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American Jewish Committee dinner honors Rex Jensen

It takes someone special to attract a crowd on the same night as the college football national championship game — especially when the Florida Gators are playing.

The American Jewish Committee obviously made the right choice when they selected Rex Jensen as the recipient of their 2009 Civic Achievement Award. The Fete Ballroom, located at Lakewood Ranch’s Polo Grille, was filled with admirers who came to pay tribute to the president and CEO of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch.

AJC Executive Director Brian Lipton said he was relieved to see their honoree actually showed up. As Lipton explained, “Rex is a behind-the-scenes, get-it-done kind of guy.” And Rex said he was “humbled” by the company he had in former award recipients. The list includes Congressman Vern Buchanan, architects Carl Abbott, Guy Peterson and Tim Seibert and Ringling College president Dr. Larry Thompson.

The 2005 AJC honoree Phil Delaney co-chaired Thursday night’s dinner with Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore. The dinner program included a special motzi blessing given by Carol and Morton Siegler, tributes to Rex and a keynote speech by economist Henry Fishkind.

Seen in the crowd were John and Lorna Clarke, Pat and Charlene Neal, Lakewood Ranch’s “honorary mayor” Don O’Leary, and AJC chapter president Andy Maass.