Palm Harbor couple celebrate 70 years; Highlanders band recognized; Debbie Reid's grilled cheese is a winner

Published January 1 2013

Robert and Blanche Smiddy of Palm Harbor celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary at a dinner with family Dec. 23 at Bob Heilman's Beachcomber in Clearwater.

The high school sweethearts attended the same churches and schools in Jellico, Tenn., where they both grew up.

Two months after their wedding in Jellico on Dec. 24, 1942, Smiddy enlisted in the Army.

They both attended the University of Tennessee, where he received a bachelor's degree in business administration. He also holds a master's degree in Christian education from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky., and an honorary doctorate of divinity degree from the University of the Cumberlands, Williamsburg, Ky.

He is a retired Baptist minister who served 47 years primarily as minister of education and in administration at several churches in Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Missouri and Tennessee.

She was a schoolteacher during World War II and later became a homemaker and part-time office administrator.

The Smiddys came here in 2002 from Richmond, Va.

For his service during World War II, Smiddy earned the Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal and a Combat Infantry Badge. The 89-year-old finally received the medals after his children contacted U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, who presented all six to the surprised veteran in May 2012.

The couple have three children and one grandchild, all living in Clearwater and Palm Harbor.

• • •

For its participation in the 2012 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade in Orlando, Dunedin High School's Scottish Highlander Marching Band received a special award from Disney World. The award was presented by principal Reuben Hepburn to band director Ian Black and bagpiping director Iain Donaldson at the Dec. 13 band boosters' meeting.

Dunedin High's Scottish Highlanders were one of two bands in the nation selected to march in this year's Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade in Orlando. The band was chosen because it best represents Scottish heritage and tradition that was needed for a special segment in the parade involving Disney's movie, Brave.

Principal Hepburn said: "Our band has been successful due to the arrival three years ago of our director, Mr. Ian Black, the strong support of our band booster organization, and the hard work of our students. The students are perfectionists, dedicated to perfecting their craft."

The Scottish Highlander Band is unique in that it fully incorporates bagpipes into its marching band and the ensemble of more than 70 students dress in kilts and Scottish military uniforms. The band's slogan is "Real Bands Wear Kilts."

• • •

Debbie Reid of Clearwater has been selected as the winner of the St. Francis Winery "Say Cheese" Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipe Facebook Contest, which ran from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30. Entrants were required to submit an original recipe to the contest app on St. Francis' Facebook page, pair it with their favorite St. Francis wine and post a photo of it.

Entries were judged on creativity, originality, overall taste, ease of replication of recipe and how well the flavors of the sandwich paired with a St. Francis wine.

Chef and cheese expert Jason Sobocinski and St. Francis winemaker Katie Madigan were the final judges. Each cooked the top 10 entries and chose Reid's Lonestar Grilled Cheese recipe as the winner.

"The inspiration for this grilled cheese sandwich is the yummy flavors you get at your favorite local steak house: beef, bacon, bleu cheese, onion, shallot, garlic bread and barbecue sauce," explained Reid. "Then I added a few more of my favorite cheeses, because you can never have too much cheese."

She paired the sandwich with her favorite St. Francis wine, Sonoma County Merlot.

As grand prize winner, Reid received a trip to California, where she will visit the winery in Santa Rosa and enjoy a four-day stay in Sonoma County.

Mail Good For You items to Nova Beall at 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756; fax to (727) 445-4119; or email [email protected]