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North Pinellas Good For You for Sunday, Oct. 13

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Dr. Robert Morelli and Nola Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Countryside 2013, were recognized Sept. 18 at a reception at Countryside Country Club.

The two were chosen based on their volunteer service to the community.

"We look for people who live in the Countryside area: U.S. 19 to Curlew Road to McMullen-Booth north to Union Street, including the Woodgate area," explained Bob Bentz, Mr. Countryside 2004.

Johnson, a personal trainer and group fitness instructor at Countryside Country Club for more than a decade, has been involved in distance running events for many years, completing Ironman Florida in 2000 and the Boston Marathon in 2012.

Her fitness career began after acquiring a degree in exercise science from the University of Guam, where she lived for seven years.

Johnson's volunteer activity began in 2001 when she joined the Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin.

As part of the Art Harvest committee, she has served as the event's artist coordinator and also as a co-chair of the annual art show in Dunedin.

She has held the position of JLCD membership committee co-chair, in charge of recruitment and new members as well as training and education.

In her role as community chairperson in charge of outreach for the entire group, Johnson brought needed focus to foster children in Pinellas and Pasco counties. She helped with programs that collected back-to-school supplies, holiday gifts and move-in kits for foster teens and collaborated with many local agencies and nonprofits including Clothes to Kids, Raising Hope and Suncoast Voices For Children. She worked with St. Petersburg College to create Foster Teen Summit, a program that invites foster teens to participate in a variety of life skills workshops. JLCD continues to facilitate this program that reaches out to hundreds of foster teens, including those aging out of the program. She also leads an annual fitness program, "New Year, New You," for foster children.

Johnson served as JLCD community vice president, where she oversaw chairs, programs and communicated with the Community Advisory Board, resulting in awards of educational and community grants to area teachers and local nonprofits.

At Palm Harbor's Curlew Creek Elementary, Johnson assists students in kindergarten through third grade with math and reading and is also program coordinator for the school's "Labels For Education" fundraiser. In March, she chaired the school's fundraiser, helping to raise more than $20,000 for the purchase of Smart Boards for classrooms.

Johnson, who lives in Clearwater with husband, Kevin Johnson, and their two children, plans to serve on the Curlew Creek PTA board overseeing fundraising committees.

Morelli loves anything to do with the practice of medicine.

Since coming to the Tampa Bay area in 1985 after completing his residency in pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, he saw patients out of his private practice in Clearwater from 1985 to 1999 and worked nine years as an emergency department physician at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.

For 13 years he has been the director of pediatrics for Suncoast Hospice and a volunteer pediatrician with the Clearwater Free Clinic where he was named of Doctor of the Year in 2002. He's also director of the call center at All Children's Hospital.

As a board member of NOPE (Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education) of Pinellas, Morelli presents the dangers of abusing prescription drugs to Pinellas County middle and high school student, parent groups and community organizations.

Working as a Peyton Wright Foundation board member, he helps raise funds to help families of children with pediatric brain cancer.

When the doctor's children were members of the Countryside swim team, he became a parent volunteer and continued in that capacity long after they left the team. He has also coached his 8-year-old grandson's soccer team.

Morelli, who attends Calvary Baptist Church, enjoys fishing, gardening, reading and spending time with family, including wife, Nena, their two children and four grandchildren.

Johnson and Morelli received a plaque of recognition and their names will be added to the community plaque at Countryside Recreation Center.

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North Pinellas Good For You for Sunday, Oct. 13 10/10/13 [Last modified: Thursday, October 10, 2013 4:22pm]
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