Three people have been honored by the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce during its first regularly monthly scheduled luncheon for 2014 held Feb. 25 at the Hut restaurant in Buckingham.
Framed citations recognizing each of the three were presented by Inke Baker, president and CEO of the Lehigh chamber and by the Lee County Sheriff's East Zone Office.
One of the most anticipated awards each month is the Deputy Sheriff of the Month and it was presented to Deputy Chester Izydorczak.
Chamber Employee of the Month is Mike Cook of the East County Water Control District, shown at right. At left is Inke Baker, chamber president and CEO. In the middle is David Lindsay, executive director of the East County Water Control District who nominated Cook for saving the district money in a sleeving project.
Lt. Paul Cummins said Izydorczak was honored for saving the life of a Lehigh woman after an emergency call to the Sheriff's Office on Feb. 15, just after 5 p.m.
The medical assistance call was at on Naples Ave. where Izydorczak found a 60-year-old man performing CPR on a 50-year-old woman.
She was unresponsive and had vomit coming from her mouth.
Izydorczak noticed that the man was exhausted and couldn't continue CPR efforts so he took over. He noticed there was no pulse, but he immediately started CPR and cleared the woman's airway, Cummins said.
Moments later the woman regained labored breathing with a faint pulse. She was monitored until the arrival of the EMS from the Lehigh Acres Fire and Rescue Department. She was taken to the hospital for treatment.
"Deputy Izydorczak's quick response and immediate medical care saved the woman's life," Cummins said.
The Employee of the Month Award went to Michael S. Cook of the East County Water Control District.
Cook was nominated for his out-of-the-box, cost-saving idea that not only saved taxpayers money, but time.
According to David Lindsay, the District's manager, a construction project recently took place in-house to repair a failing culvert located in the busy intersection of Homestead Rd. and Beth Stacy Blvd. over Wedgewood Canal.A story appeared in The Lehigh Acres Citizen on February 12 and can also be seen online at Lehighacrescitizen.com. It described the "Project Screening" work by the East County Water Control District.
David Lindsay said Cook has researched and presented an alternative sleeving process that is less invasive and would achieve comparable results without the need for additional road closures.
The sleeving project was done in house for approximately $30,000 where a complete replacement for this type of structure by a contractor would have cost between $125,000 and $175,000, Lindsay said.
The sleeving replacement project has an expected lifespan of 50 to 75 years, which is comparable to that of a complete replacement.
"Michael Cook spent a considerable amount of time coordinating and assisting with the project," Lindsay said.
Chamber President Inke Baker said the award was made in recognition of his dedication to the Lehigh Acres community as well as to the chamber.
The member of the Month Award went to Andrea Adams of the Lee County Sheriff's Office in Lehigh.
Inke Baker made the presentation and said Andrea Adams is involved in several organizations in the community.
"She spearheaded the 'Make A difference Day' and helped coordinate several other events. Andrea's involvement in Lehigh connects the Lee County Sheriff's Office closer to the residents and helps make Lehigh Acres a better place," Baker said.
The support and cooperation the chamber receives from the Lee County Sheriff's Office is outstanding and the partnership between these two organizations makes it easier for the chamber to fulfill its mission statement," Baker said.
Joe Pearson, a past president of the chamber and owner of Revolutionary Fitness 360, spoke in place of a scheduled speaker who was unable to show up.
Pearson talked about the gardens he and others have developed to produce food for Lehigh Community Services and several churches in Lehigh. He explained that the small plot has expanded now to several acres and that tropical plantings are for sale at below retail prices. Lehigh Community Services gives the produce to those in need in Lehigh as do several of the churches.
Pearson said several businesses and people in the community were helping to tend to the gardens which produce lots of food. It's located on Mirror Lakes Drive.
Pearson is there every morning from 7 or 8 to noon. Others help to man the project and anyone who wants to volunteer or grow a garden there is welcome to do so.
"We did okay with the frost. It only hurt one of our smaller crops. We have our strawberries coming off now and they are big and luscious. Just last week, the Sheriff's Office brought several young people to see the operation and they really enjoyed it," Pearson said.
When asked by someone in the chamber audience if they used insect sprays on the plants, Pearson said no. He explained that natural plants are situated in the gardens that repel many types of bugs and other small animals such as mice and other small animals that like to eat produce. He also said they are growing all types of herbs.
The land, near the golf course's second hole, is being donated by the golf club.
"We're very excited about this. You read about how many believe cancer comes from the pesticides that are used on commercial plantings. We don't do that here. We have been recognized state-wide and our plans are being talked about now across the country," Pearson said.
"It's a great thing to see. We are decorating the entrance with fountains and other things. Come on out and see us and if you want to help, we'll show you what you can do," he laughed.