Many thanks from Kids Classic coordinators: With 31 releases, they rocked the Pass!

To the Editor:

The Board of Directors of Boca Grande Charities, Inc. would like to thank everyone for making the Gasparilla Island Kids Classic Tarpon Tournament such a great success.

An event like this would not be possible without the generous financial donations of our partners and the commitment of time and energy from the many volunteers who make it all happen.

We know it’s impossible to name everyone we’d like to thank, but we’re going to try to name as many as we can. Our apologies in advance if we have missed someone.

First, we’d like to thank Pat and Lindsey Waterhouse, Tom and Ann Dupree and Kay and Jay Proops for their vision and support. Without their generous efforts, we may never have gotten this event off the ground.

We owe a special thank you to Bo Hitchcock and Columbia Sportswear for their support as presenting sponsor for the 2016 Tournament, and to Bobby Miller at Grande Aire Services for hosting the awards party. Also, our thanks to Wiley Nagler at Yellowfin Yachts for hosting the pre-tournament ceremonies. And a big thanks to Mike and Sean Dean with Dean Construction for their help hanging banners, etc. and joining with The Boca Grande Women’s Club as platinum-level sponsors.

It’s great to have Dave Chafin and Greg Jacoski with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation on board helping us teach the kids responsibility for their environment, and Jim Cooper with the Lemon Bay Conservancy and their board, along with L.A. Ainger Principal Marcia Louden, Lemon Bay High School Principal Bob Bedford, Vice Principal Michelle Weir and Curriculum and Instruction Specialist Nick Piscitelli with the Charlotte County School System for helping us organize the new research Summer STEM Camp for the kids that we support. We are grateful to Elsie Bracken for her body of conservation work over the years and are proud to name our LBC STEM Camp Scholarship program in her honor. A special thanks is due to Patsy Malone and Danielle Robbins at Parsley-Baldwin Realty, and to all the homeowners for their help with accommodations for our sponsors and support team. Monica Clay, Tracy Mills, Aaron Diaz, Gary Cross … we see you and appreciate all you do behind the scenes. We can’t go any further without recognizing all the hard work from graphic art designer Daniel Godwin at the Boca Beacon, and Donnie Cayo, along with Sue Snyder, at CCMPhotoBooks.com. They have spent a great amount of time and energy on the spectator guide, banners, posters and photo books. We can’t thank them enough. Special photo thanks goes to Angie Mills, Len Tatko, Kelly Locke and Kristy Davis. Robin Melvin, Melina Chaplin, Cathy Klettke, Kerri Jacobs, have all stepped up and worked above and beyond the call of duty taking care things like more banners, books, registration, goodie bags, etc … and just helping out with the long list of details that seems to grow every day. You guys are the greatest.

We wanted to have a special, beautiful perpetual team trophy honoring Ed and Judy Davis, so we naturally turned to island artist Stuart Hoeckel to create it. Thanks Stuart, your work is great! And thanks to Dan Stickley at Englewood Glass & Mirror for donating all the individual trophies for the kids and captains. The Board of Directors at the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce, Kix Country Radio 92.9, Carlton Wing and the Wing Media Group, Chad Lach at the Gasparilla Island State Park, Principal Bob Bedford and Vice Principal Michelle Weir at Lemon Bay High School, Principal Marcia Loudon at L.A. Ainger middle School, The Lemon Bay High School ROTC, The Island School, The Charlotte County Warbirds, The Boca Grande Fire Department, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, and Francesca Gallucci for singing the National Anthem. You have all joined in and made this a truly community-organized event. Our great ”Family Interactive Art Show” wouldn’t be possible without the support of Alison Henderson and team at Englewood Bank & Trust along with Carroll Swayze and her tireless efforts setting it all up. Thanks to Marcy Shortuse for maintaining the website, Facebook page and a bunch of media-related stuff, and to Spencer Paterson, Eddie Kopp and Thomas Lutz for all their help capturing the day’s action on video. Sue Hoots at Courtyard Hair stepped up with a great girls’ first-release prize, a spa day package. A special thanks to Randy Upton and all his volunteers from Publix for getting involved and taking the challenge of feeding all the kids after the tournament. Also, thanks to Bob Melvin with Gulf Coast International Properties, Katrina and Tony Towns from Able’s Marine, Aaron Diaz and crew at Barnichol Hardware, Nat Italiano at Italiano Insurance, Jim Mackey at Fisherman’s Edge Tackle, the team at the Pink Pony, Garrett Lown and Jerry Taylor at Boca Grande Marina and everyone at Gasparilla Outfitters who helped create the opportunity for the kids and captains win some great prizes. Gary and Karen Heffner at TeeShirtsOnYou.com were so kind to have donated the bandanas and T-shirt screening to help the Kids Classic continue to grow. Thanks to Ron and Charlotte Walker for providing the VIP boat for all our special guests. Good times! The Scott Feringa family, Doug and Gail Davis, Carol Vaughn, Scott Brown, Ken Heinmann, Julie Camp, Bob and Karen Webster, Becky Paterson, Dave Arner, Bruce Carbonari, Heath Seckle, Julie Salvetti, Bob and Joyce Hegstrom, Vah and Lisa Erdekian, Dusty and Cheryl Hopkins, Jeff Pringle, Randy Wojick and Mark Spurgeon at Boca Grande Real Estate … thank you. We appreciate all the businesses and individuals who have sponsored teams and the official observers too numerous to mention here.

We would like to single out Dave “Smitty” Smith for continuing to accept the responsibility as Head Judge for the tournament. You’ve always done a great job keeping the competition on track. Thanks to Joe Weir at the Boca Grande Community Center for your leadership and maintaining a great gathering spot for so many important island events. And a special thank you to all the kids and captains who are fishing the tournament. We hope you have fun and enjoy a fun and competitive event. Your participation will help a family somewhere, and you are helping to spread our education/conservation message to protect our wonderful tarpon fishing resources for years to come.

Finally, we’d like to thank everyone at Moffitt Cancer Center, Englewood Community Care Clinic and All Children’s Hospital for your continuing hard work to help treat those suffering from illness, especially cancer. And also everyone at our education partners, The Island School, Lemon Bay High School and L.A. Ainger Middle School. You’re all doing a great job, and we are proud to support you!

Capt. Sandy Melvin, Bill Klettke, Michael Vaughn Board of Directors Boca Grande Charities, Inc.