Meet the Wo/Men of Marion County

Ocala Style is proud to be the media sponsor for the 2009 “Wo/Men of Marion County” calendar to benefit United Way of Marion County. The giving, community-oriented professionals who make up the 12 months of the full-color calendar are among the best and brightest in our area. We caught up with this year’s winners to talk about charity in Marion County, what it felt like to be nominated, and why United Way matters.


Dr. Paul Bruce
Chiropractor, Bruce Chiropractic


What are you going to do with your copies of the calendar? Sell them in the office to raise money for United Way and give them to patients.


Why is United Way important to you? United Way and I have similar goals. We both want to make a positive difference in the community and increase quality of life for those who live here.


What is your community involvement? United Way, March of Dimes Walk for Babies—in memory of our son Gavyn—the Heart Walk association, YMCA, and many more.


What is your favorite part of living in Marion County? The people and being able to raise my family here where I was raised.


If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do with it? Spend it with my family.


Since this is billed as the party of the year, what is your idea of a great party? A party centered on a UF victory, celebrating my alma mater as a champion. I grew up as a Gator and I’m very proud to be one.


Perry Morgan
Sales, Business, and Life Coaching


What has the Women and Men of Marion experience been like for you? The Women and Men of Marion experience has been awesome. We have a great community of women and men serving the United Way.


What are you going to do with your copies of the calendar? Keep one for myself and send one to my mom to let her know that her servant’s heart is still beating in me.


Why is United Way important to you? United Way helps fulfill my core values. Serving our community, people at-risk or in need, is what makes our community prosper. When a community works together in a united way, we can achieve anything.


If you could do anything at all and know for sure that you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? Develop a pill that will cure any type of sickness with no side effects.


Christi S. McCall
Realtor, Crystal McCall & The Sold Team


How did you feel when you found out that you were a finalist for the Wo/Men of Marion? Nervous—I was walking in the shoes of those I’d nominated in years past.


How have you or someone you know been impacted by United Way? Teaching for seven years in the Marion County School System, I have witnessed UW’s impact. I taught a lot of students who were involved at one time or another in one or more of the programs that UWMC partners with. Knowing that there is someplace for the people of our community to go when they have nowhere else to go is a great feeling.


What is your community involvement? Junior League of Ocala (six years) and ELO (three years).


Who should get the cover next year? We should all be on it together!


What is your favorite part of living in Marion County? First and foremost, my family–they make it my home. Second, the fact that it is a growing city but still has that small-town charm where people know you and your daddy, and more than likely, remember getting their tooth pulled by your grandfather the dentist. (True story—hear it all the time.)


If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do with it? Probably sleep. I know I’d be able to do so much more with just one more hour of rest.


Derek Batsel
Insurance Agent


What has the Women and Men of Marion experience been like for you? It has definitely been a new experience. I generally try to stay below the radar, but at the same time, it was really cool being able to help raise money for such a worthy cause.


How have you or someone you know been impacted by United Way? Any organization that helps our neighbors and our community so much impacts all of us.


Who should get the cover next year? I think that should be based on the success of this year’s calendar. If it does well, I might go for consecutive covers.


What is your favorite part of living in Marion County? It’s horse country. What’s not to love? That and all the great family, friends, and co-workers I am surrounded by.


If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do with it? I would probably spend it at home relaxing with my beautiful wife, Trish, and my little man, Evan.



Dustin Owen (Left)
Builder, Owen Construction


How did you feel when you found out that you were a finalist for the Wo/Men of Marion? It was an honor to be nominated. We take a lot of pride in our community, and it was nice to be recognized for our contribution to the community.


What is your community involvement? Through Owen Construction and my church, I have donated time and money to various charitable organizations.


What is your favorite part of living in Marion County? The overall family feel and knowing I live in a community that takes care of one another.


If you could do anything at all and know for sure that you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? I would love to be able to provide housing to all in need in Marion County.


If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do with it? I would spend it with my wife and daughters at the park.


Brandon Owen (Right)
Real Estate and New Home Sales, MD Owen Realty


What are you going to do with your copies of the calendar? Sign them and sell them on eBay!


Why is United Way important to you? I think the impact United Way has on homeless school-aged children is undeniably one of the greatest community programs we have.


