’s Santa in the Park Saturday, December 8 and Monday, December 17 – Saturday, December 22 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Flagler Park Gazebo in downtown Okeechobee. The Club will be providing free photographs with Santa Claus and a treat for the kids.


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Winter 2012 | 37

Community Event

Photos By Sharon Cannon

Sixth Annual Rylee’s Hope Cookoff


Rylee’s Hope Chili Cookoff was held Saturday, Oct. 20 at Flagler Park in downtown Okeechobee. Rylee’s Hope Inc. is a nonprofit ministry formed to help with the basic financial, emotional and spiritual needs of families that currently have or have had babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, and families that have experienced the unexpected birth or death of a baby. For more information, visit


3 5

1. Shelby Busbin, Brandon Cole and Gavin Kendall enjoy the cookoff. 2. (Front row, L-R) Roma Comfort and Marlee Jolicoeur; (back) Jack Griffin, Glenn McKinney, Tommy Comfort and Patti Comfort. 3. Rylee’s Hope founders Shana and Lee Jolicoeur with their daughters, Brynlee and Marlee. 4. Ray Domer, Ranell Conner and Maureen Thomas serve a bowl of chili to Tim Thompson of Naples. 5. Brynlee Jolicoeur looks on. 6. First-place winners Rock Solid Christian Academy: (front row, L-R) Emilee and Arrie Chandler; (back) Shawn Chandler, Stephanie Busbin, Colleen Larson, Rylee’s Hope founder Lee Jolicoeur, Amanda Lay, Joy Yates, Kallie Yates and Sue Ada Hicks.

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The 2013 Rylee’s Hope calendars are available. 38 | Winter 2012


Winter 2012 | 39

Behind the Business New Dentists in Town - Dental Surgery Specialists


By Tonya Young O Photo by Felicia Maxwell

case you haven’t noticed, the office at 113 NE 19th Drive has some new occupants. Dr. Juan M. Teodoro and Dr. Glen T. Casto opened Dental Surgery Specialists of Okeechobee in the location two months ago. Teodoro and Casto offer the only dental specialty practice of its kind in Okeechobee. The practice specializes in endodontics, oral surgery (such as wisdom tooth extractions), periodontics (gum disease) and implants. Prior to Dental Surgery

Specialists of Okeechobee, anyone seeking these services had to travel outside of Okeechobee. If you are in need of a root canal, wisdom tooth extraction, dental implants or a simple extraction under IV sedation, Teodoro and Casto can help. They’ve brought to Okeechobee the latest in dental technology and surgical procedures: laser periodontal therapy, endodontal microscopy, computerguided implant surgery and IV sedation. Casto and Teodoro have known one another since doing their residencies in Pittsburgh, Pa. “Since I have ties to this community, and there was no specialty practice of this kind in Okeechobee, it just made sense for us to bring this service to Okeechobee,” Teodoro said. Teodoro is a board-certified periodontist. He holds both Diplomate status in the American Academy of Periodontology and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. Teodoro is an adjunct professor at the University Of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine as well as a clinical assistant professor at the Naples Dental Residency Program for the University of Florida. He attended the University of Florida for his undergraduate degree and completed his Doctor of Dental Medicine and specialty residency at the University of Pittsburgh.

(L-R) Dr. Glen T. Casto and Dr. Juan M. Teodoro.

40 | Winter 2012


Teodoro also served as a major in the United States Air Force, where he practiced periodontics. Throughout his Air Force career he served as the chief of periodontics, director of the implant board and clinical instructor. He is one of the local leading authorities in laser periodontal therapy and in the Brane-

mark method of implantology. He is one of the few periodontists in the state credentialed and trained to perform periodontal laser surgery with the PerioLase laser, for the treatment of periodontal disease. Teodoro is a charismatic man, and his dental humor is just one attribute that makes him so likeable. He and his wife Erin have one daughter, Lauren, and a dog, Callie. Casto completed his undergraduate degree at Wake Forrest University on a full Army ROTC scholarship, and graduated from West Virginia University in 1995. He later served in the U.S. Army Reserve. While completing his education, Casto participated in the multiple research projects that resulted in eight publications and a National Institutes of Health grant. He was also co-investigator in an FDA approval of the only prescription drug of the adjunct treatment of periodontal disease. Casto holds the prestigious position of being one of the few

dentists in Florida to have dual specialty training in periodontics and endodontics. He is a graduate of the Misch Implant Institute and has served as a clinical assistant professor in periodontics at West Virginia University School of Dentistry. Casto’s friendly smile will invite you through the door and make you feel completely at ease while under his care. His family comprises his wife Heidi, son Grant and identical twin sons Jackson and David. The two doctors’ humble and warm personalities create a comfortable, homelike atmosphere at Dental Surgery Specialists of Okeechobee. “We would like to thank the community for all their support,” Teodoro said. “We love this community. It’s comfortable and straightforward, and that’s nice.” Dental Surgery Specialists of Okeechobee accepts most dental insurance plans. Financial plans are offered within the office. Its hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. To contact Dental Surgery Specialists of Okeechobee, call (863) 261-8273 to talk to the friendly and knowledgeable staff. O

WILLIAMSON CATTLE COMPANY PRESENTS Historical Mural This historical mural was painted in 1996 to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the first permanent settler’s arrival to, what is now Okeechobee. They were Peter and wife Louisiana (Chandler) Raulerson and their seven children. The year was 1896 and the family is shown in the mural. Seminole Indians, which frequented this area, are also depicted in the painting. This historic mural is 130’ wide and 16’tall and is located on the side of the old gymnasium at the school complex on 700 SW 2 Avenue.

Winter 2012 | 41

Behind the Business Professional, Principled, Passionate Glenn J. Sneider, Attorney at Law By Tonya Young


lenn J. Sneider has been practicing law for more than 20 years. His faith-based practice has thrived in Okeechobee despite an economic downturn. Sneider graduated from law school at Florida State University. He has been practicing law in South Florida since 1979 and practicing in Okeechobee since 1998, having moved his practice here from Broward County. Fourteen

years ago Sneider chose to leave the “drama” of big city law for a more “civil” place to practice law. This led him to Okeechobee. The recent change in the economic climate “sparked serious soul searching regarding my business and personal life, and led me on a path of deeper connection with my Jewish roots,” Sneider said. Sneider said his first commitment was

to keep Sneider Law in business and ensure employment for his office staff. Even though many were downsizing or drastically cutting employee hours, Sneider pledged to make every payroll, even when that meant he himself went without a paycheck. Even with a failing economy, Sneider chose to increase his charitable contributions, his tzedakah. Sneider Law joined the Florida Rural Legal Services, taking part in its “Ask a Lawyer” program. While most would consider this pro bono work, he saw it as his “moral obligation to give back.” Ask a Lawyer allows those who otherwise couldn’t afford legal counsel to gain information at no cost. “Now more than ever,” Sneider said, “there is a need to give back to the community, whether we do pro bono work or field questions to the public in conjunction with Florida Rural Legal Service. A lot of people are still hurting and need good legal information.” In addition to his commitment to the Florida Rural Legal Services, Sneider also sponsors a $1,000 scholarship for the Okeechobee High School Scholarship Night.

