Synagogue Celebrates Confirmations

Published: Monday, June 25, 2012 at 12:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 4:14 p.m.

Temple Beth Shalom in Winter Haven celebrated the confirmation of five of its religion school students. Congratulations to Rachel Spiwak, Shana Spiwak, Chally Horowithz, Hunter Chain and Morgan Chain, who have now formally accepted their responsibilities of Jewish life. They are committed to following the religious practices and ethical values they have studied.

The special ceremony was performed during the temple's Shabbat services, which were June 1. It is the culmination of their religious high school education.

Confirmation traditionally occurs as the congregation celebrates Shavuot, the holiday of the harvest of fresh fruits. Jewish people commemorate Moses receiving the 10 Commandments at this time.


Hope Lutheran Church in Plant City hosted a community "Dessert and Discussion" with Steve Nierman, chief operating officer of South Florida Baptist Hospital, last week. Nierman shared what the hospital is going to do as a part of its $5 million modernization project, currently under way.

Hope Lutheran's Health Ministry Team hosted the event. According to Joyce VanMatre, Hope's Parish Nurse, the expansion and modernization by South Florida Baptist Hospital is a blessing to all the surrounding communities.

Among the projects the hospital is undertaking are: new all-private room inpatient surgical care unit, renovation of all inpatient telemetry rooms, aesthetic improvement project of OB services, relocation of Swindle Diagnostic Center, a new 120-space parking lot for ER and surgery patients, and a new women's imaging center.


Melinda Reitman of Winter Haven is the newest member of O-Town Sound Chorus. Reitman moved to Winter Haven in March from Wisconsin, and was a former member of the award-winning Sweet Adelines chapter Choral-Aires in the Chicago, Ill., suburb of Elmhurst. O-Town Sound Chorus is an Orlando-based Sweet Adelines chapter with members spanning 11 counties from coast to coast. Guests are always invited to enjoy barbershop singing for women by attending rehearsals on Mondays, from 7-10 p.m. at Pine Ridge Presbyterian Church, 3900 S. Hiawassee Road, Orlando. For more information, go to or call Gloria Muratore, membership chairwoman, at 352-442-8441.


Three charities serving Polk County people with special needs have experienced a collective windfall of $1,970, thanks to the generosity of Knights of Columbus Council 7091 of Cypress Gardens. The council raised these funds in its 2012 Tootsie Roll Drive.

Charities on the receiving end of donations of more than $656 each were the Alliance for Independence (formerly the Polk County Association for Handicapped Citizens), the Achievement Academy and Polk County Special Olympics.

Vickie Barron of the Alliance for Independence, Ashlee Cofer of the Achievement Academy and Isabelle Wininger of Polk County Special Olympics accepted checks on behalf of their respective organizations following a recent Knights of Columbus meeting in Winter Haven.

Based in Lakeland, The Alliance for Independence is a non-profit organization that provides adult day training that enables Polk County residents with developmental disabilities achieve job and life skills needed to pursue a more independent way of life. The agency currently trains nearly 100 people.

The Achievement Academy is a non-profit charter school providing specialized training for children with disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and speech delays. The organization has schools in Winter Haven, Bartow and Lakeland.

Special Olympics of Polk County provides year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports to help children and adults with intellectual disabilities build self esteem and confidence, while developing physically and enjoying wholesome competition. The organization's fall games in October are expected to attract nearly 400 special athletes of all ages.

Grand Knight Steve Siesel of Knights of Columbus Council 7091 thanked everyone who contributed to the success of this year's Tootsie Roll Drive, which was chaired by Sal Porta. More than 50 members of the Knights of Columbus and its Columbiettes auxiliary, as well as spouses and children, handed out Tootsie Rolls and accepted donations at many locations.

This year's distribution points were the Publix and K-Mart stores on Cypress Gardens Boulevard across from Legoland of Florida; Walgreens stores on First Street, Cypress Gardens Boulevard and Thompson Nursery Road; and St. Matthew Church.

In addition to the annual Tootsie Roll Drive, Knights of Columbus Council 7091 raises funds for local charities year round with its Sunday and Thursday evening Bingos that are open to the public at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 401 Third Street, SW in Winter Haven. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the "Quarters Up" round of Bingo.


The Angels Care Center in Eloise reports having continued patient visits each month totaling in the area of 150, even though summer is here and the population has seasonally decreased.

The center recently conducted education classes, given out hundreds of toiletry items, first aid and children's kits, and also distributed food to many needy families. Representatives say they are blessed to be able to help so many people, and it is only possible because of God's provision through all the volunteers and supporters of Angels Care Center.

