By Lourice Angie
The Village of Florida celebrated their 20th Annual Family Fun Fest and the tenth Annual 5k/10k Run Fest on Sun., Aug. 13 in the Village of Florida.
The 5K/10K Run kicked-off in Glenmere Park at 8 a.m. The festival opened at 1 p.m. and ran until 8 p.m. in the heart of the Village. This year, for its 20th year, the event was a great example of what a community can do when they work together. Preparations are ongoing year round and the committee works creatively to make every year better than the one before.
The event offered fun activities for all ages including free rides, art, live music, plenty of great food/beverage options, and vendors galore. Town officials, civic organizations, charities, and local businesses joined families and community members for a memorable day.
MC Natalie “Nat the Cat” Gubala, a radio personality at WTBQ (93.5 FM) in Warwick, was on stage all day announcing special acts and happenings that were taking place. The Hot Rod Band could be heard playing lively sounds from the 50s to the 90s and great renditions of classic rock songs. Grammy Award winning recording artist Jimmy Sturr and his Orchestra delighted the crowd later that evening with the best polka and country music in town.
Tom Coughlin Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Tom Coughlin, who was born and raised in Central Valley, NY, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. A 1959 graduate of Monroe-Woodbury High School, Tom received a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University in secondary education in 1963 and did his graduate work at SUNY New Paltz.
During his college days he was a driver for Dugan’s Bakery, delivering baked goods to boarding houses throughout Sullivan County. He taught math in the Goshen School District before transferring to S.S. Seward Institute in Florida. Tom retired in 1997 after 33 years of teaching. He served as both President and Treasurer of the Florida Teachers’ Association/School Related Personnel. During summer breaks from school, Tom, also known as “Mr. C,” cooked at Braeside Camp in Middletown from 1997 to 1998.
Tom is extremely grateful for all of the support he’s received while battling bladder cancer since December of 2014. He may have sadly lost his leg, but his determination is stronger than ever. Tom is extremely humbled and grateful to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. He and his family are forever grateful to the Florida community for all of their support with his daughter Christine, including walkathons held in her honor that raised significant funds for Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association (DEBRA). Tom gave a special thanks to the Knights of Columbus who nominated Tom for this award, and to his oncologists, Dr. Dinsmore at Crystal Run Healthcare and Dr. Iyer at Memorial Sloan Kettering, who have helped work miracles.
Fran Roach Named Florida Citizen of the Year
Fran Roach, who was born and raised in the Village of Florida, was named Citizen of the Year. She attended and graduated from St. Joseph’s School and S.S. Seward Institute. Immediately after graduating, Fran began working in Middletown for Dunn and Bradstreet. In January of 1957, she married Don Roach and had four children. She now has nine grandchildren.
For 40 years, from 1956 to 1996, her family operated Don’s Luncheonette in the Village of Florida. Fran is known for making a delicious cole slaw. She is a pillar of the Florida community and has been an active member of the Family Fun Fest Committee for 20 years, the Seward Alumni Association, the American Legion Auxiliary Post 1250, the Columbiettes, St. Joseph’s Church, and the Holy Rosary Society. She is the secretary for both the Seward Senior Citizens and the O.C. Senior Council and delivers for Meals on Wheels. In addition, Fran taught CCD at St Edward’s Church for many years.
When she isn’t busy volunteering or attending a meeting, she loves spending time with her family, and she especially loves to watch her grandchildren play sports. Fran has made the community a better place through all of her commitments.
For more information on the Florida Family Fun Fest and the 5K/1OK Run Fest visit http://www.floridafamilyfunfest.org/.