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INDEPENDENCE DAY REMINDS: FREEDOM IS NOT FREE BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY

Harbor Hills will raise the flag and celebrate the 4th of July with a golf outing and an all-American cookout. Independence Day brings to mind something we seniors know all too well: freedom is not free. We remain profoundly grateful for the service and sacrifice of our veterans.

Neighbor Steve Hritz served in the USAF for 30 years. During the Vietnam War, Steve flew C-130 Hercules transports out of Clark Air Base in the Philippines. He later flew tactical airlift C-130’s and was an exchange pilot for the RAF. Other assignments included command of the 375th Flying Training Squadron at Scott AFB. Steve retired with the rank of colonel. The 30 year military career of friend John E. Bircher III, COL, USA (Ret.) included intelligence officer and Middle East foreign area specialist. John served in Vietnam with Special Forces where he was awarded the Purple Heart.

No reference to Harbor Hills veterans is complete without mention of two beloved veterans who have passed away. The WWII service of Brig. Gen. Bill Wilcox, USAF included command positions in Europe, North Africa and China. Wilcox flew 75 combat missions, logging more than 4,400 flying hours. His Distinguished Flying Cross was one of many medals. He is greatly missed by our community. Bill McKillop flew planes in Korea as a member of the USMC Aviation. As the Korean War came to a close, he served as both a squadron pilot and air controller. McKillop left active duty in 1955. As a commercial pilot, he flew for Pan American and United for 41 years.

The Harbor Hills Garden & Women’s Club sells engraved bricks to pay tribute to veterans, past and present. The bricks surround our Veteran’s Memorial Park. Contact Club President Shirle Mabie at shirlemabie@gmail.com to honor your veteran.

FATHER’S DAY HONORS ALL DADS BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Yesterday was a Father’s Day like none other. Conforming to social distancing rules, our best wishes were shared by phone, Facetime and Zoom. The unusual circumstances, however, did not dim the love we have for the dads in our lives.

They are the coaches,  chauffeurs, caretakers, providers, protectors and spiritual guides. They are our fathers and grandfathers and their influence is profound. To their sons, they set the example and start them on Life’s path. To their daughters, dads are their first love and a frequent predictor of their future choices in Life.

To the stepfathers who stepped up when no one else was around, to the dads who are raising kids alone, we appreciate you. To the grandfathers and father figures who set us on a positive, caring, productive path, we appreciate you. Harbor Hills Country Club celebrated with a special Sunday brunch featuring all of Dad’s favorites.

For children in foster care, Guardians ad Litem perform a special service. Through the advocacy of these trained volunteers, the best interests of children are represented during dependency court proceedings. The program is state-mandated and prohibited from fundraising. To fill this gap, our local organization Voices For Children steps in. The organization creates special events such as the annual auction and dinner. All funds raised benefit 2,300 children in our local counties removed by the state for their protection. Coronavirus concerns caused the cancellation of upcoming fundraisers. Compassion and help are needed now more than ever. Visit www.voices4childrenfl.org or contact Sue Carpenter, Chairperson at 352-489-7112 for more information.

Deserving Dads are remembered with love and affection on Father’s Day and every day.

SUMMERTIME FUN AND YOU ARE INVITED! BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Summer Time

Like the fireflies we used to catch as children, summertime in Harbor Hills is buzzing with activity. “Head to the Hills” any Sunday to enjoy our always-popular Sunday brunch from 11AM to 2PM. Dine on an array of delicious brunch items while enjoying the spectacular view of our Signature 10th hole. The public is welcome. For reservations, call 352-753-7000.

Ready for some Fun in the Sun? Every Sunday in June, club members are treated to Family Funday. Menu specials are featured weekly. This Sunday, meatball sliders are on the menu. Meet me and other members at the pool for games and summer fun!!

Our Signature Grille is open seven days a week for eat-in or take out. The breakfast menu is delicious! Try the Par 3 for starters. Wednesday and Friday are member dining nights, always with exceptional menus. To-go is available.

