compiled by Lauren Salinero
Kathy Burt (fourth from left) of Bay Hill and her husband, Jeff (not pictured), co-host a fundraising event to benefit Family Promise of Greater Orlando. Pictured are board members and staff (l. to r.) Antony Larry, Chris Andrews, Brenda Manning, Director Tia Aery, Laurie Tucker, Teresa Scott and Windermere resident Carin Anderson.
Bay Hill residents Jeff and Kathy Burt co-hosted nearly 200 people for the Chipping Away at Homelessness Party. The fundraising event raised more than $20,000 for homeless families in Central Florida, with Family Promise of Greater Orlando as the night’s beneficiary. Kathy is a board member for the organization. Attendees enjoyed food, drink, a silent auction and live band. Kathy extends her thanks to the following event co-sponsors: Ata Dental Design, Capture Video & Photo, Complete Developer, Data Graphics Inc., Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center, Godiva Chocolatier, K and K Two Sweet Bakery, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Pammie’s Sammies, Realty Executives/Judy Danner, Red Cypress Brewery, Sonny’s BBQ, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Taylor Rental, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and West Coast Medical Resources LLC.
Bay Hill resident Richard West, founder of the West Family Law Group, was named one of Orlando’s best lawyers in the family law category by Orlando magazine for the 11th consecutive year. Richard has been serving the Central Florida area and state of Florida for more than 35 years. He was also named Orlando’s 2016 Family Lawyer of the Year by Super Lawyers.
Retired Army 1st Sgt. Daniel Kalagian of Ocoee speaks at the city’s Memorial Day ceremony.
Ocoee residents commemorated Memorial Day with a ceremony at Ocoee Lakeshore Center. Ocoee resident and retired Army 1st Sgt. Daniel Kalagian was the keynote speaker. Daniel was on active duty in the 1980s and then began his 23-year career with the Bridgeport Police Department in Bridgeport, Connecticut. During his military career, he served in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay after 9/11. He now is as the new commander of the West Orange VFW Post 4305 in Winter Garden and also leads a service platoon with The Mission Continues, a veteran-led nonprofit that helps veterans transform their drive to serve from the military to the civic community. The Memorial Day ceremony included a processional to the Ocoee Memorial Wall, where a wreath was set in place. Allyson Bellochi, a senior at Ocoee High School, sang the National Anthem; and Ely Martinez, an OHS junior, played taps to honor fallen soldiers.
Palm Lake residents Dr. David and Donna Boyer congratulate their daughter, Emma, on her graduation from Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.
Emma Boyer, the daughter of Dr. David and Donna Boyer of Palm Lake, graduated from Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California as a physician assistant. Emma also graduated from Dr. Phillips High School in 2004, and she will interview and begin practicing in Orlando this summer.
During the Race to Erase MS Gala, celebrities such as Kris Jenner (far left) bid on orchids donated by Windermere residents Mitesh (far right) and Vicky Popat of PlantOGram.
Mitesh and Vicky Popat of Windermere, CEO and marketing manager of PlantOGram, respectively, were invited to be a part of the Race to Erase MS Gala in Los Angeles for the second year. The couple donated sanum and sohum orchids for an auction to raise money for the cause. Many of the celebrities in attendance bid on the unique plants. Race to Erase MS is dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure of multiple sclerosis. Funding research is the core focus of the foundation, and all funds raised support the Center Without Walls program, a selected network of the nation’s top MS research centers.
Kelsey Collazo of Windermere Crossing graduates from Florida State University College of Nursing as valedictorian.
Kelsey Collazo, a 2013 graduate of West Orange High School and resident of Windermere Crossing, was named valedictorian of Florida State University’s 2017 College of Nursing class. She also earned the prestigious honor of being named an FSU Garnet and Gold Scholar and made straight A’s throughout her college career. Kelsey plans to move to San Diego and eventually become a nurse practitioner.
Congratulations to the following Southwest-area residents on their recent graduations:
- Winter Garden resident Victoria Bartell graduated from Union University with a Bachelor of Science in nursing.
- Jacob Dale of Winter Garden graduated from The Citadel with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering.
- Florida Gulf Coast University graduates included Dr. Phillips residents Lauren Dowd, Bachelor of Arts from the College of Arts and Sciences; Christopher Endicott, Bachelor of Science from the Marieb College of Health & Human Services; Sydnei McCaskill, Bachelor of Arts from the College of Arts and Sciences; and MetroWest resident Nicholas Olson, Bachelor of Arts from the College of Arts and Sciences.
- Timothy Moore of Windermere graduated from Champlain College with a Bachelor of Science in communication.
- Windermere resident Melany Rossy graduated from Troy University.
- Phillip Shehan of Windermere graduated from Centre College with a Bachelor of Arts in economics.
- Elizabeth Walker of Winter Garden graduated from Quinnipiac University with a Master of Business Administration.
Southwest resident and Wheaton College student Ciera Horton was awarded first place in the creative nonfiction category of the 2017 Lowell-Grabill Creative Writing Contest. Sponsored by the English department at Wheaton College, the annual contest is open to undergraduates. Categories include fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry.
Anthony Lightman (left) of Isleworth and Matt Durfee of Bay Hill climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
Two members of the Bucket List Hiking Club climbed the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Bay Hill resident and club founder Matt Durfee and Isleworth resident Anthony Lightman dedicated the task to their deceased fathers. Located in Tanzania in East Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world at 19,341 feet. Anthony and Matt braved temperatures well-below freezing and battled a blizzard with lightning strikes for the entire 7.5-hour midnight final ascent to the summit. In total, it took the duo seven days to reach the top and climb back down.
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