Meet the Men and Women of Marion

This one-of-a-kind project is a full-color, 2008 calendar that will feature 12 of Marion County’s most notable people from all walks of life. And this year—there’s something for the men in town to look forward to! It’s the first year women are included in this worthwhile calendar. Now, without further ado…


Deborah Lay, 42
BUSINESS OWNER,THE BODY FACTORY


What’s this experience been like for you? I was amazed at how the community came together and assisted with the fundraising for the event.


How did you feel when you found out that you were a finalist for the event? I was very honored. It was definitely a combined effort involving the staff and members of The Body Factory.


How do you think this one is going to compare to other calendars? It will be the best—we’re in it!


Craig M. Gillum, 40
REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF SALES, OCALA STYLE MAGAZINE.


What’s this experience been like for you? It has been a little surreal. But it has been extremely rewarding knowing it is for an awesome cause.


How did you feel when you found out that you were a finalist for the event? Quite shocked. I haven’t been involved in a calendar since college. Believe it or not, I was Mr. March.


Have you been teased about being selected for the calendar? Teased is an understatement. My co-workers and friends are going to have a field day when the calendar comes out.


Are you glad these photos don’t involve nudity? I’d have no problem appearing in the calendar nude—but everyone else would!


How have you been impacted by United Way? Well, I’ve seen the impact it has made to Sheltering Arms, an organization very near and dear to our hearts at Ocala Style thanks to our publisher, Kathy Johnson. I’ve seen firsthand the effect United Way has made on those abused children.


Dustin Keuntjes, 26
CANINE POLICE OFFICER, OCALA POLICE DEPARTMENT


What’s this experience been like for you? Very humbling. I’m impressed by the community and the way they stepped up for such a worthy cause. 


Have you been teased about being selected for the calendar? Yes I have. All of my friends have been calling me MOM (Man of Marion). All in fun!


Are you glad these photos don’t involve nudity? There’s no nudity? I guess I’ll put Dozer’s collar back on.


Why is United Way important to you and/or the community? Because the money raised stays local. Giving back to our community is much needed and appreciated. United Way does a fantastic job of this.


Garrett Robinson, 27
HEAD ASSISTANT BASEBALL COACH, CENTRAL FLORIDA COMMUNITY COLLEGE & MORTGAGE BROKER, CRYSLER FINANCIAL.


What’s this experience been like for you? Very unique and fulfilling. I have really enjoyed meeting new people and raising money for such a worthy cause.


Have you been teased about being selected for the calendar? Of course I have. My buddies would never pass up the opportunity to tease me about having my face in a calendar.


Why is United Way important to you and/or the community? The fundraising and volunteer efforts of the United Way provide constant support and resources for children and families across Marion County.


What is your community involvement? As a baseball coach, I am blessed with the opportunity to work with young kids every day and hopefully serve as a positive role model.


Jennifer Brannon, 28
LIFESTYLE DIRECTOR, DEL WEBB STONE CREEK


How did you feel when you found out that you were a finalist for the event? Shocked! I volunteered to be on this wonderful committee to help a great cause collect donations and when they told me I was a finalist, I thought it was a joke.


Have you been teased about being selected for the calendar? Yes, a lot! But it is fun and I give it right back to them! My co-workers tell my residents that I am going to be in a calendar and they give me this look. For some reason they automatically think it is not PG.


How have you been impacted by United Way? I have helped with the giving tree last year and was shocked in the amount of generous people out there. I will volunteer every year for this, because it was so touching to see all the citizens of Marion County helping the unfortunate.


What is your community involvement? I am active in ELO, Junior Achievement, and the Marion County Heart Walk.


Meghan Magamoll, 27
PROGRAM COORDINATOR, PUBLIC EDUCATION FOUNDATION OF MARION COUNTY, INC.


How do you think this one is going to compare to other calendars? Well, nothing will compare to last year’s calendar with my husband, Dustin, on the cover!


Have you been teased about being selected for the calendar? I have been teased more about the fact that my husband was in it last year, and now I am in it this year.


Why is United Way important to you and/or the community? Since I work for a non-profit, I have seen the direct impact an organization can make on our community and the lives of those less fortunate. United Way is doing some amazing things in Ocala, and I feel blessed to live in a place where volunteering and going above and beyond to help others seems like second nature. I honestly don’t know of one single person who isn’t volunteering their time to a local non-profit like United Way.


