Richard was the driving force in the formation of UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation in 2013. He actively recruited a Board of Directors comprised of local business leaders, retired professionals and physicians. In addition, he recruited a volunteer staff to provide services for the organization. As Chairman he led the newly formed group until he assumed the position of Executive Director in 2015. In 2018 he became president and under his guidance, the organization's outreach continues to grow as he looks for new ways to provide service to the hospital.
Lou joined the Membership Auxiliary in 2013 and was an original Board member of the Foundation. She was given the task of establishing and co-chairing a new Department called the Volunteer Placement Office. This group is charged with recruiting and bringing on board, along with Human Resources and Employee Health, new volunteers. Lou was elected President of the Auxiliary and served 2016-2017 when she resigned her volunteer position and joined the staff of the Foundation as Volunteer Coordinator. With this position she continues to work closely with the hospital and the Auxiliary membership.
In September 2015 Curt became a volunteer at the hospital and served with one of our revenue producing centers at Ye Olde Thrift Shoppe. In May 2016 he became their assistant manager, after realizing their direct benefit to the hospital, and is currently co-coordinator. Curt says that his early career working for a Sheriff’s Department in Wisconsin showed his ability to work well with a diverse group of people. Each day he can certainly use that experience to work with the nearly 200 volunteers in the Thrift Shoppe as well as the customers who love to shop and visit. This is right up his alley and we are fortunate to have him.
Cathy joined the Foundation office in 2017 as Development Coordinator and is now Senior Development Associate. She majored in business and started her career in computer programming. It didn’t take long, however, to realize she is really a "people" person and moved into sales and marketing. When she grew tired of the traveling, she set about looking for work that spoke to her heart. She went back to school, earning a BS from Eastern Illinois University. She also attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison to earn certificates in Resource Development, Annual Giving and Major Gifts. She enjoys matching people's philanthropic desires with the needs of the hospital and says "No matter where you go, every community needs their local hospital."
Deidre joined the Foundation in 2015. The Foundation immediately recognized her talents and abilities and created a new position called Patient Navigator. In this position, she serves as a liaison between the Royal Palm Society and Touchstone Society members to help guide them through the health care system at UF Health The Villages® Hospital. In addition, she conducts hospital tours for groups of 8 or less. These tours are for volunteers, prospective volunteers, and residents of the local communities. In addition, Deidre stays busy making presentations to clubs and groups in the area, touting the latest hospital developments. She can be reached at 352.751.8173 to schedule a hospital tour or presentation to your club or organization.
Prior to joining our Foundation in 2015, Shelly held many positions with UF Health Leesburg Hospital, part of UF Health Central Florida. She worked in many areas including acute rehabilitation, human resources, public relations, and with the UF Health Leesburg Hospital Foundation. When she was offered the chance to join our Foundation, she felt a renewed spirit and embraced the opportunity to develop and grow. She is the office coordinator and board liaison and focuses now on donor development and the many projects and events of the Foundation. As such she enjoys meeting and learning about people and helping to make a difference in others' lives and our community.
Judy began volunteering at the Thrift Shoppe in 2017 after moving to The Villages®. Previously she had volunteered with a Senior Center and says she always enjoyed shopping in thrift stores but never considered volunteering with one. After attending a recruiting event at the hospital, she began volunteering Wednesday morning and then added Thursday. She loved every day and couldn’t wait to get there. She says her fellow volunteers have become family in just 3 short years. In 2020 Judy agreed to become co-coordinator of the shoppe and everyone is pleased to see her take on additional duties. Judy says “You never know what you may receive as a donation, but I really have to smile when I take a donation of a snow shovel in Florida. Another volunteer had to tell me what it was used for.”
Carol is the newest member of our Foundation staff. She joined us in January 2020 and is heavily involved in our donor tracking software which enables us to keep in touch with our great group of donors. She has an MBA with an emphasis in accounting/finance and a graduate certificate in online marketing. After moving to Florida last year she wanted to work with an organization whose mission she could fully support. She found the Foundation was a perfect fit as the position combines her accounting and marketing training. Carol says, “The thing I enjoy best about working for the Foundation is the staff and their dedication to their mission."
Angie joined the Auxiliary Foundation in December 2020 and is our official social media coordinator to handle the information shared with our volunteers, customers and supporters. She brings a unique background to this job. Born and raised in the Jacksonville, Florida area, she joined the Marine Corps and became a combat photographer. Her photography training led her next to open Angie C’s Photography in Leesburg where her passion is capturing unscripted/candid snapshots of people. Even with all these responsibilities, she still has time to home school 3 of her 4 children.
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Linda Crane joined the Auxiliary Foundation in March 2021 as manager of the hospital’s Gift Gallery. She brings with her a wealth of experience in the retail arena. Prior to joining us, she was manager of the Leesburg Hospital thrift shop, The Second Time Around Thrift Store in Leesburg. Come visit her now at our Gift Gallery. Linda has had 20-plus years’ experience selling products and merchandise online using platforms such as eBay and Etsy. She says “I love the open communication and transparency here at The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation.” She shares that when people shop at the Gift Gallery not only are they buying great items; they are also supporting the hospital.
