It’s often said that volunteers are the heart of the Rotonda West community.
Hundreds of volunteers combine their time and talents to help the Rotonda West Association function like a well-oiled machine.
That’s one reason why the RWA volunteer appreciation dinner is such a nice affair.
The climax of the yearly dinner is the presentation of the Volunteer of the Year award. Until the grand announcement, the winner is a closely guarded secret.
Susan Supenak, this year’s winner, was stunned when her name was called.
“I never, never expected this,” she said as she was gripped with emotion.
While it may have been unexpected for Sue, it was no surprise to many in the audience.
“She does a superb job at everything she tackles. That’s why we call her Super Sue,” said RWA director Andy VanScyoc.
Amazing is an overused word. Yet, what Sue does — and how she does it — merits that description.
The amazing thing about Sue Supenak is how much she is willing to take on.
Even before there was a Rotonda West Community Center, Sue was part of a handful of volunteers working to give Rotonda West its own cultural center.
“We wanted this area to have a cultural center like the one in Port Charlotte,” she said.
In spite of all their work fundraising and staging community events, their efforts failed to make a cultural center a reality. But something better came along when Rotonda West was able to built its own community center at spacious Broadmoor Park.
Sue calls that community center “the best thing that ever happened to Rotonda.”
Ever since its inception, she has dedicated herself to working to make it the center of social opportunities.
Her three most often-used words are “I’ll do it.”
When they needed someone to be in charge of “Rotondo bingo,” she took on the job, infusing each month’s games with her effervescent personality.
For those who have never been there, let’s just say it’s bingo like no other.
When someone was needed to chair Casino Night, she again volunteered. The event was a smash hit that exceeded all expectations. Yet, while the accolades were still flowing that night, Sue was already planning how she could do it better next time.
When she agreed to chair Rotonda’s Christmas parade, many said it was “the best parade yet.”
This year’s parade, Sue promises, will be even better.
But please don’t give her the credit, she pleads.
“It’s dozens and dozens of volunteers that make our events successful. It’s not me.”
The only way she is comfortable in accepting the Volunteer of the Year award is doing it on behalf of the many volunteers that work to make Rotonda great.
The big joke is that many years ago Sue and her husband Steve picked Rotonda West for their home because the community was peaceful and quiet.
“I wanted it to be my place of rest. I envisioned a quiet life of golf and leisure,” she says.
Instead, she never played a game of golf, working instead to help create activities that bring the Rotonda West community together.
When you know Sue’s background, you begin to think she’s a modern day Super Woman.
Back in New Jersey she worked two jobs and took care of her parents, along with her own family.
“Six days a week I got up at 5:15, left the house at 5:45 and got back home at 10. My Sundays were devoted to cooking meals for the week,” she says.
No wonder she was looking forward to resting after retirement.
Instead, she is filled with plans for future RWA events.
“Exciting things are coming. There are many great things on the horizon,” she says.
But they are only possible, she stresses, because of Rotonda’s many volunteers.
“If you want to be involved with worthwhile projects,” she invites, “come join our legion of volunteers.”
Pattie Mihalik is a regular columnist for the Sun. Contact her at email@example.com.