Glenn J. Sneider, Esq.

42 | Winter 2012


While soul searching, Sneider found a deeper level of connection to his Jewish roots. He is proud to say he is now an observant Jew. “Being an observant Jew is much different from just recognizing that I’m a Jew,” Sneider said. “I keep kosher, and I close for Sabbath and all

the Jewish holidays, which my employees love me for because there are a lot of holidays.”

and ask a question, it’s fine with me.”

Though Sneider’s belief, ethics and appearance Being an observant Jew has code may differ from the not only changed Sneider norm, he said, “I think inwardly but outwardly as you have to give people well. “I get a lot of questions credit to know what’s about my outward appearimportant. If you offer a ance, my beard, my kippah great service, people will The Glenn Sneider Team (L-R): and the fringes that hang seek you out for that and Marlene Wade, Tammy Affron, Frank Hickox, from my shirt,” Sneider said. not worry about the rest. Glenn Sneider, Esq., Carmen Rile and Charity Arnold. Besides, we share the same A beard, a kippah and fringes all rep- proud to be employing a small office core values here centering on hard work, resent Sneider’s belief in something staff of locals. I’m grateful to be accept- family, community and a belief that higher than himself, yet he still manages ed for who I am. I believe that I was led there is something bigger than us all.” to keep his country flair. “I’m sort of an here to practice this kind of law and be anomaly because I’m this observant Jew, a bridge of understanding between our Sneider Law is located at 200 SW Ninth yet I wear cowboy boots,” Sneider said. different faiths. Helping people is just St. in Okeechobee. For more informa“It’s about perspective and interactions. part of my mission. If someone wants to tion, call (863) 467-6570 or visit www. In Okeechobee, people are comfortable stop me at the courthouse or Walgreens O asking questions, and I love it. How are we going to find out about each other if we don’t ask?” Sneider explained that his kippah, a small cap, reminds him constantly that there is someone greater above himself. He also said the fringes hanging from under his jacket are tzittzit. “They are kind of forget-me-knots, that remind me of the obligation to our creator,” Sneider said. In relation to his combination of “church and state” Sneider said, “Religion should be about ethics. For me it’s about consistently applying those ethics in my community, office and home. I strive to give back, to be honest and to give honest service in exchange for a client’s payment and trust.” Sneider is proud to be a member of the Okeechobee community, both personally and in business. “I love my faith, and I love this community,” he said. “I’m

Winter 2012 | 43

O u r pat i e n t s ’

own words s p e a k V O lu m e s “The nurses were amazing; very responsive! They took great care of Sorrel and kept our family comfortable and informed.” Fay Faircloth, Mother of pediatric orthopaedic patient at Raulerson Hospital. Six year old Sorrel Faircloth is a very busy girl. She is a Kindergartener at South Elementary School, a cheerleader with the OCRA Storm Competitive Cheer Team, a member of the 4-H Club –Chobee Roundup, and a competitive Barrel Racer with the PRP and the Reality Ranch Association. So when friends and family members heard Sorrel had broken the bones in her arm, many assumed it was due to a riding accident with one of her horses: Dandy and Tivia. But Sorrel’s accident didn’t involve horses or even cheerleading; it was a simple trip and fall that could happen to anyone, even those less active. Sorrel and her family were arriving at her 4-H Club meeting when Sorrel tripped and fell on the cement parking slab. They knew her left arm was hurt badly. Sorrel’s mother, Fay Faircloth, rushed her daughter to the Emergency Department at Raulerson Hospital. The results from an X-ray done at Raulerson Hospital showed that both the ulna and radius bones in Sorrel’s arm were fractured and a surgical procedure was necessary to stabilize the fracture. Sorrel’s parents were extremely concerned about receiving the proper treatment for their daughter’s injury, noting all the physical activities Sorrel is so passionate about. Desiring the best possible care for Sorrel, the Faircloths began checking out options for hospitals and surgeons for their daughter’s inevitable procedure.

1796 Hwy 441N • Okeechobee, FL 34972 • (863) 763-2151 • Emergency Services - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Pediatric OrthOPaedic care Patients like the Faircloths are sometimes surprised to learn that Raulerson Hospital: • was named one of the nation’s top Performers on Key Quality Measures by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in America • was recognized for its achievement on Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Pneumonia, and Surgical Care measure sets • is one of only 244 hospitals that achieved the top Performer distinction two years in a row

Dr. Epstein and the Registered Nurses from Raulerson’s Surgical Services Department placed a small titanium rod in Sorrel’s forearm to stabilize it. They also casted her arm. The rod will be removed four weeks after the surgery. Staying two nights in the hospital was not easy for Sorrel, or any six-year old. Fay Faircloth and her family stayed right by her daughter’s side leading up to and after the little girl’s surgery. Sorrel’s parents, Fay and Mac Alan Faircloth, comment “We are very pleased with the service and care we received at Raulerson Hospital. The nurses were amazing; very responsive! They took great care of Sorrel and kept our family comfortable and informed.”

• offers pediatric orthopaedic care

introducing Board certified Orthopaedic Surgeon: dr. Benjamin epstein Learning the facts about the qualifications of Raulerson Hospital and the physicians on the facility’s medical staff helped the Faircloths feel confident that Raulerson Hospital was the right choice for Sorrel’s orthopaedic surgery. Dr. Benjamin Epstein, who is the newest Orthopaedic Surgeon on the medical staff at Raulerson Hospital, performed the surgery. He is Board Certified by the American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopaedics and has twenty years of orthopaedic experience.

Sorrel and her mother reconnect with Sorrel’s care team from Raulerson Hospital: RN Erica Lipfert, Certified Surgical Technologist Crystal Waldrop, Fay Faircloth & Sorrel Faircloth, Dr. Epstein, and RN Becky McKee

For a Free Physician Referral & Healthcare Questions, call CONSULT-A-NURSE ® at 763-9228

Community Event

Photos By Sharon Cannon

2012 Halloween Fest Huge Success


The eighth annual Halloween Fest was held Oct. 31 at the Agri-Civic Center. Sponsoring this year’s event were Okeechobee Main Street, the Children’s Services Council, Okeechobee Board of County Commissioners, Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office and the City of Okeechobee Police Department. The event provided a safe and fun-filled alternative to traditional trick-or-treating throughout the county. Festivities included a costume contest, pumpkin-carving contest as well as games, prizes and candy treats all donated by local businesses.