Our championship golf course is picturesque and in great shape. The public is welcome to enjoy a challenging round at Harbor Hills. Tom Leimberger, PGA Professional, offers clinics, video lessons and more to improve your game at all levels.

Racquet sports are in full swing on our Har-Tru soft courts. Harbor Hills is one of the few country clubs to offer racquet sports on the soft, comfortable Har-Tru playing surface. Enjoy easy and fun activities for beginners or advanced players. Call John Natolly, USPTA Elite Professional at 352-753-9376 for more information.

Low impact and water aerobics, Mahjongg, Shanghai and many social group activities fill our summer days. Are you curious about membership? A summer membership from June through September is available at a special preview rate. For more information, contact Christy Rich, Membership Director, at 352-753-7000.

TRAVEL AFTER CORONA – CHANGES IN OUR FUTURE BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

SUMMER TRAVEL

SUMMER TRAVEL

This week we made the hard decision to cancel our summer trip to Boston. I know you miss your children and grandchildren as much we we do. Sadly, the coronavirus has delayed not only the timing of our trips, but the way in which we travel. The risks we’re willing to accept, especially as seniors, will surely make the world look different. But when it’s safe to travel again, changes are expected and surprisingly, may even be welcomed.

To encourage travel and fill empty seats, airlines will enhance frequent flyer miles with bonus miles and other incentives. This may be a great time to cash in! Dream trip, anyone? The middle airline seat will also need some re-thinking. Will the empty middle seat become commonplace? Delta, for one, shows a seat map with the middle seats blocked to provide some physical distance. That will certainly be a welcome change.

More space in our airports is forthcoming. How will those packed security lines be handled? It’s hard to imagine how any personal space requirement could be implemented in the Orlando airport, but I’m all for it!

From Disney, to airports, to destination spots and more, travel will be transforming in unexpected ways. Exactly what the changes will look like is anyone’s guess. For now, relying on community feels safe and familiar. Harbor Hills is making that possible in so many ways.

Dinners are available to members on Wednesdays and Fridays, take home or eat in. Our spectacular Sunday brunch is served from 11AM to 2PM. The public is welcome. The Grille Room, open to the public and available daily, offers both seating and a delicious Grab and Go meal. All aspects of service are in accordance with CDC guidelines including seating and limited customer entry.

THE AGE OF CORONA AND OUR SHINING STARS BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Class of 2020

Class of 2020

Hats off to the graduates of The Villages High School! The Class of 2020 is graduating during some of the most difficult circumstances in history. Phrases like “socially distanced ceremonies” are part of our lexicon. In spite of many graduation adjustments, Harbor Hills is proud to count several residents among the 2020 Villages High School grads.

Cross country and track have always been an important part of Austin Wyatt’s life. He holds the school record for the 5K and the two mile, distinguishing himself as an outstanding competitor. Austin is a member of the National Honor Society and was a student in the Business and Banking Academy at the high school. He is the president of HOSA – Future Health Professionals. Austin will attend Florida State University in the fall. His future may include a financial role as he enjoys his internship with Citizens First Bank. Austin is grateful for faith and family.

Another exceptional graduate living in Harbor Hills is Alexandra Held, daughter of Dr. Richard and Julie Held. She is graduating with high honors, is a member of the National Honor Society and has over 200 community service hours. Alex was a student in the Business and Banking Academy and will be interning at Citizens First this summer. She’s headed to the University of Tennessee in the fall, pursuing a marketing degree.

Congratulations as well to neighbor Nisha Upadya, graduating from Vanguard High School in Ocala. Nisha is the daughter of Drs. Shirikanth and Anu Upadya.

Our young people are striving to make the world a better place. We wish all the graduates good luck as they take the next step in their lives. They have already made us incredibly proud.

THANKING THOSE WHO KEEP US SAFE BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

First Responders

Memorial Day, like everything else this year, is different in the Age of the Coronavirus. With others or apart, today we reflect on the sacrifices of our military. From small acts of kindness to major donations, we are also united in the fight to end this pandemic. The outpouring of gratitude to those on these front lines takes many creative and heartfelt forms.

