December 1, 2020 Newsletter
Dear Friends,
First, I would like to wish everyone a special holiday this month, however you celebrate. The best part of being a Friendship Force member is the diversity that we share and the ability to get along so well despite our various traditions and beliefs. Thank you to those who joined us at the Botanical Gardens for our November meeting. Wasn’t it wonderful to see faces of those we care so much about for the first time after all these months?

Now you have another opportunity to participate in an outing. Our Holiday Party will be Saturday, December 5th at 12 noon. We will meet at Shelter 3 in Eagle Lake Park. There are many tables there so we will surely be able to spread out. Bring a chair if you would like more safety. For those who ordered a box lunch, put together by Anne Burnham and Guenter Manczur, your food will be ready for you. If you didn’t order, but would still like to participate, please bring your own treats. Remember, you need to bring your own drink. Gena and I have put some fun activities together to help make your day more fun. It has been an inspiration to see how many members rejoined our club and who carry the faith that even though travel is out of the question right now, we still need to carry out the FF mission of being a friend to the people of the world.

Speaking of friendship to others, we have a special project right now. As you know, in the summer of 2019, a group of people, many our members, went to Romania to build a four-family complex with the help of Habitat For Humanity. Because of COVID-19, other groups have not been able to go to Romania to complete the project. They have a desperate need to raise the roof ,and you will read more about that in this newsletter. Won’t you please consider this project, especially when you are gift giving this holiday season. Any size donation will be so appreciated. Please send any donation to me or our club treasurer, Teresa Farr-Klinger. Make your check payable to FF Florida Suncoast, and we will send a final check from our club to those in charge of this project in Romania. Every little bit will be appreciated. Let’s Raise the Roof.  

We are waiting to hear from St. Petersburg College to find out when we can return to our favorite meeting room at the college. We will share the information with you about upcoming meetings as soon as we know what is available.  We are still looking forward to our Montana sister club coming in April. Karen Sherrets has been spending a lot of time, putting that Journey together. Bill and I have signed up for the Friendship Force cruise to Norway, Iceland, and Scotland happening in August 2021. I know that some of you have also signed up for this event.  We are waiting to hear what countries FFI have assigned us for 2022.  Please let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions. Please keep safe and healthy.

Your friend, Jane Lee
FF-FS President
Let's Raise The Roof!
by Marilyn Whelan

In 2019, Chuck and Betty Oldanie of our club led a group of 13 Friendship Force Ambassadors to Moinesti, Romania to participate in a Habitat Global Village Build of a four-family building for four very deserving families. We met two of these families, and their situation was needy indeed. They were so grateful and so excited. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, we were the last group able to travel, and work was halted before the roof was built. The prospect of winter and expected snow created a desperate and urgent situation to raise the roof as soon as possible, so the families could move in.

Habitat Romania quoted the cost of materials for completing the roof at $4,500. However, since the roof needed to be completed by contractors, instead of volunteers, cost of labor quoted for installation will be an additional $1,000, so a total of $5,500 was needed. The executive leadership of Habitat International in Romania agreed to have the roof installed on the quadraplex during the first part of Dec. 2020, if the money was received by early November. One of our Friendship Force members who was on this build generously agreed to send this money, and this has been done.

It is our hope that we can raise the money to reimburse our donor
and give hope to these four families.

Please consider this project when you are gift giving this holiday season. Any size donation will be much appreciated. Make your check payable to FF Florida Suncoast, and we will send a final check from our club to those in charge of this project in Romania. Every little bit will be appreciated. LET’S RAISE THE ROOF!
Your donation to help can be sent to our treasurer, Teresa Klinger. 8318 78th Avenue N, Seminole, FL 33777.
If You Are Coming to the Holiday Picnic,
Don't Forget Underwear & Toys for the Kids
We are collecting new socks and underwear for the organization Clothes for Kids, and they will be distributed at the north and south county stores where children come to get gently used clothes for school. You can also donate new underwear and socks for high school students.
Catherine and John Conover have been approved to accept toys for the Marine Corps Toys For Tots program. Toys are distributed to needy children, and there are so many this year. If you care to participate, the toys are for children ages 0 to 12. All toys must be new and unwrapped. Bring them to our Holiday party.
If you are not attending the Holiday Picnic but still want to donate,
contact Geri Espy to make arrangements. Click here to email Geri.
Please Welcome Our New Members
Joanne Osburn is a returning member who is moving back to the area and is looking forward to becoming active again.
Marilyn Pashkowsky lives in Clearwater and was introduced to FFI by Gena Cameron.
Michael & Thresia Lee live in Spring Hill and are the son and daughter-in-law of Bill and Jane Lee
Do You Know Our Mystery Member?

This Mystery Member was born into a traveling (military) family. His first home was in the Centennial State, but he has also lived in the Bluegrass State, the Old Dominion, the Peach State, and the Grand Canyon State. As for overseas homes, he has lived in Asia and Europe as well. Quite a life before he went off to university!

