Inspiring Okeechobee: Gold Medal recipient Carol Marker turns 16

OKEECHOBEE — The Special Olympics Gold Medal State Champion 16 and Under Carol Marker turned 16 on Wednesday, April 8. Carol is highly active within the Special Olympics organization, both as an ambassador and as a participant. Having been born with autism, Carol does not let this slow her down and is on the honor […]

Inspiring Okeechobee …Volunteers answer the call for help

OKEECHOBEE — In a call that is reminiscent of those heard during World Wars I and II, health care workers all over the United States are expressing a need for medical supplies, and just like those earlier calls, these cries are being answered by women, and maybe even some men, across the country. During the […]

Inspiring Okeechobee: ‘I washed my hands’

OKEECHOBEE — Normally at this time of year, people sport red, white and blue stickers that state, “I voted,” but in Okeechobee, the stickers these days say something a little different. Scott Dawson, owner of East Coast Signs and Shirts, decided he wanted to do a little something to brighten things up around here, so […]

Grandmother is inspirational to generations

OKEECHOBEE — Joanne McDuffie is not your typical grandma … or, then again, maybe she is. She just doesn’t realize she is not everyone’s grandma. Ms. McDuffie does do all the normal grandma things like inviting her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren over to spend the day. They go to the skate park or the science […]

Inspiring Okeechobee… Sam Smith has ‘no regrets’

OKEECHOBEE — Sam Smith arrived in Okeechobee in 1973, a 20-year-old man fresh out of college and ready to take on his first official teaching assignment. “He looked like a kid himself,” said his sister-in-law, Susan Smith. Sam’s brother John and his wife, Susan, had moved to Okeechobee in 1972 after John came back from […]

Inspiring Okeechobee: Dr. Ramesh Kumar calls it ‘good medicine’

OKEECHOBEE — Dr. Ramesh Kumar is originally from India but has been in the United States since the ’80s and has been in Okeechobee since 1994. He is an oncologist — a cancer doctor — and his practice is called Big Lake Cancer Center. For 25 plus years, he was a traditional medical doctor taking […]

Inspiring Okeechobee: ‘You’re never fully dressed without a smile’

OKEECHOBEE — There is a song, written by Martin Charnin, called “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” and if you’ve ever met Amy Cortez, you would swear she lives by that motto. No matter what she is doing or how she is feeling, she has a smile on her face. Amy has lived in […]

Inspiring Okeechobee: If she cannot help them all, she will help one

OKEECHOBEE — Sandra Cruz is originally from the Dominican Republic but has lived in Port St. Lucie for the last 14 years and has worked in Okeechobee for eight years. When she first came to the United States in 1994, she lived in New York, but after she got married, she moved to Puerto Rico. […]

Inspiring Okeechobee…R.J. Sandefur is still pursuing his dream

OKEECHOBEE — Robert “R.J.” Sandefur has always been a fighter. Weighing only 1 pound, 5 ounces at birth, he was the smallest baby ever born alive, at that time, which was 1979. His eyes had not formed yet; he has cerebral palsy; a quarter size portion of his brain never developed; and he was given […]

Inspiring Okeechobee Thomas tries to do what’s right

OKEECHOBEE — Cebrena Thomas is on a mission for God and said she will continue her work until the day she dies. “If a hurricane comes and blows away my mission house, I will put up a tent and give away things to people who need them inside a tent,” she said. Ms. Thomas operates […]