In 1993, a group of Harbor Hills women were determined to make a difference by sponsoring a golf tournament to raise funds for local charities. Though many years have gone by, the annual Holiday Golf Tournament continues to be the charity’s premier fundraising event. This year, the December 4th event will include chance drawings, a silent auction and a special dinner.
Harbor Hills Ladies Charity President Leslie Nisun explains that the charity has no overhead. All money raised goes directly to organizations in our community. Robin Meyers, Lake Hills School principal, said the special needs school for 187 children is “so grateful to have the support of the Harbor Hills Lakes Charity. The donations help fund the purchase of expensive adaptive equipment essential for our students.”
Lake Hills School was one of many recipients of more than $54,000 raised by the charity last season. Others included the Christian Food Pantry, Fruitland Park Elementary, Community Medical Care Center, The Villages Elementary School, The Haven and the Forward Paths Foundation.
On Monday, October 24th, all ladies residing in Harbor Hills are invited to attend the Annual Charity Luncheon at Harbor Hills Country Club. Learn what the charity does for the less fortunate in our area and our plans for the coming year. Hear from our recipients and how they put the money to such good use. It’s the perfect time to sign up to volunteer your time, talent or treasure.
To attend the luncheon, make your check payable to HHLC. The $24.00 per person check is due by October 10th and can be dropped off at the Pro Shop or the home of Billie Neese. For questions, contact Billie at 757-234-9198 or Janice Johnson at 954-294-3085.
Wondering what the Harbor Hills Garden and Women’s Club is planning for an outstanding 2022-2023 season? Club president Shirle Mabie guarantees members will be delighted by the variety of entertaining programs each month.
October’s inaugural luncheon will be held at the Continental Country Club’s restaurant, Paulie’s at The Oaks. This will be our first opportunity to socialize and review the programs for the remaining season.
Join us in November for a program created by Jeanette Cataldo, sister of Harbor Hills resident Nancy Steriti. Jeanette is a commercial and residential designer with more than twenty years of experience. Jeanette will share her unique tips on decorating and accessorizing our homes.
Want to be the very best version of you? December’s program is all about graceful aging. Welcome Tina Whitt, DNP, APRN-BC, Assistant Professor at the University of West Florida. Tina will share her passion for wellness with her extensive knowledge in the field of looking and feeling young. Greet January 2023 with an exceptional storyteller and one of our favorite authors, Cassie Dandridge Selleck. During February’s evening program, magician Cesar Dominico will amaze and entertain you with his magical talent.
Our March program, “Changes Boutique,” is an upscale shopping experience with Florida-friendly clothing for all women. Tea time is the theme of our April program. Join us for a lovely cup of tea at Cheers restaurant in the Stonecrest Country Club. Bring along your heirloom teacup or teapot and don’t forget your favorite hat or fascinator.
The season concludes with an exciting surprise! Join us in May to find out what will be an amazing last luncheon of the season. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on club membership and events.
Allen Jenkins – President
If you happen to stop by the Golden Corral on the first Wednesday of the month, you may meet up with The Sophisticated Gents of Florida. The Gents group is a non-profit organization within our local tri-county area. The club was formed in 2005 and now boasts over 130 members. Many are retired professionals of various backgrounds who have relocated from all parts of the country.
Allen Jenkins is the president and explains that the club has a “keen interest in matters that affect communities of color.” Friendship and brotherhood are always welcomed from any ethnic group with shared values. Members volunteer to support in a range of local programs including election poll monitoring, student mentoring and other events which support civic organizations and schools.
One of the club’s missions is focused on uplifting youth from underserved communities. High school students are mentored and encouraged to graduate and realize their dreams of a brighter future. Coupled with The African American Club of The Villages, over $280,000 in scholarships have been funded during an eight-year period.
On Wednesday, October 19, the Sophisticated Gents of Florida and The African American Club of the Villages welcome the public to a very special golf tournament at Harbor Hills Country Club. The proceeds of the Friendship Scholarship Golf Tournament will support scholarships for selected high school seniors in Sumter, Lake and Marion.
The tournament format is a four-person scramble with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. The $100 donation per golfer includes cart, green fees, lunch, prizes and more. A lunch-only ticket is also available for $35. Registration deadline is October 5. To participate or sponsor, contact Chair Bill Munnerlyn at 614-330-8131 or Co-Chair Bill Davis at 719-332-6922. Visit www.sophisticatedgentsfl.org for more details.
ALL GERMAN CAR SHOW
The Third Annual All-German Car Show will be hosted by Harbor Hills Country Club on Saturday, October 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Show & Shine” will include up to 150 vehicles. Sponsoring Villages clubs are Mercedes-Benz Club of The Villages and The Villages BMW Z Club. The show is open to all German vehicles.
