A fitting tribute for Pat Glass
Tuesday I was fortunate to attend the ceremony at which the commission chambers were designated “The Honorable Patricia M. Glass Chambers.” This action was entirely appropriate and well deserved. Pat influenced and positively affected many lives as attested by all who spoke about their heartfelt recollections of Pat, her kindness, caring, savvy and effective leadership. Rarely does one person embody all the most wonderful traits of a well-lived life in such a humble and unassuming way. Like many who call Pat a friend and colleague in this business of government and life, she influenced and mentored me and extended true friendship in a way that is treasured in my life and my heart. My wife Debbie and I love Pat, Hank and their entire wonderful family.
But, as I sat in the chambers reflecting on 37 years of acquaintance with Pat, I thought also of all the lives affected by Pat in our community for people who did not know her or even understand the myriad of accomplishments and effective outreach chronicled in the long resolution unanimously and affectionately adopted by our Board of County Commissioners. I was reminded of Frank Capra’s inspirational movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” where George Bailey is shown by his angel what Bedford Falls would be like had George not been born. For those familiar with the movie it plainly illustrates that George Bailey, in the daily act of giving unselfishly to his community and living a loving life devoted to his family and friends, had a monumental effect on Bedford Falls and its citizens. And so it is true of Pat Glass. If through the magic of the movies we could see Manatee County today without the influence of Pat Glass, it would not be as wonderful as it truly is.
Of course, Pat would be the first to say that accomplishing good works is a team effort, and this is clearly true. But, great ideas are originated, inspired, nurtured, and implemented by the patient and confident leadership of properly motivated individuals in a position of authority, and those who have earned the gravitas necessary to inspire collective decision-making by a body as diverse as the county commission over a period as long as 30 years. Pat Glass is that person and we all are blessed by her commitment to us and our community. As only one person, but supported by an army of friends and citizens that do and have called Manatee County home, I say “Thank you Pat Glass. May God bless you and keep you always.”
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Girl Scouts empowers girls
Girl Scouts has not only brought me countless skills and experiences over the past 11 years, but it has also given me the opportunity to create my tightest friendships, namely the bonds with my younger sisters.
My name is Grace Townsend, I am 17 years old, and I am a Gold Award Girl Scout. I received my Gold Award this past spring on the same stage that my sisters Olivia and Hannah earned their Silver and Bronze Awards, respectively.
The months before the ceremony, my sisters and I were busy volunteering at nursing homes, writing a book, exploring aquariums, and teaching classes. Through Girl Scouts, we were able to achieve awards and experience these adventures. In the past we have cleaned up beaches, laid wreaths for veterans, attended and worked summer camps, planted a garden, fixed a car, slept over at SeaWorld, scaled Treeumph, had a fashion show, won a bake-off, competed in races, rode horses, learned knots and first aid, been on the news, spoke to entire baseball stadiums, and lived the Girl Scout Promise and Law in our day-to-day lives.
Through our Girl Scout endeavors, my sisters and I have grown closer in our teenage years, a time where many siblings are known to grow apart. I met my best friend through Girl Scouts,. Ashley Manevitch, whose mother played a big role in our semi-annual delegate meetings.
I would encourage any girl, no matter her age, to join Girl Scouts so they can have the experiences I have had. There are so many things to see and do. The world is a large place, and there are thousands of sisters across the globe waiting for you. Oh, what a girl can do.
Listen to the voters
As members of the Manatee/Sarasota contingent of the Florida House reflect on their electoral victories and contemplate the next session, I hope they recognize that, throughout the country and our region, the voters sent strong messages about what they want from their representatives.
People voted for individuals who vowed to protect health care and coverage of pre-existing conditions, safeguard the environment, improve economic equality and invest in education. They rejected candidates who were disrespectful of women’s rights, minorities, members of the LGBTQ community and immigrants coming to the U.S. to escape persecution in their home countries. We voted for people who demonstrated a willingness to seriously address gun violence.
I hope they will recognize that they are our representatives. We entrust them to fight for the issues that are important to us.
Playing party politics and reverting to old positions would be violations of our trust. Prioritizing legislation that voters have clearly said they don’t support (limiting access to safe and affordable reproductive health care, including abortions, advocating for private charter schools, making guns easier to access) would be a dereliction of duty.
They have a choice. They can advocate for the people they should be honored to serve, or they can hew to the old party platforms and insult those who voted them into office.
Whatever they decide, two years is not a long time. Voters will remember how their actions the next time their names appear on a ballot.