Joe is an Ordained Minister and Chaplain and currently serves as the lead Chaplain at UF Health The Villages® Hospital with a team of 15-20 volunteer chaplains from a variety of denominations. His background is long and varied. He graduated from Ferris State College with a degree in math education. He later completed a Masters in Education from Penn State University. In 2018 he sold his business after being an owner/operator for over 10 years and decided to follow his heart as a chaplain. Joe previously served 3 years as a volunteer chaplain at Freedom Pointe Rehabilitation and Healthcare Facility in The Villages. He served 2 years as a volunteer chaplain for Marion Correctional Institution, a high security prison in Ocala, and 2 ½ years there as a volunteer trainer teaching classes in XTREME SOLUTIONS. He has also served as a volunteer pastor/trainer at the House of Hope Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Facility in Wildwood. In addition, he served on the Executive Board for the planning and start-up operations for the Prisoners of Hope, rehabilitation and recovery programs that work with prisoners both inside the state prison system and after they leave to enter a ministries home for training in life skills outside of prison.
Board of Directors
Scott is a CPA and, after working for several CPA firms, formed Scott Sander and Associates, P.A. in 2004. Originally from New Jersey, he received his BBA, Magna Cum Laude, from Hofstra University. He has always been involved in local charities and joined the Foundation board in 2017. He says he has two life philosophies: "You never get in trouble doing right" and "Try to begin every dialogue with an act of kindness."
Andre graduated from Boston University with a BA dual degree in Economics and International Relations. Recently he completed his MBA in Business Administration with the University of Central Florida. Andre has always been involved with the communities where he lived, especially in Brazil, his home country. While his father was in the hospital in Sao Paulo he observed the tremendous need for new equipment, volunteers, medications a hospital needs. When he learned that UF Health The Villages® Hospital Foundation provides funds through a Patient Care Committee for equipment not in the hospital’s annual budget and an Auxiliary to provide volunteers, he knew he had found something he wanted to be a part of. He joined the Foundation Board in 2019 and is currently serving as Vice Chairman.
George received a BBA in Accounting and Finance from the University of Oklahoma and spent much of his career as Controller of various international corporations. Those positions took him to many posts in the United States as well as the UK and the Netherlands. He began volunteering with the hospital in 2015 and was asked to join the Board in 2018. George has received a Certificate in Volunteer Management from Rollins College. His background in financial systems and computer technology is a valuable asset to the Board. His problem-solving philosophy mirrors that of the Foundation: "Nothing has to be a big deal; there is always a solution; listening to others is a large piece of the equation."
Paul received his MSN-Nursing from the Medical College of Georgia and his BSN-Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. He served as a nurse with the United States Navy and Army. He is a highly qualified clinical professional with hands-on experience as well as management, education and training expertise. He has served as Director of Nursing at many facilities. He volunteers each year to travel with Rotary International to help patients in other countries with cleft palate surgeries. Paul was an original member of the Foundation Board and is still a very active member, focusing a large part of his efforts with the scholarship program.
Dave was an original member of the Foundation Board. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in journalism and began his career as an education and science reporter for a newspaper in Duluth, Minnesota. He is a very experienced personnel and public relations executive with a diverse range of philanthropic/volunteer roles and brings a lot to the Foundation as current chairman of our Communications Committee. After an illness resulted in a 41-day stay in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, Dave said "During that time I developed a real affinity for the hospital." During his tenure as Board Chairman he worked to establish an Endowment Fund, with the Board contributing an initial $400,000.
Dr. Hussein was educated in Amman, Jordan and did postgraduate work and residency In Amman and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He also did residency at Brown University Memorial Hospital in Rhode Island and completed a Fellowship at St. Louis University in the Hematology and Medical Oncology Program. He has been in private practice since 2005 and is now affiliated with Florida Cancer Specialists. Dr. Hussein joined the Foundation board in 2015.
After working 20 years on the private sector, Gary entered public service as Administrator of the US Department of HUD in New York State. He was later appointed as the Special Assistant to the Secretary of HUD in Washington, DC and as Special Assistant to the President of the United States, serving as a member of the national Labor & Management Council and the President's Management Excellence Team. After moving to Florida, he founded Project SOS, Support Our Soldiers, Inc. operating in Central Florida and launched the U.S. Military Children’s College Fund. Gary joined the Board in 2017 and says "When I heard about UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation's Scholarship Program, I immediately saw this as an excellent way to expand our existing military scholarship program. These new programs will not only be of benefit to the recipients, but they will help our local community by expanding the number of healthcare professionals and services."
Diane and her husband opened and operated an Open MRI in South Florida from 1990 to 1996. In conjunction with the MRI, she started a medical billing company to service numerous medical practices in the area. As a widow herself and seeing a need for support, Diane founded and led a group at her church called "Hope for Widows and Widowers." One of her true passions is working with our local humane society (YOUR Humane Society SPCA). It is this appreciation of animals which naturally led her to be the driving force behind the bricks honoring animals in our Celebration Garden. Diane has been a Board member since 2016 and is currently serving as Chairman of the Board Development Committee. She says of her involvement with the Foundation, "It is especially gratifying to be able to see where your support is helping to make a difference in your own backyard."
