The Venice Sunrise Rotary Club honored Venice Police Officer Bill Kuchar and Firefighter Phil Castellano as Home Town Heroes. The men received plaques and checks at a dinner at the Venice Golf and River Club. They also each received a standing ovation and thanks from everyone in the room.

Venice Mayor John Holic spoke about honorees being described by coworkers as showing a spirit of cooperation and community and always helping others. The mayor described our Venice first responders as men and women who have dedication and a can do attitude. He talked about their training, their passion, their professionalism and their compassion.

The mayor reminded everyone how police and fire stepped up and continue to support the victims of Hurricane Michael. They took a caravan of supplies to victims, including two washers and dryers donated by local business owners.

In Venice, Police Officer Kuchar and Firefighter Castellano represent our first responders who are real people. Fire Chief Shawn Garvey grew up in the area and hit his first home run at Chuck Reiter Field. Who knows, some little leaguer standing at the plate could someday be a fire chief.

The Sunrise Rotary showed the heart of Venice in honoring officer Kuchar and firefighter Castellano, and in honoring them honored all first responders. Thank you.

One of our bestThe special person of this week is David Lusty. Like many Venetians, David moved to Venice from up north. He comes from Athens, Ohio, and Virginia, where he owned and operated sub shops, taught at a university and was a financial adviser. He also served as board president with Big Brothers and Big Sisters in Athens.

His life with the Rotary began in Ohio and continues in Venice. Over the years he served as president and district governor. He is foundation chair with the Venice Sunrise Rotary. David learned of a Home Town Hero Award and decided it would be perfect for Venice. It was. He organized a heart-warming event honoring two first responders.

David satisfies his adventurous spirit as road captain of the Sarasota Harley Owners group. It’s kind of fun to think three piece suit by day and leather jacket on the weekend. David seems like a person with a great heart with a lot of community spirit and a zest for adventure and fun.

David Lusty is one of the men 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 franvalencic@comcast.net.

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