How long have you lived in Hernando County, and where do you live? Where did you live previously?
We have lived in Spring Hill for almost 16 years. At one time we moved to Largo from New York, but only for one year and then moved back to our home in North Babylon, Long Island. We stayed there for five years and moved back to Florida with no regrets.
Who are the members of your family?
My husband, Walt, and I have been married for 52 years. We have four children — a son who lives in Centereach, N.Y., and three daughters who live in Peachtree City, Ga. We have eight grandchildren, most of whom have either completed college or are in the process of doing so; two are working on their master's degrees. I'm a proud grandma!
Tell us about your career.
My working years were spent in the insurance business, which is where I met my husband and worked in the same office. I retired as an insurance manager for a pavement company prior to coming to Florida.
What kinds of activities are you involved in now?
I am immediate past state president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, a national fraternal organization known mainly up North. I am a member of and a past president of the Ladies Auxiliary of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9236. But what takes up most of my time these days is the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Weeki Wachee Aerie 4372, for which I am currently serving as president of the auxiliary.
Tell me more about that.
The Eagles auxiliary received its charter in 1996, and we operated out of a rental space in Spring Hill. This was truly a labor of love, trying to make a rundown meeting room into an acceptable place to meet. Whatever talent a member had was put to use.
Our greatest problem was that we did not have a kitchen. So, when we hosted dinner fundraisers, we had to make do with warming trays and Crock-Pots. It was hard work but a lot of fun, and it worked. Our membership increased, and today we have our own building on Cortez Boulevard. Although small, it is ours, and we have a kitchen. The membership of the auxiliary is about 160.
I have served as an officer since the inception of the auxiliary, and was recently elected president. We are all proud to be part of the auxiliary. We bring much to the community through our charities.
Charities our auxiliary donates to include the American Cancer Society, the National Kidney Foundation, the Alzheimer's Family Organization and Hernando-Pasco Hospice. We create food baskets for the needy at Thanksgiving time, and at Christmas we sponsor an Angel Tree with special decorations listing names and ages of children who would like to celebrate a nice Christmas. In addition, we collect items that we send to the troops serving overseas.
We like to combine work and play, so while we hold many fundraisers, we also hold social get-togethers. Our slogan is "People Helping People," and we are always looking for new members.
Individuals who wish to join or learn more can contact me at (352) 688-7122.
Do you have any special hobbies?
I enjoy reading a good book, surfing the Web and crocheting.
What are your favorite things to do in Hernando County?
Nothing can compare to our beautiful sunsets.
What do you think would make Hernando County a better place to live?
We need to improve and provide more public transportation for our seniors.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.
I inherited a sense of humor from my mother, and I use it quite often. Sometimes it can backfire, causing me to say, "I'm sorry; I was only joking." I have always felt that it is better to be laughed with than laughed at.
Hernando Neighbors is an occasional feature of the Hernando Times. Do you know someone who would make a good profile? We'd like to hear from you. Contact Jean Hayes, community news coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1438.