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Chamber awards Anglickis the Heart of Lehigh

February 4, 2015
By MEL TOADVINE ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce gave its top award known as the Heart of Lehigh to Ruth Ann Anglickis Saturday night during the chamber's annual gala held at Pellican Preserve on Treeline Blvd. Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann made the presentation to a surprised Anglickis who shed tears as she thanked everyone.

A large crowd of chamber members attended the gala which also honored several others including the top volunteer of the year, the top Sheriff's officers of the Year, the chamber's Employee of the Year, the Member of the Year and the Firefighter of the Year.

Anglickis' name was kept secret until the announcement. She was surprised and accepted the award with tears in her eyes and thanked everyone and said they were the heroes of Lehigh, those who have helped her over the years in her involvement with a better Lehigh.

Article Photos

The Heart of Lehigh award went to Ruth Ann Anglickis. At right is Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann, who made the award presentation.

After a buffet dinner for the more than 230 people who represented area businesses, the program began. During the program, Steve Thomas, the new chairman of the board and fellow officers were sworn in by State Rep. Matt Caldwell.

Other board members include vice chairman Mike Burgers, Clever Promotional Products; secretary, Dr. Monique Wensch, Peak Performance Chiropractic; and treasurer Leonore Maffetore, Florida Community Bank.

In addition to Thomas, other members of the executive board are Ruth Ann Anglickis, the Heart of Lehigh award recipient, is an executive with Landex Resorts International, and has been one of Lehigh's unsung community leaders for several years.

Awards also went to the Chamber Member of the Year, James Fait of Vision Ace Hardware; the Chamber Employee of the Year, Mary Beck, of State Farm Goodlad Insurance Agency, who was unable to attend; the Chamber Sheriff's Officers of the Year, Deputy Christian Eriksen and Sgt. Janet Ritcom, who was unable to attend; the Chamber Volunteer of the Year, Loretta Milligan, who was also unable to attend, and the chamber's Firefighter/EMT of the Year, Jeff Brady, whose award was announced by Lehigh Acres Fire Chief John Wayne.

Teachers honored were called to the front of the audience. They included Tyroncia Powell of Harns Marsh Elementary School, Patricia Smith, Lehigh Elementary; Lisa Morin, Lehigh Elementary; Amy Depauw, Sunshine Elementary; Jennifer Grida, Tortuga Preserve Elementary; Jennifer Voellinger, Harns Marsh Middle; Kara O'Keefe, Lehigh Acres Middle School; Yvonne Caldwell, Veterans Park Academy for the Arts; Sandy Grage, East Lee County High School; Debbie Ciolino, Lehigh Senior High and Leila Pineiro, Palm Acres Charter High School.

New Chamber President Steve Thomas is a financial advisor with Edward Jones Investments in Lehigh.

As he addressed chamber members, he said it was his goal during the coming year to set up a board of economic development under the auspices of the chamber.

"A lot of our younger generation finishes school here and goes off to college but there are no jobs here for them to come back to and we need to change that," he said.

"We need people of influence on this new board who can help bring business and jobs to Lehigh."

Thomas also noted how important education is in Lehigh and asked that teachers be added to the chamber's education committee. And thirdly, Thomas said the chamber and its members need to find ways to keep people working in Lehigh and not traveling to Fort Myers for jobs.

He urged everyone to contact him with names of people who can work on a new board of economic development and names of teachers who become more involved with the chamber.

"Tell your neighbors and friends about how great Lehigh is. Tell them about our assets and get them involved. The crowd cheered Thomas on as he spoke.

The Greater Lehigh Chamber of Commerce meets on the last Tuesday of the month at The Hut Restaurant. Dinner begins at 11:30 p.m. and includes a speaker.



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