A few faces from 2017 Boca Beacon profiles

December 29, 2017
By Marcy Shortuse

The feature profile stories in the Boca Beacon add a personal touch to the newspaper each week. Here are a few quotes from some of the prominent interviews that took place in 2017.
“Everyone on the island is so nice and friendly; it’s almost like having another family. I feel fortunate to be able to work in Boca Grande every day.”
– Jonna Foos, Boca Grande Health Clinic employee
“I feel like I am the custodian of The Temp. Certain things will never change here. It will always have that old Florida feel.”
– Jeff Simmons, co-owner of The Temp
“I enjoy being creative, and upcycling is a good thing for the environment. Nothing gets wasted and most used fabric and other items can be turned into something beautiful.”
– Penny Lach, Island employee
“When I spoke with the physicians and staff at the clinic, and learned about the quality of care they strive to achieve, I knew that it would be a good fit.”
– Hilja Bilodeau, CEO at Boca Grande Health Clinic
“I love to learn, and the people in Boca Grande are so inspiring. The longer I’ve lived here the more I realize what a perfect place this is.”
– Author Candy Shy Hooper
“The Whidden’s Back Bay tournaments are fundraisers for the Gasparilla Island Maritime Museum, so I’m thrilled to help support that cause.”
– Counselor Carol Napoli
“At the last point of my career at Fox, all five major news networks were led by female bureau chiefs. We had all worked our way up to the top. It was very interesting to see it grow from almost no women in the industry to five powerful female leaders.”
– Kim Hume, retired journalist
“My bout with cancer, or, as I like to call it, my year of living dangerously, had many silver linings. One was learning to live in the moment. Which can mean different things; appreciating all my senses, not being a passive participant, doing what I love … I’m hoping this might inspire people to take some chances and try things they’ve always wanted to do, but were afraid of trying.”
– Julia Pierce, actress and artist
“We have more than two miles of beach, so we keep very accurate records and logs of all the sea turtle activity, and we work closely with FWC and share our data.We also have 200 acres of natural land that we manage, 90 of which are preserved property that most people don’t even visit. That land is untouched, and it looks just as it would have 100 years ago.”
– Park Ranger Jon Dillard
“I learned so much because I was immediately asked to produce room settings and write copy. After three years, Modern Bride asked me to be their decorating and tableware editor. I wanted to create the kind of furniture you’d enjoy while making family vacation memories. Something you might find in a high-end secondhand store or an antique shop.”
– JoAnn Barwick, author and decor specialist
“My parents always had an antique shop or art gallery on the island. I helped out after school and on the weekends. It is in my blood, selling. I love it. There is something very gratifying about connecting people to something they really want or need, and making it happen for them, making the connection.”
– Roselle Agles, Realtor
“I’m always evaluating how things are going in the real estate industry, because I’m always trying to learn. I noticed that the production per agent was significantly higher at Paradise Exclusive Real Estate than in many of the other brokerages in the area. I enjoy the initial interaction of meeting with the clients and understanding their needs, and then being there to help explain the potential bumps in the road and how they can be resolved.”
– Brian Faro, Realtor
“When I first came to Boca Grande more than 38 years ago, I just loved how peaceful the island was – it was truly paradise. We camped at the north end and there was an abundance of oysters and clams, and you could catch all the fish you wanted from the railroad trestle. A lady came by every week to sell fresh produce, so we had everything we needed.”
– Beverly Furtado
“The harp is a fun instrument to play, and it projects some very beautiful sounds. I had wanted one for years because I enjoy playing Celtic music. My instructor comes to the island once every month and we practice together. Since my stroke, I have been stuck on one speed – and that’s slow – but I have nothing but time, and I eventually get where I’m going at my own pace.”
– Adair Newman, who began playing the harp at age 80
“Suzanne M. Low was an amazing woman, and she did so much volunteer work for the school. A plaque hanging in the school remembers Suzanne’s devotion to the study of the natural sciences and mathematics. Suzanne helped start the science program at The Island School, and she loved working with the children.
– Karen Kelley, Island School employee
“The Gasparilla Inn has been very supportive of my involvement in The North American Culinary Federation competitions, and I’m grateful for that. Every four years we form teams, and then we spend the next three years training for the competitions, so it’s an ongoing process.”
–Tom Haggerty, Chef de cuisine at The Gasparilla Inn & Club