- March 4, 2019
A community of stars — that's what the Rotary Club of Palm Coast sees the city as. For the first time, 11 community stars were honored for their work in different categories, including making a difference, volunteering, public service, education, being an entrepreneur and advocating for seniors. Fifteen people were nominated by members of the public for this year's stars, and a selection committee in Rotary Club chose 11.
“We were looking for individuals that have impacted our community — many of them with what they do day to day, some during a crisis like when Irma hit. … We recognized public service because they need to be recognized,” Rotary Club of Palm Coast President Kim Carney said.
About 100 people attended the awards ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Palm Coast Community Center to recognize the community stars.
Nominations are already open for next year's community stars, Carney said. To make nominations, visit http://www.palmcoastrotary.org or email request to [email protected]. Call 846-5493 for more information.
In 2012, as a Flagler County Commissioner, Nate McLaughlin led the way for a well house to be built at the Hidden Trails Community Center in Daytona North. After Hurricane Irma in 2017, he again converted the center to a place where residents could obtain food, water, cleaning supplies and help from FEMA and County Social Services for victims of the flooding in the area.
Immediately after Hurricane Irma, Mary Louk took on the task of organizing a distribution center where community residents in Flagler Beach who experienced flooding or other destruction to their homes could go and obtain food, cleaning supplies and other necessities at no cost. She is always available to provide assistance to people, including through the Flagler Woman’s Club.
Rough times fell on Anthony Wild nearly 15 years ago when he was diagnosed with cancer. Now in remission, he spends much of his time paying it forward through the Kids Rock the Nation foundation he created, which gifts music to youth in communities across America.
Kate Sturman is the Flagler Schools 2018 Teacher of the Year. She has taught in Flagler County since 2005, teaching second, fifth and sixth grade. She is involved in her community serving as a Running Club volunteer, Little League Baseball coach and team mom, Upward Basketball coach and AYSO Soccer coach.
Detective Ausin Yelvington was assigned to the Flagler Beach Detective Division in March 2018. In the six-month time frame, he has increased the federal Uniform Crime Report clearance rate from 19% to 39.6% — a monumental task for any criminal justice agency but even more of an incredible feat for a small agency of only 16 people.
Bebe Kelly joined Home Instead Senior Care after working with seniors at a couple of facilities in Flagler County. She quickly became a community educator and Certified Dementia Practitioner, as she knew the need for education and awareness in our community when it came to Alzheimer’s disease and caregiver support.
Brandi Fowler’s idea of starting a Clothing Foundation turned into a reality in 2012 when she decided to use her fashion expertise and turn it into a way to promote self-esteem for women and their families by founding Emmanuel’s Closet. The nonprofit provides complimentary clothing and other necessities to children, single parents, families, seniors and homeless men and women in Flagler County.
Trent Schake was a founding pastor of Epic Church in 2009. In his role, he helped launch 3G Sunday in 2013 to bring hope to the community because all people matter. In 2013, 250 volunteers served on 13 community-wide projects, and this year, the church anticipates having over 550 volunteers to serve on 32 different projects throughout the county.
Every spring and fall, you might have seen some Women United Flagler members standing outside of Publix in bright pink “Chicks with Cans” shirts for their biannual Chicks with Cans food drive. In 2017, the group donated just shy of 13,000 pounds of food to Flagler families. Over the last 10 years, Women United has also issued over $160,000 in grants to various Flagler County agencies, including Samaritan Ministries, Project WARM, Flagler County Education Foundation, Family Life Center and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.
Deputy Robert Tarczewski is called “Taz.” For five of his eight years with the Flagler County Shierff’s Office, he’s been assigned to the K-9 Unit. K-9 Tag, an 8-year-old German Shepherd, replaced his prior partner who retired in 2016.
For the past eight years, Tom Grimes has served as a Board member of the Flagler Chamber of Commerce. He has also been a member of Flagler/Palm Coast Kiwanis Club for nine years. As the general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn of Palm Coast, he works with local organizations to assist them in many ways, such as when he and his staff raised money to provide handicapped beach wheelchairs for the city of Flagler Beach. He is retiring at the end of the year.