Friends and Neighbors

UPS honors South Florida’s accident-free drivers


We all know there are too many reckless drivers on our roads. That is why it gives me great pleasure to congratulate the local UPS drivers who ere recently inducted into UPS’s prestigious Circle of Honor for achieving 25 years of accident-free driving.

Twenty-five years of accident -free driving. I’m here to tell you, that’s no easy feat. Have you ever seen those great, big brown trucks navigating through a heavy traffic day?

Anyway, a warm Friends and Neighbors salute to: Angel Rodriguez, Francisco Rodriguez, and Mario Ventura, all of Miami; Jamie Muniz of Hialeah; Thomas Robertson of Miramar and Juan Benavides of Pembroke Pines for their impeccable driving records. They join 98 other elite drivers from throughout Florida who are among 1,519 newly inducted drivers into the company's honorary organization.

There are 4,732 UPS drivers in Florida. Out of that number, 416 are active Circle of Honor drivers with a combined 11,702 years of accident-free driving. Among them is Michael Olson of Cantonment, the state's senior safe driver with 40 years of accident-free driving.

The company boasts (and rightfully so) of having 7,221 active UPS drivers who are members of the Circle of Honor. Collectively they have racked up over 198,000 years and more than 5.3 billion safe miles during their carers. That's enough miles to travel to Mars and back, 19 times.

David Ruis, president, UPS Florida District said, “My thanks go to all of them for their dedication and focus, and for the countless lives they have saved.”

Buy a brick for a fallen soldier

It is good to give honor to whom honor is due. But often the honor is given posthumously. Such is the case with the fallen soldiers, marines and navy veterans who died in the line of duty and recently were added to the Veterans' Memorial in Losner Park in Historic Downtown Homestead.

Those honored included SSgt. Charles Geronimo, U.S. Army, who grew up in Homestead. was killed in action on May 12, 1968, and U.S. Marine Corps LCPL Steve E. Byars, who grew up in Florida City. He was killed in action on March 23, 1969.

Also, Specialist Geraldo Campos, U.S. Army, awarded the Bronze Star, killed in action in Afghanistan in June of 2012; Specialist Bernard Hill Jr., killed in Germany in April of 2012; Navy Chief Bobby L. Loudy(cq), who served in both the Korean and 'vietnam wars, and John Askins(cq), who served in the U. S. Navy from 1967-1971, with duty in Vietman in 1969.

The tribute included a memorial brick, placed in honor of the servicemen. The bricks were made by the masonry class of the Homestead Job Corps Center.Terry Devine is the instructor.

The event is sponsored by the Military Affairs Committee of the Greater Homestead/Florida City Chamber of Commerce.

If you would like to remember your family member, friend or loved one who served our country honorably in uniform, you may purchase a memorial brick for $50. Applications can be submitted from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at the Homestead Historic Town Hall Museum, or by calling Bob Jensen at 305-248-0976 or at

The bricks are installed annually. Since the engraving takes time, orders should be placed as soon as possible.

Breastfeeding support group to meet

“Mama's Milk,” the education and support group about breastfeeding, will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays through June 10; and at 11 a.m. Fridays through June 27 at the Betty T. Ferguson Center's Orchid room, 3000 NW 199th St. in Miami Gardens.

Participants will learn how to breastfeed, receive information before making the decision to breast feed, and will receive information on the most asked questions on breastfeeding.

The event is sponsored by The Jasmine Project, a University of Miami Healthy Start Program.

If you want to attend and don't have transportation, call the center at 786-279-1222 for a ride.

Links bring on the Flip Side

The Dade County Chapter of The Links, Inc. wants you to save this date: April 26. that's when the organization will present “The Flip Side,” which celebrates individuals from various professions who have extraordinary artistic talents.

Now here is where I (and Betty Ferguson, too) get to boast a bit:

Betty's son Wilkie D. Ferguson, III (his father is the late Judge Wilkie D. Ferguson II) and my granddaughter Afra Loretta Hines, both are the headliners in the Broadway production, “Motown: The Musical” in New York.

Somehow, our youngsters have worked it out to be here on that date to show off what their mamas and papas (and grandmas, too) gave them.

The program also will feature the talent of Nanci Thomas; Dr. Edward Eady; Patricia Garrett; Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert; the Rev. Dr. Walter T. Richardson; Carol Ann Taylor, and Brian Williams.

Tickets are $50 each and the event will be in the Lou Rawls Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Florida Memorial University, 15800 NW 42nd Ave. in Miami Gardens.

Call 305-547-3159 or email: for tickets and more information.

Help a BTW student go to college

Speaking of talent - Booker T. Washington High School in Overtown has some outstanding students who will need your help in furthering their education.

If you know of a BTW student who will be pursuing a college education in the fall, encourage him or her to get their BTW Scholarship packet from Kawesi Nimmons, the school’s CAP adviser. The application must be completed and sent to the scholarship chairwoman Laura Jones, by March 28. Scholarship recipients will each receive $1,500.

If you are a BTW graduate, you are encouraged to contribute to the scholarship, either on a personal level or as a class. Any amount that you or your class gives will be greatly appreciated, Jones said. If you need more information, call Jones at 305-621-4319.

Murder mystery at mealtime

If you like a good murder mystery accompanied by a good meal from time to time, here is something for you: “Murder isn't Kosher” will be presented at 7 p.m. March 20, at the Chai Wok Restaurant, 1688 NE 164th St., North Miami Beach.

After enjoying a kosher Chinese buffet dinner, everyone is invited to share information, examine clues and help solve the crime. Some members of the audiences will receive parts to read during the presentation.

The cost is $35 per person (tax and gratuity not included). Reservations are required. Call 786-683-6078.

Tournament brings Hope for Haiti

It's a Small World Department:

Marty Perlmutter, my friend and former colleague at The Miami Herald, wrote to tell me about the Fifth Annual Golf For Hope Haiti Tournament at Miccosukee, which will start at 8:30 a.m. on April 11.

He said what makes the event so terrific is the cause. Then he goes on to tell me how Mike Simmons, tournament director, and Gerald Little, Miami-Dade firefighter who teaches a swimming class at Miccosukee, knew each other in passing but didn't realize that each sponsored children in Haiti. Mike and his wife Bell, had been sending money to Haiti for years to help out a couple of children with educational and medical needs. So has Gerald.

When Simmons and Little learned they had the same heart for in Haiti, they decided to do a golf tournament. A month prior to the first tournament, the earthquake hit Haiti. Simmons lost one of the children he supports in the quake, but the tournament was held as planned.

One of the great things about the tournament, Perlmutter said, is that all the money raised is sent to an American charity, which in turn sends the supplies needed so the dollars and supplies are getting to where they should be going.

If you want to sign up, the entry fee is $150. To sign up and for more information, call Simmons at 786-247-8215 or email him at

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.

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