7 8

46 | Winter 2012




1. Imelda Bustos painted a face on the pumpkin. 2. Okeechobee Main Street Executive Director Cindy Birdashaw (right) with her daughter Amie Stepanovich. 3. Jordan Valladares as “Gator Boy.” 4. Michael Hazellief guides Meghan Mitchel as she shoots a target. 5. Kayden Saunders as “Pinky Winky.” 6. Kaylee Whidden made a beautiful fairy costume. 7. Lego policeman Cole Verano. 8. Araceli Ruiz, Gabriel Ruiz, Briseida Ruiz and Stephanie Delacruz dance at the Aaron’s booth. 9. An overall view of the festival.


COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE SERVICES D. Robert Willson, MAI,CCIM State-certified general real estate appraiser Licensed Real Estate Broker

410 S.E. 2nd Avenue Okeechobee, FL 34974

Your Local Commercial Real Estate Expert

Office: 863-763-0999 Fax: 863-763-1945

Sixth Annual Okeechobee Family Health & Safety Expo Promoting Health & Safety

Chic Boutique & Consignment

“Where Fun & Fashion Meet” New Fashions and Accessories Designer Fashions Evening Wear Shoes - Purses & Accessories. A large variety of beautiful new and vintage JEWELRY. Unique gifts including made in the USA Tervis Tumblers,

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Redneck Wine Glasses from Buck Wear

Agri-Civic Center

We are also your local Scentsy distributor.

9:00 am - 2:00 pm

4601 Highway 710 East - Okeechobee

It’s a Family Fun-filled Educational Day!

All Free!

We also carry a limited amount of Pristine Consignment Boutique Hours: Monday - Thursday 10am – 6pm Friday 10am – 7pm Saturday 9am - 3pm

For More Information, Please Contact Sharon Vinson (863) 462-5000 ext. 257 or Donny Arnold (863) 634-6464


Sponsored in Part By:

Notary Public Services Available

Toni Doyle - Owner

123 SW Park Street Okeechobee, FL

Winter 2012 | 47

x i S GOOD

Big Lake

REASONS why you should see us for your eye exam

763-3937 Vision

Health Here at Big Lake Eye Care we believe in investing in the health of our patients. Dr. Bartels and his associates use state of the art equipment to diagnose and treat all diseases of the eyes including:

Many times annoying headaches, general eye fatigue, and blurry vision can often be caused by the need for eyeglasses or changes in your prescription. We can diagnose vision problems for you such as: •Farsightedness • Astigmatism •Presbyopia • Nearsightedness •Computer Vision Syndrome

•Macular Degeneration •Dry Eye •Cataracts •Diabetic Retinopathy •Retinal Detachment •Glaucoma Many serious eye diseases often have no symptoms. Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes vision loss with or without symptoms and is commonly known as the “sneak thief of sight.” Conditions such as macular degeneration or cataracts develop so gradually that you may not even realize your vision has decreased. Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that commonly affects diabetic patients. Early detection of these and other eye diseases is important for maintaining overall health and vision.

Quality of Care

Our main goal when you come in or call our office is to make you feel comfortable. You can trust that your eye care is in the best of hands. Dr Bartels and associates have specialized training and a combination of over 40 years experience in the optical field. Let us make your eye care experience the best it can be. 48 | Winter 2012



Dedicated to a Lifetime of Eye Care and Quality Eyewear Big Lake


There is nothing wrong with having a little fun. While your exam is crucial in great vision, so is your eyewear. Big Lake Eye Care offers eyewear that strives to keep up with the latest fashions and most of all quality. Lens-making technology continues to improve. If you haven’t updated your glasses in a while, you may be pleasantly surprised at the many options available to you today. Sunglasses have also become a fashion accessory...let our licensed optician and other associates help you when making your selection.



ince we opened our doors in August 2004, Dr. Bartels and staff have strived to always have a friendly hometown atmosphere, while having the latest technology of a state of the art practice. Dr. Bartels and family are lifetime residents of Okeechobee. A graduate of Okeechobee High School and continued his premed studies at the University of Florida, then attended Nova Southeastern University where he studied Optometry. Dr. Bartels passion has always been about serving the community he grew up in.

We are a provider for many vision and health insurance companies and our friendly staff will be happy to help you with the billing process, as well as help determine your benefits under your plan. The following is a partial list of some of the insurance companies we are in network with. Medical Plans Medicare BCBS UHC Cigna AARP Medicaid Healthy Kids

Vision Plans VSP Eyemed Spectera Optum

VCP Superior Davis Vision Health

Technology Big Lake Eye Care uses advanced computerized solutions for your eye care. We employ the most technologically advanced equipment to measure 100% of your visual system. High Definition Digital Imagery and Scanning Lasers allow a comprehensive retinal and optic nerve assessment. These advances that Big Lake Eye Care has brought to Okeechobee allows for early detection and monitoring of several eye diseases. The most rewarding point is you won’t have to wait for results; you will view them in real time in the exam room with the doctor.

Big Lake 763-3937

Dr. Charles W. Bartels

Board Certified Optometric Physician

606 North Parrott Avenue  Okeechobee, FL 34972 Office: 863-763-EYES (3937)



Winter 2012 | 49

Community Event

Photos By Sharon Cannon

Rockin’ Rod Car Show Benefits ARC

A 1933 red Ford Coupe.

A 1929 Black Ford Roadster.

The Rockin’ Rod Car Show and Swap Meet was held Oct. 14 at the Philippine-American Cultural Foundation of South Florida’s Garden Complex. A benefit for Okeechobee Rehabilitation Facility Inc. — better known as ARC of Okeechobee — the car show was a huge success, with many classic cars and street rods on display. The crowd enjoyed the various food vendors and music while checking out the vehicles on display. Plans are in the works for next year’s car show. For more information on ARC of Okeechobee, call (863) 763-2419.

Anita Nunez and her daughters Apple and Airi Nunez enjoy the car show.

Leticia Romero serves up tacos to (front) Alexis Hannans, Leila Hannans and Kim Pierre.

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Furniture - Appliances - Electronics (Above) Cecilia Elliott, Lisa Jensen, Diane Davies and Andrea Cason at the TD Bank booth. (Below) Ryan Arnold, with his dad Donny Arnold, shows off his tattoo. 512 W. North Park Street Okeechobee, Florida 50 | Winter 2012



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Lisa Lumpkin and Debi Large

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The ‘Dynamic Duo’ behind the

of Okeechobee


By Rachel Buxton O Photos by Sandra Pearce

hey are known as the “dynamic duo.” However, when they hear themselves called that they are very quick to dismiss the label — not because they don’t like it, but simply because, as Lisa Lumpkin said, “We don’t do any more than anyone else here.” “Here” would be the Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee, and the duo would be Lumpkin and Debi Large. Lumpkin, the executive director of the center, and Large, the director of development, said they are only two people who make up the team that is the Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee, which helps give young ladies and adults a second chance and, most of all, hope. “We take them from the fear and scaredto-death level to the hope level,” Large said. “We let them know not only will life go on, but it can be a great life.” Man y pe op le wh o ha ve lived in Okeechobee for years are not even aware that the small town has a pregnancy center tucked away on a side street. And by no means is it the typical pregnancy center. “You can go anywhere to get a pregnancy test,” Lumpkin said. “But we are so much more. The pregnancy test just gets them in the door. The rest is about building a relationship.”

