Volunteerism Making a Life in Naples

Lois Bolin Old Naples Historian

SWFL Veterans Alliance hosted its first Naples Spirit of ‘45’s Volunteer Appreciation Dinner at Faith Lutheran Church on September 2nd in remembrance of the signing of the formal agreement of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender aboard the USS Missouri. U.S. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, the Commander in the Southwest Pacific and Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, accepted the surrender.

Special guests for the evening included two WWII Veterans, who served with General McArthur, Rudy Balocki and Armand Pepper. Also in attendance were Pappy Wagner, Iwo Jima Survivor, Bugler Bob McDonald and Korean Veteran, Col. Herb Savage.

Want more happiness in your life? Researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between
volunteering and happiness in a large group of American adults. No surprise, they found that the more people volunteered, the happier they were. Some of the other benefits that come along with volunteering are: it connects you to others; it is good for your mind and body; it can advance your career; and it can bring fun and fulfillment to your life.

Thanks to the 115 volunteers for the Naples Spirit of 45 Weekend Tribute, happiness was plentiful that weekend. At the 8th Annual Greatest Generation & Beyond Breakfast, the Victory Florida, Community Spirit, and America Spirit Awards were announced. No doubt you have seen these happy people around our community. Mark Michael, Victory Florida recipient, owner of Naples Gold & Silver, deals in auction and estate sales. Last year, he led a group of patriots on the 3rd Annual Thank You Across Florida Tour, which followed Florida’s WWII Heritage Trail. He will be leading another tour this November to raise awareness on veterans needs as they honor our Greatest Generation. Deborah and Alen Silver, the 2017 Community Spirit Award Recipients, deal in precious gems, in more ways than one.

Alen, National Sales Manager for Casio G Shock Watches and Deborah, Operations Manager for Bigham Jewelers, are well
known to anyone who has been involved in a Collier County Honor Flight. Both served as founding Board Members and recently formed VIP, Veterans in Paradise, a monthly gathering held at the Naples Senior Center. Pastor Don Treglown, Senior Pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, was the recipient of the Tim Timrud American Patriot Award. Since 2003 Faith Lutheran Church in cooperation with Homer Helter’s Antique Mall & Military Museum have sent close to 75 tons of supplies to our men and women overseas. Faith Lutheran Church graciously donates space for the Marine Corps League of Naples weekly luncheons held every Tuesday.

Speaking of happiness, the 2017 Christmas parade theme has been announced: The Heart of A Naples Christmas. The parade will be held December 12th and its theme is in honor of all of the first responders and volunteers who gave so much before and after Hurricane Irma. Thank you to Life in Naples for being the Overall Theme Prize sponsor and to M & M Café for being the Theme Contest sponsor. Can’t attend the parade? Not to worry – you can watch live on the City of Naples TV channel (Comcast 98) or online at naplesgove.com.

Winston Churchill said that we make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. SWFL Veterans Alliance salutes all of our community’s volunteers who make life in Naples so happy.

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