LAKELAND, FL (Oct. 21, 2013) – For the past 10 consecutive years, Winter Haven restaurateurs Debbie and John Tennick have given generously of their time and talents to generate more than $200,000 for summer youth programs of the Citrus Center Boys and Girls Club through an annual fundraiser called the “Guest Bartender’s Bash.”
The Tennicks, who currently operate The Blue Room, a boutique-style restaurant and lounge on Cypress Gardens Boulevard near Legoland, were cited for their decade of generous community service with a prestigious Public Service Award from the Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA). The FPRA chapter created the award to recognize a local business or organization that provides outstanding public service outside of its official mission.
“Debbie and John’s continued support has helped the Citrus Center Boys and Girls Club provide a safe, supervised haven for thousands of young people during the busy summer months. We are pleased to give them well deserved recognition as our latest FPRA Public Service award winners,” said Cindy Rodriguez, a director of the local FPRA chapter, in announcing the award at a recent chapter meeting.
A long time board member and former president of the Citrus Center Boys and Girls Club, Debbie Tennick is credited with suggesting the “Guest Bartender’s Bash” as a vehicle for raising funds during a brainstorming session 11 years ago. Under the program, members of the local business community serve as bartenders for an evening social.
The event was originally staged at Tanner’s Pub in downtown Winter Haven which was owned and operated by the Tennicks for many years until they sold it two years ago. After the sale, the event was moved to the historic Ritz Theater where it continues to flourish and generate much needed revenue for the Boys and Girls Club with a helping hand from the Tennicks. Before selling Tanner’s Pub, the Tennicks also hosted the youth organization’s staff Christmas party at their own expense for several years.
“The first event produced about $10,000 for the Citrus Center Boys and Girls Club, and over the years has continued to grow in terms of attendance, flair and dollars generated. Since its inception the event has produced more than $200,000 for summer youth programs,” said Bob Gernert, executive director of the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce who nominated the Tennicks for the award as a member of the Dick Pope/Polk County FPRA chapter. Gernert is also a former chapter president and former FPRA state president and executive director.
Named in honor of Cypress Gardens’ founder Dick Pope, Sr., the Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter is one of 15 professional chapters of Sarasota-based FPRA, the nation’s oldest public relations organization. FPRA provides professional development, networking and recognition opportunities for more than 1,300 public relations professionals throughout the state. For more information on the state organization, visit www.fpra.org on the web.
The Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter meets at 8:30 a.m. on the third Wednesday of every month at the Cleveland Heights Golf & Country Club. All meetings are open to the public. For information visit the chapter website at www.fprapolk.org/home.