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Library group recognizes women for volunteerism

By MICHELLE JONES

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 29, 2000


LAND O'LAKES -- The Pasco County Library system on Monday honored six central Pasco women for their community contributions.

To celebrate Women's History Month, members of the Friends of the Library recognized the women with a special program, roses and certificates at the Land O'Lakes Library on Collier Parkway. Barbe Bonjour, Pasco County libraries director, served as master of ceremonies, introducing Dora Bean, Clara Lawhead, Sandy Faulconer, Jo Anne Moses, Pat Mulieri and Marge Whaley to approximately 40 relatives and friends who attended the ceremony.

Bean, president of the Lutz-Land O'Lakes Women's Club and an active member of the Pasco County Millennium Committee, said she was only following in the footsteps of those who preceded her with their community involvement.

"Being involved gets me out helping and meeting new people," the retired schoolteacher said.

Faulconer, president of the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce, said she didn't think she did anything important to receive the honor.

Bonjour disagreed.

"She became active in the chamber and received two awards for her participation: Ambassador of the Year and Chamber Member of the Year," said Bonjour.

In addition, Faulconer is active with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Pasco County.

Lawhead, who established and founded the Pasco Food Bank, said she is able to do all that she does due to her boundless energy. The thrift shop at the food bank, Clara's Closet, is named after her.

"I have always found a great deal of satisfaction in volunteering," said Lawhead, who works for the Pasco County Health Department as the public health nutrition program director. "It is through the gift of giving one's labor that our personal satisfaction becomes the real reward in the end."

Moses, who moved to Land O'Lakes in 1987, said she was not a career volunteer but just interested in the world around her.

"I try to fill a need and encourage my friends to do the same," she said of her involvement in Sertoma and on the Pasco County Library Advisory Board.

Mulieri, a Pasco County commissioner, was honored for her work with the Girl Scouts andthe chamber and her participation in youth-related programs and activities.

"I will always think of myself as a teacher, touching lives and making changes," said Mulieri who was a professor at Pasco-Hernando Community College for 20 years and is now chairwoman of the commission.

Whaley, who brings bouquets of roses to the library from the more than 300 rose bushes in her Land O'Lakes garden, said all volunteers have a fatal flaw.

"We all think there is no limit to how far we can stretch ourselves," said the woman who kept the library open two hours each Thursday evening when it was just a storefront on U.S. 41 in 1978.

Active in her church and in the chamber, Whaley travels throughout the state giving speeches on motivation and humor.

She is also the chairwoman of the Pasco County School Board.

Lawhead summed up many of their feelings when she said she learned that the only limitation is one's imagination.

"If we can imagine it, we can do it," she said.

A plaque with their names will hang in the library, and the members of the committee are looking for nominations for next year's recipients. For information or a ballot, call (813) 929-1214.

- Michelle Jones covers central Pasco community news. She can be reached at (813) 226-3459. Her e-mail address is jones@sptimes.com.

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