Denise McLothlin, a nurse practioner with the Lehigh Medical Group, which includes Lehigh Regional Medical Center, has become only the second person to sign up so far for the honorary mayor's race which raises funds for a person's or group's favorite charity and for the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce.
The hospital and medical group is the sponsor of McLothlin's entry into the race.
The person who becomes honorary mayor of Lehigh raises money through various ways and gives Lehigh residents the opportunity to support a charity and the chamber of commerce.
McLothlin, 44, is also associated with the offices of Dr. Michael Tucker, a part of the Lehigh Medical Group.
Originally from Boston, McLothlin has lived in Lehigh since 2011 and is well-known and liked by her many patients that some weeks can be as many as 80 to 120 people.
"Since I have moved to Lehigh, I have found this a great community and I am happy to represent it and raise money for my favorite charity and for the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce, McLothin said.
Her 13-year-old son, a middle school student in Lehigh, said it was "pretty cool" that his mother could become the next mayor of Lehigh.
The community is not incorporated so therefore there is no legal mayor. But many years ago, Lehigh Community Services, initiated the program of honorary mayor as a way to help the community's help agency and to have a person represent Lehigh at ceremonial events.
Inke Baker, interim president and CEO of the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce says it is a good way to meet other members of the chamber and become involved with the community.
"The honorary mayor will represent the Lehigh Acres community at ribbon cuttings and at ground breakings and at the same time help their favorite charity and the chamber.
While in past year, the honorary mayor contest began on January 1, this year Baker said in a news release that the competition begins on February. That gives contestants much less time to raise money.
The winner of the honorary mayor contest is announced usually on the last Friday night of the Lehigh Spring Festival. Up until that time, nobody knows how much a candidate has collected, except for Baker at the chamber. A big ceremony is held with a giant check presentation to the chamber on the outside stage of the Spring Festival, which is scheduled usually during the third week of March. By announcing the winner on Friday night prior to th e Saturday parade, it gives contestants time to raise money.
Baker said the person who raises the most money by March 21 will be declared the honorary mayor of Lehigh Acres. The person with the second highest donations raised will be declared the honorary deputy mayor of Lehigh Acres, and the person with the third highest amount will be declared the honorary city clerk of Lehigh Acres. If the honorary mayor has to resign during the year or move away, then the deputy mayor automatically becomes the honorary mayor.
The first person to enter the race this year was the present honorary mayor, Ahmed El-Gendy.
"I wanted to give a second try," El-Gendy said. "Collecting money for Lehigh is a good thing to do."
Previous mayors has boasted that to become "mayor," you have to buy votes, a far cry from electing a legal mayor if Lehigh was incorporated. Contestants in the past have held several programs to raise money. In some years, the totals were several thousands of dollars that was raised. This is the second year for the chamber to sponsor the mayoral contest as a way to help raise money for the community.
Charlotte Ray Nicely, who ran the contest for Lehigh Community Services, handed over the reins to the honorary mayor contest two years ago as a way to help the chamber.
This second entry, Ms McLothin has three capital letters after name. She is Denise McLothlin, ARNP, which stands for advanced registered nurse practioner. In such a position, she works directly under the supervision of Dr. Michael Tucker. And she visits nursing homes and is able to prescribe prescriptions and examine patients.
She is formerly from Leesburg, Fla., and said the office personnel and the hospital asked her to fun and she was more than glad to accept the invitation.
She said she will more than ilkley sell raffle tickets since the festival is so close. She may have other events and if so, she will announced them in The Citizen in weeks ahead in the Of Special Note section.
If you would like to contribute, you can contact her at Tucker's office.
For others who would like to enter the race, there is a nominal fee and an application to fill out.
Chamber Interim CEO Baker applicants can review the rules by visiting the chamber's website at www.LehighAcresChamber.org or contact the chamber at 239-369-3322.
The winner of the honorary mayor's race will ride in the gala parade down Homestead Rd. on the final Saturday of the nine-day long festival.
"Let's get as many people involved as we can. It is a great way to raise money for your charity and to help the chamber," Baker said.