Key West Mayor Teri Johnston and the City Commission proclaimed July 14th as Flora Barroso Rueda Day in honor of Rueda’s 102nd birthday.
City Commissioner Jimmy Weekley did the honors of presenting the proclamation to Mrs. Rueda, as she is his godmother.
“At 65 she took on a new career of playing the piano,” said Weekley. She played for the senior citizens at Bayshore Manor and in the convalescent center. After taking a break during the Covid pandemic, she now plans to start playing for the residents of Poinciana Gardens.
Born in 1920, she grew up on Bahama Street, where she learned to play the piano -- and to play cards -- at a very early age. She graduated from the Convent of Mary Immaculate High School in 1938.
As a lifelong member of The Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea, Flora sang in the choir for more than 50 years alongside her sister Norma.
Flora met and married Evelio “Skippy” Rueda and, over 70 years of marriage, they raised a strong family that now includes three children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Rueda has been a member of the Catholic Daughters, Court #634, and served in every office of the organization over a span of 52 years. She served as State Regent and Treasurer of the Florida Council of Catholic Daughters.
Rueda’s beautiful still life paintings grace the homes of many friends and family.
Rueda accepted the honor surrounded by family. She recalled fondly her childhood in Key West and the importance that music has played in her life.
Sunday marked the final day in a 27-year career for Key West Police Capt. JR Torres.
At last week’s City Commission meeting, Chief Sean Brandenburg, City Manager Patti McLauchlin and the entire City Commission gave thanks to Capt. Torres for his dedicated years of service, noting that, prior to his tenure with the police he served the community as a paramedic for ten years. In total, Capt. Torres has served the Key West community for 37 years.
Chief Brandenburg, in recognition of his outstanding service to the community, bestowed the honorary rank of Deputy Chief.
During his nearly three decades with the police, Capt. Torres has earned many honors, including the Medal of Valor, the Life Saving Award, and several Chief’s Commendations.
He served as a narcotics detective, K9 handler and patrol officer. Ten years ago, he was promoted to Captain and served as Patrol Captain until his retirement.
“This has been the most rewarding and honorable thing I’ve done in my life,” said Capt. Torres. “In my mind there’s nothing more rewarding that a person can do as a human being. That feeling you get when you put your head down at night knowing you have done right for others is priceless.”
Chief Brandenburg recapped Capt. Torres’s remarkable career and, in a long-standing joke around the station, noted that he was, indeed, the Chief’s favorite Captain.
“Congratulations, JR, on an amazing career,” he said.
At Wednesday’s City Commission meeting, City Manager Patti McLauchlin presented Capt. Torres with a plaque honoring his service.
“We’ve worked together for 27 years,” she said, “Through thick and thin. I’m very proud of the service you’ve given to the community.”
On February 9, 2022, Lower Keys Medical Center recognized its 2021 Annual Award recipients.
Holly Boyer, Patient Concierge, was named the 2021 Employee of the Year. David Clay, CEO, read comments from Holly’s colleagues, which recognized her for her composure, critical thinking skills, and daily care and compassion as she welcomes patients, guests and staff entering the facility. “Holly arrives at work each day with a smile! She treats everyone with kindness and respect. If an issue or difficult situation arises, we know it will be handled appropriately. She performs the essential duties of welcoming and screening all that enter our facility, directing and guiding patients and visitors, while cross-training in other roles as well. She never complains and is the epitome of a team player. She’s invaluable!”
Sean Dillon, RN, Surgical Services, received the 2021 Nursing Excellence Award. He was recognized for his dedication to his profession, connection with patients, honesty, authenticity and trustworthiness. Clay noted comments from co-workers, “Sean goes above and beyond in modeling our Compassionate Care Culture. He is a highly competent and skilled nurse. He believes, as a nurse, that we are here to provide technical, emotional, supportive and collaborative care to all we encounter. His professionalism is well-balanced with a great sense of humor and an incredible amount of empathy for those around him. When thanked for his efforts, Sean simply replies, ‘That’s what we’re here for… to take care of our patients.’”
Zuki Figueroa, Certified Medical Assistant, Keys Medical Group Obstetrics and Gynecology, received the 2021 Keys Medical Group Excellence Award, in recognition of her experience, insight and compassion. Colleagues commended her work ethic, mentorship, and ability to implement new processes in a positive manner. “Working in OB, you have to be a compassionate person. Zuki is warm and welcoming to patients and addresses them as a familiar friend when they come in. She is compassionate when patients are sad or afraid and shows the same compassion with her co-workers. You can really count on her!”
