Tag Archives: community

News Peeks: #SWFL A/C company to help family beat the heat

Kenmark Air has announced "Beat the Heat" to help one local family with air conditioning equipment and installation.
Kenmark Air has announced “Beat the Heat” to help one local family with air conditioning equipment and installation.

Ken McDaniel, founder and owner of Kenmark Air in Southwest Florida, is a great example of a local business owner giving back to his community.  He and his sons, Tyler and Bradley, will select a deserving family to provide equipment and installation of a new air conditioning system to help them “Beat the Heat.”  Until Sept. 15, 2015 they are accepting essays of 250 words max and will announce the recipient by Sept. 30.  Why is Kenmark Air doing this?  Ken says it best in his own words:

“Since starting Kenmark Air 20 years ago, being part of our community has always been important to my family and to my business. Throughout my sons’ childhoods and even after, I coached baseball and soccer, trying to help young people get off to a good start. After practice and during school vacations, Tyler and Bradley learned the HVAC air conditioning, service and installation business, eventually joining the company and taking on the leadership roles they have trained for since they were very young.

Mentoring, dedication to service and a supportive community have brought us to where we are today. We are very grateful, and that’s why my sons and I have launched ‘Beat the Heat.’ We hope to give back in the best way we know how.

With heat indexes into the three digits, we would like to provide a local family with free air conditioning equipment and installation. Until Sept. 15, we will accept nominations from the community for a deserving family living without air conditioning in their home. We will announce the winning home by Sept. 30 after an inspection to make sure it meets the necessary criteria.

Nominations of 250 words or less can be completed online at KenmarkAir.com/BeatTheHeat or sent by mail postmarked by Sept. 15 to Kenmark Air, 5811 Country Lakes Dr, Fort Myers, FL 33905. One can self-nominate or nominate someone they know. For a complete description of contest rules go to KenmarkAir.com/BeatTheHeat or visit the Kenmark office.

We want to help by making things better for at least one local family. And we will try our best to do even more.”

This is a great opportunity for one local #SWFL family and we hope readers will help spread the word and nominate someone by Sept. 15.  Let’s get together to “Beat the Heat!”

 

 

 

In Fort Myers: A Hometown Hero Brightens the Day

There are days when we can all use a ray of sunshine.  And yesterday, that ray was Vonda Chatman, a team member at PDQ in Fort Myers, Fla.   She was working inside the restaurant when suddenly a violent thunderstorm began, causing a power outage inside and flashes of lightning outside.

PDQ's CFO Nick Reader drove down from Tampa to congratulate Vonda on going above and beyond.
PDQ’s CFO and co-founder Nick Reader drove down from Tampa to congratulate Vonda on going above and beyond.

Vonda said, “It lit the whole building up and then everything just went off. I saw the lightning hit the pole. I looked over and saw the lady shaking a little and the daughter looked like she was dazed.”

A pregnant woman and her family had just left the restaurant when a bolt of lightning, strong enough to knock out power, shocked her as she was leaning against the bus stop shelter.

Without thinking of her personal safety, Vonda raced outside to offer assistance. She helped the woman and her small child back into the restaurant. The mother and child were taken to Lee Memorial Hospital.

Vonda explained, “I just kicked into mother instinct and just ran out there. I don’t care if I would’ve got shocked as long as I know they were okay. She got some medical treatment. I feel better now.”

PDQ patron Lynndy West wrote on Facebook: “Another example of PDQ team’s commitment to the community! Way to go Vonda! Amazing community partners and exceptional team members! Awesome food too!”

Vonda sharing her story during an interview with  NBC2 Fort Myers
Vonda sharing her story during an interview with NBC2 Fort Myers

Operating Director Scot Chausse was happy that everyone was okay. “Lost a little bit of power. Lost some electronics,” he said. “But we just basically saved a life. PDQ did.”

Thanks, Vonda, for bringing a little sunshine in after the storm – we are lucky to have someone like you in our community.