Examples are plentiful. The staffs at nearby healthcare facilities are treated to lunch by local restaurants including Chick Fil A, Jersey Mikes and Firehouse Subs. A local pizza eatery provides pies to Central Florida Regional Hospital as well as donations to local fire and police stations. The YMCA of Central Florida offers no-cost childcare to frontline workers. Even pets are supported! The Pet Alliance distributes free dog and cat food for those in need of a helping paw.

Children are doing their part too, creating baskets of hygiene items for nursing home residents. Leesburg High Senior Kamryn Reynolds holds the title of Miss Leesburg. She hosts several local TV programs with crafts and stories specifically for kids at this difficult time. Neighbors are stepping up to help neighbors. In Harbor Hills, neighbors pick up groceries, medications and essentials for others. Thanks again to our talented mask makers, Roseann Cochran, Nancy Flood, Lynne Young, Linda Fulkrod and Carol Vance.

This Friday and Saturday, Harbor Hills proudly gives back to our local heroes. Join us for a fun 4-person scramble with box lunch and prizes included. The tournament will raise funds to benefit our local first responders including police, firefighters, EMT’s and healthcare workers. This is our opportunity to thank those who risk their lives to keep us safe. Please join us. Call the Pro Shop at 352-753-7711.

THE PERFECT TIME TO SAY I DO..AGAIN BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Perfect Time

Vow Renewal Ceremony

An expression of love has always been special. These days, it is more precious than ever. As our country slowly reopens, now is the perfect time to strengthen our personal faith and reinforce bonds with those we love.

For that reason, Christy Rich, Harbor Hills wedding coordinator, promotes early planning for both weddings and vow renewal ceremonies. Even a small gathering provides the opportunity to celebrate connectedness and renew an appreciation for our lives.

“A vow renewal ceremony at Harbor Hills is very special,” Christy explains. It celebrates the value of an enduring relationship. Vow renewal says to the world, ‘I’d do it all over again.’”

Whether it be a wedding to celebrate young love or a vow renewal for seniors, Christy organizes everything for the couple. The view from the Harbor Terrace overlooking Lake Griffin provides an extraordinary backdrop for the special day.

Our youngest daughter can attest to that! She and her husband will celebrate their 12th wedding anniversary this week. They were married at Harbor Hills in an international ceremony in 2008, attended and enjoyed by relatives from Ireland, Scotland and England. For more information, contact Christy at 352-753-7000 or crich@harborhills.com.

I am also celebrating an anniversary event. On May 25, 2015, my first article as Harbor Hills community columnist was published in The Villages Daily Sun. It has been a delight to bring you the news and activities of this distinctive community for the last five years. Many thanks to my kind readers, the diligent Daily Sun editorial staff and the developer of Harbor Hills, Michael Rich. Apart from the Great American Novel I have yet to write, this has been a dream come true.

HARBOR HILLS LADIES CHARITY – ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL SEASON ENDS BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Ladies Charity

Ladies Charity

Mother’s Day was filled with happy memories and the promise of a joyful future. Not surprisingly, the pandemic has made us acutely aware of something Moms do best – helping others. From the selfless acts of first responders to the working mothers who are now homeschooling, we are all stepping up to do our part in this unprecedented time. Helping others is a significant part of what makes living in Harbor Hills exceptional as well.

We are incredibly proud of the accomplishments of the Harbor Hills Ladies Charity. Although several key events were cancelled, the charity raised and distributed just under $25,000 this season. Proceeds benefit local charitable organizations such as Lake Hills School. The school serves 220 special needs students. “We are so grateful to have the support of the Harbor Hills Ladies Charity,” said Dr. Robin Meyers, Lake Hills principal. “ The donations have significantly helped fund the purchase of expensive equipment adapted for our special needs students.” Other recipients this season include the Christian Food Pantry, Fruitland Park Elementary, Community Medical Care Center, The Villages Elementary School, The Haven and Forward Path.