Mike Roth, President of the M. Benz Club of The Villages explains that his affinity for German cars is due to their high level of engineering excellence and craftmanship. German auto production also excels in safety and technological advances. In 1978, while scouting for the “cheapest luxury car in California,” Roth became the proud owner of a 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300 SD Turbo Diesel. He enjoyed his green-silver ride for the next 13 years. Joining The Villages community in 2017, Roth’s love of the brand inspired him to create the M. Benz Club. Starting with only one other like-minded neighbor, the club now boasts 290 members.
In keeping with the Octoberfest theme, entertainment will be provided by The Villages German Band. Vendors including Mercedes-Benz of Gainesville and Gettel Automotive Group will offer products and services. Trophies will be awarded for Best of Brand and second and third places in addition to Best of Show. Lunch and beverages can be purchased at Harbor Hills Country Club. Registration is $35 per vehicle. After October 1, registration is $50 per vehicle.
All proceeds support The Villages Dollars for Scholars. College and vocational scholarships are awarded to students who are local residents. Their mission is to help our local students achieve secondary education through accredited universities, colleges, community colleges and technical or trade schools.
To register for the show on-line, visit https:tinyurl.com/agcs2022. Then click the orange TICKETS button. For more information, call Mike Roth at 513-646-6523.
The Harbor Hills championship golf course overlooks scenic Lake Griffin. It’s the perfect setting for a very special charity golf tournament. On September 16, the 23rd Annual Lake Sumter State College Athletic Golf Classic takes place.
Lake-Sumter State College is home to the Lakehawks. In addition to academic excellence, the college offers an array of intercollegiate athletics. Included are women’s beach volleyball, volleyball, softball, men’s baseball, men’s and women’s cross country, and men’s and women’s track.
Lake-Sumter State College athletic director Mike Matulia is excited for the annual golf classic at Harbor Hills. The event raises money for the athletic program and provides scholarships to student athletes who excel academically during their high school careers. “Harbor Hills does a tremendous job with the logistics and making our event special for our guests,” Mike explains. It will be a great day for “fun-raising” for the athletics program. Prizes include longest drive, closest to the pin, an exciting putting contest and a 50/50 drawing.
Sponsorships are greatly needed and start at only $100. The highest tier includes a $500 scholarship in the sponsor’s name as well as golf for four, sponsorship logos, special recognition, season passes for various games banners and more. It’s a great opportunity for local business exposure. To participate or sponsor a golfer, contact Matulia at 352-323-3645 or email@example.com.
The first Monday in September is Labor Day. This is a special day that honors the American labor movement and pays tribute to the working men and women who help our economy prosper. It originated in 1882 as a “Workingman’s Holiday” honoring the industrial foundation of our great country.
Could those hardworking men and women ever have imagined how labor has changed? Today’s technology has altered almost every aspect of familiar tasks. Speaking into my television remote to select a show amazes me. I remember getting off the couch to change the channel! The camera on my phone is more powerful than the one around my neck. The coronavirus pandemic significantly increased our dependence on technology. FaceTime and Zoom visits often replace real-life visits with family members who live out-of-state. Even a doctor visit can be managed on-line.
To recall the original spirit of Labor Day, I have a challenge for you. Give yourself the day off from your daily tasks. Log off the computer, tablet and cellphone that connect you to your daily routine. Then relax and appreciate a device-free afternoon with friends, a scrapbook-inspired walk down memory lane or any device-free hobby that you enjoy.
Harbor Hills Country Club members and guests are celebrating Labor Day in style. Red, white and blue-decorated carts will make their way down our picturesque fairways in a four-person scramble. A traditional Labor Day cookout follows. Golf and lunch are $35 for members, $75 for guests. Lunch only is $30 per person.
Honor those hardworking Americans we celebrate today. Stay safe and welcome to our returning residents and those new to our area.
Service. Scholarship. Determination. What connects these attributes? Jackie Croft can tell you. She is the director of the Miss Lake County Florida pageant. The non-profit pageant promotes community service and helps develop the skills needed to become tomorrow’s leaders. Under Jackie’s guidance, the pageant has grown in prestige and scope. “The most important benefit of the competition lies in community service, raising awareness and inspiring others,” Jackie said.
The reigning Miss Lake County Florida, Kate Mehr, graduated from Leesburg High School and will attend the University of Florida in Gainesville. She is majoring in Nutritional Sciences and has dental school in her future.
Along with her court, Kate represents Lake County at charity events, local festivals and fairs. The girls have helped with the Clermont Lake clean up, the Phantom Airborne Brigade, the Hometown Heroes program and various food drives. Other outreach events included Read Across America, Lake Cares bag drive for the homeless, the Fruitland Park Derby Race and the Diaper Drive for Clermont Women’s Center. They threw out the first pitch at the Leesburg Lightning game on July 21. The girls will have worked over 100 hours of community service at the end of their reign. They will be presented the Presidential Volunteer service award for their selflessness and service.
