Vin's People: Oscar Sanders' tough love worked for granddaughter

January 10, 2014 

One of the many people influenced by Oscar Sanders was granddaughter Yavonka Sanders.

Recently deceased, he was Manatee High School's first African-American assistant principal and dealt with his share of challenges during the school's integration.

Years later, Oscar gave tough love to Yavonka, a homesick Florida State University freshman.

"I called home crying and he said, 'You can't come home. That is not an option,'" she said. "'You are going to stay there, persevere and find a way to overcome those obstacles.' He was right. In fact, I got so used to college life, it got to where I never left Tallahassee. I didn't come home one spring break and my grandfather said, 'I didn't say you could never come home!'

"He helped me grow into the adult I am today."

Yavonka is a Medicare compliance auditor for two Orlando hospitals.

• Oh, no! Say it ain't so! Manatee County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Dwayne Denison hit the Big 5-0! Cindy, Victoria and Arianna are amused.

• Tickets go on sale Monday for the Joe Salerno Celebrity Roast, 7 p.m. Jan. 23 at Trailer Estates, 6814 Canada Blvd., Bradenton. Joe is retiring as a boardmember after 17 years. Call 941-896-6211 for details.

• Juanita and Joe Anderson, a decorated World War II veteran, will be married 70 years Jan. 31. Cheers from children Larry Anderson, Kathy Boling and Marie Anderson.

• Sally Allen will sign copies of "Cougar" beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday in booth 613 at the Red Barn Flea Market and Plaza, 1707 First St., Bradenton. The author's 10th novel is about a widow who -- gasp! -- falls for a man 30 years younger.

• It's been a grind for Gene Witt, but the ol' South Carolina Gamecock is hanging in there.

After taking dialysis thrice weekly the last few months at a clinic, the retired Manatee County school superintendent is having a procedure Friday to enable him doing it at home.

Just last month he received a new heart valve.

"Doc said I'm good for another 10 years," said Gene, who's 84 years young.

• Helaine Eckstein will display her charm

ing Christmas village sewing creation near the American Sewing Guild booth at the Manatee County Fair beginning Thursday.

• Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, 7051 Wireless Court, Lakewood Ranch, holds Beertopia 2014, 6:30-10 p.m. Jan. 18. The event benefits the Eye Center Inc. Vision Foundation, which provides eye exams and glasses for needy school children, and the De Soto Historical Society

For ticket information, visiteyecenterinc.com anddesotohq.com. Or call 941-587-2848 or 941-747-1998.

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

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