How long have you lived in Hernando County, and where do you live? Where did you live previously?
I have lived in Hernando Beach South since 2003. I was born and raised in a small town outside of Salt Lake City. My family moved to Lighthouse Point around 1963.
After graduation, I went to Purdue University in Indiana for four years, then returned to live and work in Orlando. In 1974, I moved to Southern California. I met my husband, Russ, near Camp Pendleton (he was in the Marine Corps there). After he retired from the USMC, we moved to southwest Missouri and spent eight years there before deciding to move back to Florida. We expected to settle in Ocala, but found our hometown in Hernando Beach.
Who are the members of your family?
My husband, Russ, and I have been married for 20 years. I have four stepchildren who are grown and have families of their own — Doug and Tim both live in Missouri, and Andrea and Tancie live in Colorado. I have two older brothers.
Tell us about your career.
Even though I have a bachelor's degree in textiles, I only used it before we moved to Missouri in 1992, working for various retail stores and a fabric chain. In 1992, I earned my license for real estate and have been active since then. I had my broker's license while in Missouri, but opted to get a sales license here in Florida.
Russ and I would buy neglected properties, fix them up and rent them. At one time we had more than 20, but decided that was more than we wanted. I am currently licensed with Charles Rutenberg out of Clearwater, but work from home.
What kinds of activities are you involved in now?
We love to entertain and socialize with friends. In my down time, I enjoy reading. I have just begun my first term as president of the Ladies Auxiliary to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9236 in Hernando Beach.
Tell me more about that.
I've been involved with the VFW Auxiliary since 1992. My father, brother and husband are all combat veterans. We were raised with a great deal of respect for anyone who steps up and defends our country.
We have a relief fund that helps any distressed veteran or family in times of need. This is generally supported by the Buddy Poppy program. We have other programs that come under the heading of "Veterans and Family Support." We have just been able to set up a free day of phone calls through our national organization for the Brooksville National Guard squadron serving in Iraq. Snowball Express will provide grants for children of servicemen and women who have been killed in action. It allows for "fun days and events" for these kids.
Our state project this year is the "Wounded Warriors" project. This fund provides immediate relief in the form of hospital items, clothing, CD players, etc., for wounded service personnel.
We have several scholarship programs for the youth in our area. The Voice of Democracy will garner more than $30,000 in prizes to the national winner. Patriots Pen is for middle school children, while Patriotic Art allows students who are skilled in art to vie for scholarships.
Do you have any special hobbies?
Since I like to read so much, I've enjoyed visiting the new library on Spring Hill Drive. I've also developed an interest in cooking, even though I don't cook as much in the summer. We also like to travel to visit friends and family.
What are your favorite things to do in Hernando County?
We like to take the boat out in the canals or to the gulf on occasion. I have friends who love to kayak, so we organize trips down the Weeki Wachee River. We also like to get together for movies and dinner. Because we live on the water, having barbecues and parties waterside is absolutely the best. I also go to the gym most mornings to work out and run.
What do you think would make Hernando County a better place to live?
While I know that our roads are county and some are state, I do wish something could be done to improve the looks of the medians throughout our county. First impressions on Commercial Way (U.S. 19) generally aren't favorable.
There is way too much litter along Shoal Line and Osowaw boulevards. Residents need to contain their trash so that the rest of us don't have to look at it. Also, we can't wait for the dredge to begin on the main channel going to the gulf.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.
Even though I wasn't raised Mormon, my great-great-grandfather was a past president of the Mormon Church. My grandmother left the church when she married my grandfather.
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.