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Rain Barrel Painting Contest winners announced

June 12, 2019
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

On Wednesday, June 5, the judging of Florida Governmental Utility Authority's first Rain Barrel Painting Contest took place inside Lehigh Community Services conference room. The program, which was in its first year, is a coordinated effort between Lehigh Acres Community Services and FGUA. About 25-27 seniors attended the awards luncheon sponsored by McAlister's Deli. This year's winners were Irma Estrella and Fara Dela Cruz who took first place and shared the prize, each receiving $125.

"They both worked on the same barrel and it was amazing. Irma gave a wonderful speech about what it meant to her to participate in the program and Fara told us she was just getting over open heart surgery. Two very amazing ladies. They are both residing at Presbyterian Homes," Donna Lizotte, Community Service Representative on behalf of The Florida Governmental Utility Authority said.

Irma Estrella and Fara Dela Cruz took first place with "Old Town" Countryside theme. Irma expressed her heartfelt gratitude stating," Thank you to the FGUA, Lehigh Community Services and the Senior Center for creating events like this one. I love painting, because when I am painting, the world around me changes. Senior people are happy when they are making something with their hands. Our minds are working good and we enjoy having something to do. Thank you for the opportunity and for letting us join in this eventexcellent job!"

Article Photos

Painted rain barrels entered in the contest.


This year's second place winners were Lenore Del Castillo and Roger Hall, who also worked on a barrel together- a manatee design theme and shared their prize receiving $75 each.

Third place winners were Pat Franson and Linda Franks, who worked together on a fish and octopus design and shared their prize receiving $50 each.

According to Donna Lizotte, this year was made possible by the great support of the community and local businesses.

"A total of 14 seniors participated in the program this year and we had three judges. We received great reviews and thanks from all the seniors who participated and they were all asking about next year. We are also getting calls from folks in the community who are interested in purchasing the barrels. The response from the community and the support has really been amazing," Lizotte said.

Flavia Canalda, the service coordinator at Presbyterian Homes, also played an integral role in coordinating efforts with residents for the event.

Lizotte wanted to thank all this year's sponsors: Hawkins, Inc. for their donation of the barrels; US Water Services, the prize sponsor; Home Depot; Vision Ace Hardware, Lehigh Acres Lowe's; Tetra Tech Engineering; MBV Engineering, Inc.; CPH Engineering, Inc.; J. Nathan Stout, CPA, PA, Lehigh Acres; LA Insurance, Lehigh Acres; Caloosa Dental, Lehigh Acres; Landex International, Lehigh Acres; Coldwell Banker, Preferred Properties; Government Services Group, Inc. and McAlister's Deli, The Forum

"This year we raised $1,500 in revenue donated for the program. Lehigh Community Services will use these funds to provide assistance to seniors struggling to pay water utility bills. We also received approximately $1,875 in in-kind donations," Lizotte said.

Carolyn Peplow, director of Lehigh Community Services will post the auction for the barrels online. Anyone interested in purchasing a rain barrel will have the opportunity to participate in an upcoming silent auction, which begins on Friday, June 14, at 8 a.m. All bidding will take place at barrel. The bidding will officially end on Friday, June 21, at 5 p.m.



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