Yodis Fuentes Flores, Nursing Assistant, Emergency Services, was presented with the 2021 Clinical (Non-nursing) Excellence Award, for which he received eight separate nominations. Clay read, “Yodis is always willing to go the extra mile for patients. He always helps patients to feel comfortable with the process of being in the ER. He calmly talks to people that are in distress until they feel better. Yodis is a hard worker who takes pride in what he does. Yodis is very positive and extremely helpful. There is never a moment where he is rude to another human. He shows his compassion through his kind words and shows he cares with a smile.”
Tara Lowson, Registrar, Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy Rehabilitation Department, was recognized with the 2021 Non-Clinical Excellence Award. Co-workers noted, “Tara reassures our patients that their therapist(s) will take care of them and that they will receive excellent care. She provides compassionate care and enhances the patient experience by taking extra time to sit with patients, face-to-face, to explain their insurance, make calls to insurance companies, and really talk through their benefits. Patients have, time and time again, expressed how grateful they were to have Tara walk them through the confusing world of insurance. She is an active listener and can tell when someone needs a little extra help, attention, or needs space. She serves as a mentor to others in the department.”
Eddie Bushey, Human Resources Business Partner, received the 2021 Frank Houtman Award, named in honor of a long-serving volunteer at the hospital who wanted to give back to patients and employees as a tribute to his late wife. Frank once said he admired people with a sense of service, loyalty and commitment. “I look for people who shine,” Frank noted. Eddie was commended for his willingness to help out wherever he can and for organizing events and activities to keep the staff in good spirits. “He visits the floors to give out candy or pens, telling his ‘Eddie jokes’ and making everyone laugh. He treats everyone the same, is always outgoing, and knows staff by name,” Clay noted.
Angelina Ashler, RN, Director of the Intensive Care Unit and Patient Experience Champion, was honored as the 2021 Clinical Manager of the Year, for her compassion, leadership, and ability to adapt quickly in times of change. Clay shared, “Angelina is a consummate professional in all of her leadership duties. She goes above and beyond to support our team, our customers and our mission. She quickly responded to reconfigure services to meet pandemic concerns, ensuring quality patient care and safety of staff amid constant change and imperfect information. She and her team demonstrated extraordinary compassion for patients and families. She was also very aware of the impact on her team, providing compassion and ongoing frontline support.”
Lisa Noss, Director of Human Resources, was named the 2021 Non-Clinical Manager of the Year for her unwavering drive to improve the hospital environment, no matter what the challenge may be. Clay noted, “Lisa has the ability to multitask at a high level, which was paramount this year. She goes about this with a positive light and always looks for opportunities to improve the organization. She is always fair, calm, and can explain the ‘why’ behind policies while making individuals feel at ease. Lisa was instrumental in timely implementation of new COVID policies. No matter how much is on her plate, Lisa will always find time for you and, when she does, she is committed to your concern and does it with a smile.”
Also recognized were employees with 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years of service with Lower Keys Medical Center.
The Key West City Commission and Mayor Teri Johnston, during this week’s meeting, took the opportunity to commend Key West Fire Captain Jason Barroso for heading up the Herculean task of replacing the burned down home of Ms. Alelia Butler.
After the Galveston Lane fire nearly two years ago, Capt. Barroso pulled together a team of off-duty firefighters, businesses, builders, and designers. The entire community pulled together to build Ms. Butler a new home, which she moved into on December 22. The community donated money, manpower, building supplies, and even furniture
Capt. Barroso, with the Key West Fire Department and more than 60 community businesses and individual volunteers presented Ms. Butler with the Certificate of Occupancy for her new home before Christmas. The new home is the result of an extraordinary outpouring of generous donations of time, materials and effort by the entire Key West community, and many agree that it would not have happened without the leadership and pure dedication of Capt. Barroso.
“I can’t tell you how grateful and thankful I am,” said Capt. Barroso. “It was an incredible community and team effort. We’re very blessed to have such a beautiful community on this island.”
“Now, therefore,” reads the commendation, “the City Commission of the City of Key West does hereby recognize Capt. Jason Barroso and the Key West Fire Department for tremendous leadership and commitment to the safety and comfort of the Butler family and the citizens of Key West.”
In the photo: Commissioner Gregory Davila, Jimmy Weekley, and Mary Lou Hoover, Mayor Teri Johnston, Capt. Jason Barroso, Ms. Alelia Butler, Fire Chief Alan Averette, Vice Mayor Sam Kaufman, Commissioner Clayton Lopez and Billy Wardlow.
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