Nearly 600 people attended CASA's annual Peace Breakfast at the Coliseum, where Audrey Wood and her daughter, Tricia Quinsey, talked about the different views of a mother and her child as they experience domestic violence.
Craig Sher, who chairs the Board of Trustees; Linda Osmundson, executive director; and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker welcomed guests to the event, which raised $150,000 for Community Action Stops Abuse. The organization serves more than 15,000 men, women and children each year, officials said.
Restaurateur and entrepreneur John Stross was honored for more than 10 years of leadership and commitment to CASA.
In an e-mail, Stross said he met Osmundson more than a dozen years ago. He had just begun a speaking course and thought domestic violence would make a good subject for his first speech.
"Oh boy, did it," he said.
"For a long time I had had a curiosity about the subject of domestic violence, especially dealing with the age-old question: Why doesn't she just leave? If horrible things are happening to you, get the hell out of there."
Stross said he interviewed Osmundson and "I not only got my material for the speech, I decided I wanted to get involved with CASA and do what I could do to help women and children suffering this often violent life."
Stross joined the board of trustees, became its chairman and began making speeches at the annual Peace Breakfast, which has raised more than $1-million for CASA.
"It has been exciting watching it grow from a rather obscure event at the Yacht Club," he said. "For quite a few years now, we have had attendance of between 600 and 700 people — for breakfast!"
The 2009 event will be named in his honor.
Newlyweds rock through the season
Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon is having a rock 'n' roll Christmas this year at his hometown of Hazelton, Pa., where he serves as unofficial mayor. His mom, Beanie Maddon, and family still live there, and it's tradition for Joe to go home for the holidays. Maddon will be feted today to a private concert in honor of his Manager of the Year award and marriage to Jaye Sousoures, his second wife. The band is none other than the BSTREETBAND. Maddon's childhood pal, Willie Forte, sings and plays keyboard. The group says it's the longest-running Bruce Springsteen cover group. But don't look for tickets. According to bstreetband.com, the "BRUCE BASH" is invitation-only. Maddon, 54, and Sousoures, a budding lawyer, were married in November in her native California. A winding honeymoon in Europe followed, with tours of Italy, the Czech Republic and Germany.
Luis Perez, Times Staff Writer