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121516_SWB_DIGITAL EDITION

24 x December 15, 2016 -

24 x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23 Rotary Club of Dr. Phillips awarded three of its members Paul Harris Fellow awards. Paul Harris Fellowship contributions support Rotary International programs, providing educational opportunities, food, potable water, health care, immunizations and shelter for millions of people around the world. Rotarians Harry and Liz Mancia Rotary Club of Dr. Phillips Foundation Chairman Dave Lehman (left) presents a Paul Harris Fellow Award to Scott Wellington. and Scott Wellington received the awards because of their special donations toward Rotary Foundation and the ways in which their lives exemplify the humanitarian and educational objectives of the Rotary Foundation. Rotary Club of Dr. Phillips Foundation Chairman Dave Lehman (left) presents Paul Harris Fellow awards to secondtime recipient Harry Mancia (center) and Harry’s wife, firsttime recipient Liz Mancia. consults with small business owners and assesses their companies’ credit and cash management needs, allowing her to provide solutions tailored to their specific business. Shalonda has worked in the banking field for 13 years, serving as a banking center manager and business banking relationship manager. She holds a doctorate in business - (L. to r.) Don Snyder of MetroWest, Diana (Chastain) Kastner of Winderlakes, Terryl White of Lake Marsha, and Juliana Daurio of Providence attend Rotary Club of Dr. Phillips’ 10th annual A Taste of Dr. Phillips. Bank of America officials appointed Southwest resident Shalonda Warren small business banker for south Orange and Osceola counties. She provides personalized attention to small business owners by connecting with them, typically at their places of business, and by implementing solutions to help them operate successfully. She also administration with a specialization in marketing, as well as two master degrees, one in business and one in management. Although we try to ensure that all information presented above is the most current, correct and dependable available, we do rely on others for the source of our news. Therefore, the Southwest Orlando Bulletin and Kearney Publishing Corp. cannot be held responsible for the validity of the information presented here, nor does mentioning it constitute an endorsement. In Your Neighborhood news is welcome and may be mailed to P.O. Box 851, Windermere, FL 34786; or emailed to Lauren@kearneypublishing.com. ª

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 25 The entries submitted for Southwest Orlando Bulletin’s 25th annual Stories of the Season contest told tales of special visits from Santa, mystical holiday creatures and the joy of spending time with family and friends. Whether they recreate holiday memories or take readers to imaginary places filled with elves, reindeer and their ilk, they are sure to add holiday spirit to all this year. Congratulations to first-place winner Victoria Hernandez of Sand Lake Hills, runner-up Tabitha Eastham of Ocoee, and child winner Porter MacCabe of Saddlebrooke, all of whom received cash prizes. Also included are submissions selected as honorable mentions. The staff of the Southwest Orlando Bulletin extends thank-yous to everyone who entered the contest and wishes a happy holiday season to all. Winner My Favorite Time of Year by Victoria Hernandez Sand Lake Hills Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. My reasons have changed, however. As a little girl, I loved it for the same reasons as any other kid: Santa Claus and presents. Staying up late with my little brother, hoping to see the jolly old man in the red suit, and tracking him down on websites were always exciting. Of course, we would end up falling asleep before he arrived, but in the morning, the best part of all came — opening the gifts he’d brought for us! I now look back and wish our childhood had never ended, for it now seems 10 times more magical. I still love Christmas, but now I love the lights ... though it is a pain to set them up. I now love the weather ... when I’m not standing outside in the dark, frozen in place at a bus stop. I now love the decorations ... even though every magazine in the store makes me jealous of the perfectly imperfect decorated homes. I now love the drinks, because it is the only time of the year my grandmother makes homemade hot punch. I now love the food, because it is the second time in the year that we eat like kings. And I now love the time spent with family and friends, because it is one of the few times everyone is together. Christmastime is always hectic, crazy and busy, but full of laughter, memories and nostalgia. Whenever my family comes together, it is loud but cozy. I treasure these moments very much. Toward the end of the past couple of years, I have found myself reflecting about life and the previous 12 months. This year, I’ll be able to think about 16 years worth of memories and the awesome 2016 I have had. As beautiful as Christmas is, it always comes with a bittersweet sense of closure. Perhaps that is why it is so beautiful. The feeling of closure makes me stop, think, remember and enjoy the present. That’s what Christmas is all about in the end. It is about remembrance and being thankful — thankful for small things like Santa Claus, presents, annoying lights, cold and sunny weather, perfectly imperfect decorations, grandma’s homemade punch, savory meals and loud-but-cozy family time. Runner-Up A Fresh Start by Tabitha Eastham Ocoee She stepped off the train — a little disheveled from the long ride. She never imagined that she would take so long to get from the big city to this sleepy little town. She had, however, shared great conversation with her seatmate — a sweet, good-looking, younger gentleman traveling home from a long business trip. Sadly, she would never see him again. As soon as her face touched the air, she noticed a swift change in the temperature. She was met with bitter coldness, the kind of cold that feels like tiny daggers pricking the flesh. It had been an especially bad year. With the death of her grandmother and then a broken wedding engagement, it was time for a fresh start. What better way to start anew than to move to a new place and start a new job, and that was exactly what she had chosen to do. She took a seat on the bench outside of the train station in an attempt to wait for the carriage that was to come fetch her. An older gentleman was already sitting on the bench reading the town gazette. The moment she took her seat, he looked up from his paper and flashed her a brief, yet quite congenial, smile. She reciprocated his politeness by smiling back. Hour after hour passed, but the carriage never came. She was beginning to worry that she would never make it to her destination, which was the town’s local hotel. In that time, the friendly elderly gentleman rode his carriage down to the feed store to purchase items and passed back by the train station. “You’ve been sittin’ there a long time, young lady,” he said. “Do you need a ride somewhere?” STLUKE ’ S UNITED METHODIST CHURCH “I was waiting on the local carriage company to come and get me, but it seems that the driver isn’t making a stop here today,” she said. “You missed the last ride. It was at one o’clock in the afternoon, and seeing that it is now 5 p.m., you are going to be stuck here tonight,” the man said matter-of-factly. “Oh, my!” she exclaimed. She had no clue what she was going to do, as the weather was starting to take a turn for the worse. The snow was beginning CONTINUED ON PAGE 26 4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road Orlando, Florida 32819 407.876.4991 www.st.lukes.org