Donald C. Hoge, a member of the Dunedin Coast Guard Auxiliary, received an award from the Navy League of the United States, Tampa Council.
The council has, for many years, presented an award for the most outstanding enlisted person from Special Operations Command, Central Command, Special Operations Command, Navy Operations Support Center-Tampa, Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg and Coast Guard Station Clearwater. This year, the council added one more recipient from the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
This first award was presented to Hoge by Admiral Eric T. Olson, commander of Special Operations Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa.
A volunteer member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Hoge was chosen for his devotion to duty; his close and personal involvement at both the Clearwater Coast Guard Air Station and at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg; and more than 3,100 volunteer hours in 2010, during which he amassed an incredible number of miles and hours in traveling from his home to both Clearwater and St. Petersburg.
Hoge was chosen as the auxiliary sector coordinator for the entire west coast of Florida and has worked very successfully in promoting increased auxiliary support of the Coast Guard.
A retired Navy helicopter pilot well versed in search and rescue operations, he also was recognized for his intensive involvement at the air station during the Haitian earthquake crisis when he utilized his experience as a logistics/operations officer to assist in the relief efforts.
Hoge also has been a significant asset to the Coast Guard in coordinating numerous auxiliary vessels and personnel in the support of several multiple day research and development testing exercises in the Gulf of Mexico.
Mr. Hoge and his wife, Jerri, live in New Port Richey.
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The Palm Harbor Library has named Jack and Elizabeth Franklin as its "Volunteers of the Year" for 2011. The couple was recognized in April at the library's annual breakfast in honor of its 300-plus volunteers.
Mr. Franklin works in the library's donations area. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, he worked 40 years in transportation operations and sales. He has a daughter and two grandchildren.
Mrs. Franklin has helped with check-in, check-out, shelving and book repairs and also served four years as director of Hospitality for the Friends of the Library. She is from the Washington, D.C., area and worked 34 years as a nurse. The mother of two boys and a foster son has traveled to Ireland twice and to Italy as part of the book club she has been a member of for the past 26 years.
This is the second marriage for both.
They have volunteered most of their lives for organizations including the Red Cross and Meals on Wheels and both are members of the Dunedin Fine Arts Center. The couple is currently learning to play Mah Jong.
Both agree that Palm Harbor Library is a friendly, welcoming place where, the couple say, "People actually smile when they talk to us."
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Paul O'Rourke, son of Paul and Linda O'Rourke of Clearwater, received a medical degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville.
Dr. O'Rourke was elected co-president of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and selected as a member of the Chapman Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society. He also was the recipient of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award; received the American College of Physicians Award for outstanding performance in Internal Medicine and the Student Hippocratic Award; and was an appointed member of the student selection committee for the College of Medicine Class of 2015.
O'Rourke is establishing a Heroes History Program at the Malcolm Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Gainesville, to aid in developing a personal relationship between patients and the medical staff caring for them. He will start his medical residency in June at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where he will pursue a career in academic general medicine.
He graduated in 2002 from Countryside High, Clearwater; and in 2006 from the University of Florida, Gainesville, where he received a bachelor of science degree in microbiology and cell science.