Wednesday, April 25, 2018
News Roundup

Community Roundtable honors longtime businessman John Noriega

BRANDON — Never do what you do for the sake of being recognized. Do it instead because it is the right thing to do.

Those are words forever ingrained in the mind of John Noriega.

His late father, Bill’s Prescription Center founder Justo "Bill" Noriega" instilled that mantra in his son.

And the words came to mind as the younger Noriega offered impromptu thank you remarks after receiving the Community Roundtable’s 2018 Alice B. Tompkins Community Service Award at the organization’s annual dinner on Feb. 21.

The roundtable has annually presented the award for 45 years in honor of the former Brandon News editor whose civic good deeds impacted the community.

"My heart tells me to do what I do and I’m doing what God would want me to do, and that is taking care of my family and taking care of my patients," Noriega said.

Following in his dad’s footsteps, Noriega earned a degree in pharmacy in 1981 from the University of Florida — as did his sister Mary "Lulu" Noriega Denham and his son Basil in the years that have followed — and entered into the family business Bill’s father mortgaged his home to help establish.

Walt Raysick, the presenter and 2017 Tompkins Award winner, explained that John Noriega’s work at the pharmacy represents more than a job.

"For him, it is all about service," said Raysick, noting John’s extraordinary generosity toward people in need.

Noticeably humbled and visibly surprised as he took to the stage, John watched as his children — Basil, Allee and Chelsea — and his mother, Marie, emerged from hiding to surprise him at Center Place, the event’s traditional venue.

"He’s a great dad," Basil said. "He and my grandfather (Bill, who died in 2006) taught me a lot."

The Community Roundtable also named Seeds of Hope as the 2018 Nonprofit of the Year.

Founded close to 10 years ago by executive director Leda Eaton, the mission of the Lithia-based organization is to respectfully provide food to local residents in need as well as offer community service hours to high school students in the area’s schools.

Its main source of funding is from the annual FishHawk Turkey Trot, a community-centered running event on Thanksgiving morning, also established and steered by Eaton.

The nonprofit’s three-pronged approach to feeding the hungry includes a mobile food pantry that discreetly delivers food to people struggling financially — be it in a parking lot, their homes or other requested locations.

Secondly, a group of volunteer student workers come together weekly at Randall Middle School to stuff backpacks with nutritious but tasty food items to feed a family of four. They are meant for children who qualify for free school lunches to take home on the weekends.

What’s more, student helpers, under the direction of retiree Kevin Robbins, package and hand out boxes of fresh food from 5-7 p.m. on Thursdays out of a building on the grounds of the Presbyterian Church of Bloomingdale.

Robbins, who donates his time to the project, was inspired to get involved when he learned how Eaton and others associated with Seeds Of Hope helped residents in the Alafia River community whose homes were flooded in the days after Hurricane Irma.

Eaton, in fact, took a week’s vacation from her job to help the residents. She coordinated hot meals, organized rides to local gyms for residents in need of showers and provided restroom facilities and tents for flood victims.

"As a result I just felt like I should assist with the Seeds of Hope food pantry to help feed people in this area and because I like working with kids," said Robbins, who noted the undertaking typically serves about 85 families a week.

Community Roundtable Vice President Lisa Rodriguez, who presented Eaton with a $1,000 check in recognition of Seeds Of Hope being named this year’s top nonprofit organization, described it as a unique kind of food distribution endeavor.

"It focuses on planting seeds of service through youth volunteerism and seeds of hope in the people they help through food relief," Rodriguez said.

Eaton concurred, saying, "It not only touches the lives of people who are struggling, but it also touches the hearts of local students, sparking an interest in lifelong community service opportunities."

Shaun Fidler, a Bloomingdale High School senior with a 5.72 grade point average who’s also amassed more than 300 community service hours, was recipient of this year’s $1,000 Maureen Krzanowski Scholarship award, named in memory of a longtime Community Roundtable board member.

Fidler, who received the award from roundtable table president Janine Nickerson, plans to attend the University of Central Florida next year.

