“He who Plants a Tree, plants a Hope,” wrote poet and author Lucy Larcom (1824 – 1893). This quote is inscribed on the bronze plaque mounted at the base of a live oak tree planted one year ago at City Hall commemorating the Port St. Lucie Business Women’s 35th anniversary. Planting hope has been a core fundamental of the organization.
On October 17, members of the Port St. Lucie Business Women, along with Mayor Gregory J. Oravec, Vice Mayor Linda Bartz and fellow Business Women member and Councilwoman-Elect Stephanie Morgan, came together for the dedication and unveiling this bronze plaque.
Port St. Lucie Business Women President Cooie Newman welcomed those in attendance and presented opening remarks. As a newly formed club in 1980, the Business Women was first to participate in a fundraiser benefiting the city’s proposed Youth Community Center, planting hope that youths would have a place to grow and develop. From that first fundraiser to the Business Women’s recent Community Action Grants that awarded more than $12,000 to 16 Treasure Coast non-profit organizations – the largest amount of funds and recipients to date – the Port St. Lucie Business Women has stayed true to its commitment to serve our community in an effective manner, with a hope that its efforts continue making a difference.
The organization has grown from 21 Charter members to more than 60 members strong today. Many members have served with the group for more than 20 and even 30 years, with two Charter members still active. It is the group’s hope to continue fostering business relationships in addition to inspiring sisterhood among members.
Today the Port St. Lucie Business women has evolved into a professional women’s organization that has awarded tens of thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships to local organizations and women looking to continue education opportunities. Members have supported and served many needs and projects, making a positive impact with the hope for a better community and a commitment that they can and will make a difference.
Mayor Oravec mentioned that he checked on the tree after Hurricane Matthew roared through and found it survived a hard blow, something he found symbolic. The live oak has deep roots and strengths, just like the Port St. Lucie Business Women. He referred to his comments made at the dedication in 2015, reiterating that choosing to plant a tree was a wonderful way to help build a better city, a better community and a better country. He hopes that future anniversaries can be commemorated with additional tree plantings at City Hall, “until there’s a forest!” Mayor Oravec quipped.
Vice Mayor Linda Bartz spoke about personally knowing three of the four original organizers, remarking about their caring natures. She emphasized the need to support women and then watch them grow. Vice Mayor Bartz mentioned numerous accomplishments of the Port St. Lucie Business Women, including bringing nationally known keynote speakers to town with the group’s seminars. She stated that their annual Fashion Show is the talk of the town. Vice Mayor Bartz thanked the Business Women for mentoring our daughters and our granddaughters.
Fellow Business Women member and Councilwoman-elect Stephanie Morgan said that she looks forward to continuing the tradition of giving back to the women and children in our community.
The 14 ft. high live oak tree and its installation was donated last year by Austin Outdoor, now Yellowstone Landscape.
The Port St. Lucie Business Women is a professional organization dedicated to promoting the interests of business women and serving our community in an effective way. For more information visit www.pslbw.com. “Like” us on Facebook for updates about our events, programs and community involvement.
Photos by Diane Gallagher, DSG Designs & Photography