Life in Public Relations: A Recipe for Kindness

 

Restaurant
Gloria’s La Trattoria Cafe Napoli, Fort Myers

 

 

 

 

GloriaSignage

 

 

 

 

 

Good at Heart

This is part I of a story about one woman’s kindness and one young girl’s dream. With all that is going on in the world, it is uplifting and inspiring to know that Anne Frank was right when she wrote, “despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” I hope that I can share with you the same feel good moment I experienced today.

AMIkids Southwest Florida

AMIkids-Southwest-Florida - with tag

A little background first: Like many of us in the public relations profession, at PKE we are concerned about our community and love getting immersed in the causes we care about. At our firm, we work with several Southwest Florida non-profit organizations, but our heart is with children and education, specifically AMIkids Southwest Florida, an alternative school for at-risk kids between 14 and 18 years old.

One visit to this day school and you cannot help but be impressed by the staff’s commitment to getting these kids back on the right track and back into their regular high schools. Through rigorous academics, mental health therapy and behavioral treatment, this program addresses the problems of kids who often have unbearable home lives filled with violence, drugs and abuse. They start out with such a disadvantage that there is little surprise when they get into trouble and make the wrong decisions.

A rough start

A few months ago, we planned a Ladies Tea to create more awareness about AMIkids Southwest Florida. One of the students, 15-year old Naomi, was brave enough to share her story with the guests. She not only told of her hardships, first the incarceration of her parents and then their deaths, being split up from her sibling and sent to live with an elderly aunt who became a substitute “grandma,” she also shared one of her dreams – to become a chef and to own her own restaurant.

Her talk was so direct and heartfelt that everyone was silent for a moment after she was finished – we were amazed at all this child had been through and yet here she was, tasting her first scones, trying a variety of teas and sharing her future plans. What could be more wonderful and serendipitous than one of the guests being a local chef/restaurant owner? Even better, the guest was Gloria Cabral, owner of La Trattoria Café Napoli, a warm-hearted, friendly, community-minded person who was as taken with Naomi’s story as the rest of us. So much so that without hesitation, she offered her time and attention to mentor Naomi – to have her come to the restaurant to see what the life of a chef is all about. In essence, the offer to ignite Naomi’s dream and help her take the first step to making it become real.

Portrait of Gloria that hangs in her restaurant
Portrait of Gloria that hangs in her restaurant

A new beginning

Today was Naomi’s first visit to Gloria’s Trattoria Café Napoli. Accompanied by AMIkids executive director Windye McNeal, restaurant manager Tino gave Naomi a front and back of the house tour, briefed her on the menu and wine list, and gave her tips from “Safe Staff,” a publication on safety in the workplace from the Florida Restaurant Association. Her next lesson will be with Gloria in the kitchen to learn more about the role of a sous chef and the importance of quality cuisine. The best part? Gloria has designated May 14 as “Tapas Night with Naomi,” an AMIkids SWFL fundraiser where Naomi will participate as sous chef for the evening and help prepare dinner for 55 guests.

Tino's training session with Naomi
Tino’s training session with Naomi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naomi is slightly nervous about being in the spotlight, but when I asked her how she felt about all this, she said, “I am really excited about this adventure. This is a dream I will always remember.”

One woman, one girl and one extraordinary act of kindness – the perfect ingredients for a second chance.

 

 

Delicious lunch at Gloria's La Trattoria Napoli
Delicious lunch at Gloria’s La Trattoria Napoli

Part II coming soon: In the Kitchen with Gloria & Naomi

The PR Life: Look Back & then Move Forward

As a myriad of New Year’s posts begins to appear, I am compelled to add to the mix with my own reflections on the PR life. And while we all tend to recount our mistakes or regrets, I recommend that you also reflect on the positive things you accomplished in 2010. This will provide you with inspiration and excitement to get your business off to a good start for the New Year. Here are a few examples of experiences we look forward to building upon in 2011…

Continue reading The PR Life: Look Back & then Move Forward