His journeys eventually led him through the Golden State and on to the Evergreen State where he enjoyed a life full of exciting activities and challenging engineering assignments. Some of those assignments led to travel in India, South America, Europe, even New Zealand. And for vacations, he traveled even more, often seeking skiing, kayaking, or hiking adventures. When he retired, there was more time for those wonderful fun activities, but also time for MORE travel! He was off to Egypt, Australia, the Galapagos Islands/Ecuador, Greece, Tanzania, Bhutan/India, and some repeat visits to countries he had visited before.

He met a very nice woman along the way who helped him make a seasonal home in the Sunshine State. Whew! Did the guy ever find time to relax? Nope...THEY were off to Southern Africa, South America, Russia, and more European countries. It just never seemed to stop...until COVID-19. Now he sits back in his easy chair, looking at the beach...or the mountains...or the forest...or reading a book. Life will spin up again, and he will keep spinning with it. Who Is He?
Meet Ken Weiss
A member profile by Sue Olnick

Sports have always played an important role in Ken’s life; he tried working a desk job when he finished high school, but quickly decided he wanted to be outside. He left his job at the Bank of Manhattan and worked several jobs while trying to find his way, and it happened during a church softball game where a friend convinced him to go to college in Tampa and major in Physical Education.

Ken found his calling and taught P.E. and coached track and field for 37 years. He had the pleasure of coaching an Olympian and seven students who went on to the NFL. Ken has been named to three Track and Field Halls of Fame, and was a Master Official at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Trials. Today, when he isn’t traveling, Ken can be found on the golf course or at the Y. Ken combines his love of sports and travel by attending the Summer Olympics, seven so far. While at the Montreal Olympics, Ken learned about collecting national Olympic pins and has gone all in on that hobby. He now trades and sells pins which help pay for his trips.

Ken and his wife Gini, who recently passed away, traveled to 50 countries, all 50 states and seven continents. He has several trips planned for next summer; he will join a group to golf in Ireland. Ken is also going to the Olympic trials in Eugene, OR, and then he’s off to Tokyo a few weeks later for the Summer Olympics.
Our Scavenger Hunt at Botanical Gardens - Nov 21st
More than 30 members and friends of FF-FS spent the afternoon searching for and photographing a variety of items that could be found at the Botanical Gardens in Largo. It was a beautiful, safe outdoor location to spend time with friends whom we haven’t seen in person for several months as well as meet new friends. We had the opportunity to celebrate Ann Scott’s birthday with her, and it was very nice to be a part of a “normal” experience.
Sue Olnick Is Our New Newsletter Editor
By Sandy Gourdine

Clap your hands and thank the heavens! After four years of doing the newsletter, I've passed the baton to the very able Sue Olnick who will take over the newsletter editor position in January. In addition to her professional background in communications, Sue has been a major contributor to our newsletter this past year with articles, interviews, grammar checks and proofreading. Now it's my turn to assist Sue, as I plan to help her in the transition and contribute articles for her consideration. My thanks for everyone's support, especially Sue!
Newsletter Guidelines

We now have guidelines for our newsletter that were recently approved by the Board. The guidelines deal with what is appropriate content, the approval process, and member privacy.

Members must provide written notification to the editor if his/her image should not be used in our newsletter, directory, website, Facebook, etc.

My Travel to St. Croix
by Ann Scott

In 2019, A friend and I met in Christiansted, St. Croix for a week’s stay at an AirBNB there. Some of the highlights of our trip were snorkeling at Buck Island, a wonderful tour of the island to visit Port Udall, most eastern point and Y2K monument/sundial, Salt Bay where Christopher Columbus landed, Cave Bay with beautiful beaches, the rain forest, and The Peltier Hut/Domino Club were I fed a huge pig a can of beer. Fredericksted had lovely beaches but not much else.  There were remains of a huge refinery, which is being rebuilt.  I loved the statues of three women who used mongooses to carry burning rags to burn downtown to protest the U.S. buying St. Croix from Denmark in 1717. We drove around a lovely lagoon, picked papaya and got to taste soursop. One day we saw a costumed dog show in Christiansted at a charity event; so cute; then took a boat to Hotel on the Cay where we saw the fort, and then had a fabulous dinner in the courtyard of a French restaurant. The day before we left, we took a cab to the Botanical Gardens, which were beautiful. Click here to email Ann.
The New Seven Wonders of the World
In 2007, over 100 million voted to declare the new seven wonders and top destinations in the world. Check out the video to see how many you have visited. What's remaining on your bucket list? Click button below to email Sandy and share your bucket list for the January newsletter.

Jane Lee
Marilyn Whelan
Betty Oldanie 
Teresa Farr-Klinger
Connie DuBois
Gena Cameron
Board Members

Geri Espy
Sue Olnick
Art Worth

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