What is your community involvement? My wife, Jessica, is a teacher at Evergreen Elementary, so most of my free time goes to volunteering at her school.


Who should get the cover next year? My brother-in-law, Thomas Pestow, manager of Ipanema.


What is your favorite part of living in Marion County? All of the local and family-owned businesses give Ocala a great hometown feeling.


If you could do anything at all and know for sure that you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? Ten push-ups


If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do with it? Spend it at home with my wonderful wife (who gave me the answer to this question).


Michael Owen (Center)
Builder, Owen Construction


What are you going to do with your copies of the calendar? Christmas gifts.


Why is United Way important to you? The strength of a community is how it takes care of each other, and United Way is a great example.


Who should get the cover next year? The most motivated finalist.


What is your favorite part of living in Marion County? Friends and family.


If you could do anything at all and know for sure that you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? Play the lottery.


If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do with it? Spend time planning my day.


Since this is billed as the party of the year, what is your idea of a great party? Being able to unwind with good friends and good music.


Janelle Johnson
Guidance Counselor, Belleview High School


What are you going to do with your copies of the calendar? Give them to anyone who wants one to get United Way’s name out.


How have you or someone you know been impacted by United Way? Being a teacher in this county, I am sure I know many people who have been impacted by UW. I see children and families in need every day.


What is your community involvement? I am in ELO and have been very active in the Junior League of Ocala for seven years.


Who should get the cover next year? John Travolta.


If you could do anything at all and know for sure that you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? I would like to reform education so that it truly is meeting all students’ needs.


If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do with it? Read more books.


T.J. Jarvis
Commercial Relationship Manager, Mercantile Bank


What has the Women and Men of Marion experience been like for you? Coming together with people from different avenues within our community to support a common cause was a fulfilling and empowering experience.


How did you feel when you found out that you were a finalist for the Wo/Men of Marion? I was definitely surprised. I know many other well-qualified candidates in our community within the same industry. This is an honor.


What is your favorite part of living in Marion County? The central location. During the week you can enjoy the beautiful weather while participating in numerous recreational activities, and on the weekend, if you want to get away, you are within an hour [of] each coast, an hour and a half from Orlando/Tampa, and in the fall, 45 minutes from great college football.


If you could do anything at all and know for sure that you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? Start playing the lottery.


If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do with it? Squeeze in an extra nine holes.


Since this is billed as the party of the year, what is your idea of a great party? Great food, good music, and lots of friends coming together, whether it’s for the football game, a social event, or a community fundraiser.


David Emrick
Owner, Midnight Rodeo


How did you feel when you found out that you were a finalist for the Wo/Men of Marion? Like a five-year-old at Christmas time.


What are you going to do with your copies of the calendar? Sell them and give the money to United Way.


What is your favorite part of living in Marion County? The small-town feel


If you could do anything at all and know for sure that you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? Play the lottery.


If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do with it? Spend time with my wife and daughter.


Since this is billed as the party of the year, what is your idea of a great party? Midnight Rodeo, Saturday night!



Patricia Teal (Left)
Promotions and Community
Relations Manager, Star-Banner


What has the Women and Men of Marion experience been like for you? Fun and interesting. It was a real creative fundraiser, and I was truly honored to be involved.


How did you feel when you found out that you were a finalist for the Wo/Men of Marion? I was so flattered. I didn’t believe it at first.


What are you going to do with your copies of the calendar? Send some to my Omi (grandmother), of course!


Why is United Way important to you? They provide funding and help to so many worthwhile local agencies. If you give to United Way, you really are giving to the whole community.


Who should get the cover next year? How about John Travolta? Maybe that would get him to spend a little more time out in the community.


What is your favorite part of living in Marion County? Everything! The rolling hills, the horses, the rich history, and the great sense of community that we have!


If you could do anything at all and know for sure that you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? I suppose I would love to be in politics—this is the best way to make change.


If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do with it? Ask anyone who knows me well and they would tell you—sleep!


Nikki Dixon (Right)
Formerly of the Star-Banner


What has the Women and Men of Marion experience been like for you? Fabulous. I enjoyed meeting the many movers-and-shakers of Marion County and realized just how down- to-earth everyone is. We are all here for the same goal—to help!


