Local resident Marty Rowe has been a volunteer and community philanthropist all of his life. You've probably seen him regularly volunteering at the Fort Myers Beach Kiwanis Club Thrift Store throughout the week, greeting customers, handing out sale-of-the-day slips and keeping everyone happy and smiling. Behind the scenes, he's at the ARABA Shrine Temple every morning, volunteering his time, organizing the transportation schedule for the transport of our local children in need of medical attention to the multiple Shriner Hospitals around the country.
As their way of celebrating a century of love given by this wonderful man, the local Kiwanis Club and ARABA Shrine Club planned to host a very special 100th birthday party celebration for Marty Tuesday, Aug. 5, starting at the Fort Myers Beach Kiwanis Thrift Shop at 10 a.m.
"We will be starting Marty's birthday party with birthday cake at 10 a.m. that morning," said Linda Chambers, fellow Kiwanian and manager of the local thrift shop. "At 11 a.m., the Florida Kiwanis Governor, Matthew Cantrall, will make a presentation of the Life Member award. Then, at 11:30 a.m., our president of the Fort Myers Beach Kiwanis Club, Flip Harvey, will make a very special presentation."
Fort Myers Beach Kiwanians Vern Fauble, 100-year birthday boy Marty Rowe, center, and Linda Chambers planned to host a birthday celebration Tuesday, Aug. 5, starting at 10 a.m. for the longtime community philanthropist.
After Mr. Harvey's presentation, the local thrift store will close for the day, at noon.
"Marty has been a member of our Fort Myers Beach Kiwanis Club for 25 years. Before then, he was a longtime member of the Lehigh club," Linda said. "He comes to the store three or four afternoons a week, volunteering and sharing his stories with customers always has them smiling. We'd love for everyone to come out to the thrift shop Tuesday morning and celebrate this very special birthday with him."
Once the Kiwanis birthday celebration wraps up, another group Marty is a longtime member of, the ARABA Shriners, will pick him up, carting him over to the Hanson Street temple for a continued birthday celebration.
"We're calling it a Party with Marty," laughed ARABA Shriner Potentate Charles Bell. "He belongs to our Mariners unit, who has a big ol' yellow Cadillac convertible. Our Mariners are going to pick him up in that big ol' yellow Cadillac convertible from the Kiwanis of Fort Myers Beach, at 12:45 that afternoon, and drive with a Shriner motorcade back to our temple on Hanson Street, to continue the birthday celebration from 1:30 to 3 p.m. We already have 100 signed up, and are expecting about 200 to attend."
Marty has been a member of the Shriners for about 76 years, receiving his 75-year pin a year or two ago, Charles said.
"Marty was the captain of an ore boat on the Great Lakes for about 49 years, that's what he did most of his life. He's been the hospital transportation chairman of the Shriners for decades, organizing the transportation schedule for our 45 volunteer drivers and four vans, traveling to any of the 22 Shriner Hospitals in the U.S., but primarily our Tampa, Cincinnati and Greenville, S.C., units," Charles explained. "Marty is a very, very unselfish person. He is at the Shrine Temple every morning arranging transportation for these local children. He's just a great human being everybody loves him."
The continued party at the ARABA Shriners that afternoon is primarily open to members and their family and friends. To see if the public can join the celebration Tuesday afternoon, call 239-334-2226.
About the ARABA Shriners
"A beacon of hope for Shrine children, 1 of 11 Shrine centers, the ARABA Shriners sponsor in excess of 500 local children at Shriners Hospitals annually, providing transportation and treatment at no cost for children who otherwise couldn't receive it," 2014 Potentate Charles Bell said. "Anything from spinal cord injuries, cleft palets, orthopedic units and burn treatments, we take care of their medical costs and transportation to any of the 22 Shriner Hospitals in the U.S., but primarily transport local children to our Tampa, Cincinnati and Greenville, S.C., units."
For further information on the local ARABA Shriners Club or how to become a member, call 239-334-2226 or visit ARABAShrine.net.