Vin's People: Career Palmetto veteran returns after year overseas

January 3, 2014 

It's going to be a beautiful homecoming Sunday afternoon at Bayou Estates in Palmetto.

That's when U.S. Army Sgt. Major John Jasper returns after a year deployment in Qatar.

He'll be greeted by his mother, Barbara Jasper; wife, Tina; son, Sean and Sean's wife, Ashley, who will present the returning career soldier with his first grandchild, Landon.

Among other family members cheering him home: Paula, Marcus, Julie, Sue, Jim, Kristin, Isaiah, Alyssa, Cody and Camden.

• That's 32 years of wedded bliss for Jane and Jay Romine.

• Bradenton's First United Methodist Church will have two distinguished preachers come March when the downtown church focuses on Christianity in Africa.

One is Bishop Ivan Abrahams, who delivered the sermon at Nelson Mandela's funeral in South Africa last month. The other is Bishop Wilfred Dimingu of the Methodist Church of Zimbabwe.

• Jeff Mitchell and wife, Janet, are back with Elks Feeding Empty Little Tummies, a nonprofit that provides weekend meals for more than 500 students at 13 Manatee County schools. Jeff was EFELT's founder and former executive director.

The Bradenton Elks Lodge 1511 and Lakewood Ranch Elks Lodge 2855 sponsor EFELT, supported by Food Bank of Manatee County and community donations.

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• Among the honorees saluted by the West Manatee Fire & Rescue District: firefighter Adam Baggett, rookie of the year; Battalion Chief Rich Losek and fire prevention/training secretary Sherry Vetter, 25-year career service award; firefighter Nate Bergbom, 15 years; firefighters Mike Bugel and Brian Gaskill, 10 years; firefighter Rodney Kwiatkowski, five years; district medical adviser Dr. Joseph Soler, 18 years; pension board members Stewart Moon, 15 years; and Roger Liesch, 10 years.

• Caught up with Terra Ceia Bay's Gary Taylor halfway through his odyssey of attending four bowl games in five-days -- Alamo, Chick-Fil-A, Sugar, Cotton -- and the tall Texan is not only surviving, but he's having a blast.

• Get an early taste of the 2014 Manatee County Fair and help its young participants when Palmetto High School's Future Farmers of America and Lincoln Middle FFA alumni host the second annual Fashion Show and dinner at Tractor Supply, 4404 State Road 64, Bradenton, from 4-7 p.m. Saturday.

The show's theme, "Showcasing Agriculture in 2014," celebrates Palmetto FFA's 75th year.

Buy tickets from an FFA member or at the event.

The Fair begins Jan. 16.

Vin's People, is by local columnist Vin Mannix. He can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix.

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