What are you going to do with your copies of the calendar? Custom wallpaper for my house. Just joking! I am going to give them to family and friends, and, of course, one is going to be mailed to Oprah. I’m still trying to get on her show to tell her how fantastic we are in Marion County.


What is your community involvement? I am active in political campaigns, especially in this year’s historic election. I volunteer with several education organizations, in particular the Literacy Council.


What is your favorite part of living in Marion County? The good-hearted people I meet every day.


If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do with it? I have a wonderful family, and the extra hour would be spent having great times with them and giving God thanks!


Katie Duley-Sawyer
Annual Gifts Officer, Munroe Regional
Medical Center Foundation


How did you feel when you found out that you were a finalist for the Wo/Men of Marion? Excited!


What are you going to do with your copies of the calendar? Give them to family and friends.


Why is United Way important to you? United Way reaches out to our community in many ways. The organization wraps their arms around Marion County’s needs as a whole and works to make a difference in numerous lives.


What is your community involvement? I am involved with the Marion County Farm Bureau and Emerging Leaders of Ocala, serve as a mentor for Take Stock in Children, and work to create philanthropic support for the Munroe Regional Medical Center.


Who should get the cover next year? The women!


What is your favorite part of living in Marion County? I am a fifth-generation Marion County resident and believe our county is a hidden treasure of thriving industries, tranquility, and generous individuals.


If you could do anything at all and know for sure that you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? World peace.


Daren Robinson
Head Golf Professional,
Golden Hills Country Club


What has the Women and Men of Marion experience been like for you? I had a good time meeting people and raising money for a great cause.


What is your community involvement? I run several charity tournaments and Junior programs during the summer.


Who should get the cover next year? All of us.


What is your favorite part of living in Marion County? My friends.


If you could do anything at all and know for sure that you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? Play on the PGA Tour.


If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do with it? An extra hour of sleep is always nice.


Since this is billed as the party of the year, what is your idea of a great party? Hanging out with family and friends is always a great party to me.



Gary Mitchell (Left)
Owner, en.ve


What has the Women and Men of Marion experience been like for you? It was fun to be recognized and I was glad I could raise money for such a worthy cause. Plus, there’s nothing better than having your own cheering section. (Leave it to our staff to make the biggest scene at the party.)


What are you going to do with your copies of the calendar? Belated Christmas presents.


Why is United Way important to you? When you think of charity, the first name that comes to mind is United Way. It’s the face of giving in Marion County.


Who should get the cover next year? The one who raises the most money. But I like the idea of all the winners sharing the cover.


What is your favorite part of living in Marion County? Not being lost in a sea of faces. If you go to New York or Tokyo, there are so many faces, you could never know them all. Here, there’s a sense of community.


JT Rich (Right)
Owner, en.ve


What has the Women and Men of Marion experience been like for you? This has been a fantastic experience. I really enjoy that I can give back to my community.


How did you feel when you found out that you were a finalist for the Wo/Men of Marion? I was pretty surprised to find out that Gary and I were finalists.


What is your community involvement? Gary and I raised money for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and Marion County Hospice at a party we hosted last May; we worked with Bumble and Bumble to support the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign; we hosted a “Rocking ‘80s New Year’s Party” for the Children’s Home Society. We also sponsor the Forest High School football team, and I personally donate my time at the Ocala Civic Theatre designing wigs for the shows.


If you could do anything at all and know for sure that you wouldn’t fail, what would you do? Open more businesses.


Since this is billed as the party of the year, what is your idea of a great party? A great party is one that everyone enjoys and the outcome helps others.


WANT MORE WO/MEN?
To pick up your free copy of the 2009 “Wo/Men of Marion County” calendar, contact Summer Gill at (352) 732-9696.

Posted in Ocala Style Features

Share this post

[fbcomments]

What's New at Ocala Style

Life with Abbey

In 2007, our neighbors saw something they can never unsee:...

Seeing Beyond the Surface

A first-person examination of one local woman’s experiences and insights...

Doing Good – Fit to Provide Hope

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Dillard’s Market Street...

Core to Floor

Did you know you can reverse muscle loss, improve back...

Challengers to the Crisis

As the pandemic continues to threaten our community, we turn...

Waste Warriors

How the superheroes at Ocala Water Resources battle dastardly forces...