52 | Winter 2012


It’s a relationship not just between staff and clients but also between clients and God. And it’s the relationship that is fostered between the young women and God that makes the center so much more. “They helped me learn a lot about God and the Bible,” said Adela, a former client. “I never read the Bible until I started to go to the center. There were people at the center that I got really close to, like family. They are like family to my baby, too.” The pregnancy center was started in 1998 by former Okeechobee resident Malinda Belleville. For several years the center opened and closed, struggling to survive in a small town. After sitting vacant for a while, a group of people from the community decided that Okeechobee had the need for such a center, and something had to be done.

years. With a new name, new look, new board of directors and completely different mission, the Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee reopened and started completely fresh in 2008. Operating in a 400-square-foot building, Lumpkin ran the center with the help of another volunteer four days a week. Two years came and went, but Lumpkin didn’t. She stayed right where she was. “The longer I stayed, my compassion grew and grew for these girls,” she said. As time went on the center continued to grow, and there was a need to take the ministry to an even greater level. This time, it was relocated to a larger building so it could offer more services to clients.

That’s when Lumpkin was approached by Steve Burk, president of the board at the time, about taking over the ministry. “People had the desire and passion, and they felt we were missing a great opportunity to minister to young women,” Lumpkin said. “I never really thought it would be something I’d want to do.”

Services begin with a pregnancy test but also include ultrasounds, parenting classes, life coach sessions, adoption information, education assistance and anything else an expecting mother and/ or father could need or ask for. And even though Large and Lumpkin are pro-life and pass no judgment on anyone who walks in the door, they offer abortion recovery counseling for those dealing with that difficult decision.

Lumpkin agreed, however, and volunteered to run the program for two

“Out in the community, a lot of people have the misconception that we are an 

â&#x20AC;&#x153;You can go anywhere to get a pregnancy test, but we are so much more.â&#x20AC;?

Debi Large (left) and Lisa Lumpkin

Winter 2012 | 53

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abortion center,” Large said. “We are here to save lives. Nine out of 10 choose life. We don’t coerce in any way, shape or form. We provide accurate information.” Lumpkin and Large said that the center is blessed with wonderful volunteers, including doctors and ultrasound technicians who come in to assist with medical issues. They said that by offering ultrasounds, they are showing young women that there is a life inside of them, and no matter how scared or alone they may feel, that just by walking through the center’s doors, they inherited family and are not alone. “Just by giving a pregnancy test, we would be doing you a disservice,” Large said about the center offering more. “There are consequences to our choices, but you can get through those consequences. As life throws you curves, we want to help you handle them. We want to be the support system you may not have.” All of the services offered by the center are free and made possible by support from local churches and donors. The center has upped its fundraising efforts by hosting annual galas, walks, baby showers and much more. Lumpkin, who prefers to stay in the office, sought out Large to bring on board to handle fundraising for the center. They knew one another from church, and Large even served on the pregnancy center’s board for a short time. “I knew she would be key here,” Lumpkin said. “She’s very much a social bug, and I’m not. We got together and instantly hit it off.” Large said it was an easy decision to make when offered the position. In April 2011 she stepped on as the fulltime director of development, and said she’s loved every minute of it.

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“We could not do it without Debi,” said Cheri Watford, president of the center’s board of directors. “She just took it and ran, and keeps us happening. Between her and Lisa, who is the spiritual leader, they stay on top of everything and are able to help young girls.” The fundraising has been so successful 

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that it allows the center to care for each individual differently. There is no set program. All help and services are geared toward the individual’s situation. Each person who walks in has a different story and has different needs. When a young woman walks in, she is greeted by a caring volunteer and asked several questions so the center can provide her with the best care. Questions range from their intentions, spiritual beliefs, family situation and medical information. “The more questions we ask, the more we know about them and where they are coming from,” Large said. After filling out the necessary paperwork, the clients meet with Director of Client Services Robyn Garner and then visit with Nurse Manager Diane Davis. “The clients love them both,” Large said. “Robyn and Diane are a perfect fit for working with the clients, and allow Lisa and I to do our jobs more efficiently.” The staff and volunteers are trained at the center for whatever services they are rendering. Certifications and constant training are always ongoing features at the center for both staff and volunteers. The center even has its own board-certified medical director, Dr. Trinidad Garcia. Many members on staff have been through very similar situations even including unplanned pregnancies so they are able to relate to the women and let them know they are there for them and not there to judge. “We show the love of Christ,” Large said. “It’s not just about saying it; we show it. We try to help the client go above and beyond.” The pregnancy center helps clients

56 | Winter 2012


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During parenting classes clients earn points for completing stages and tests and are able to use those points as cash in what the center calls their “Baby Boutique.” The Baby Boutique is full of all the necessary essentials for having a baby from clothes, diapers, toys and blankets. “The Pregnancy Center has helped me to find out who I really was,” said Lorena, a former client. “They also helped me with all kinds of stuff like getting points to buy pampers, clothes and many different things for my baby.” In the past year, the center served 766 clients, including individuals who came in for pregnancy tests, sonograms and ongoing education. It also helped save 144 babies. However, Lumpkin doesn’t believe the numbers have to be great to equal success. “If we are able to help one person and save one life, then our work was worth it,” she said. “It’s nothing to do with us,” Large said. “We just join in what God is doing, and getting to see and be a part of that is a

58 | Winter 2012


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Lumpkin, Large and the Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee are not slowing down. The center is continuing to grow and expand, and will be relocating again next spring. After working in a crowded 2,200-square-foot building, staff will have more than 5,000 square feet of room in the new building. “As things change in society, we have to, too,” Lumpkin said. “We will be able to offer more programs and help more girls.” Lumpkin and Large both said they could not do what they do if it wasn’t for the wonderful staff and volunteers they have. But the staff, volunteers, board of directors and even the clients themselves view Lumpkin and Large as critical to the center’s operation. “Between the two of them, we have good administration and fundraising,” Watford said. “They give the girls that family, and the girls love it because they see a glimmer of hope.”

