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Spirit of Manatee Awards salutes community that gives

BRADENTON -- One honoree is used to being behind the camera telling other people’s stories.

Another is a high school junior who lives volunteerism.

And a developer whose generosity has helped support the community it reshaped.

There are two couples who retired here and returned the community’s embrace by giving back.

Lastly, there’s the attorney who paid his good fortune forward.

They were all saluted Wednesday at the sixth annual Spirit of Manatee Awards luncheon, presented by the Manatee Community Foundation at the Bradenton Auditorium.

Though they come from different walks of life, there was a bond that connected Charles Clapsaddle, Matthew Davis, Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc., Marianne and John Moyer, Jeannie and Chuck Slater and Edwin Mulock at the event attended by previous honorees and a host of community leaders.

“It’s the giant contributions they’ve made, either through their lifetime or the young one who’s starting to make a huge contribution to this community,” said Marilyn Howard, MCF’s executive director. “It’s fantastic.”

Now in its 12th year, the foundation grew by $4.5 million in 2010, has total assets of more than $21 million, distributed $1 million in grants to 80 local non-profits and awarded $35,000 in scholarships.

“This is a community that gives,” Howard said.

This year’s awardees were:

n Charles Clapsaddle, METV/Collaborative Spirit.

The executive director was saluted for METV’s integral role in the community, from countless public service announcements to illuminating issues to filming documentaries and more.

“It means a lot, because it’s not just about an individual. It’s about an organization,” Clapsaddle said.

n Matthew Davis/Young Spirit.

The 17-year-old Southeast High School honors junior is president of the school’s Key Club, belongs to JROTC, Junior Leadership Manatee and has more than 500 hours of service to county organizations.

“The Spirit Award is a big honor, a big challenge, too,” Davis said. “Now I’ve got to live up to that name.”

n Schroeder-Manatee Ranch/Community Spirit.

Brian Kennelly, president of Lakewood Ranch Commercial Realty, an SMR subsidiary, accepted the award for SMR President and Chief Executive Officer Rex Jensen and Vice President of Planning Todd Pokrywa.

“It shows the continued value and importance the employees and board of directors of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch puts on community involvement,” Kennelly said.

n Marianne and John Moyer/Volunteer Spirit.

Whether it’s United Way, the Florida Myositis Support Group or the American Red Cross, to name a few, the couple got heavily involved in the community after retiring here 10 years ago from Columbia, Md.

“This is the greatest honor we’ve ever received,” John Moyer said.

“It means we’re home,” Marianne Moyer said.

n Jeannie and Chuck Slater/Leadership Spirit.

Devoted American Red Cross volunteers, they’ve combined her nursing background and his executive business acumen to assist Red Cross and donated $150,000 that was matched by $450,000 from other organizations.

“We’re humbled by it all,” Chuck Slater said.

n Edwin Mulock/Lifetime Spirit.

A heart, lung and kidney transplant recipient, the attorney used his new lease on life to build Dream Oaks Camp that has hosted 2,400 disabled children since 2001.

“I’ve received a lot of recognition for other things, but this is the epitome,” the Bradenton native said.

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055.

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