Kathleen Phelan helped her husband, Tony, start Pinchers restaurant while working as a teacher in Collier County.
She spent days at school and nights at the restaurant as a hostess, all while Tony battled cancer, and worked at their first location, a six-table restaurant in a strip mall.
Now the Phelans have multiple restaurant brands and 12 Pinchers locations in eight counties, including Hillsborough and Pasco. But Kathleen Phelan hasn't forgotten her roots — so teachers in all eight counties will receive $25 gift certificates that can be used at any of the restaurants. That's nearly 50,000 teachers, a value of more than $1 million and a gesture worthy of kudos.
A friend recently criticized the media (including me), saying we too often paint teachers as altruistic martyrs. I guess I'm guilty because I'll always champion efforts like the one being delivered by the Phelans. Teachers deserve it. . . .
Seen on a bumper sticker: Vietnam — We Were Winning When I Left. . . .
I again get the privilege of sharing a stage with the inspiring folk artist Ruby C. Williams. Join us at 6 p.m. Thursday at St. Petersburg's Carter G. Woodson Museum, 2240 Ninth Ave. S. . . .
The Rays made an earnest effort to improve the team for a playoff run through trades, but it appears management messed up the mojo. As they struggle to stay in contention, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if Tim Beckham had remained a Ray. . . .
A grade school friend, Michael Safar, says I buried my head in my coat in utter fear during an eclipse in fifth grade. I don't recall that, but I don't deny it. And there's a chance history repeats itself today.
That's all I'm saying.