If you’re a loyal reader of this column, it’s no secret to you how often the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce is seen as something akin to the mayor’s office. Folks come in or phone us every day asking us to handle situations we have no jurisdiction over. Their neighbor watered their lawn too often or their trash wasn’t picked up on the correct day. Lately they’re ticked about all of the candidate signs in the median of Highway 674. Sigh.
So, this year we decided to have a little fun with this situation and hold an honorary mayor’s race for Sun City Center. Three very capable contenders literally threw their hats into the ring at our June Business After Hours at The Alley in Riverview, and for the past six weeks they’ve been “campaigning” by holding fundraisers for their favorite charities. The campaign ended last Friday, Aug. 15. Every dollar collected equals one vote, so they literally bought the election.
The candidate who raised the most money for their charity of choice will be our honorary mayor for a year. Who won? I can’t tell you yet. The winner will be announced at tomorrow’s membership luncheon. For the next 12 months he or she will be a celebrity at all chamber events and several community events.
But I can tell you who ran.
Our first candidate, Rosie Korfant, activities coordinator for JSA Medical, selected the Good Samaritan Mission as her charity of choice. Rosie hosted a series of events, including a salsa dance party with a nationally known instructor. She followed that up with a line dance party that was well-attended, as well. Then she hosted a sock hop with DJ Hal Jeffrey and an art exhibit at the JSA Medical Center.
Suzie Vong, owner of The World of Suzie Vong Salon, chose the education fund of the American Business Women’s Association and the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital as her charities. Her events included two dinner shows featuring local vocalist Ellen Kleinschmidt, one at Prince of Peace Catholic Church and the other at St. Anne Catholic Church in Ruskin. Both events featured a silent auction, 50/50 raffle and speakers representing the charities.
And finally our third candidate, Chief Bob Powers of the Sun City Center Security Patrol, chose the Alzheimer’s Association as his charity. Bob held a golf tournament as his big fundraiser. PGA Tour professional Jim Nelford was on hand for a free clinic and Kate Wentzel from Channel 10 was a celebrity golfer.
Three great candidates, several great causes. We thank all of you who supported our three candidates, and we know their charities are also grateful. The suspense will be over tomorrow when we crown (yes, we do have one) the winner.
But in the end, the charities and the chamber are also winners, thanks to these three local heroes.
Dana Dittmar is the CEO of the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce.