The Hospital Volunteers of Venice (HVV) know being kind brings joy.

Their volunteer work involves escorting patients to treatment, comforting those waiting for loved ones in surgery and mentoring students pursuing careers in the health field.

Lori Clark came to Venice from Michigan to help in a family crises. She became an licensed practical nurse, worked and now, thanks to a scholarship from HVV, she will finish her work at State College of Florida to be an RN.

“I told my husband I want to be a nurse,” Breda Jean told the group. “This scholarship will help.”

Dick Fenstermaker is the permanent chair of the HVV scholarship committee. He lights up when he talks about his work reading essays, and with the committee choosing recipients.

“Our group is proud to be a small part and do what we can do with the scholarships,” he said.

HVV makes a difference in many lives. Bravo.

Beat the heat

Friday at 2 p.m. the Suncoast Wind Ensemble presents a concert of military and showtune favorites at Suncoast MCC Church, 3276 E. Venice Ave. on the corner of East Venice Avenue and North Jackson Road. The cost is $5.

Christmas in July at the Elephant’s Trunk thrift shop, 595 South Tamiami Trail, will be Friday and Saturday. Most items are 50% off. Friday offers raffles, hot dogs from Herman’s Meats and visits from Santa Claus.

In downtown Venice, businesses will offer special discounts and Santa will be on hand for songs, photos and summer ho-ho-hoing.

Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. crafts will be displayed in the air-conditioned Venice Community Center.

One of our best

The special person of this week is Katie Bliss, one of the Hospital Volunteers of Venice work crew.

Each year Katie makes sure not only that the HVV Scholarship luncheon runs smoothly but that it is festive and fun. This year’s decorations were colorful, showcasing a tropical theme. She chooses the perfect food. Everyone enjoyed pizza, Caesar salad and luscious chocolate cupcakes.

Katie has often been recognized by the Healthcare Volunteers of Venice for her work. She has volunteered over 2,000 hours. At its events she is often at the door serving as a greeter or hostess, or working on fundraising. Katie serves on several committees.

Katie spends time with her family, enjoying all the fun being together even for short times. Her cheery outlook makes her fun to be around.

Katie Bliss is one of the women who make Venice a great place to live.

Fran Valencic is the social columnist for the Venice Gondolier Sun. She welcomes your tips and ideas. Contact her at


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