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Civic boosters welcome idea of starting Sertoma

Many Lutz-area residents have expressed interest in starting a Sertoma club, which would be the 19th in the county.

Sertoma International, the service organization with 18 clubs in Hillsborough County, hopes to start a 19th in Lutz.

The news draws cheers from the presidents of Lutz's busiest civic groups.

"I think that's fine _ go for it," said Dora Bean, president of the Lutz-Land O'Lakes Woman's Club. "They do a lot of good things."

Denise Layne, a former Sertoma president who is current president of the Lutz Civic Association, said it's "wonderful." She is in a Sertoma club that meets for lunch in Westshore.

"I might even be changing clubs just so I can get closer to home here and maybe make some more meetings," she said.

The initiative is being led by several of Layne's fellow members of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Lutz:

+ Jerry Myer, a Northdale tax consultant who takes over in September as president of a Sertoma luncheon club in downtown Tampa, the club that will sponsor the startup of a Lutz club for a year.

+ Lynda Licht, a Brandon accountant and another member of the downtown club.

+ John Tragon, a North Pointe business owner who is a member of a Sertoma breakfast club in Westshore and was president of Sertoma International from 1991 to 1992.

+ His wife, Kathy Tragon, a member of an all-women's Sertoma club that meets for dinners at a Fowler Avenue steakhouse.

Headquartered in Kansas City, Sertoma boasts 27,000 members. It is best known for its efforts throughout North America to help people with speech and hearing disorders, including a speech-and-hearing center in New Port Richey.

Myer said individual club projects can range from parties for disadvantaged children to fund-raising efforts such as the renovations of Tampa's Union Station.

"We can do anything that our members think is a worthy cause," he said.

Sertoma International, with 830 clubs, is trying to charter 400 more in the next five years, said Kathy Tragon.

John Tragon is heading the expansion effort in Florida. He said the umbrella organization is offering a 50-percent match, up to $1,000, to a fund-raising campaign launched by a new group.

Myer said many Lutz-area residents had expressed interest in Sertoma. "It's just a lot of people that have envied what we have done in the other clubs."

If you go

Sertomans plan an introductory meeting at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 31 at the Holiday Inn Express, 400 E Bearss Ave. For information, call Jerry or Susan Myer at 930-6336, or check the Sertoma International Web site at www.sertoma.org

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