Osman Gruhonjic, an executive at Lehigh Regional Medical Center, is the new honorary mayor of Lehigh Acres after it was announced Friday night at the Lehigh Spring Festival that he had raised the most money in the race for the spot.
Runner-up was the incumbent honorary mayor, Ahmed El-Gendy, who was seeking his third term as honorary mayor.
Inke Baker, president and CEO of the sponsoring Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce, put a sash around his neck and made the announcement to a large crowd at the festival.
Gruhonjic raised $13,778, half of which will go to the chamber and the remainder being split between the American Cancer Society and Lehigh Community Services. El-Gendy said the other half of the $7,135 that he raised would be split with the Lung Institute and the Harvest Gardens, a project at Mirror Lakes in in which food is raised by volunteers for the needy.
With the numbers announced, the chamber will receive just short of around $10,000.
Baker said the chamber appreciated the funds raised by the two men who ran for the honorary mayor's title for 2014. And Rae Nicely, CEO and executive director for Lehigh Community Services, said her agency also appreciated funds it received from both men.
Osman Gruhonjic, who is the CFO at Lehigh Regional Medical Center, and Ahmed El-Gendy, the technical director at Florida Lung & Associates, held events and asked for money in their bid to gain the title. The two area also good friends.
The honorary mayor's race is almost as old as the Spring Festival itself. The festival was dedicated this year to the late Jim Phebus, who died a month ago. He had served two terms as honorary mayor.
As runner-up, El-Gendy becomes deputy honorary mayor, and would become honorary mayor again if Gruhonjic moved away and gave up the title.