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Winter 2012 | 59

Community Event

Photos By Sharon Cannon

Okeechobee Blood Roundup The seventh annual Okeechobee Blood Roundup was held Nov. 17 and 18 in the banquet hall at Hammerheads Billiards Bar & Grill. Event Chair Raye Deusinger and the volunteers for Florida’s Blood Centers worked for months coordinating the event. The community donated gifts and prizes valued in excess of $12,000. There were 526 people signed up, and 471 pints of life-saving blood were donated. For more information, or to volunteer for next year’s event, contact Raye Deusinger at (863) 610-2176 or visit


2 Okeechobee Blood Roundup Committee: Russell Colwell, Joan Shults, Gina Thacker, Ben Adams, Nancy Murphy, Maureen Bradley, Raye Deusinger, Joan Roden, Marie Kirchhoff, Richard Haynes, Terry Haynes and JoAnn Kane. 1. 2. 3. 4.

Shantae Woodward prescreens Susan Douden. Morna Haye screens Nick Kusber. Sherna Anderson and Jeff England share a laugh. Donor services specialist Becca Zivny checks on Stacy Hickox. 5. Florida’s Blood Center’s Russ Colwell is a familiar face around town. 6. Raye Deusinger helps applicant Danny Rumbaugh.

3 4

60 | Winter 2012





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Winter 2012 | 61

Community Event

By Reneé Mims

Okeechobee FFA Alumni Association Clay Shoot The Okeechobee Future Farmers of America Alumni Association held its seventh annual Clay Shoot Oct. 20 at Quail Creek Plantation. Money raised by the Okeechobee FFA Alumni Association is used to support local FFA members. Scholarships to leadership conventions, district competitions, state competitions and college are funded utilizing the money raised by the annual clay shoot. For more information about the Okeechobee FFA Alumni Association, call (863) 467-8696 or e-mail

County Commissioner Frank Irby competes at a clay shoot station.

Dr. Randall Mims presents a prize to Ryan Frazer.

Team Yuengling won first place: Aaron Moore, David Blenker and Larry Moore.

Dr. Randall Mims and Ray Anuez presents female first place to Lyn Cacella.

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“My dad was a country preacher, so we grew up around the whole ranchers and farmers community.”

64 | Winter 2012


Freedom Ranch’s Vietnam-Era Combat Medic-Turned-Preacher/Teacher/Cowboy

By Chris Felker O Photos By Sandra Pearce

“Freedom Ranch.” The very name evokes wide open spaces — range land, productive land, the kind that could sustain an extended family and nurture an appreciation of the great outdoors among them and anyone who might visit. It sounds like the kind of place where an American original might dwell as well. And in fact, a former Vietnam combat medic-turned-preacher/teacher/cowboy named John Glenn has established just such a place under that name in Okeechobee. His spread hosts a working cattle ranch with a vintage “Cracker cowboy” camp, a faithbased recovery-counseling training and retreat center and a gathering spot both for people seeking spiritual freedom and for trainers of counselors who seek to set people free from substance abuse. Glenn and his wife, Sandi, teamed up with his ministry partner, George Sweatt, and his wife, Dorothy, in 2001 to purchase 138 brambly, rambling acres of “old Florida” along U.S. Highway 441 south of town, with Spanish moss-draped, great spreading live oaks mixed in with dense undergrowth of palmetto and pine scrub. Together they started a ministry they would come to call the “Church in the Woods,” building a strong following of folks who wanted to join in on the idea of connecting with their higher power in a beautiful outdoor setting, in their own nondenominational way, while promoting a community of fellowship and understanding. In 2002, they cleared a spot for their gatherings and began constructing a covered pavilion under a leafy canopy of trees. But preserving the land and honoring the history of the Okeechobee area was also important to the Glenns and the Sweatts. After moving to Florida in the late 1980s from Colorado, Glenn had worked for cow/calf ranches in the area on weekdays, teaching at night (he has bachelor’s in psychology and master’s of Bible study degrees), preaching on weekends. 

Winter 2012 | 65


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“So I got to know some of the ranchers around, and of course you get the old-timers’ stories about what it was like, and it really fascinated me to hear the history of this area,” Glenn said. “Okeechobee really has a rich history of outlaws and such down here in the old times. So when we got this place, we decided to keep the back part of it — the back hundred acres or so — all natural and try to keep that from being developed so we’d have some natural landscape of Florida.” Eventually, in 2009, Glenn said, “we built a little ‘Cracker cowboy’ camp back there, an 1860s version of what it would have been like when they came here to gather the wild cattle and sell them to Cuba and various places, during the origins of the cattle industry here.” “I did a lot of study about the background and history of it, and met with Judge Nelson Bailey, who’s a local legend and quite a historian.” The partners assembled artifacts from the era and built an authentic-looking lean-to like those used by early settlers who were moving in and turning Florida into America’s oldest cattle-raising state, a chief cattle supplier to the Confederacy for meat and leather. Those old-time Florida cowboys became known as “Crackers” because of the sound made by the long, braided leather whips they used to herd cattle.

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The Glenns and Sweatts began marketing the “Okeechobee Cracker Cowboy Experience,” as a slick brochure termed it, featuring regularly scheduled haywagon tours of their ranch with commentary on the historical color of the area, a live cowboy demonstration and a taste of “Grandma’s” cooking, complete with sour orange pie. “Grandma” is a real person — Sandi’s

(Above) The Freedom Ranch family: John, Angela, John, Sandi, “Grandma” Virginia, Leo and Elton.

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mother, Virginia, known by “Grandma” to all, who’s 83, lives at the ranch and still prepares lunch daily for visitors. “We wanted to develop some agri-tours, where people could come out and take a tour of the cracker cow camp and get a little bit of history,” John explained. “We do it only by appointment now, but we’ve had home school groups come out, and various other groups who were interested in the history. A lot of seniors, too — we had a travel agency down in Miami that booked tours, and they brought busloads up here. We built a little tram ride for the tourists so we could give them a bit of history, then do an arena show for them and serve them lunch. 

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Glenn said the idea grew out of his love for ranching and the cowboy lifestyle. “I grew up with it years ago in Colorado,” he said. “My dad was a country preacher, so we grew up around the whole ranchers and farmers community.” Given the rich history of the area, Glenn wants to ensure that it is preserved. “We had about 25 mama cows here, and we still have a herd, but my cows were getting so old, and my daughter and her husband live here now, so I turned the cattle operation over to them,” Glenn said. That would be Angela and Elton Boney. “I sold all the old cows and gave him the best ones,” Glenn said. “We don’t have enough land here to do it as a living, but it’s a small cow/calf operation.”

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He actually is the Cracker ranch hand in their calf-roping and cowboying shows, and strives to put on a good show in the ranch’s small arena corral. The Glenns had adopted Angela from Seoul, South Korea, in 1983, and she moved to the ranch with Elton.

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“They’ve been married nine years now and have two sons, Leo and John Lawton, who just turned a year old,” Glenn said. “His folks had come down and settled over by the bombing range by Avon Park. Elton’s dad continues to work cows even to this day. His name’s Lloyd Leo, known as ‘Boosty.’ So our grandson Leo, who’s 4, is named after him.”

