Why Wait for Valentine’s Day?

When we think of Boca and Delray’s assets we might think of beaches, Atlantic Avenue, Old School Square, maybe the Boca Resort and universities.
Assets all.

Valuable– in some cases historic– and of course cherished and appreciated.
But people are also assets and we are certainly blessed in that regard as well.

I just think that sometimes we lose sight of the special people, because– let’s face it– the whiners, complainers, haters, bullies, nitwits and nasties can eat up a lot of our time and energy. That’s why it’s important to pause and remind ourselves that indeed there are good people in our lives and communities quietly doing yeoman’s work not because it’s a photo op, or they are getting rich or because they are self-serving but simply because they are good people who care. We’ve done this before on the blog with a group of people and we will do it again. Luckily, we have an endless list of people to love, cherish and appreciate. So if your name isn’t below, it’s not because we don’t appreciate and love you. We do. Just give us a little time to catch up.
Here’s a look at a few human assets that make our community sing.
Gary Eliopoulos–architect, dad, savior of historic homes, former city commissioner and the funniest man I know (and I know funny people). Gary and I grew up together in Delray. We were in the same Leadership Delray class way back when and I’m a proud member of his occasional happy hour group at The Sail Inn (a Yankee bar) where Gary, a Red Sox fan, holds court and keeps us laughing. And you can’t put a price on that. He’s also an amazing architect who adores Delray Beach and we love him back.
Bob Barcinski-Mr. B as he is affectionately known served as assistant city manager during a golden age of Delray retiring a few years back before an adoring crowd at the golf club. Bob was never comfortable with attention, deflected credit and was loyal to his boss, his employees and his community. He’s a happy grandpa these days who can still be found at the counter of the Green Owl. If you worked with Bob, you realized how great he was. He got it done. And done well. Without fail. Every single time. If you want to pick a guy to be in a foxhole with look no further than Mr. B.
Evelyn Dobson-director of the Community Land Trust and past Northwest Neighborhood leader, Evelyn is a passionate crusader for homeownership and neighborhood revitalization. She quietly gets it done. Take a drive through the neighborhoods where the Land Trust has built homes and you will see success and families transformed through the pride of homeownership. Evelyn is one my heroes.
Pame Williams–Pame works for the City of Delray and has also been active in the community for decades. Whether it’s volunteering at events or working to improve her neighborhood you can always count on Pame and she’ll always make you smile. She will also put you in line if you misbehave. I like that. Little known fact: she secretly likes Neil Diamond.
Gary Ferreri-a detective and union leader, Gary has a reputation for always going the extra mile. Whether it’s helping a neighborhood or speaking out on behalf of his fellow officers Det. Ferreri is a leader. He has a lot of fans in Delray.  He has unlimited potential because he’s smart and has a heart and feel for the community he protects and serves.
Linda Ripps -founder of Golden Retrievals, a Boca based rescue organization for my favorite breed. Linda has a heart of gold too. She’s rescued retrievers locally and from far flung places like Korea too.  Her work not only saves great dogs but it enriches families beyond measure. I’m reminded of her big heart every day when I’m greeted by 90 pounds of love and hair named Teddy.
Kevin Ross–the visionary president of Lynn University, Dr. Ross has never been afraid to shake up his curriculum and look outside for inspiration which he then brings back to Lynn so his students can benefit. I admire that ethos and it ensures that Lynn will disrupt not be disrupted.  I love working with Kevin. He inspires because he aspires: for his students, his faculty, his friends, his alumni and his community.
Mike Covelli–a talented land planner and designer, Mike always makes his projects stronger. One of the smartest people I know. Every time I speak to Mike I learn something I never knew before. He has insights and sees things in a very unique way. He makes every project he touches infinitely better and he’s a good guy too.
Tony Allerton–I’ve known Tony for close to 30 years and he’s always been a leader and a gentleman. The founder of The Crossroads, Tony’s leadership has helped people for decades and his organization serves almost 1,000 people a day. Think about that times 35 years. Tony’s passion for people in recovery who are trying to reclaim their lives knows no bounds. He has quietly made a profound impact on countless families.
Tim Snow-Tim is just one of the good guys. As head of the Boca-based George Snow Scholarship Fund (named after his father) Tim leads a 34 year old fund that has awarded more than $8 million in scholarships to deserving students in our community. He has changed so many lives through the gift of education.
It’s all about the people. We hope to spotlight many more in the future columns.