October 1, 2015 – (Sarasota and Bradenton, Florida) – Charles J. Bartlett, Board Chairman of Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida, announced today that Shaun P. Merriman – Gateway President & CEO and chair of the 2015 Sarasota/Manatee Heart Walk – led the area’s most successful Heart Walk to date. The event, which took place on September 12, raised over $212,000, crushing a fundraising goal of $195,000.
As Chair of the walk, Merriman and his Executive Leadership Team were instrumental in relocating the Walk to Nathan Benderson Park, which helped draw teams and participation from both Sarasota and Manatee counties. (The walk was previously held at Payne Park in Sarasota). Merriman also encouraged teams to get involved and set aggressive fundraising goals. As a result, 147 teams were formed and approximately 1,300 walkers participated! The $212,000 raised was an 8.7% increase over goal. Funds go toward lifesaving research, community programs, educational resources and advocacy efforts.
“Shaun raised the bar for the 2015 Sarasota/Manatee Heart Walk. Because of his dedication and leadership, lives in our community were saved,” said Lewis Benner, President and CEO of 1st Manatee Bank and the incoming Sarasota/Manatee Heart Walk Chair. “I look forward to filling Shaun’s shoes and continuing to work beside him to fight heart disease and stroke.”
Merriman’s motivation for getting involved on the Heart Walk’s Executive Leadership Team was experiencing the loss of his uncle and role model 36 years ago to a massive heart attack. His uncle was only 38 years of age. “As I grew up and approached the age my uncle was when he passed way, I realized a lot of similarities in my physique and lifestyle to his,” said Merriman. He continued, “I vowed to my family that I would do my best to eat right, exercise, and most importantly, truly understand the early warning signs of heart disease and how best to prevent it.”
Merriman’s employees at Gateway Bank are encouraged to do the same, and the Bank has been recognized by the American Heart Association as a Fit-Friendly company since 2010 for its corporate wellness initiatives. The Bank’s team this year consisted of 28 registered walkers, raising over $8,600, and the team was recognized as 2015 “Top Fundraising Team” at the walk. “I am extremely proud of our employees and their fundraising initiatives for the Heart Walk,” said Merriman. “Together we are raising awareness and saving lives.”
About the American Heart Association: The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or join us, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or any of our offices around the country, or visit heart.org
About Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida: Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida is an independent community bank serving business and consumer banking clients in Sarasota and Manatee counties. BauerFinancial (www.bauerfinancial.com) awarded Gateway Bank a 5-Star rating indicating the bank is well capitalized, exceeds regulatory compliance standards, and demonstrates high quality asset management.
Gateway Bank operates three full service banking locations. The main office is located at 1100 South Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The University Parkway banking center is located at 6204 North Lockwood Ridge Road, and the Manatee Avenue Banking Center is located on the northwest corner of 21st Street West and Manatee Avenue West.
The employees of Gateway Bank are dedicated to giving back to the community through volunteerism and monetary donations. In 2014, employees (41 in total) logged over 2,500 volunteer hours and raised $38,000 for local charitable causes.
The shareholders and directors of Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida are primarily residents of Sarasota and Manatee counties. The Board of Directors includes: Charles J. Bartlett – Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen and Ginsburg, PA; Dr. Gary K. Bockhold – Center for Sight; David J. Grain – Grain Management; David K. Maholias – Gateway Financial Holdings of Florida, Inc.; Shaun P. Merriman – Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida; Gavin W. Meshad – JWM Management, Inc.; Katherine K. Moulton – Resort Management Consultants; Wayne M. Ruben – WMR Consulting, LLC; and David E. Sessions, Willis A. Smith Construction Inc.
Further information regarding Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida may be obtained by contacting Shaun P. Merriman, President and CEO at 941-306-0105.