How long have you lived in Hernando County, and where do you live? Where did you live previously?
We bought our house in 1992 and moved in about six months later. We have lived in Spring Hill since then. Before that, we lived in Key West for four years. Since my husband is retired from the Navy (20 years), we did lots of traveling from base to base over the years. Rota, Spain, was the last tour before moving to Florida.
Who are the members of your family?
My husband and best friend, Roger, and I will be celebrating our 32nd anniversary on April 2. We have a daughter, Amy Packard, 30; a son, Kenneth, 28; and two beautiful granddaughters, Alyssa Packard, 5, and Baylee Lima, 6.
Tell us about your career.
I have worked for Tangerine Cove, a 170-bed assisted living facility, since 2001. I am the community outreach director. I do the admissions and marketing in the community.
What kinds of activities are you involved in now?
I am president of the Community Resource Council of Hernando, which is a group of professionals who try to help serve needs in the community. Our mission is to assist in the growth of the Hernando community through funding and charitable volunteer work; to unite growing businesses with other professionals to share information, contacts and resources; and to grow as individual members of the council through networking, shared education and moral support.
We recently donated $1,000 to the Senior Rx program that helps seniors pay for medications they couldn't otherwise afford. The group also donated $1,000 to the Enrichment Centers of Hernando County to help support programs they offer seniors to help get them out of their houses.
I'm also a "big" with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hernando County. I have been matched with a girl for the past 2 1/2 years. She was 12 when I first met her, and I have seen a lot of changes in her since that meeting — which by the way we went roller-blading on the Suncoast Parkway trail.
I'm also passionate about helping the troops serving overseas and helping veterans.
Tell me more about that.
We started Operation Shoebox more than two years ago to show our support to the troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every other month, we send packages with snacks, toiletries, books, puzzles — anything we think they will enjoy being so far from home and their families. This has been a great cause for us to get involved in. Our members feel much better about themselves knowing they are helping others out.
Personally for me, it has been something I'm very passionate about, especially since my son, Kenny, has been to Iraq for three tours. He just returned home from his third tour. Thinking back, Kenny spent four years of his 28 years in Iraq — a long time when you have a daughter who is only 6 years old. We are very proud parents, knowing our son is giving up so much for his country, as are all the soldiers who have deployed and are still deployed.
Do you have any special hobbies?
I have many hobbies. I love to scrapbook and make cards. I spend a lot of my free time making cards or just scrapping old pictures of past years — it's a lot to catch up on.
I enjoy bowling. Up until this past year, I played in a league. But now, due to shoulder problems, I haven't been able to bowl at all. I also enjoy making party favors. I have been doing candy bar wrappers for a few years now, and I find this a very fun hobby.
What are your favorite things to do in Hernando County?
Shopping, shopping and more shopping. This is one of the things I do best. And I truly believe in shopping and spending money in your own community. I also enjoy the local parks. I take my granddaughter to Anderson Snow Park all the time because it's so close to home.
What do you think would make Hernando County a better place to live?
I have lived in many places being the spouse of a retired Navy guy, and I really like Hernando County. Not sure I would change anything except the amount of people who have moved in since we moved here. But if that changed, we wouldn't have all the shopping and restaurants we have available to us. And they are now building a new Target for me — okay, maybe for everyone in Hernando — that will make it perfect. And yes, getting an Olive Garden would put the icing on the cake.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.
People would probably be surprised to know I have a fear of public speaking.
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.