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Boot Camp Ball has last hoorah

On Saturday night, local partygoers enlisted for the final American Red Cross Boot Camp Ball. Next year, the event has its marching orders to transfer to the Hardee County office. Don’t worry, though — executive director Bobbi Larson promises a fun new event here next year.

In the meantime, fatigues and camouflage were the dress of the day for the party held in the Bradenton Municipal Auditorium.

Todd Pokrywa re-upped for his fifth tour of duty as chair although he is now joined by his wife, Cyndi. She married into her role as co-chair when she and Todd tied the knot a few years ago.

Partygoers ate much better than the average c-rations, with a buffet dinner prepared by Sundance Catering.

The chicken pot pie was to die for and the dessert buffet held all-American apple pie topped with whipped cream. People worked off the calories dancing to the sounds of Sheri and the Visions.

Greg Steube and Rochelle Dudley stepped up as the auctioneers in the live portion of the auction and a silent auction was filled with goodies for the less-adventurous shoppers. Tony Gabriel and Bekah Morgan were the happy winners of a new kayak, although they had to figure out how to get the impulse buy home from the ball.

The day was a long one for the Red Cross folks. The local chapter held a water safety course earlier in the day so several folks pulled double duty. Andrea Trout and Robyn Spirtas were among those who helped morning and night.

Spotted in the crowd were Mel and Karen Klein, who were celebrating their wedding anniversary; Chip and Lester Rice; and Warren and Kathy Simonds.

Susan Wilcox, a Florida native, has lived in Bradenton for more than 20 years. She has been active in many local organizations as a volunteer or an employee.