The 2nd annual Swim Across America–Tampa Bay benefit for the Moffitt Cancer Center was held this morning under sparkling Clearwater skies. Over 250 swimmers participated in this fundraiser to benefit Moffitt and to raise awareness for cancer research, prevention, and treatment. Swim Across America’s first event was held off Nantucket Island in 1987. Since then, over $45-million has been raised. Most swimmers who jumped into the warm Gulf waters off of Pier 60 this morning swam for either a half-mile or one-mile; others joined Olympic gold medal winner Brooke Bennett for a 2.4-mile swim. On behalf of the City of Clearwater, I issued a proclamation saying that today is “Swim Across America Day” in Clearwater to thank those participants and sponsors who helped raise over $100,000 last year.
Congratulations to those who were honored at the annual luncheon sponsored by the Clearwater Citadel’s Advisory Board. Bruce Livingston was thanked for his service as board chairman; Carol Lowrey was presented with the first annual “Colonel Tom Jones Step Up to the Plate” award; Dr. Jim Free was recognized for his service with the “Dr. William Hale Community Spirit Award”; and, Paul Umberg was installed as the new chairman. The Salvation Army offers programs and services throughout the year to assist those needing housing, counseling, and assistance. Last year, more than 50,000 residents were assisted in Clearwater/upper Pinelllas County area serviced by the Salvation Army.
Jeff Iseler, volunteer coordinator of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation in the Tampa Bay area, Dick Crippen of the Rays, and I joined several others at the Columbia Restaurant in Tampa for Private First Class Sammy L. Davis and his wife Dixie. PFC Davis was awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism near Cai Lay, Vietnam. There under extreme enemy fire and although he himself had been wounded, PFC Davis swam across a river to rescue three wounded American soldiers. PFC Davis and his wife Dixie came to help raise the awareness of those basic principles of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation and the medal itself — courage, sacrifice, selfless service, and patriotism.
While in Washington for meetings of the American Public Gas Association, Chuck Warrington, director of Clearwater Gas, and I visited with many of Florida’s members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. Congressman Bill Young, Clearwater’s representative, surprised us with a special presentation of a flag flown over the US Capitol in honor of Clearwater Gas System’s anniversary.
Congratulations to the residents of Country Club Addition — their homeowners association was recognized at tonight’s Clearwater City Council meeting at the City of Clearwater’s “Neighborhood of the Year.” The Country Club Addition neighborhood lies east of MLK Boulevard North, north of Drew Street, and west North Betty Lane.
From May 12 through May 18, patrons of more than 30 restaurants on Clearwater Beach and nearby areas will be able to dine on special prix fixe menus to celebrate “Restaurant Week.” Sponsored by the Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce, Restaurant Week–2013 had its “kickoff” last night on Beachwalk with internationally known artist Nick Colionne. I welcomed those present and thanked the Chamber for the event, which not only promoted local restaurants, but also benefitted the chamber and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
Yesterday, Dr. Panos Vasiloudes officially opened his dermatology clinic in Clearwater. The office, located at 1201 South Myrtle Avenue, continues the practice of dermatology at the same location. Dr. Vasiloudes has other offices throughout the Tampa Bay area and in Europe and the Middle East.