2009 – A Look Back at the good news in Vero Beach

VERO BEACH — Over the course of the last six months VeroNews.com has been covering the news of Vero Beach, we have come across some wonderful people and organizations who strive to serve others.

While news by definition is the occurrence of something out of the ordinary, it is very often information of someone’s misfortune or bad behavior that we spend most of our time reporting.

However, since we began chasing down stories in July we have met many people who care about their community and want to make life a little bit better for us all. It is in the spirit of the Christmas holiday, that we would like to share some of our favorite stories.

We couldn’t possibly include every single inspiring piece that we have published, but here are excerpts from a small sampling we have selected.

These stories include a couple of “outstanding philanthropists,” a 90-year-old city’s birthday celebration, and a tennis tournament and concert that benefited children’s groups. Couple named outstanding philanthropists by local organization, by Mary Schenkel, posted Oct. 26

VERO BEACH — Vaughn and Nancy Bryson have been named outstanding individual philanthropists for their work with Childcare Resources of Indian River, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indian River Chapter announced Monday.

The couple will be honored at the National Philanthropy Day Awards to be held Nov. 18 at the Vero Beach Museum of Art. Other winners include Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., outstanding corporate philanthropist; Roger and Nancy Lynch, outstanding individual fundraisers; and Cornelia Perez, unsung hero.

The Brysons were nominated by Childcare Resources in part for their funding of a new position, Community Relations Director, for the organization. They also helped fund the opening of a childcare center for the Redlands Christian Migrant Association; are one of the founders of the Indian River Community Foundation and support both the Vero Beach Museum of Art and Indian River Medical Center, among other organizations.

Read the full story here

City of Vero Beach 90th Anniversary Celebration, by Mary Schenkel, posted Oct. 16

VERO BEACH — Nostalgia was the word of the day with a crowd, most likely larger than the entire population of Indian River County back in 1919, enjoying the festivities of the City of Vero Beach’s 90th Anniversary Celebration.  Multiple generations of Vero’s pioneer families were on hand, reminiscing and giving newcomers a history of Vero’s early days.  For many of Vero’s founding families it was like one big family reunion.

“Looking around at all the people in their lawn chairs and blankets, with children running around enjoying themselves I thought, this is what a small town is all about.  It’s why we cherish it,” said Elizabeth Graves Bass.

Her family started in the area with two brothers – Elizabeth’s grandfather Ed and her great uncle Walter Graves.  They purchased land in the 1920’s, at one time owning approximately two townships, and began Graves Brothers Citrus which is still run by the family.

“Seeing so many people who weren’t aware of our heritage showing an interest in the town’s beginnings was wonderful.  To me, the history of a place is what gives it credibility.  I just thought the whole thing was exciting, added Graves-Bass.  “The turnout was wonderful and people truly had a good time.  Families are who come to these events, and that’s the root of your community.”

Read the full story here

Weekend of tennis and music by hometown heroes helps school kids, by Mary Schenkel, posted Dec. 13

VERO BEACH — An almost round-robin outpouring from the community came out this weekend to support Mardy Fish and his foundation at the Mardy’s Tennis and Jake’s Music Fest weekend of activities.

The two-day event  kicked off with a Kids’ Tennis Clinic Friday afternoon where children had the chance to play with and get some tips from top tennis players.  Then, on Friday evening, country music sensation Jake Owen wowed a sold-out crowd with his concert at the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center.

The Mardy Fish Foundation has also been providing funding to the Youth Guidance Foundation, and the local Boys and Girls Clubs. Three additional after school programs and clubs have recently been added at Glendale Elementary School, Sebastian Elementary School and Thompson Magnet Elementary School, in addition to a new Mardy Fish Foundation Kids on Courts program.

Members of Pelican Island Elementary School, the Foundation’s first beneficiary, were at the event representing some of the various ways they’ve been helped through these events.  The Mardy Fish Music Club and Health and Fitness Club was created at PIES in 2007.  Teacher Lori Ford noted that the biggest problems at school are with cutbacks in after-school funding because of curriculum demands.

“This fills the void after school, offering structured programs with individual instructors.  They’re fun, interesting and academic,” explained Ford.

Read the full story here


Do you have suggestions for other stories on VeroNews.com you want to share? Post a link in the comments section below.

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