Issue 50, December 11

Talk about ending the year on a high note, yesterday’s annual Children’s Christmas Shopping Spree was incredibly moving as always.  I was proud to see several of our newest members taking part in the event; it was obvious from their feedback they were very happy to have signed up.  This is one I encourage bringing some older school-age children along whenever possible.  Great parents want to give their children everything and let them enjoy being children without worries or stress.  Sometimes though, its nice to pull them back a step and show them the other side of the coin.  From the ones in attendance, the looks on their faces were dramatically different coming through the checkout line than entering the doors at the 6 o’clock hour.  A big thanks goes out to Megan Russo for planning this event.  We have high expectations of our 2 signature events in December, and she was involved with both, which were a resounding success!

Let’s not forget however, the funding for our shopping spree doesn’t come easy.  A big thanks goes out to the Past Presidents’ Committee, in particular Angelo Volpe and Steve Johnston who worked diligently to ensure the success of our Texas Hold ‘em Tournament last summer.  Next year when they’re asking for registrants, please remember all the proceeds go to such a worthy and necessary cause.

Last week I mentioned plans to attend Anne Urban’s Enchanted Christmas Village.  Now we’re not in the habit of advertising in the newsletter for non-SBMC events, so I promise anyone dissatisfied with my next comments can fire me.  If you have young children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, God-Children you ABSOLUTELY MUST take them to the Enchanted Christmas Village!  Talk about Disney in Jacksonville, my girlfriend’s kids thought we were just going to look at Christmas lights and upon arrival you’d have thought we entered Disney’s Magic Kingdom.  “I wanna do this, no I wanna do that first,” what a wonderful addition to Jacksonville’s plethora of fun family venues.  The light show, the hay ride, the hay maze were all fantastic.  Also pictures with Santa were far less expensive than visiting the mall, I think I paid $25 for a flash drive with all of our photos.  I just can’t say enough, except to say be sure to go after dark to enjoy the lights!

If you read the blast Monday about Jim Harden, just a follow up that last I heard from his daughter he was still hanging on and in Flagler Hospital.  Please keep Penny Kievet of City Rescue Mission in your thoughts and prayers. I learned Friday in the past month she’s lost her brother, cousin, and most recently her niece.  Its hard to imagine someone with such a kind heart and positive spirit taking so many hits in such a short time.

Aaron Bean led an exciting program Wednesday with a fun round of Team Trivia.  His lovely wife Abby joined him to assist, and it was a great way to shift gears as we wound down the year.  Everyone walked out with some sort of prize ranging from golf umbrellas to waterproof Bluetooth speakers.  Hopefully this becomes an annual program like our wine tasting to which we all look forward.  He’s got my vote!

This week will be our FINAL meeting of 2016, and what a great way to go out.  14-year member, former Sheriff, and now Congressman-Elect John Rutherford will tell us what to expect in his Freshman year as he heads to D.C.  It’s always such a privilege to share with folks outside the club all the representation our group has throughout various levels of government.  This year we saw several of our members complete distinguished period in office, now with Congress-man Elect taking over for Congressman Crenshaw, and new member Melissa Nelson making sweeping changes in the State Attorney’s office an entirely new chapter is beginning.  Finally after weeks of anticipation, our Clay Shoot Committee will announce their new record-setting success of 2016.  I’ll give you a hint, it’s YUUUUUGGGGGGEEEE!

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