Congratulations to my friends from the Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel (noon), which meets Wednesdays at noon at Lexington Oaks Golf Club, for putting on a smash hit “Casino Night” fund raiser to help the family of Clayton Mahler with their medical bills.
The Rotary Cub was prompted to action by Pasco’s Clerk & Comptroller Dr. Paula O’Neil, who knows the family personally and was the emcee for the event, which was held August 25 — the same day Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas — at Wesley Chapel Nissan on S.R. 54. The dealership took all of the vehicles out of its showroom and replaced them with gaming tables for the event.
Dr. O’Neil, a breast cancer survivor herself, talked to her friend and Wesley Chapel (WC) Nissan public relations rep Troy Stevenson about doing something to help.
Stevenson got the approval of the dealership’s general manager Joey Falcon to host the Casino Night, which was attended by more than 300 people and which raised about $18,000, according to event chair and club Board member Chris Casella.
Clayton was diagnosed with Stage 3 rhabdomyosarcoma after a July 4th visit to the emergency room for a growth in his nose that was obstructing his airway. He is receiving 42 weeks of chemotherapy, followed by radiation, after 95 percent of the mass was removed.
The Mahlers’ medical bills are piling up and you could feel the love and appreciation flowing in every direction during Casino Night, which was attended by a Who’s Who of local politicos, including Congressman Gus Bilirakis, State Representatives Danny Burgess and Amber Mariano and four of the five members of the Pasco County Board of County Commissioners, as well as by numerous Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce members, many of whom served as volunteers.
The food was donated by Latin Twist Café on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd., although Chick-fil-A on BBD in New Tampa donated the food for the second floor VIP room, where Clayton and his family spent most of the evening. Wine was donated by our friends Charles and Cheryl Visalli of Time for Wine and the delicious Taino Light and Boricua beer was donated by WC Nissan owner Jay Rosario, who also is an owner of the beer company, which is based in Altamonte Springs.
“We’re proud to be able to help this wonderful family,” Casella said. “We really want to thank Dr. O’Neil, the family and especially Wesley Chapel Nissan for hosting us.”
Unfortunately, the club’s planned Sept. 11 American flag giveaway and breakfast for local first responders had to be scrapped because of Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in Florida on Sept 10. The club has since rescheduled the flag giveaway at both the Shops at Wiregrass and Tampa Premium Outlets malls for this weekend — Saturday-Sunday, September 23-24, noon-4 p.m., at both locations.
For more information, visit WCRotary.com or attend one of the club’s meetings at Lexington Oaks Golf Club.
Starbucks, Chick-fil-A & CubeSmart Getting Closer
If it’s been a while since you ventured out on S.R. 54 east of I-75, you may not have noticed all the progress that’s been made on both the new Starbucks, located just east of the new Walmart on 54 or the new CubeSmart self-storage facility located just west of the intersection of 54 and Curley Rd.
Prior to Hurricane Irma, we also saw some progress on the planned Chick-fil-A that is just beginning construction on 54, just west of the Walgreens at BBD.
We will have updates on all three businesses in a future issue.
Sorry that we didn’t have room for a list of WCCC events in this issue, but there are always great events — many of which are free — available for current and future Chamber members to attend and this month is no different.
For all the latest events, visit WesleyChapelChamber.com. — GN