Contact Joyce McKenzie at [email protected]

 
Comments
Forecast: Clear skies, pleasant conditions take hold over Tampa Bay

Forecast: Clear skies, pleasant conditions take hold over Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — Now that a cold front — which spawned a weak tornado in Ruskin — has departed, it leaves behind pleasant conditions across Tampa Bay.Relatively cool temperatures, clearing skies and low humidity will take hold until Friday, according...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Competency hearing today for Seminole Heights slaying suspect

Competency hearing today for Seminole Heights slaying suspect

TAMPA — A judge could determine today whether the man accused in four Seminole Heights slayings is competent to stand trial.Attorneys for Howell Emanuel Donaldson III filed a formal request on Monday to ask that Circuit Judge Mark Wolfe appoint a psy...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
The Daystarter: Competency hearing for Seminole Heights slaying suspect; Is TIA a dining destination?; Clearwater looks to relocate City Hall; ‘Most Interesting Man’ in Tampa

The Daystarter: Competency hearing for Seminole Heights slaying suspect; Is TIA a dining destination?; Clearwater looks to relocate City Hall; ‘Most Interesting Man’ in Tampa

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• Today’s high temperature tops out about 80 degrees, according to 10Weather WTSP. Our next rain chance is Friday when a weak front moves through. And next week brings the heat. Expect ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
ESPN’s Rece Davis on hosting College GameDay from the NFL draft

ESPN’s Rece Davis on hosting College GameDay from the NFL draft

When ESPN's Rece Davis heard about the idea for boosting the college football insight into the NFL draft, he didn't need any convincing."My immediate reaction was, this is a no-brainer," Davis said.Davis will spearhead the network's overdue look at t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
We tried the new restaurants at Tampa International Airport, and we're full

We tried the new restaurants at Tampa International Airport, and we're full

When Tampa International Airport debuted in 1971, each terminal had a newsstand and a snack bar, called something kicky like Snack Bar.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Carlton: The zoo is changing, but don’t worry. The meerkats are on it.

Carlton: The zoo is changing, but don’t worry. The meerkats are on it.

The other day I stopped to check on some progress. And got to see a meerkat, too. Progress in Tampa these days usually refers to the development of Vinikville — excuse me, Water Street Tampa — along the south edge of downtown. Or what w...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Clearwater looks to move out of City Hall to speed up Imagine Clearwater waterfront redevelopment

Clearwater looks to move out of City Hall to speed up Imagine Clearwater waterfront redevelopment

CLEARWATER — Elected officials have talked about relocating City Hall from the downtown bluff for a good 30 years. Now there’s a jolt of urgency to actually do it.Voters backed a referendum in November that essentially greenlighted the $55 million re...
Updated: 1 hour ago
He spent 17 years in prison. Now he’s a free man.

He spent 17 years in prison. Now he’s a free man.

TAMPA — Dwight DuBose walked out of the Orient Road Jail on Tuesday night after trading an orange jumpsuit for a brand new polo shirt and slacks.It was about 9 p.m. He flashed a broad smile and hug staff members of the Innocence Project of Florida wh...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pennsylvania women guilty of golfing while black; 13 trucks line up in Detroit to stop suicide; Puerto Rican anger grows over lack of basic services; more in U.S. news

Pennsylvania women guilty of golfing while black; 13 trucks line up in Detroit to stop suicide; Puerto Rican anger grows over lack of basic services; more in U.S. news

PennsyvlaniaGuilty of golfing while blackBlack people have long complained about getting pulled over by police for "driving while black," or being eyed suspiciously by security guards for "shopping while black." Now, five women say they got into trou...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Toronto attacker likely hated women; 3 murdered film students had stumbled into Mexican gang battle; more in world news

Toronto attacker likely hated women; 3 murdered film students had stumbled into Mexican gang battle; more in world news

CanadaToronto attacker hated womenThe suspect in the deadly van attack in Toronto posted a chilling Facebook message just before plowing into a crowded sidewalk, authorities said Tuesday. The post indicated the computer studies graduate and ex-milita...
Updated: 10 hours ago