Local resident Marty Rowe has been a volunteer and community philanthropist all of his life. You've probably seen him regularly volunteering at the Fort Myers Beach Kiwanis Club Thrift Store throughout the week, greeting customers, handing out sale-of-the-day slips and keeping everyone happy and smiling. Behind the scenes, he's at the ARABA?Shrine Temple every morning, volunteering his time, organizing the transportation schedule for the transport of our local children in need of medical attention to the multiple Shriner Hospitals around the country.
As their way of celebrating a century of love given by this wonderful man, the local Kiwanis Club and ARABA?Shrine Club are hosting a very special 100th birthday party celebration for Marty Tuesday, Aug. 5, starting at the Fort Myers Beach Kiwanis Thrift Shop at 10 a.m.
"We will be starting Marty's birthday party with birthday cake at 10 a.m. that morning," said Linda Chambers, fellow Kiwanian and manager of the local thrift shop. "At 11 a.m., the Florida Kiwanis Governor, Matthew Cantrall, will make a presentation of the Life Member award. Then, at 11:30 a.m., our president of the Fort Myers Beach Kiwanis Club, Flip Harvey, will make a very special presentation."
Local Fort Myers Beach Kiwanians Vern Fauble, 100-year birthday boy Marty Rowe (center) and Linda Chambers are eager to host a very special birthday celebration Tuesday, Aug. 5, starting at 10 a.m. for the longtime community philanthropist. All are welcome to join in on the celebration. Photo by MELISSA SCHNEIDER.
After Mr. Harvey's presentation, the local thrift store will close for the day, at noon.
"Marty has been a member of our Fort Myers Beach Kiwanis Club for 25 years. Before then, he was a longtime member of the Lehigh club," Linda said. "He comes to the store three or four afternoons a week, volunteering and sharing his stories with customers always has them smiling. We'd love for everyone to come out to the thrift shop Tuesday morning and celebrate this very special birthday with him."
Once the Kiwanis birthday celebration wraps up, another group Marty is a longtime member of, the ARABA?Shriners, will pick him up, carting him over to the Hanson Street temple for a continued birthday celebration.
"We're calling it a Party with Marty," laughed ARABA?Shriner Potentate Charles Bell. "He belongs to our Mariners unit, who has a big ol' yellow Cadillac convertible. Our Mariners are going to pick him up in that big ol' yellow Cadillac convertible from the Kiwanis of Fort Myers Beach, at 12:45 that afternoon, and drive with a Shriner motorcade back to our temple on Hanson Street, to continue the birthday celebration from 1:30 to 3 p.m. We already have 100 signed up, and are expecting about 200 to attend."
Marty has been a member of the Shriners for about 76 years, receiving his 75-year pin a year or two ago, Charles said.
"Marty was the captain of an ore boat on the Great Lakes for about 49 years, that's what he did most of his life. He's been the hospital transportation chairman of the Shriners for decades, organizing the transportation schedule for our 45 volunteer drivers and four vans, traveling to any of the 22 Shriner Hospitals in the U.S., but primarily our Tampa, Cincinnati and Greenville, S.C., units," Charles explained. "Marty is a very, very unselfish person. He is at the Shrine Temple every morning arranging transportation for these local children. He's just a great human being everybody loves him."
The continued party at the ARABA?Shriners that afternoon is primarily open to members and their family and friends. To see if the public can join the celebration Tuesday afternoon, call 239-334-2226.
About the Fort Myers Beach Kiwanis Club
The local Kiwanis group helps fund multiple non-profit organizations, groups and schools through their many projects.
"Some of our many projects include raising funds for scholarships for college students, we pay half of the local swim lessons for all age groups at the Fort Myers Beach Community Pool, we've given a lot of pledges and donations to the Golisano Children's Hospital, paid to put books in the local library's children's department, we've helped support some local baseball teams, soccer teams, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, sponsor the Key Club of South Fort Myers High School and K-Kids at Fort Myers Beach Elementary, as well as other special needs in the community, including the local VA Clinic, Children & Family Services and God's Table at Chapel by the Sea," Linda explained. "Another big thing we do for the graduating high school students, who each need 75 hours of community service, is our thrift shop is open for donating the time so they can earn those service hours."
Much of what the Kiwanis raises to help the community comes from the sales and donations of its local thrift shop, at 11050 Summerlin Square Drive. Sales and specials are offered regularly, but at the prices they charge, there's no reason to wait around for a special sale! Hours are Monday to Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
All donations, whether monetary or in the form of goods, are tax-deductible, and all funds raised go right back into the local community. For further information on the local Kiwanis Club of Fort Myers Beach or how to become a volunteer, call 239-454-8090 or visit FortMyersBeachKiwanis.org.
About the ARABA?Shriners
"A beacon of hope for Shrine children, 1 of 11 Shrine centers, the ARABA Shriners sponsor in excess of 500 local children at Shriners Hospitals annually, providing transportation and treatment at no cost for children who otherwise couldn't receive it," 2014 Potentate Charles Bell said. "Anything from spinal cord injuries, cleft palets, orthopedic units and burn treatments, we take care of their medical costs and transportation to any of the 22 Shriner Hospitals in the U.S., but primarily transport local children to our Tampa, Cincinnati and Greenville, S.C., units."
For further information on the local ARABA Shriners Club or how to become a member, call 239-334-2226 or visit ARABAShrine.net.