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“He’s a fifth-generation Cracker cowboy, Elton is,” Sandi interjected. “He’s funny.”

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Tucked behind a huge and beautiful, sprawling live oak about a mile from the highway, the Glenns’ rambling ranch house is a haven with a huge central living area just made for little grandchildren who like to do lots of running and rolling around. Glenn dotes on them as most grandfathers do. 

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“Leo’s main deal is driving heavy equipment; he’s a tractor/backhoe man,” he said, gesturing toward the big “fun table” in the middle of the room with miniature vehicles and other toys scattered on top. Glenn had also harnessed his education, experience and training beginning in 2004 to plan and create a program at Freedom Ranch, teaching counselors in faith-based ways to help drug addicts and alcoholics seek release from their demons. In 2007, they built a large, rustic allpurpose building on the property to provide space for offices and classrooms, a kitchen and bathrooms. Armed with his background as a combat medic and training in psychology and Bible studies, Glenn had already begun working as a training coordinator with Faith Farm Ministries and Dunklin Memorial Camp in the 1990s, and in 1994 started a company known as Alpha Ministries. For a while, it provided state-certified training under the Bush-era subsidy programs. Several books Glenn has written are available through its web site. “My goal in the ministry at that point was to train guys, often veterans, coming out of addiction,” Glenn said. “I realized, I guess from my own experience, my own life, the only way these guys could survive was to give back, to do something constructive with their life.” Glenn also intends sometime soon to use his spread as a retreat for those who counsel people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who often are dealing with the effects of PTSD themselves — as he is, too. That and the effects of Agent Orange exposure during the war are the reasons Glenn had to adopt a child and why he needed open-heart surgery earlier in 2012. He’s now finally undergoing counseling through the Veterans Affairs

70 | Winter 2012


medical center in Riviera Beach after many long years of denial. “The way that I’ve been able to cope with PTSD naturally — well, actually supernaturally — was the fact that I adopted the same motto that we had for ‘Dustoff’ [his Huey helicopter medevac duty in Vietnam], for my ministry, which is ‘So that others may live.’ I just transferred it over — and it’s something I’ve just learned about lately — from physically going out and picking up wounded soldiers and bringing them to the hospital to trying to work with people whose lives are broken through counseling, trying to put their marriages back together, and their lives personally.”

Peace Lutheran School Growing together with Jesus

“Save the Date” - February 16, 2013 Jeans, Jewels and Jazz - An evening in New Orleans Annual Dinner and Auction at the KOA Serving Children Ages 2 - Kindergarten Small Class Size Christian Centered Program at an Affordable Price Nationally School Phone: 863-763-7566 Accredited School Church Phone: 863-763-5042

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That’s what John Glenn’s life is about now — helping to heal others even while he heals himself. Freedom Ranch is located at 11655 U.S. Highway 441 Southeast, Okeechobee, Fla. 34974. For more information, email Glenn at jglenn@alphaministries. org, or call the ranch at (863) 763-9800.


Winter 2012 | 71

Community Event

Photos by Sandra Pearce

Chamber of Commerce Kicks Off Leadership Okeechobee Program The Chamber of Commerce of Okeechobee County held its quarterly investor luncheon Nov. 14 at the Williamson Conference Center at Indian River State College. The newest program of the chamber, Leadership Okeechobee, was presented. This eightmonth program will prepare potential leaders of the community. For more information on Leadership Okeechobee or to become a member of the chamber, call (863) 4676246 or visit

(Above) Terry Burroughs (left) presents outgoing President J.D. Mixon with an award of appreciation for his service and dedication. (Right) Business Spotlight speaker Butch Terpening of Culpepper & Terpening, consulting engineers.


Board Member and Leadership Okeechobee Committee Chair Maureen Budjinski presents the chamber’s newest program, Leadership Okeechobee.

72 | Winter 2012


Serving the legal needs of the Okeechobee Community

Glenn J. Sneider Attorney at Law

Our entire staff is dedicated to helping clients with their legal matters.

•Family Law •Criminal Law •Civil Litigation

863-467-6570 200 SW 9th Street Okeechobee, FL 34974


The 8th wonder of the world! A never-ending cascade of rich chocolate is yours for the dipping!

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Winter 2012 | 73

Community Event

By Chauna Aguilar

Bowl for Kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Sake to Benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters Volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters held the inaugural Bowl for Kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Sake Saturday, Oct. 21 at Lucky Lanes in Okeechobee. Proceeds from this event will help support the BBBS programs for the children of Okeechobee County. For more information, call (863) 824-2227 or visit (Right) The Cook family has some family fun: (front) Aubrey and Amber; (back) Robert and Katrina.

BBBS of Okeechobee County board member Sharon Vinson.

Sharon Vinson, Rachel Heddings, Judi Miller, Gay Carlton and Cristina Paniqgua.

The Gilbert Chevrolet team: Tina Lalla, Frank Lalla, Mary Hunter and Jake Hummel.

The FPL team: Nancy Flickinger, Dee and Nick Blount, Jerry Sotelo, Vickie and Steve Pryor.

The Economic Future of Okeechobee County is in Good Hands Culpepper & Terpening wishes to say Thank You to the Business Development Board of Okeechobee for their untiring work to bring responsible economic growth to Okeechobee. The Business Development Board of Okeechobee is making a positive difference for the future of all of Okeechobee County. The Business Development Board of Okeechobee is committed to diversifying the economy and increasing the number of high wage job opportunities for Okeechobee residents.

A special Thank You to the Board and its leaders!

(772) 464-3537 74 | Winter 2012



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Tim Craig, Agency Manager and Celeste Hawk, Agent Okeechobee Count Farm Bureau is now on Facebook Become a fan.

Okeechobee’s Largest Youth Event of the Year! For Middle & High School Students

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Winter 2012 | 77

Fishing on By Capt. Capt. Michael Michael Shellen Shellen By By Capt. Michael Shellen


s we approach another winter season in Okeechobee, the future looks bright. Through the hard work of many people striving to build the reputation of our town, the reputation of Okeechobee as having the best bass fishing in the United States is circulating, drawing in visitors from all over the United States and worldwide. Everyone has worked hard to attract major hotels and restaurants to mix in with our down-home South Florida flavor. When you add this appealing mixture together, it’s easy to see why more and more people are coming to Okeechobee earlier and more often each year.


