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Coast Guard Auxiliary member from Largo honored for work

From left are Cmdr. Darryl Adams, Skip Witunski, Karen Miller, Sea Service Member of the Year Ann Bennett and Cmdr. Scott Calhoun. During 2012, Bennett dedicated more than 1,000 hours of service to the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 11

From left are Cmdr. Darryl Adams, Skip Witunski, Karen Miller, Sea Service Member of the Year Ann Bennett and Cmdr. Scott Calhoun. During 2012, Bennett dedicated more than 1,000 hours of service to the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Multitasking seems to come naturally to Ann Bennett.

Twice a week, Bennett handles search and rescue cases as a key member of the Operational Excellence team at Coast Guard Station Sand Key. During 2012, she dedicated more than 1,000 hours of service to the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary; 300 hours were spent in on-the-water operations.

As a team coordination training facilitator, she handles sessions for both the auxiliary and Coast Guard and heads several other departments relating to recreational boating safety. She's certified and trained in first aid and CPR and teaches multiple Red Cross classes.

Bennett often volunteers to staff Coast Guard Auxiliary safety booths at local events. She is the auxiliary liaison for the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce and played a large part in getting Clearwater designated as a Coast Guard city.

The Coast Guard auxiliarist with Flotilla 11-1 Clearwater recently received the Sea Service Member of the Year award from the Navy League of the United States, Tampa Council, at the 2013 Sea Services Recognition Dinner.

The award, presented annually, honors military personnel for their hard work and heroics in protecting American interests worldwide.

Her recognition is of special note since all other honorees were active duty or reservists from the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.

Bennett retired as a Navy commander in 2006 and lives in Largo.

• • •

In 1992, an intergenerational subcommittee was created by Dunedin's Committee on Aging to support, promote and provide recreational, educational and service projects that bring together people of all ages.

The effort has paid off.

Dunedin was recognized as one of four top intergenerational communities in America at an awards ceremony March 21 in Washington, D.C.

Also honored at the event, sponsored by Generations United and MetLife Foundation, were Montgomery County, Md.; Itta Bena, Miss.; and Westchester County, N.Y.

Author, journalist and news analyst Juan Williams emceed the event, which included community members who were instrumental in establishing exceptional intergenerational programs; two members of Congress; and a panel discussion on what makes an effective intergenerational community.

Generations United board member Donna Butts said, "We believe more cities, towns and counties will follow the lead of the best intergenerational communities we are honoring today if we can encourage local leaders to be bold and create policies that support them."

Dunedin's population is slightly more than 35,000, with 20.5 percent age 23 and younger, and 43.9 percent age 55 and older.

Since 2006, Dunedin's mayor has issued a formal proclamation acknowledging Intergenerational Week — the first full week of December — and the city's annual commitment to 29 events that bring together multiple generations.

Last year's Intergenerational Week included programs and events like chair volleyball with seniors versus youth; a community gardening project with youth advisory committee members and adult garden volunteers; a bowling league with seniors and children from Dunedin Elementary's after-school program; and cocoa and holiday stories at Dunedin Library.

In 2008, Money Magazine chose the city as one of the "Best Places To Retire in the USA," and in 2007 and 2009 Florida designated Dunedin as one of its "Communities for a Lifetime."

• • •

Clearwater High junior Alexandra Chandler entered C-SPAN's national 2013 StudentCam competition using a video to ask President Barack Obama to address school safety and security this year.

Her documentary, Guns In Our Schools, won a second-place prize of $1,500 and aired on C-SPAN on April 20.

The national competition invites middle and high school students to produce a five- to eight-minute documentary on a national policy issue. This year, students were asked to answer the question, "What's the most important issue the president should consider in 2013?" In response, C-SPAN received 1,893 video submissions from more than 3,500 students in 44 states and Washington, D.C.

Judging was done by a panel of C-SPAN education representatives.

"StudentCam proves yearly that students are paying attention to the pressing issues of the day — and right now, that's the economy," said Joanne Wheeler, C-SPAN vice president of Education Relations. "As the president begins his second term, students took advantage of a great opportunity to send him a public message about what is most important to them, and the winning videos are compelling."

The top three most popular documentary topics were economic issues, education and the environment.

Chandler is one of 146 students from across the country winning a total of $50,000. Her entry can be viewed at

Mail Good For You items to Nova Beall at 1130 Cleveland St., Suite A, Clearwater, FL 33755; fax to (727) 445-4119; or email

Coast Guard Auxiliary member from Largo honored for work 05/04/13 [Last modified: Friday, May 3, 2013 6:24pm]
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