Boys & Girls Clubs Steak Dinner
"Community Hero" Luis Garcia filled four tables with family members as the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay honored his philanthropy and 20-plus years on the board of directors at the organization's 36th annual steak dinner. "I can't do what I do without the support of the family," said Garcia, who came to the United States from Cuba in 1961. A certified public accountant and father of six, Garcia and his wife, Mary, have 13 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Tweaking the original menus of steak for the kids and hamburgers for the adults, Outback Steakhouse donated steaks for all 450 guests at TPepin's Hospitality Centre for the Sept. 21 event. The 86 young club members invited to eat with the grown-ups included the talented Belmont Height Club Star Divas, who performed a step routine to close the evening. But first, they got to see photos taken by club foundation board director Glenn Permuy during the safari he bought at last year's dinner auction. His travelogue helped auctioneer Jason Alpert pitch the trip again, getting 13 bids of $3,000 each to push proceeds near $250,000.
Burgert Brothers 100th Anniversary Gala
Thanks to brothers Al and Jean Burgert, we can picture everyday life in Tampa Bay from 1899 to 1963, portrayed in thousands of scenes of people and places preserved in the Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection at the John F. Germany Public Library. Friends of the Tampa-Hillsborough Library and the H.B. Plant Museum celebrated the "Best of the Burgerts" work Sept. 22 at a gala dinner marking the photo studio's 100th anniversary.
Four members of the Burgert family — Beth Heflin, JoAn Rodriguez, Diane Dowling and Kim Hamilton — joined 100-plus guests in the Grand Salon of Plant Hall at the University of Tampa, formerly the very photogenic Tampa Bay Hotel.
Journalist Steve Otto emceed for gala co-chairs Edith Stewart and Cynthia Gandee Zinober. Centerpieces elevated on leather books were created by Mary Jo Shenk, Pat Benjamin and Joanne Frazier, who also celebrated her 80th birthday that night.
Ybor City Chamber of Commerce Gala
For 52 years, the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce has kicked off the Latin community social season with a gala dinner dance at the Columbia Restaurant. For 24 of those years, they have honored a true Ybor City devotee with the Gonzmart Award. Saturday was Darryl Shaw's turn in the spotlight for maintaining the "Cigar City" spirit. The CEO of Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners has invested in residential and commercial properties in the National Historic Landmark District for nearly three decades.
Casey Gonzmart Jr. presented the award named for his grandparents, the late Adela & Cesar Gonzmart. Vince Pardo emceed, with helpful assistance from chamber board chairman Elliott Wheeler and vice chairman Julio Soto.
Lenora Lake contributed to this week's Diary.