1365 US Hwy 441 SE - Okeechobee, FL 34974 (Next to the bowling alley)

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I find myself wondering just how good the fishing is going to get on Lake Okeechobee before it levels off somewhat. For several years now we have had nearly ideal conditions, clear water and prolific growth of the native vegetation have triggered something very special that is happening in the lake. The spawns have been terrific, leading to an explosion in the fish growth in Lake Okeechobee, the likes of which have not been seen for many years, if ever. The lake level is nearly ideal, and every species of fish is biting. There are many beautiful lakes in this world, and I am prejudiced, but the sheer size and beauty of our giant lake and its diverse ecosystems are a thing to behold. After thousands of fishing trips on the lake, I still find myself marveling at the sheer majesty of Lake Okeechobee. The bass fishing gets most of the acclaim, but our speckled perch, shell cracker and blue gill fishing is second to none, too. During the winter, anglers

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take huge numbers of specks from the lake using jigs and or minnows for bait. The Kissimmee River gets most of the attention, but the lakeside vegetation holds more fish than the river ever has. Later on in the season, as we approach spring, the fishing for shell cracker and blue gill draws to the lake a crowd that is driven by the desire to catch and eat the tastiest pan fish that swim.

On the House™ hot breakfast On the Run Breakfast Bag™ Cloud Nine. The Hampton bed experience. Business Center • Fitness Center Outdoor Heated Swimming Pool

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Whether you want to fish or just take in the sights, our great community has something for everyone. The best fishing guides on the lake make Okeechobee their home and will gladly share their boat with you for the fishing experience of a lifetime. Okeechobee is located on the very north end of the massive lake and is easily reached from anywhere in the state. Located just 35 miles from the east coast and 60 miles from the west coast, it is easily approachable from all directions. Come visit us, and then when you return home, tell your family and friends that you found the perfect spot to visit in Florida. Warm, friendly people, great fishing, down-home cooking and sunshine — it’s a combination that can’t be beat! O Capt. Michael Shellen Shellen Guide Service

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Winter 2012 | 79





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YEAR 10 -

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Our shop can handle all your Motorcycle needs with our

MMI Certified Harley Davidson Technician

Services Provided:

Tire Purchase & Mounts Full Service Repairs - Minor to Major Customizing of Aftermarket Parts Customizing of Custom Built Parts Paint and Body Work Chrome and Powder Coat

We are an Amsoil, Tucker Rocky and V-Twin Dealer

We also have a showroom full of parts, accessories, bike wear and other stuff

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1505 C S. Parrott Avenue Just 1 mile South of the Hwy 70 & Hwy 441 Intersection on the East side of Hwy 441.

Send flowers for any occasion. We offer a large variety of fresh flowers, plants and gifts.


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Committed To Quality & Service Experienced Designers Competitive Prices World Wide Delivery

300 N. Parrott Ave. Okeechobee, FL 34972

Diamonds - 14K Gold Jewelry Guy Harvey & Hersey Kiss Jewelry We Buy Scrap Gold

Winter 2012 | 81

Hunter Pritchard


By Charles M. Murphy, WOKC’s Voice of the Brahmans


unter Pritchard has quite the résumé when it comes to soccer. He has led Okeechobee High School to two consecutive district titles and recently agreed to attend Florida Atlantic University on a scholarship.

my life. A soccer scholarship is just one way to get to the next level, and it has improved me as a person.”

Pritchard started playing soccer at a young age, liked it, got into club ball and committed himself to the game. But while soccer is important to him, Pritchard has never lost sight of the big picture and the importance of getting a college education.

While he is a top scoring threat, Pritchard sets himself apart with excellent ball control and passing, as well as his unselfish attitude. He is one of those players who make those around him strive to be better.

“Academics are a big deal, and it sets the foundation,” Pritchard said. “I want to go to college and do well and start

Pritchard intends to seek a career in accounting.

Pritchard also praised the OHS coaching staff, led by Lonnie Sears, who have been able to attract good players to the team and have coached them well.

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82 | Winter 2012

OHS Soccer star


Hunter Pritchard on the field.

Pritchard is expected to lead the team to another successful year this year and take young players under his wing, such as the talented Wilson Barahona and Brian Guerrero, the next wave of OHS stars. “We have a lot of good, young players coming in,” Pritchard said. “I think we have a chance to get a third district title this year.” Pritchard has played club soccer for Treasure Coast United in Palm City, South Florida Elite in Fort Lauderdale and also for Team Boca. His parents, Michelle and Brendan Pritchard, are teachers. Pritchard also has had the thrill of traveling around the nation to play soccer. He has played in tournaments in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Pritchard also traveled to South America and played in matches in San Jose, Costa Rica and in Argentina. O

10 years ago Billy Dean came to WOKC Radio and mornings have never been the same in Okeechobee. He keeps thousands of listeners entertained and informed each weekday from 7 - 11 am. Billy not only represents WOKC and our 50 years of commitment to hometown radio, he has donated his time and energy to promote community events, help raise money for non-profit organizations and help people in need.

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Home-Grown Since 1974 Professional Lawn & Landscape Maintenance Complete Turn-Key Landscape Company Irrigation Installation & Repair Large Pasture Mowing


Tom McCoin, Owner Family Owned & Operated Licensed - Insured - Worker's Comp.

Winter 2012 | 83



Chamber of Commerce of Okeechobee County and Okeechobee Main Street Ribbon-Cutting Ceremonies


The Economic Council of Okeechobee’s quarterly Community Award Recognizing Enhancement (CARE) was presented to Hospice of Okeechobee and the Hamrick Home. Pictured above are Hoot Worley, Bob Riedel, Sandy Perry, Brigitte Irby, Frank Irby and Tara Rowley.

Okeechobee’s Sierra Coward wins State Rodeo Queen Title Sierra dominated the competition by winning the State Speech Award, Horsemanship and Most Photogenic. Si e r r a i s the 1 5 - ye a r- o l d daughter of Michelle Harper of Okeechobee and Robert Coward of Bartow, Fla.

Hunter Bryant Places in AQHA World Show In November Hunter Bryant, 13, placed 8th out of 66 in Ranch Pleasure during the AQHA World Show in Oklahoma. Businesses from top to bottom: Jersey Mike’s Subs, Kandie’s One the Lake, Papa John’s Pizza, Florida Outdoors and Flower Petals. 84 | Winter 2012


Pictured right: Hunter Bryant with11-year-old bay mare Chex With Me.

2012 Okeechobee County Junior Golf Champions On Sept. 29 Waldauâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Junior Golf Inc. and the Okeechobee Golf & Country Club held their sixth annual Okeechobee County Junior Golf Tournament. Junior golfers ages 10 to 18 participated in the 18-hole tournament. Pictured right are the top three 2012 junior golf champions in the boys, girls and young junior divisions.

Kodi Stephen Boys Division

Okeechobee Main Street Mixers

Cameron White Girls Division

Daniel Fulleda Young Junior Division

Jonassaint Honored As Finalist For U.S. Army/Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence

Okeechobee High School senior Brendon Jonassaint (center) with Pro Football Hall of Famer Bob Griese (left) and U.S. Army Sergeant Major Hershel Turner.