They also report Polk State College Nursing Program students have joined them in providing community service, as well as high school and college students currently on summer break. Some have assisted in non-medical positions. Anyone wishing to volunteer may contact Mary Weppelman at 863-875-5595 for medical opportunities; Doris at 863-293-1059 for non-medical, and Janey at 863-207-6851 for donations of toiletries.

Kent Viles of Imagine Lawn Service gets a gold star for mowing and caring for the grounds since the center opened. Crafty Critters of Abiding Savior Lutheran Church gets two thumbs up for the rocking chair and children's play tables they donated. Gordon and Mary Coppage get a round of applause for the fencing around the air conditioner units, and for donating the bulletin boards. Judy Rowe gets recognized for the great job she did with the thank-you letters. Community Foundation of Greater Winter Haven has gifted a grant to the organization, and the Knights of Columbus get a big bravo for the new wheelchair to use at the clinic, and you too, Mike Lopez, for putting the wheelchair together!


At a recent Citrus Center Kiwanis meeting, $200 checks were awarded to six elementary schools. Those receiving a check were Minnie Kester of Medulla Elementary, Ava Cooley from Scott Lake Elementary, Qunck Brdsy represented Oscar J. Pope Elementary, Lori Morrison received for Carlton Palmore Elementary, Debbie Henderson accepted for Dixieland Elementary, and Dan Lunn was there for Cleveland Court Elementary.


Emmala H. Barden of Lakeland was selected as one of six recipients of the Tanner Companies 2011 Partners in Caring Awards, in recognition of her exemplary community service. Five other women across the nation were selected to receive this prestigious award for their philanthropic efforts. The Partners In Caring Award was founded to recognize individuals who are making a positive impact in the lives of women, children and families in their local communities.

The Tanner Foundation accepts nominations for the Partners in Caring Award from the Doncaster sales organization and its customers from all 50 states. Barden and the five other award-winners received a $5,000 donation from the Tanner Foundation, payable to the charitable organization that they nominated for the award. Mary Ann DeLoach, Doncaster Wardrobe consultant in Lakeland, nominated Barden for the award. Barden selected Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine as the charity to receive the $5,000 donation.

The donation will be used in the Women's Services Program to provide general gynecologic services to uninsured female patients at LVIM. Women account for more than 60 percent of its patients, and every one of these women need annual gynecologic examinations. Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine is a clinic that provides free medical, dental and pharmaceutical care to the working uninsured of Polk County.

Barden and her husband, Dr. Glen A. Barden, have been involved with LVIM since its inception. In 1997, they attended a meeting in California for administrators of multi-specialty clinics. The speaker talked about providing primary care for the working uninsured and the Bardens were inspired to return home to begin work for a clinic. The community caught the vision and ran with it. Barden organized a kickoff dinner for the capital fund campaign. Her husband said their goal was $3 million, but they generated $6.5 million instead. The dream became a reality and LVIM opened its doors on Valentine's Day 2001.

Barden's involvement has continued over the years. She has volunteered as an intake screener, served on the Volunteer Support Committee and was chair of the first Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine Derby, LVIM's premiere annual fundraising event. She also serves or has served with Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, and Needlework Guild of America. The Bardens have three daughters and eight grandchildren.


Happy belated anniversary to Jeff and Tabatha Gabbard (5), June 16; and Francis J. (Skip) and Carol A. Harris (59), June 20.


Happy anniversary to Jack and Theresa Moran, George and Vivian Pearce, Greg and Sandy Morris (30), Tuesday; Ken and Betty Griffin (54), Thursday; Billy and Libby Adams (55), Friday.


Happy birthday to Paul Hicks (85), today; Brett Parker, Tracy Bromley (43), Alive Kay Oliver (34), Catherine Longacre (28), Ginny Badcock (83), Tuesday; Leanne Green, Edgar Burton, Wednesday; Donna Baker, Marsha Jones, Steve Croley (44), Zach Bethel (21), Tyson Baker (5), Friday; Katie Hesher, Megan Swonger, Marge Collins (93), Andrew Pridgeon (26), Erin E. McDonald (25), Megan S. McDonald (25), Saturday; Brenda Kelley, Carter Hudson-Kish (7), Ginny "Lovely" Grode, Sunday.

[ Send your news regarding civic groups, social clubs, religious organizations, special events and community news to Paula Stuart at or to The Ledger, 455 Sixth St. N.W., Winter Haven, FL 33881. Fax is 863-401-6999. Photos are welcome. ]

This story appeared in print on page A10

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