deborah-jamal-thompson_web.pngFORT LAUDERDALE — The Broward Center for the Performing Arts recently honored 1,400 volunteers who donated in excess of 100,000 hours of community service this year, the equivalent of an in-kind donation of more than $1 million.

More than 600 guests attended the festive 20th annual volunteer recognition luncheon, where they were serenaded by a trio whose repertoire included favorite Broadway hits.  They were also regaled with stories from William Farkas, executive director of the Broward Center when it opened 20 years ago, about the institution’s early days.

McKinley Insurance Services, Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa, Reliance and Spirit Airlines sponsored the celebration which took place at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort and Spa in Fort Lauderdale.

In his welcoming remarks, Broward Center President and CEO Kelly Shanley acknowledged the important role that the volunteers play in the work of the center.

“It’s especially important to applaud the contributions that each and every one of you has made to the success of our family of theaters over the last two decades,” Shanley said.  “You play a vital role in our success by donating your time and talents and ensuring that our theaters are a place where memorable moments are made.”

The center, located in the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District at 201 SW Fifth Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, recognized Davie resident Lionel Goldstein as the 2009-2010 Volunteer of the Year for giving 734 hours of service, the most by a volunteer for the year.  He received a commemorative Riverwalk brick at the foot of the Broward Center steps, two round trip tickets from Spirit Airlines, a weekend stay at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa, tickets to see Tony Bennett at the Broward Center and special 20th anniversary souvenir memorabilia.

In a letter congratulating the volunteers, Broward County Mayor Sue Gunzburger wrote, “Each year, more than 700,000 people visit the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and they depend on your services to make their experience enjoyable.  The volunteer service that you provide is a great asset in our community.  Please know that your work is important and greatly appreciated.”

Volunteers usher and serve as community ambassadors for the Broward Center and its affiliate venues, the Parker Playhouse, the Rose & Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center at Nova Southeastern University, the Miramar Cultural Center/Arts Park and the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center.

Volunteers commit to serve for the entire season in one of 10 weekly time periods choosing from seven evening and three matinee performance schedules.

Volunteers honored for giving 20 years of service to the Broward Center were: Suzette Malise, Aventura; Louise Cohen, Boca Raton; Rosalie Flink and Paula Herman, Boynton Beach; Helen Ehlin, Phyllis Fure and Minna Rubin, Coconut Creek; Anita Truettner, Davie.

Also, Murray Jaffee, Milton Neufeld and Evelyn Schneider, Deerfield Beach; Irving and Shirley Roth and Bert and Horty Simon, Delray Beach; Edward Baker, Chuck Berry, Estelle Bitkower, Halina and Emig, Rosemary Meskiel, Myrna Pototsky, Phoebe and Shelly Satlin and Gertrude Yager, Fort Lauderdale.

Also, Angie Colon and Sandra Tavlin, Hollywood; Richard and Sylvia Dworkin, Marilyn Greitzer and Laurel Griefer, Margate; Joyce Hereth, Oakland Park; Jackie Kelly and Joan Thornton, Pembroke Pines; Durwood and Gloria Daitz, Nancy Gilbert, Leon Heller, Annette Kenner, Gloria Marshall, Fran and Fred Schopp and Joan Tucker, Plantation.

Also, Betty Duffy, Adele Klein, William Kunsak, Mickey Pines and Bruce Voelkel, Pompano Beach; John Dee and Anita Penso, Sunrise; Rosalind Kaufman, Marilyn Manning, Gert Mishkin, Annette Scarola, Edith Sephton and Beatrice Solodkin, Tamarac; and Jim Rosa, West Palm Beach.

For more information, call the Broward Center’s volunteer office at 954-468-2684.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BROWARD CENTER. MOTHER AND SON VOLUNTEERS: Lauderdale Lakes resident Deborah Thompson and her son Jamal Thompson volunteer at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.