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Focus on Manatee: Meet the Port Manatee club that supports a wide range of worthy causes

Particularly in this season of giving, Port Manatee is humbled by numerous benevolent efforts of its selflessly energetic Port Manatee Propeller Club.

The not-for-profit service organization, made up of representatives of Port Manatee stakeholders, doesn’t wait until the end-of-year holidays to make a wide-ranging impact either.

In May, as it has for 14 years since the group’s 2005 inception, the Port Manatee Propeller Club held its largest annual function, the Port Manatee Propeller Club Golf Classic. It not only encouraged camaraderie and good sportsmanship among members of the port business community but, moreover, generated funds for three college scholarships of $2,000 apiece.

Two of the awards go to graduating high school seniors, with the third allocated to an immediate relative of a member of the club.

In June at the port, the Port Manatee Propeller Club hosted Porthole 2018, a maritime-themed spin on popular cornhole tournaments, and again the event was more than fun and games. It produced generous donations to the Manatee Riverside Rotary Club and the Palmetto Rotary Club for their programs sending local youths and their parents to the central highlands of Guatemala to build schools.

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Carlos Buqueras is the executive director at Port Manatee.

A couple months later, the group held a back-to-school night, collecting school supplies donated to students attending James Tillman Elementary School and Palm View Elementary School, both in Palmetto.

The Port Manatee Propeller Club doesn’t need a special event to show its beneficence. Throughout the year, the organization supports the endeavors of Anchor House, an on-port ministry serving seafarers who come to Port Manatee from throughout the world. Among those efforts is an ongoing collection of basic clothing and toiletry items for ship crew members.

The club, which in November hosted a state-of-the-port function at which I was honored to speak, is now completing preparations for its annual Christmas luncheon, to be held Dec. 20. Hundreds of port stakeholders, customers and employees are to be treated to a catered meal.

Members of Port Manatee’s security team take part in Porthole 2018, a cornhole-like event that raised funds to help send local students to Guatemala to build schools. Provided photo

Led by its president, Billy Roy, vice president of operations at port stevedore Logistec Gulf Coast, the Port Manatee Propeller Club has doubled its membership over the past year, to 78 participants, while reinforcing its community-minded commitment.

Among the many also playing key roles in the recent growth have been Donna Lammlein, administrative assistant at Logistec Gulf Coast, and several members of Port Manatee’s administration, including Matty Appice, the group’s first vice president, as well as Teresa Daugherty, Denise Stufflebeam and Virginia Zimmermann.

Making significant contributions to the community is indeed at the core of Port Manatee’s mission, as the port directly and indirectly supports more than 24,000 jobs while generating annual impacts in excess of $2.3 billion.

This holiday season and always, Port Manatee and the Port Manatee Propeller Club have dynamic positive impacts upon Manatee County and beyond.

We invite you to share in the blessings.

Carlos Buqueras is the executive director at Port Manatee and can be reached at