When are pajamas more than pajamas?

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As Florida Gulf Bank’s marketing and public relations counselor for more than nine years, I continue to be grateful every day to know this extraordinary group of genuine, giving people who truly care for their community. We talk about Corporate Social Responsibility, about giving back to the community, but this is something that Florida Gulf Bank employees seem to do naturally, not something that has to be put on their “to do” list. And the amazing part is that this holds true from the president and CEO Bill Valenti and senior staff, to the Board of Directors, to the eight branch managers, to the tellers, to the courier drivers.

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Participating in United Way, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Kiwanis, or in other charitable organizations that employees believe in is clearly a priority and while giving back to the community is encouraged, not required, Florida Gulf Bank seems to attract those who are passionately committed to the community. And their dedication does not go unnoticed.  This year, a pajama drive was implemented at all eight branches and bank president Bill Valenti shared his thoughts with the staff:

When are pajamas more than just pajamas? When is a contribution of time or treasure more than just a check or an hour of volunteer time? The answer is, when they represent a choice to think of others first.

Our company is remarkable in so many ways but, in every way it is the people who make it the way it is. Florida Gulf Bank has weathered the worst recession I can remember.  While so many companies are struggling for their very survival, we are moving ahead. When I think of the qualities that enable us to persevere, I always come back to our underlying culture.

I remember the empty pajama boxes arriving at our offices hoping to be filled. I watched at our holiday gathering as they were filled. I watched as Patti-Anne loaded her car with the many cans of food headed to the Harry Chapin Food Bank. I read this morning how a dozen of us volunteered at the United Way to help package food for the hungry and I am so proud every time I hear at the United Way that our company is the highest in per capita giving of similar size organizations.

The Power of Personal Service comes from caring; caring for others, even if we never meet. It is born of respect for the dignity of every person. As families gather to celebrate the holidays, a child might awake wearing their new pajamas and sat down to a meal all because you cared.

I am so proud and so privileged to be a part of this company and your fellow team member. Happy Holidays to one and all.                       Bill Valenti

I think that says it all.  If you want to provide feedback, feel free to contact me.

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