Congratulations to Sandra Pearce McAuley

The following Okeechobee Main Street members held mixers at their businesses: (top) UBS Financial with CASTLE, (middle) Buxton Funeral Home and (bottom) Okeechobee Golf & Country Club.

Sandra Pearce McAuley was recently name president of Florida Professional Photographers for the 201213 year.

Winter 2012 | 85

List of Advertisers 14K Gold Store ...................................... 81 5th Street Pharmacy .............................. 76 A & G Concrete Pools ........................... 71 Alarm Company ..................................... 59 Badcock Furniture................................... 50 Bass Electric ........................................... 79 Bass and Buxton Funeral Homes .......... 61 Bella Rose Day Spa .............................. 37 Berger Clinic .......................................... 69 Big Lake Eye Care ............................... 3, 48 Bridgette Waldau Graphic Design ........ 24 Brown Cow Sweetery... .......................... 61 Buyer Brokerage Co. of Okeechobee..... 59 Center for Laser Hair Removal ............... 66 CenterState Bank ................................... 39 Charlie’s Landscaping ............................ 83 Colonial Life ........................................... 59 Coronation Sierra Coward ...................... 28

Cowboys Steak & BBQ Co. ............... 19, 69 Culpepper & Terpening ........................ 74 Custom Window Treatments & Blinds .... 34 Dental Surgery Specialists ..................... 26 Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center ............. 75 DR Willson Land Co. ............................... 47 Echols Plumbing ................................... 68 Edward Jones Investments ................... 72 Everglades Pediatric Dentistry ................ 58 Farm Bureau ....................................... 76 Florida Eye Institute ............................ 29 Flower Petals .......................................... 63 Gilbert Chevrolet .................................... 51 Golden Corral ..................................... 73 Hampton Inn ....................................... 79 Heartland Discount Pharmacy.............. 54 Highland Pest Control ........................... 86 ICS Computers ..................................... 69 Jeanette’s Interiors ............................... 58 Jersey Mikes ........................................ 33

Nikki is always looking for attention. Please pay attention to our wonderful advertisers that make this magazine possible.

Lake Okeechobee Digestive Disease Center 36 Lakeshore Marine ................................. 78 Law Office of Gerald Lefebvre ................ 61 Law Office of Glenn J. Sneider ............... 72 Law Office of Philip DeBerard ............... 87 Linda’s Styles & Trends ........................... 34 Lodge at the Lake Restaurant .................17

Los Cocos Restaurant .............................59 Mama Flegos ......................................... 26 Mary Kay ............................................... 58 MidFlorida Credit Union ......................... 80 Mixon Real Estate Group ......................... 78 Morgan Furniture .................................. 66 Murray Insurance .................................. 56 New Vision Eye Center ........................ 73 Okeechobee Claws & Paws ...................... 24 Okeechobee Dodge Chrysler Jeep ........ 5 Okeechobee Health Care ......................... 4 Okeechobee Health & Safety.................. 47 Okeechobee Main Street ....................... 6 Okeechobee Medical Reserve Corps .... 43 Okeechobee Shooting Sport ................ 19 Pat’s Floral Design ................................. 81 Peace Lutheran Gala ............................. 19 Peace Lutheran School .......................... 71 Platinum Performance Builders ............ 7 Pritchards & Associates .......................... 75 Pueblo Viejo VI Restaurant .................... 63 Quail Creek Plantation ....................... 11 Quality Air Conditioning ....................... 35 Quality Lawn Care ................................ 63 Raulerson’s Absolutely Art .................. 28 Raulerson Hospital ................................. 2 Raulerson Hospital ............................ 44, 45 Raulerson Hospital ................ Back Cover Razer’s Edge ........................................... 56

Rosato Plastic Surgery Center ................ 55 Rustic Style & Cabins ........................... 37 Sanders Dermatology .......................... 27 Sandra Pearce Photography ................. 58 Seacoast National Bank ........................ 57 Skull Hill Steel ....................................... 81 Shooters Choice ..................................... 61 SonRise Cafe .......................................... 68 St. Lucie Tires ....................................... 82 Stafford’s Salon .................................... 68 State Farm Insurance ............................ 68 Syble’s Flowers & Gifts ......................... 35 TD Bank ............................................... 70 Teez 2 Pleez .......................................... 63 The Heritage ......................................... 62 Toni’s Chic Boutique .............................. 47 Top of the Lake Art Fest ....................... 9 Total Roadside Services .......................... 21 Treasure Coast Food Bank.................... 67 Tree Locators ......................................... 33 Trinidad Garcia, M.D. ............................. 25 UBS Financial ......................................... 37 Waste Management ............................. 16 Wemmer Family Orthodontics .......... 70 Williamson Cattle Company .................. 41 WOKC 1570 AM ..................................... 83 Women’s Health ................................... 15 Worley Construction .............................. 35 Xplosion All Stars ................................. 81 Younified Event .................................... 77

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86 | Winter 2012


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Winter 2012 | 87

GENERAL SURGERY General Surgery is a crucial function for any hospital. Many times the outcomes of diagnostic tools, such as tests and lab work, leave physicians with no choice but to recommend a surgical procedure to correct a patient’s condition. General Surgeons at Raulerson Hospital include Dr. Manuel Garcia and Dr. Gregory Sainnoval. These physicians, along with the RNs in the Surgical Services Department, are professionals and their precision and experience are a comfort to patients requiring a surgical procedure. Raulerson Hospital offers a wide variety of Inpatient and Outpatient General Surgery procedures, including: • Laparoscopic Gall Bladder Removal • Laparoscopic Appendectomy

• Lumpectomy / Mastectomy • Hernia Repair

General Surgeon Dr. Manuel Garcia

General Surgeon Dr. Gregory Sainnoval

• Colon Resection • Many other minimally invasive surgeries

Raulerson Company Care, a department of Raulerson Hospital, is part of a comprehensive network solution to local companies’ occupational health needs. Through efficient and cost effective methods, Company Care is dedicated to helping you build a healthier business. Whether you have 5 employees or 500, we can design a program to meet your company’s needs. For more about Company Care contact us at 863-763-2670 • Serving both the public & private sectors • Guiding you through the complexities involved with Workers’ Compensation Services including State and Federal workforce regulations • Meeting all Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements for annual physicals, and Drug & Alcohol testing • Striving for the desired outcomes that allow for a timely return to work

Emergency Services - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week • (863) 763-2151 • 1796 Hwy 441 North Okeechobee, FL 34972

CONSULT-A-NURSE ® • For Free Physician Referral & Health Care Questions call 763-9228 88 | Winter 2012


Okeechobee The Magazine Winter 2012  

Winter 2012 Issue

Okeechobee The Magazine Winter 2012  

Winter 2012 Issue