Five years ago, then chairman Don Waite and the Board conceived the idea for an award recognizing Members who have gone above and beyond for our Club and community. That award, which does not recognize financial or governing contributions, but honors special and out of the ordinary contributions that significantly add to our Unique Way of Life, is the Spirit of Ocean Reef award.
Since its conception, the Spirit of Ocean Reef has been awarded to 13 well-deserving Members, including John Altieri for his generous time, effort and dedication to the Chapel, George Lucas for bringing Ocean Reef world-class sailing events and championships, Herb Matthews for, among other things, making a prescription delivery service possible, Georgia Storm for her tireless and selfless work with the Library, Joan O’Leary for creating the concept of Member education programs, and Jim Leenhouts for 30 years of dedication to the Coast Guard Auxiliary and teaching and mentoring young people both on and off The Reef. Other award recipients include Gert Mann for her dedication to writing and teaching at The Academy and Art League, organization of the Jewish community, and her long-time commitment to performing, Ginger Knapp-Ringdahl for enriching the Ocean Reef community through the arts, Joan and Arthur Birsh for their integral role in bringing the self-creating and publishing of the Ocean Reef Press in house and their involvement in bringing live, quality theater to the Cultural Center, and Phyllis Foster for her selfless support of Keys children in need through the Keys Children’s Foundation, Take Stock in Children, and more.
These Members all personify the spirit of Ocean Reef and at the Annual Meeting on Thursday, April 11, the Board was happy to add two more exceptional Members to this already impressive list.
Jodi & Michael Betz, as presented by Chairman Bob Manzo
“The dynamic duo receiving the year’s Spirit of Ocean Reef award is the heart and soul of the Bag Room Open, the 43-year-old time honored tradition at Ocean Reef,” said Chairman of the Board Bob Manzo. Jodi and Michael Betz embody the true giving spirit of Ocean Reef and their devotion to our community is truly inspiring.”
For the past nine years, the Betz have been devoted to running the Bag Room Open, the annual golf competition among the Ocean Reef Club and Card Sound golf professionals, the coordination of which takes season-long time and dedication. In addition to organizing all the details of the Bag Room Open, the Betz look after the golf professionals, often hosting them at their own home throughout the year and over the holidays.
On receiving the award, Jodi said, “To be honored for doing something you love is truly humbling. Being a part of the Bag Room and being around the Associates is something Mike and I gain so much from.”