SWFL Stronger Together Campaign Raises $1 Million to Combat COVID-19

Lee Health_National Nurses Week Proclamation at BOCCLee Health and NCH Healthcare System (NCH) recently launched the “SWFL Stronger Together” campaign, a collaboration to raise funds and support for the regional effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Cape Coral Auxiliary, Gulf Coast Medical Center Auxiliary and Lee Memorial Auxiliary were the first to answer the call, all generously giving $50,000 each for a combined $150,000 donation.

The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation also joined the fight against COVID-19, donating $40,000 to the campaign. Bank of America has contributed $75,000.

On the frontline of the crisis serving the community and collaborating on all fronts, Lee Health and NCH are sharing policies, action plans and media updates, coordinating outreach efforts, working together to re-open surgeries, and conducting ongoing training for team members.

Generous donations and in-kind support from community partners — including technology, personal protective equipment, care packages and meals to feed healthcare heroes — have surpassed $1 million in total contributions through the “SWFL Stronger Together” campaign. The need for supportive funding continues to evolve as the healthcare systems and professionals look to manage the changing landscape of the crisis.

For more information or to make an online donation to SWFL Stronger Together, visit SWFLtogether.org.

Estero Mayor Bill Ribble Receives 2020 Home Rule Hero Award

Bill Ribble at Council chambersThe Florida League of Cities (FLC) has recognized Mayor Bill Ribble with a 2020 Home Rule Hero Award. Ribble earned this prestigious award for promoting “local voices making local choices,” protecting the Home Rule powers of Florida’s municipalities and advancing the FLC’s agenda throughout the 2020 legislative session.

Home Rule is the ability for a city to address local problems with local solutions with minimal state interference. Home Rule Hero Award recipients are local government officials who consistently responded to the league’s request to reach out to members of the legislature and help give a local perspective on an issue. This is the third consecutive year Ribble has been honored with this award. 

Young Inventor Does It Again!

Hayden Fuller with his handicap parking alarm inventionHayden Fuller, who was featured in Estero Life Magazine (April 2019) for his invention of the Life Pod, has won the regional/state inventors fair again this year with his invention of the Sentry Handicap Parking Alarm System, which monitors and alerts violators of handicap parking spaces using ultrasonic sensors and RFID technology.

“His motivation for this invention was created when we pulled into a Publix, and he saw a Ferrari parked in a handicap space. He watched the man get out of the vehicle and walk into the store perfectly healthy—he had no tag or plaque,” says Hayden’s mother, Tonya Johnson. “This really angered Hayden as he felt bad for the truly handicapped person that would now have to park far away. The humanitarian nature of his inventions are inspiring.”

Hayden’s newest invention heads to the National Invention Convention, judged virtually by the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit. Hayden is a resident of Miromar Lakes and a student at Seacrest Country Day School.

Estero High Artist Takes Top Honors in ‘The Future of Art’ Exhibit

Tyler the Creator drawing by Kimberly SarabiaFor the 28th year, Alliance for the Arts has partnered with Lee Arts Educators Association (LAEA) to celebrate the accomplishments of high school artists in a variety of mediums. Estero High School graduating senior Kimberly Sarabia captured first place in the Black-and-White Drawing category with her entry, “Tyler the Creator.” Sarabia also took second place in the painting category with “Honey Bees.” Another Estero High senior, Madeline Kellum, was awarded third place in the Functional Ceramics category.

The Future of Art: High School Exhibit — sponsored by Florida SouthWestern State College — may be viewed online at www.artinlee.org.

Louisville Slugger Warriors Honors Two Graduating Scholar-Athletes

Louisville Slugger founder David Van Sleet with honored seniors Lauren Hobbs and Ashlee LykinsLouisville Slugger Warriors, a nonprofit, amputee baseball team founded by Estero resident David Van Sleet, treated two high school graduates to special events designed to celebrate their accomplishments during a time when milestones like prom, senior trips and traditional graduation ceremonies have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lauren Hobbs, of Estero High School, and Ashlee Lykins, of Naples high School, were selected as model students who excelled both academically and athletically. They were treated to a full day of surprise celebrations on May 30 including a senior class event on the Gulf, manicures, and a private “prom” and “graduation” ceremony at the Trianon Bonita Bay, all documented by a professional photographer.

“This special day for these two young ladies will never replace their historic senior year activities, but it will definitely be the next best thing,” said Van Sleet.

FGCU Partners with Community for Estero Bay Clean Up

Project Clean Up

 In a collaborative effort between the Estero Council of Community Leaders (ECCL), Florida Gulf Coast University and Bay Water Boat Club, a group of boaters departed from FGCU’s Vester Marine & Environmental Science Research Field Station on Feb. 23, carrying 43 volunteers, on a special mission to clean up the waters of Estero Bay. More than 150 pounds of discarded debris and waste materials were collected. This first-time initiative was deemed an outstanding success, and plans for similar projects are being developed, possibly on a bi-annual basis.

“The growth potential for this type of undertaking is exciting and demonstrates the interest and dedication of the community to address environmental issues related to our waters,” said Mike Parsons, FGCU professor of Marine Science and director of the Coastal Watershed Institute. “FGCU is pleased to offer the continuing support of the Marine Sciences Department for future events of this nature.”

Lee County Schools Foundation Names Lee Health ‘2020 Business Partner of the Year’

STEM@Work Coconut PointThe Foundation for Lee County Public Schools announced Lee Health as 2020 Business Partner of Year at the 29th Partners in Education–State of Our Schools event held virtually on May 29. This award recognizes the support Lee Health has given the foundation and the School District of Lee County for over 30 years.

Lee Health supports the foundation’s College and Career Initiatives, such as hosting the STEM@Work Kick-Off this year at Coconut Point. Additionally, Lee Health is the major sponsor of the Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program and strongly supports the Take Stock in Children scholarships/mentoring program. Lee Health also provides internships for school district students and supports teachers by donating supplies.

“We are proud of the programs we have established with the foundation, including providing athletic trainers for high school sports programs, supplying automated external defibrillators in elementary and middle schools, and developing outreach programs with our injury prevention experts and mental health navigators,” said Dr. Larry Antonucci, Lee Health president & CEO. “Lee Health has a long-standing partnership with the foundation, and we look forward to continuing the journey for many years to come.”