Joseph LaLonde has an impressive resume in retail pharmacy and community service. He began his professional career with a drug company, covering New York Vermont and Pennsylvania and worked his way up to Vice President of store operations in the drug division. From this post he moved to another drug company where he served as Vice President of Store Development, Design and Merchandise. Joe says “Volunteerism is a passion.” In 1989 he became a member of the board of the Upstate Medical University Foundation, a position he held until recently. Throughout his tenure he has worked on a variety of committees. His most treasured former position was serving as chairman for the Children’s Miracle Network, raising millions of dollars for the pediatric department at University Hospital in Syracuse. Joe is sharing his vast experience in retail development while helping with the construction and opening of the new thrift shop.
Jim began volunteering with the hospital in 2011 and was an original member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. He served as President of the Auxiliary Membership from 2014–2016 and received a Certificate in Volunteer Management from Rollins College in 2016. He currently serves as Chairman of the Foundation's Patient Care Committee which works closely with the hospital staff to maintain and improve the quality of patient care at our hospital.
Cindy and her husband John decided to contribute to UF Health The Villages® Hospital after attending an annual Foundation Dinner. She said "We wanted to become a partner with the Foundation and donate a patient room." After an impressive tour of the hospital, they settled on a room which would give a patient and a loved one the view of the sun rising in the morning as well as setting in the evening. Cindy became a Board member in 2016 and continues to be actively involved in many Foundation activities.
Dr. Robert Reilly earned his undergraduate degree from Notre Dame. He attended the State University of New York at Stony Brook School of Medicine and completed his internship and residency at Stony Brook University Hospital. He is an Internal Medicine Specialist and serves as the Medical Director for Utilization Management for the Villages® Health. He also provides care for more than 800 patients in The Villages. He says “I get to play an important privileged role as I work with an older population. I am grateful to be able to care for people at this particular stage of their lives.” He is a great match with our Auxiliary Foundation as he continues “looking at the cost side and making sure we are good stewards of our resources is vital to ensuring quality patient care now and in the future.”
Jeannie and her husband volunteered with Cornerstone Hospice House from 1995–2000 and she began volunteering with UF Health The Villages® Hospital in 2003 – just one year after its opening. She volunteers in 4 different departments at the hospital and has accumulated more than 10,000 hours of service. She serves as President of the Membership Auxiliary and, as such, has been a member of the Board since 2018. Jeannie's smiling face can be seen around the hospital most days and also at many of the events involving the Foundation. She is a great asset to both the hospital and the Foundation.
Charlie and his wife Debbie became hospital room naming sponsors in 2016. Charlie moved to The Villages® in 1997 before our hospital was even on the horizon. However, he knew that he wanted to be of service to the hospital when it opened in 2002 and, when he retired in 2016, he jumped at the offer to join the Foundation Board. His wife Debbie encourages people to take a tour of the hospital which are offered free to the public. She says "It is a way to become familiar with the hospital facilities and services available."
Bonnie has extensive experience in real estate and founded The Villages® Relocation Department to help people sell homes anywhere in the country in anticipation of their move to The Villages®. She says she was passionate about the hospital even before it was built. Shortly after her move to The Villages® from California in the mid-1990s, her father passed away unexpectedly. Bonnie said "In my Dad's memory I wanted to see a hospital in this community." She worked to raise funds to help build the hospital and has been very involved in the Foundation's special events, including their signature Hearts for Our Hospital Gala held each February. She joined the Board in 2018.
Dr. Cote received a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Physiology from Manchester University in England. Her Doctorate in Medicine with Honors is from the University of Toronto. She is a physiologist and physician with significant experience in basic research, family practice, and international healthcare industry leadership roles – medical, marketing and regulatory. Christine was an original member of the Board and has served in several capacities including Capital Campaign Chair and Fundraising Development Chair.
Thomas Fross, along with his brother, founded one of the most respected wealth management companies in The Villages® and is a great supporter of UF Health The Villages® Hospital. Thomas was an original member of the Foundation Board. He and his brother were personally touched by the effects of cancer when a family member died at a very young age from the terrible disease. He and his brother have said "The Auxiliary Foundation’s strong focus on raising funds for this wonderful hospital is truly contagious. Since we know that 100% of the money donated stays right here in our community helping our own residents we think every business and organization should consider partnering with the Foundation."
Jim and Pam Smothers were among the first donors to help raise money for the hospital expansion project announced in 2015. They decided to be room naming sponsors and chose a hospital surgical suite where a plaque bearing their names is displayed outside the room. They also co-sponsored one of the early home gatherings where the CEO of UF Health Central Florida and the Foundation Executive Director shared information with others who were interested in supporting the efforts of the Foundation. Jim served on the Foundation Board for 3 years from 2015 through 2017 and his prior expertise is of great value as a Board Member emeritus now.
- Don Henderson, FACHE Vice President, UF Health
- Diane Harden, CPA Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
- Lorraine Brown, MSN, RN Chief Clinical Officer and Site Administrator at UF Health The Villages® Hospital
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