Who should get the cover next year? I think next year it should be the Men, Women & Babies of Ocala. I would definitely nominate my new little girl, Bridey Jo, for the cover.


Jennifer Irizarry, 33
DESIGN CONSULTANT/OWNER, J. DESIGNS


How did you feel when you found out that you were a finalist for the event? It was an honor being nominated for the very first women’s category. A great accomplishment to have been a finalist and win the business division.


Have you been teased about being selected for the calendar? No, actually I kind of think it’s neat being called “calendar girl.” I never had the opportunity in the past to experience this kind of event.


Why is United Way important to you and/or the community? United Way is important to me because I know I have the ability to reach out to others and get them involved with an organization that has a great cause to help others in need.


How have you been impacted by United Way? I was impacted by the United Way when I learned how they provide for so many other organizations. It’s amazing to sample the challenge involved in dividing the earned funds up between so many who are in need.


Rusty Branson, 46
PRESIDENT, GATEWAY BANK


How do you think this one is going to compare to other calendars? If it is anything like the past calendars, it should be a doozie, given that this one will now include women. We should see a marked improvement in the talent.


Are you glad these photos don’t involve nudity? This is news to me. I was certain the shots would be “in the buff.” So much for the tanning salon and my workout training video.


What are you going to do with your copies of the calendar? I am going to send one to my 11th grade teacher, who told me, after one incident in high school, I would never amount to much. Boy will he be shocked. And, of course, one to be hung in my hunting club lodge for the members to throw darts at, since I am no longer a member now.


Nancy Porter, 46
PRESIDENT, OCALA’S LADY JEWELER


What’s this experience been like for you? It was a surprise to be nominated. Everyone worked very hard to reach their individual goals in raising money for this United Way event.      


Why is United Way important to you and/or the community? United Way has so many agencies to help out every year and each one needs more every year. We must help the local people in need.


How have you been impacted by United Way? They give endless hours to help everyone they can with grace, pride, and dignity. Summer Gill has been an inspiration to me personally and professionally. Thank you, United Way, for letting us help you achieve your goals.


Justin Casse, 27
THOROUGHBRED SALES/ BLOODSTOCK AGENT, CASSE SALES


What’s this experience been like for you? A learning experience, as far as getting the community involved in the United Way and getting new people/businesses to be a part of it.


How did you feel when you found out that you were a finalist for the event? Confused. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do next.


What kind of calendars do you generally buy? Any involving my 3-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.


How do you think this one is going to compare to other calendars? Far superior because of my involvement in it. Just kidding.


Are you glad these photos don’t involve nudity? I’m very upset. I naturally maintain this physique.


What are you going to do with your copies of the calendar? Tear my picture out and give them away as stocking stuffers.


Tina Chandra, 41
OWNER, CHANDRA SMILE DESIGNS


What’s this experience been like for you? Fun! I’m glad to be part of a great community and raise money for a great cause.


How did you feel when you found out that you were a finalist for the event? Thrilled and very flattered. (“People actually like me, wow!”)They showed me such great support.


Have you been teased about being selected for the calendar? Yes, I am the new “pin-up” girl. The “Centerfold Tooth Doctor!”


Why is United Way important to you and/or the community? It’s one of the most diverse charity organizations helping the young, women, and elders.


How have you been impacted by United Way? Being part of Women of Worth Favorite Things and Women and Men of Marion—raising awareness to meet great community needs.


Donna Crippen, 52
VOLUNTEER, UNITED WAY


Have you been teased about being selected for the calendar? No! Everyone in the community has expressed positive comments. Everyone has said, “You deserve this award. Congratulations.”


Are you glad these photos don’t involve nudity? Thank you for not doing-—or even thinking of—a nude calendar.


Why is United Way important to you and/or the community? I have seen what wonderful things it has done with Senior Services, Kimberly’s Cottage, The Centers, and the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center.


How have you been impacted by United Way? I am in awe of the work it does in helping children in need, feeding the elderly (Meals on Wheels), helping with sexual abuse, and helping all walks of life with addictions.


Who should get the cover next year? A composite photo of all the beneficiaries of the United Way.

Posted in Ocala Style Features

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