More than 400 people attended the Palm Beach Civic Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting and End of Season 75th Season Celebration Monday at the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum. [See the full event video above 43:46]
The event marked the end of the Civic Association’s 75th anniversary season. A kickoff reception in November at the Royal Poinciana Plaza marked the beginning of the 75th anniversary celebration and continued with a variety of programs offered throughout this milestone season.
The Annual Meeting included a 75th year anniversary video featuring the association’s accomplishments throughout the years. Other highlights included the Town Beautification Award, the Raymond J. Kunkel Awards and Mayor Gail Coniglio’s ninth State of Palm Beach Address.
Civic Association Chairman and CEO Bob Wright welcomed everyone and led the Pledge of Allegiance. He thanked the directors and staff of the Flagler Museum for hosting the event. Erin Manning, executive director of the Flagler Museum and a Civic Association liaison director, also welcomed everyone.
“Please know how grateful the museum is for the work of the Civic Association,” she said. “We couldn’t be more proud of your anniversary and all that you’ve accomplished.”
Civic Association President Ned Barnes recognized Palm Beach Town Council members, other town officials, Palm Beach police and fire-rescue personnel, Palm Beach County elected officials and other distinguished guests.
Mr. Wright gave special recognition to J. Patterson “Pat” Cooper, secretary, treasurer and chairman of the Civic Association’s Tax and Finance Committee.
“He is the heart and soul of our association,” Mr. Wright said of Mr. Cooper. “He gives generously of himself wherever he is needed. He makes a positive impact wherever he gets involved.”
John David Corey, Nicki McDonald and James B. Meany were nominated and approved as new Civic Association directors.
Town Beautification Award
Each year at the annual meeting, the Palm Beach Civic Association presents the Town Beautification Award to an individual or group that has significantly enhanced the beauty of the Town of Palm Beach.
Mr. Corey, chairman of the Town Beautification Committee, announced Worth Avenue as the 2019 winner. He noted the property owners’ continuing commitment to keeping it beautiful.
Beautification Award Video [5:16]
“This year, we are pleased to recognize Worth Avenue and it’s Vias for its enduring beauty and charm enjoyed by residents and visitors for 100 years,” he said. “Worth Avenue and its Vias are in the midst of a great renaissance with recent improvements to its streetscape and infrastructure with the undergrounding of utilities, street lighting, lush landscaping – including the Hibiscus Plaza and the Living Wall – and its iconic clock tower, announcing Worth Avenue’s terminus at the Atlantic Ocean.”
Mr. Corey also gave an update on the 75 Palms Project. As a 75th anniversary gift to the town, the Civic Association has been raising money to buy and install 75 palm trees in the historic core of the town. Mr. Corey reported that more than $100,000 has been raised, exceeding the 75-tree goal. He thanked the generous donors and noted that donations can still be made toward the project. The trees will be bought and installed during the summer.
Raymond J. Kunkel Award
The Raymond J. Kunkel Award was created in 1976 to honor the memory of former Civic Association Director and Chairman Raymond J. Kunkel. It is awarded each year to individuals or organizations that render heroic or meritorious service to the Town of Palm Beach.
There are four 2019 Kunkel Award recipients: a Publix employee who found and returned a wallet stuffed with cash; two Publix employees who rendered aid during a cardiac arrest and a town employee who rescued two people from the ocean.
Kunkel Award Video [8:39]
William Matthews, chairman of the Kunkel Award Committee, presented the first engraved award and a $500 check for meritorious service to George Squire, a front service clerk and 24-year Publix employee.
Last November, Mr. Squire was gathering shopping carts in the parking lot when he saw a wallet that was left in the basket of one of the carts – and it was visibly stuffed with cash. It also had a business card in it, identifying the owner. Mr. Squire immediately turned the wallet in to the store manager and the wallet was returned to the owner.
It wasn’t Mr. Squire’s first time returning lost items. He once found a pocketbook lying on South County Road and returned it.
Mr. Squire was recognized for his honesty and integrity and his service to the community.
Andy DeLong and Tanya Nelson
Mr. Barnes presented the next Kunkel Award to former Palm Beach Publix store manager Andy DeLong and Customer Service Manager Tanya Nelson, who together saved a man’s life by their quick actions during a medical emergency. They each received an engraved award and a $1,000 check for their heroic actions.
Mr. DeLong was a Kunkel Award recipient last year for his heroic efforts following Hurricane Irma. He is the only repeat winner in the 43-year history of the award.
Last Christmas Eve, a man collapsed on the floor of aisle 6 of our local Publix. He was in full cardiac arrest. Mr. DeLong and Ms. Nelson jumped into action by activating the 911 system, starting CPR, and using the Automated External Defibrillator. When rescue personnel arrived, Mr. DeLong and Ms. Nelson gave them a detailed report of what had happened and what interventions had been performed. The patient had started to breathe on his own.
“In Palm Beach, we know Andy and Tanya as exceptional employees who always go above and beyond to serve their customers,” Mr. Barnes said. “On Christmas Eve, however, they didn’t just go above and beyond. They saved a man’s life.”
Lifeguard Supervisor Craig Pollack
Michael Reiter, a Kunkel Award Committee member, presented the final award to Lifeguard Supervisor Craig Pollock, who has worked for the town for more than 28 years. Mr. Pollock received an engraved award and a $2,500 check for his heroic efforts in rescuing two visitors who fell into treacherous, life-threatening seas.
A woman visiting from Missouri was attempting to take photos of the ocean while standing on a rock jetty. A powerful incoming wave knocked her off the rocks and into the turbulent water. Seeing the gravity of the situation, her husband rushed out to try and help his wife, when he too was swept into the water.
Responding immediately, Mr. Pollack rescued the woman first and then swam out to save her husband. Both sustained cuts and bruises, but it could have been much worse, even fatal.
End of 75th Season Celebration
Following the meeting, a champagne and mimosa celebration with passed hors d’oeuvres was held in the Grand Hall. Linda R. Olsson of Linda Olsson Real Estate was the favor sponsor and The Michael and Margaret Picotte Foundation was the sponsor of the reusable bag program. Every attendee received a reusable bag.