This celebration honors area residents with presentations in three categories:
Alice B. Tompkins Community Service Award
Non-Profit of the Year Award
Maureen Krzanowski Scholarship
The 2016 Community Affairs Dinner took place February 17, 2016 at Center Place with keynote speaker Ernest Hooper, Columnist for the Tampa Bay Times. A long time Brandon resident, he reflected on the “good old days”, recalling when traffic was light and drivers were cooperative. He then contrasted that view by sharing the story of a recent confrontation in heavy traffic with a rude aggressive driver. He lamented, “Maybe it’s time to leave Brandon”. This idea was quickly rejected after he took stock of all the wonderful local volunteer efforts and recited a long list charities, churches and organizations that regularly give to the Brandon community. He finalized his speech with a challenge to the community, “Though you already do much… you can still do more!” Mr. Hooper also praised the Roundtable for its Community Service Forum, which offers local students the opportunity to fulfill their community service hours by volunteering with Brandon-based nonprofits.
Tony Del Castillio, Advertising/General Manager for the Tampa Bay Times emceed this year’s event as The Community Roundtable distributed their annual awards.
The first award was given to 17-year-old Dahiany Zayas, a senior at Bloomingdale High School from Valrico. “It’s going to help me with my dream to become a dietician or biologist, but something in the health sciences field,” Zayas said, in an interview after the dinner. Her top two college choices are the University of South Florida and Florida State University.
The 2016 Non-Profit of The Year was awarded to the Brandon Meals On Wheels. Jim McNeil is president of the all-volunteer, 39-year-old Greater Brandon Meals on Wheels initiative, through which 250 homebound people weekly are served hot, homemade meals through the efforts of 19 area churches and 360 volunteers.
The 2015 Alice B. Tompkins award was given to Kavita Marballi for her more than 20 years volunteering for various groups and organizations, including Brandon Regional Hospital, the Outreach Clinic in Brandon, Chicks for Charities and the YMCA organization. “I always look for ways to make a difference in the community,” said Marballi, after the Feb. 17 dinner. “My passion is helping people, and it’s not about what I get (for it). It’s about what I can do for the community.” she told the audience, which gave her a standing ovation.
Because of their respective recognitions, Marballi and Zayas will ride in separate convertibles in the Greater Brandon Fourth of July Parade. The Greater Brandon Meals on Wheels volunteers have been invited to ride on the Community Roundtable’s float in the parade as well. “Yes, indeed, we’re absolutely looking forward to it,” said Jim McNeil, “My only problem is, how many people can ride on the float?
Approximately 100 guests dined on a delicious meal catered by 3 C’s Catering Company and celebrated the accomplishments of The Community Roundtable over the past year. Plans will soon be underway for the 2017 Community Affairs Dinner, so be sure to check back for next year’s date to be announced soon.
Thank to Linda Chion Kenney for this nice article in the Brandon News – click here.
The following 20 minute video was presented at the 2016 Community Affairs Dinner. It is entitled 2015 Year Review for 2016 CAD, a recap of the events in which the Community Roundtable membership was involved. Take a look and share our thanks to our sponsors.
Lastly, thanks to the Bloomingdale HS Chamber Orchestra for performing during the cocktail hour. Turn up your speakers and enjoy.