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Supporter of arts receives Parke Wright leadership award

Published January 21, 2005

Parke Wright III was known in Tampa as a visionary, a leader and a friend.

Wright, who chaired the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce in the 1970s, played a key role in establishing the Leadership Tampa program that has been emulated by other civic-minded groups around the nation. The Lykes Bros. vice president, who died in 2001, also was involved with the United Way, Florida State Fair and various boards.

Greg Yadley got to know Wright not as a community icon, but as a Boy Scout leader. Yadley was 12 when Wright presented him with his First Class badge.

"He taught us things, but it was more about what he expected of us," said Yadley, who was in a South Tampa troop with Parke Wright IV. "He made you feel like you should try and express yourself."

Yadley learned well. For 23 years, Yadley has expressed his love for the arts by supporting a number of cultural organizations. On Thursday, his efforts were rewarded when he received the Parke Wright III Leadership Award from Leadership Tampa Alumni.

Yadley, managing partner for Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, has served as chairman of The Tampa Bay Business Committee for the Arts, the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, the Tampa Ballet and the City of Tampa Public Art Committee.

"He's so involved everybody knows him," said Melinda Chavez, executive director of the business committee for the arts. "And he's so supportive of every organization. He has a wonderful sense of balance and a strong sense about the value the arts bring to the community."

The love of arts stemmed from Yadley's parents dragging him to events as a child, but he said it wasn't long before he was asking to see shows such as the Nutcracker.

At Dartmouth, he grew more attached because his friends created a dance group. And when dance and ballet rose in popularity during his law school days at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., he realized the arts were not only entertaining, but a vital part of the community.

Upon returning to Tampa, Yadley took up the cause. Much like the elder Wright, Yadley has not only immersed himself in the community, but energized others to get involved.

"Those of you who didn't know Parke Wright, missed out," he said. "He was truly a great guy, and if you don't know his name, I think it's because he figured out what leadership was: encouraging people to do things and then stepping back and letting them do what they do best."

The Parke Wright Award is in its third year, but Lykes Bros. added another component Thursday. Honorees now receive a $1,000 check to award to the organization or charity of their choice.

Yadley's check will go to the Florida Orchestra. He will soon join the orchestra board and said the orchestra's baywide appeal made it an ideal recipient.

Interested in going to the Boys & Girls Club's annual Yankees luncheon this spring? Well, too late.

Paddy Moses, vice president of development for the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay, said the annual luncheon sold out in record time. More than 750 people will attend the event at the Marriott Waterside on March 18, and not a single ticket remains. They went on sale at the end of November and were gobbled up by Dec. 17.

"I have people who have purchased tables every year calling me now, and they can't believe we don't have any tables left," Moses said. "We have people from Canada, New York, New Jersey, all over the east coast. We have some people who are flying in and flying out the same day.

"I wish it could be this way with everything we do."

The major attraction? Autographs from such Yankee greats as Derek Jeter. Jeter and other Yankees will be involved in a number of charity events leading up to spring training, and it's clear they're in demand.

That's all I'm saying.

Ernest Hooper can be reached at 813 226-3406 or

[Last modified January 21, 2005, 00:29:18]

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