Friday, February 23, 2018
News Roundup

Brandon Foundation's Angel Program looks to keep spirits lifted

BRANDON — The angel cried.

Tears flew down the face of Janelle Duncan after she helped assist Heather Ussery, a woman in her 30s suffering from colon cancer.

Duncan and members of the Brandon Foundation's Angel Program graciously lent a hand to Ussery and her family, bringing them clothing, medical supplies and groceries. They also prayed and talked with the family.

"The blessing of helping one person or family at a time and showing them God's love can heal the hearts of hurting people," Duncan said.

It's those reciprocal benefits of giving and receiving that fuels the foundation's Angel Program. Established in 2006, it helps families in the Brandon community who experienced a catastrophic event or life-threatening illness. The Angel Program has assisted more than 400 families and works with more than 80 registered charitable organizations.

Recipients have only praise for the program.

"Being diagnosed with cancer, my angel family gave me reassurance that I am not alone," said recipient Natasha Zapatero, who received food, household items, assistance with a minor roofing repair and help completing her taxes.

"I am grateful for their help," Zapatero added.

The Angel Program — a combination of 50 volunteers, team leaders and foundation members — not only provides, but serves as a community conduit, connecting individuals and local business owners who want to help to those in need.

Foundation executive director, Liz Brewer, said those in need can fill out an "Angel Assistance Request form" online at brandonfoundation.org. Each request gets screened to make sure it meets the standards of a catastrophic event or life-threatening illness.

The foundation initially funded the program for several years and also benefited from a grant from the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay.

Now, with the grant money dwindling, the group hopes to raise $20,000. It's also hoping to raise awareness and draw more volunteers for various foundation projects. Individuals can donate goods and money through a monthly program called Difference Makers.

Duncan has mixed emotions when she thinks of Ussery, who died in June.

"I know we made a difference in their lives," Duncan said. "She's now in heaven."

Contact Tatiana Ortiz at [email protected]

Comments
Florida Capitol Republicans promise ‘complete investigation’ of what went wrong

Florida Capitol Republicans promise ‘complete investigation’ of what went wrong

TALLAHASSEE — A bombshell that South Florida police ignored tips that a teenager was planning an assault on a school and then failed to stop him when he attacked seems destined to complicate the election-year discussion around mass shootings.Even in ...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Top Justice official alerted White House 2 weeks ago to ongoing issues in Kushner’s security clearance

Top Justice official alerted White House 2 weeks ago to ongoing issues in Kushner’s security clearance

WASHINGTON — A top Justice Department official alerted the White House two weeks ago that significant information requiring additional investigation would further delay the security clearance process of senior adviser Jared Kushner, three people fami...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Indiana man killed, two hurt as boats collide on Little Manatee River

Indiana man killed, two hurt as boats collide on Little Manatee River

RUSKIN — Arthur D. Showley, 75, went fishing early Friday morning, something he did two or three times a week, friends said. When they saw his car and trailer still parked near a community boat ramp at 2 p.m., they thought that was strange."He never ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Here are the GOP’s responses to the Parkland massacre. Would any have worked?

Here are the GOP’s responses to the Parkland massacre. Would any have worked?

Gov. Rick Scott and Republican leadership in the Florida Legislature have rolled out their ideas for change in response to the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. But would these measures have made a difference in the worst mass...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Former Florida congressmen say gun control measures need to go much further

Former Florida congressmen say gun control measures need to go much further

TAMPA — A bipartisan pair of former congressmen spoke Friday about gun safety measures that are more drastic than those being considered following the Parkland school shootings, and about hopes for a national youth movement comparable to the 1960s an...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Restricting bullets rather than guns might cut toll of school shootings, some experts say

Restricting bullets rather than guns might cut toll of school shootings, some experts say

This is the sad new math in the age of school slaughter.If one student comes to school with a firearm and 10 ammunition magazines filled with 30 bullets each, and another comes with a firearm and 30 magazines filled with 10 bullets each, who can crea...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Epilogue: Lee Davis, businessman and adventurer, survived many a scrape

Epilogue: Lee Davis, businessman and adventurer, survived many a scrape

TAMPA — Friends and family have a saying about Lee Thornton Davis Jr. Once you met him, even for just a moment, you knew him forever."He was the most outgoing person I’d ever met," Dick Greco said, which is something coming from Tampa’s gregarious, 8...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

The head of the Pinellas and Hillsborough career centers under multiple investigations into the way they report job placement figures says he has no intention of stepping down.That’s unless he is paid five months severance.In a letter from his attorn...
Updated: 4 hours ago
She’s taught at the Parkland high school for 14 years. Can she go back?

She’s taught at the Parkland high school for 14 years. Can she go back?

PARKLAND — She was afraid of what it would feel like, but she needed to know, so Melissa Falkowski pulled into the faculty parking lot. She took a deep breath in through her nose and climbed out of her car. She was back, in front of Marjory Stoneman ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
The real Jefferson Memorial has a statue, but this one has a jukebox

The real Jefferson Memorial has a statue, but this one has a jukebox

The building was in its infancy when a vintage Cadillac Eldorado rumbled up the construction path. Getting out, the driver demanded to know what the finished structure was intended for.Told that it would be a private home, the driver scoffed. The uni...
Updated: 5 hours ago