Happy 243rd Birthday (aka Flag Day) to the U.S. Army, celebrated with a formal gala salute to generations of army heroes hosted by the Suncoast Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army. Gen. Joseph Votel, Commander U.S. Central Command, welcomed 600 guests, among them Purple Heart recipients, wounded warriors and Gold Star families Saturday where they enjoyed the Florida National Guard's 13th Army Band and Jerry Oxley's World War II materiel collection before dinner at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.
Col. (Ret.) Jorge Rodriguez and Toni Gross presented the Gen. Paul D. Adams Award to Lt. Col. (Ret.) Houston Tucker whose 38-year resume reads like the script of a John Wayne war movie. Dr. Alan List, Moffitt Cancer Center CEO and civilian advisor to the Secretary of the Army, spoke of military sacrifices, commitments and heroism, including his father in his examples. The evening concluded with the oldest and youngest active duty soldiers invited to cut the birthday cake, a rousing singalong to the official Army song and dancing to DJ Idves and the Hott Mess band.
Ybor City Museum Society Legacy Awards Brunch
"Honoring three individuals in a community of individuals," said Patrick Venable president of the Ybor City Museum Society as the group named Ariel Quintela, Stephanie Agliano and Stephen Barbas to the roster of 70 previous legacy awards for outstanding contributions to the Ybor economy and culture.
"They reached for their dreams," added emcee Lisette Campos, a past honoree and WFTS -Ch. 28 community affairs director, reminding everyone at Sunday's award brunch of their Spanish, Sicilian and Cuban immigrant family legacies.
Rafael Martinez-Ybor presented the Vicente Martinez-Ybor Award named for his great-grandfather to Cuba-born Quintela for his preservation work. Andrea Gonzmart presented the Adela Gonzmart Award to Agliano for decades of volunteering, like her grandmother. Dr. Paul Pizzo presented the Tony Pizzo Award named for his historian father to Barbas.
Lymphoma Society Man & Woman of the Year Finale
Fitness classes, a cocktail party, a cornhole tournament and all sorts of creative fundraisers helped 13 candidates vying to be the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Man and Woman of the Year. The 10-week philanthropic campaign culminated with $420,000 on April 28, with Dr. Bill Dalton and Lydia Taylor raising the most for the Suncoast chapter. Now they're in the running for the national title, to be announced at the end of June.
WFLA-Ch. 8's Jennifer Leigh and Leigh Spann co-emceed the Grand Finale dinner and auction again, honoring the chapter's 2018 Boy & Girl of the Year, Nicholas and Kendra. The children's parents spoke of the kids' diagnosis, treatment and recovery during the Fund the Fight appeal at the Glazer Family JCC.
Tampa Theatre Restoration Celebration
"Taj Mahal, Sistine Chapel and Tampa Theatre," declared chairman of the board Anne Pittman, thanking donors, staff and volunteers, current and past board members with a champagne toast to the $6 million repairs completed at a Restoration Celebration on June 2. "It's a movie palace not just a theater," Pittman said. "… not just a place but an experience."
Original photos paired with post-renovation pictures drew wows. So did the silent movie, "The General" starring Buster Keaton, as timelessly comical as when it first played in 1926, but this time, the Florida Orchestra performed a perfect, live soundtrack for the audience.
CEO John Bell called the many modifications, "not the least of which is cup holders," he joked, "a tremendous first step with much more to go."