On Saturday, March 28, 2015, the Osceola County Bar Association hosted the Fourth Annual Osceola Bar Gala at Royal St. Cloud Golf Links. Beautiful, cool weather greeted our guests as they arrived dressed to the nines for the evening. Our 140 guests included attorneys from Osceola and Orange counties, community leaders, eight members of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Judiciary, Chief Judge Lauten, Judge Morgan, Judge Myers, Judge White, Judge Blechman, Judge Marques, Judge Barbour, and Judge O’Brien, the entire City of Kissimmee Commission: Mayor Swan, Commissioner Alvarez, Commissioner Otero, Commissioner Rentas, and Commissioner Shaw, Mayor Borders of the City of St. Cloud, Osceola County Commissioners Harford and Grieb, and Osceola County School Board Members Mr. Soto and Mr. Thacker. The event included a cocktail hour, silent auction, dinner, swearing in our executive board, an awards presentation, and dancing.
The silent auction featured many items donated from local businesses throughout Osceola County. A special thanks goes out to the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce for acquiring many of the auction items for our silent auction. Our highest valued auction item was an art piece donated by the Draper Law Office. The piece, drawn by the Honorable Carol E. Draper, fetched $750. Other high priced auction items included a framed photograph of the Osceola County Historic Courthouse, a two night staycation at an All Star Vacation Condo, golf packages, and tickets to many of our local attractions including Wild Florida, Pioneer Village, Medieval Times, and Gatorland. Proceeds from the silent auction benefitted Help Now, Osceola, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence. Although final numbers are not yet available, it appears the silent auction raised more than $2,000 for Help Now.
Our President, Rudy Ramjeawan, kicked off the dinner, greeting our guests and thanking our sponsors: Kissimmee Utility Authority, Overstreet, Miles, Cumbie, and Finkenbinder, P.A., Melendez & Carmona, P.A., Ramjeawan Law Group, P.A., The Ticket Clinic, Richard C. Mendoza, P.A., Story Properties, LLC, and Toho Water Authority. Then, our Past President, Rob Holborn, swore in our current officers, President: Rudy Ramjeawan, President-Elect: Celia Thacker, Secretary: Cristal Maisonet, Treasurer: Richard Mendoza, Public Information Officer: Carrie Sarver, Membership Director: Brian Sizer, At Large Director: John Newstreet, Paralegal Section Representative: Marcos Marrero, and Young Lawyer Section President: Alesha Smith.
The Osceola Bar presented two awards at the Gala. First, the President of our Paralegal’s Section, Kelia Garcia, presented the Paralegal Section President’s Award to Mala Iley. Ms. Garcia recognized Ms. Iley’s years of service to the Paralegal Section. Ms. Iley is one of the founding members of the Paralegal Section and continues to serve as the Judicial Assistant Liaison to the Section.
Second, the President-Elect presented the Murray W. Overstreet, Jr., President’s Award. Each year, the President selects an attorney that exemplifies service to the community to receive the award. This year, the President selected attorney Jo Thacker. Mrs. Thacker has practiced law in Osceola County for almost thirty years, as a private practitioner and as the County Attorney for Osceola County. Mrs. Thacker performs countless hours of pro bono work, mentors young lawyers, and serves on boards for several major organizations including the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce and the Silver Spurs Riding Club. In a fun twist of events, the President asked the President-Elect to present the award. This created a very special moment as Celia Thacker presented the award named after her grandfather, Murray Overstreet, to her mother, Jo Thacker.
The evening concluded with dancing merriment. Everyone had a great time. We cannot wait for next year’s Fifth Annual Osceola Bar Gala!