The entire Harbor Hills community is saddened by the loss of member Roger Wendelken. Ladies Charity Past President Sue Rice explains that Roger was an integral part of our many fundraisers. “His help and encouraging smile,” she said, “will be greatly missed.” Roger’s wife Ruth has requested that memorial contributions be donated to the Harbor Hills Ladies Charity so that his work can continue.

Congratulations to the new board members. They are: Ruth Palmer, President; Nancy Flood, VP; Leslie Nisun, Treasurer; Susie Connor, Secretary and Mary Johnson, Philanthropy. Heartfelt thanks to the outgoing board who generously served this season.

WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT LIFE WILL NOT CHANGE BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

seniors walking

Walking Challenge

 

In 1848, the French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr coined the phrase, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” The more things change, the more they stay the same. Although Life will certainly look different once the virus has passed, many things, especially for us Seniors, remain constant. One of those is our ability to have fun!

Tennis Professional John Natolly created a plan to keep us active with a community-wide Walking Challenge. Register at the Harbor Hills Racquet Center. Track and report the number of miles walked weekly. John will motivate progress with prizes! What better way to enjoy the sunshine and boost our immune systems.

On our championship golf course, the season concluded with Member/Member Match Play. First place winners in each of the five men’s flights are: Dave DeCoster and Mike Reyome; Bob Neese and Ted Sartin; overall winners Ed Galuska and Larry Skoch; Bill Fagliano and Keith Schwartz, and Ray Edmiston and Shad Shadoin.

Harbor Hills Ladies Golf Association President Deb Markey explained that the Member/Member Tournament is one of the ladies’ favorites. The five flight winners are: Lisa Ragan and Elissa Rothchild; Judy Warren and Lin McLeod; Lynda Collier and Barb Tarinelli; Janice Johnson and Linda Reyome and Carolyn Bowers and Billie Neese. Congrats to all for a great season.

The Harbor Hills Garden Club had a spectacular year! Thank you to outgoing board members: Judy Monin, President; Shirle Mabie, VP; Pam Griffiths, Secretary; Linda Roark,Treasurer and Frankie Smith, Communications Director. These women worked hard to bring us a season of fun and unique events. Welcome the new board, Shirle Mabie, President; Carol DiDomenico, VP; Linda Roark continues as Treasurer; Judy Monin, Secretary and Frankie Smith as returning Communications Director.

SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES – WE CAN HELP! BY NIKKI HOFFMAN

Meals To Go

The family life of a small business owner is one I know well. My Dad was a small business owner in New York. Our family vacations were scheduled around his work and busy seasons. That experience has given me an appreciation for small businesses suffering from the impact of the pandemic. Supporting our local businesses and clubs is critical for a robust economic life after COVID-19.

Have you been shopping on-line? If your local shop has a website, you can shop at home and have items delivered. Think about a local shop before placing that Amazon order.

The term “Grab and Go” is now a familiar part of our lexicon. Consider extra items that can be frozen to enjoy at a later time. Check out http://ubereats.com for local options. Purchasing gift cards provides an influx of cash to your favorite restaurant, shop or club. Gift cards for designated amounts from the Harbor Hills Pro Shop can be redeemed for golf, instruction or merchandise.

Harbor Hills is offering some delicious ways to support our club. “Take Home Dinners” are available every Wednesday and Friday and they are yummy! On Saturdays, grab a burger and two beers for $12. Make Sundays fundays by ordering and picking up “Family Dinners.” And the Grille Room offers a limited lunch menu to go every day.

The Harbor Hills Server Relief Fund, started by member Tom Warren, helps offset gratuities that our servers are losing. The Mask Project, created by Roseann Cochran and Nancy Flood, resulted in 191 mask requests. Monetary donations support the server relief fund. The efforts and giving hearts of this unique community are worthy of special recognition. #hhlifeaftercorona

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