On Saturday, September 3, Harbor Hills Country Club is proud to host the Miss Lake County Scholarship Golf Tournament. All proceeds are designated for college scholarships. Registration opens at 7 a.m. with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. The cost of $75 per golfer includes tournament and lunch. Awards, prizes, chance drawings and a 50-50 drawing are included. Call the Pro Shop at 352-753-7711 to register or visit misslakecountypageant.com.
National Aviation Day is this Friday. The date coincides with Orville Wright’s birthday. He piloted his first successful flight at age 32 in 1903. Orville and his brother Wilbur proved air travel was possible. Icon Amelia Earhart opened the skies for women in aviation.
The Blue Angels, the legendary U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, have selected the first woman pilot in their 76-year history. Lt. Amanda Lee piloted a F/A-18E/F Super Hornet at the Pensacola Beach Air Show.
Another ground-breaking female in the field of aerobatics is Dr. Kathy Hirtz. A one-time Harbor Hills resident, Dr. Hirtz became interested in aerobatics with her husband and air show pilot Steve Wolf. She holds a 500-foot clearance designation, performing aerobatics at an altitude as low as 500 feet. She started WingOver Aerobatics for rides and aerobatic instruction.
Neighbor and Air Force pilot Steve Hritz flew C-130 Hercules transports out of Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines during the Vietnam War. Other assignments included command of the 375th Flying Training Squadron at Scott Air Force Base. Harbor Hills aviators include private pilot Joe Dietrich who has logged many hours in the cockpit. Neighbor Rich Yoder is a Naval Academy grad, ex-carrier pilot and a former captain for Pan Am.
Two Harbor Hills aviators have sadly passed away. In World War II, Air Force Brig. Gen. Bill Wilcox flew 75 combat missions and received the distinguished Flying Cross. Bill McKillop, U.S. Marine Corps Aviation, served as a squadron pilot in Korea. In later years, he flew his old WW II Stearman, bi-wing, open cockpit plane, circa 1940-45. We honor all these brave aviators on this special day.
August is Water Quality Month and it’s the perfect time to think about nearby Lake Griffin. The lake is adjacent to Harbor Hills, providing spectacular views as well as fishing from the neighborhood dock.
The area is part of the Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area known as the Jewel of Lake County. It’s one of the most scenic sites along the Great Florida Birding Trail. This 7,089-acre U.S. wildlife area is maintained by the St. Johns Water Management District. In 1974, the conservation area was designated as a National Natural Landmark.
Florida is home on one-fifth of our country’s wetlands. Protection of these fragile areas is critical. Half of all North American bird species and other endangered animals use wetlands for feeding and nesting. In winter, songbirds, marsh birds and ducks migrate to Emeralda Marsh. Flocks of snowy egrets and sandhill cranes stroll gracefully through the nearby neighborhoods of Harbor Hills. The sturdy branches of our fairway trees provide ample cover and a grand perspective for the occasional bald eagle.
Today, area visitors find an abundance of wetland wildlife as well as boating, hiking and fishing. Open waters are stocked with fish by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Neighbors Butch and Linda Carlson, Dr. Dan Wassell, Dan Kurka and Mark Rhodes are a few of our recreational anglers. Others include Bill Bogert, Barry Palmer, Tom Ingram and Mark Witkop. They have enjoyed fishing the many interconnected lakes of the scenic Harris Chain. Much work has been done to improve our local water quality and restore a thriving habitat for our plant and animal life. For more information, visit floridaswater.com.
Treat The Troops
July 30 is the International Day of Friendship, a holiday celebrated annually around the world. It was created in the hopes that fostering friendship among different cultures will inspire peace and understanding. It’s a great day to renew close personal relationships or simply have a good time with friends.
Nurturing friendships and reaching out to others is what makes living in Harbor Hills unique. Together, neighbors work hard to create charitable events that benefit the community. Food drives and clothing sales bring the women of Harbor Hills together to donate significant funds to local charities. Golf and tennis tournaments are played to benefit compassionate causes. The community of Harbor Hills blends fun, friendship and caring.
With fall fast approaching, it’s not too early for the women of Harbor Hills to garner support for the Harbor Hills Treat the Troops cookie drive. Treat the Troops is a nonprofit organization with the mission of reassuring deployed American military personnel that we think of them with pride and concern. We bake, package and ship baked goods to our troops free of charge.
Last year’s 2021 drive resulted in 84 boxes containing a total of 8,064 homemade cookies to deployed soldiers in Kosovo, Poland, South Korea, a ship in the Middle East and a military hospital in Abu Dhabi. Our challenging goal for 2022 is 100 packages shipped to our deployed troops.
We welcome support from Harbor Hills, The Villages and neighboring communities. The extensive team effort takes months in planning to meet a November ship date. This column will provide more information from co-chairs Roseann Cochran and Shirle Mabie in the coming weeks. Our soldiers deserve our gratitude and much more.