Every Monday and Friday, a taxi pulls up to Senior Citizens Services at 1204 Rogers St., Clearwater.
At first glance, it might seem that the cab's petite passenger, Betty Wall, has come to participate in the classes and activities offered by the center. But that's not why she's there.
Wall, who recently celebrated her 91st birthday, is one of the center's most beloved volunteers.
The Clearwater resident greets and offers referrals for visitors, answers the phone, researches newspaper articles and provides data entry for computer classes geared for seniors. A 15-year volunteer, she's remained with the facility through three moves.
Educated at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as colleges in Chicago, Philadelphia and St. Louis, Wall worked as a nutritionist for the state while living in Hawaii for 30 years as a Navy wife. She also employed her skills as a nutritionist with the United Nations, caring for youths in Indonesia and South Africa. A world traveler, the nonagenarian has been around the world three times.
"She's just an incredible lady," said Bob Wittenberg, executive director of Senior Citizens Services of Clearwater, an organization that provides advocacy and action for the senior community and is dedicated to providing exceptional quality-of-life forums, classes, activities and alternatives for all senior citizens.
According to Steve Weller, the center's primary receptionist, "Betty loves to cook and still bakes her own bread."
After years of sending Christmas cards in which she included her own recipes, Wall eventually had a cookbook published that was given to relatives.
Every summer she flies up north for several months, where she attends reunions with 400 to 500 members of her family in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and Maryland.
Although Wall has dealt with some health issues, including a number of foot surgeries, her enthusiasm is not diminished. With firsthand knowledge of the island's assets, she continues to inspire others to put a vacation to Hawaii at the top of their to-do lists.
"Her bright, cheery spirit and her amiability with all the people in the center is much appreciated," Wittenberg said. "She a real people person."
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More than 100 golfers grouped into 30 teams took part in GTE Financial's first "Scholarship Scramble" golf tournament fundraiser, held April 20 at Tampa's Westchase Golf Club. The event raised more than $42,000 to help local students achieve their academic goals.
GTE Financial awards scholarships to member-students through its philanthropic arm, the GTE Financial Charitable Foundation. Funds raised from the recent golf tournament will enable GTE to award 24 scholarships to high school seniors or undergraduate students who are GTE members with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and are involved in community and charity efforts this year.
"This tournament and the remarkable support of the participants, volunteers, our corporate partners and local businesses allow us to make a significant investment in the future of local students who have demonstrated excellence in both the classroom and in the community," said tournament organizer Steven Robinson, GTE's vice president of assurance and consulting services. "It's clear to us that there's a great deal of interest in the tournament and we look forward to making it an annual event."
GTE Financial, a nonprofit credit union, has 21 locations in west central Florida that include branches in Palm Harbor and Seminole.
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