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Two honored by Lehigh Chamber

April 2, 2014
By MEL TOADVINE ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

A Lee County sheriff's deputy, working on her own time to solve a suspected crime, and an employee of State Farm Goodlad Insurance Agency, who was honored for working tirelessly at her job, have been honored by the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce.

The two were guests of the monthly chamber luncheon held at The Hut restaurant in Buckingham on March 25.

The deputy, Jamie Najarro, was honored because of the work she did after it had been reported that a child abduction had taken place in Lehigh in mid-February.

Article Photos

Detective Jamie Najarro, center, was honored last week as the Deputy Sheriff of the Month at the Greater Lehigh Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon. At left is Lt. Paul Cummins, and at right is Capt. Todd Garrison.

Lt. Paul Cummins, second in command at the East District sheriff's office in Lehigh said the call came in with initial information that a young child had been abducted while walking to a school bus top.

During the investigation, a suspect and suspect vehicle description was developed and upon learning of the information, Deputy Najarro took the initiative and researched the suspect and suspect vehicle while off duty.

She was able to match the information from the child abduction case to a field interview card that had been completed at an earlier date in the same area.

Cummins said that with this information, detectives from Major Crimes were able to track the vehicle down and make contact with the vehicle owner.

He said the owner explained to detectives that he in fact had picked up the child after she had flagged him down, believing she was lost or needed help.

Based upon the totality of the information learned during the investigation it was determined that no crime had been committed.

Detective Najarro's dedication to duty and attention to detail in working the case was instrumental in putting the pieces of the puzzle together, Cummins said. On hand was Capt. Todd Garrison, commander of the East District in Lehigh.

Theresa Goodlad, the owner of State Farm Goodlad Insurance Agency Inc., nominated Mary Beck as the chamber's Employee of the month for March.

Inke Baker, president and CEO of the Lehigh chamber, who presented the award, said Beck had been nominated because she works tirelessly at her job and does tons of extra work with non-profits such as Lehigh Community Services, and some of the schools.

"She is organized, enthusiastic, and kind-hearted. Mary Beck strives for perfection, but understands the ramifications and logistics of events," Baker said.

Her fundraising skills are an asset for any program she tackles, said Theresa Goodlad, who made the nomination.

Beck was Lehigh Community Service's golf scramble co-chairman in 2013 and kept the whole team on course, Baker said.

Any firm in Lehigh can nominate an outstanding employee for recognition by the chamber. To do so, call Inke Baker at 369-3322.

Warren Baucon, business assistant at the Lee County economic Development Office in Fort Myers, spoke about economic development in Lee County, explaining how his office works with potential employers and those who want to open a business in the county.

Baucon said his department listens to the concerns and desires of different business potentials and then shows them properties throughout the county.

He talked about recent moves of different firms to the county, stressing that each had specific demographics in mind. One such firm, he said had chosen Lehigh for its rural setting, closeness to the airport and for its close distance to the Interstate. The firm employs 40 people who mostly live in Lehigh Acres, he said. Over the past year and a half, he said the Office of Economic Development was able to bring two firms to Lehigh

Brent Kettler, business intelligence and technical manager with Lee County Economic Development Office had planned to speak, but at the last minute had to be at another meeting.

Baker told the large group at the luncheon that on Saturday, April 26 the Florida Lung & Sleep Associates at 2625 Lee Blvd. in Lehigh would hold LA Earth and Shredder Day.

She said the paper shredder is for private and business firms and it will cost $5 per office or file box. There will be a medicine drop box by the Lee county Sheriff's Office on Homestead Rd. The shredding takes place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and Baker said someone will even remove the boxes from your vehicle for shredding.

She reminded the group of the Relay for Life program at Veterans Park on April 4 and 5, an overnight program to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Also, on May 3, the chamber will hold its Kentucky Derby Party at the Majestic Golf Club. The fun starts at 4 p.m. and there will be games, mint juleps, hats to show, raffles and lots of food. For reservations, she said guests should call 369-3322. The chamber is still looking for sponsors for the fundraising event.

The next luncheon will be on April 29 at 11 a.m. Members should call the chamber to RSVP. Luncheon tickets are $15. Non-members or at the day of the luncheon, the cost is $18. Guests of chamber members are welcome to attend. The luncheon will be at The Hut restaurant unless otherwise changed to another site.



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