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South Florida’s finest couples being honored Oct. 2 to raise funds for cystic fibrosis

South Florida’s most outstanding couples will be honored for their success in business, leadership in the community, and unparalleled support of charitable causes.  The CF Foundation will celebrate the couples’ power in

Adam and Rhonda Black, honorees, with co-chair William E. Lewis

partnership and recognize their accomplishments on Friday, October 2, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six in Fort Lauderdale.

This year’s event co-chair persons are Jennifer and William E. Lewis, Jr., and Eileen and Chip LaMarca.

The couples being honored include: Catalina and Freddie Avalos, Robin and John Bartleman, Tony Beall and Ray Birbilas, Rhonda and Adam Black, Cheryl and Michael Brown, Tamara and John Chase, Carole and Governor Charlie Crist, Marlene and Pedro Dijols, Danielle and Nick DiNicola, Stephanie and Commissioner Angel Gomez, Pauline and Juan Carlos Gomez, Genesi and Julio Gonzalez, Barbara and Hal Hammel, Lisa and Derek Hayward, Karen and Joe Hillman, Cyndie and Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Trina Robinson and Clarence McKee, Melissa and

Adam and Rhonda Black held a wine tasting event at their Wine Warehouse in Fort Lauderdale in honor of being selected one of South Florida's Finest Couples last week. 15% percent of proceeds went to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Congressman Adam Putnam, Summer and Jim Robertson, Sharon Glazer and David Singer, Kristi Krueger and Todd Templin, Sheryl and Bruce Udolf, Michelle Seyez and Alan Jay Wildstein.

The fifth annual gala will include a cocktail reception, dinner, dancing, a silent auction, and a tribute to the honorees.  Following presentations of South Florida’s Finest Couples, guests at this black-tie optional event will have the opportunity to mingle while dancing the night away to EOEntertainment. This year’s sponsors include Publix Supermarkets and Credit Restoration Consultants.

Tickets to attend South Florida’s Finest Couples are available for $200 each or $1,750.00 for a table of ten.  For more information about the event, to purchase tickets, or to find out about the available sponsorship opportunities, please call Jennifer Tate at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation office at (or email

Biographies for South Florida’s Finest Couples provided by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Catalina and Alfredo “Freddie” Avalos
Catalina Avalos, Attorney, Tripp Scott
Alfredo Avalos, Commissioner, South Broward Hospital, BSO Detective

Catalina and “Freddie” met twenty years ago through mutual friends at Monty’s in the Grove and have been together ever since. It is only fitting that their first date was also at Monty’s. Freddie proposed on Christmas Eve after a family gathering. Coincidentally their mutual friends got married as well. They have two beautiful children, 15-year-old Alina and 10-year-old Alexandra. Their best memories are of their family vacations where they get to spend quality time with each other and their children. They especially enjoy going to the Florida Keys, watching the sunset and enjoying a nice dinner. Catalina and Freddie cherish that they are always there for each other.

Robin and John Bartleman
Robin Bartleman – Broward County School Board Member
John Bartleman – Vice President of Product Management – TradeStation Securities

Robin and John  met each other while checking into their college dormitory at FIU.  Robin asked John where Freshman Orientation was and John was quick to respond.  Robin knew there was something special about John and they quickly became friends.  They never really went on a first date, they just spent every free second together and eventually became a couple.  Like their courtship, there was no formal proposal. Nineteen years later,  Robin and John are still best friends and now have two beautiful daughters, Emma (10) and Sarah (7).  They spend all of their free time as a family; however, they try to make time for date nights and enjoy going to dinner and a movie.  John loves Robin’s sense of humor and enjoys debating her on any issue.  Robin loves John’s calmness, his ability to listen, and his sense of humor.  The key to their marriage is communication, having the ability to grow as individuals and as a couple, and accepting each other for who they are.

Tony Beall and Ray Birbilas
Tony Beall, National Director of Fund Development, Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
Ray Birbilas, Design Director, BlueStream Builders

Tony and Ray have been together since they met one Sunday afternoon 16 years ago in a Chicago bar playing a game called “Post Office.”  The short story: Tony sent Ray some mail.  Tony and Ray’s favorite date nights are their “infamous” sangria Friday’s (TGISF!) where they listen to great music and enjoy delicious homemade sangria. They enjoy the outdoors and traveling and fondly recall their 10-day trip to Thailand and the Island of Phuket which they took during the Thai New Year.  Tony and Ray’s motto for the success of their relationship is to complement each other’s lives, not complicate them.  They share a mutual respect for one another and support each other’s goals and dreams, whatever they may be.  And they laugh a lot!

Rhonda and Adam Black
Rhonda Black, Sales Manager, Federal Signal Corporation
Adam Black, Sales Consultant, H-Wave

Rhonda and Adam met in Orlando at college 11 years ago. Their first date was going on a Dunkin Donuts run for their classmates and since then they have been best friends ever since. They cherish their friendship, which fosters the deep trust, honesty, love and respect they have for each other.  Their favorite date night is a good dinner, a nice bottle of wine and going to see a play or a show, which is the reason why one of their fondest memories is a two-week road trip they took in California through Los Angeles, Monterey, Napa, and San Francisco.

Cheryl and Mike Brown
Cheryl Brown, Case Coordinator & Forensic Interviewer, Child Protection Team
Mike Brown, Investigator / President, State Attorney’s Office / Florida Majestic Properties

Cheryl and Mike’s future was sealed the first time they kissed after lunch at a romantic Italian restaurant.  Together with their 14-year-old son, Dylan, and their two dogs Dino and Jasmine they have formed a loving family. They enjoy a bottle of wine together while cooking dinner and blanket-snuggling on “daddy’s chair” while watching a moving. What Mike loves most about Cheryl is her kind heart, loving spirit and that he can always count on her.  Cheryl loves Mike’s sense of humor and his easy going nature. Mike always gets to have the last words in any situation … “Yes Dear!” Their funniest memory is of their honeymoon cruise during a couple’s message involving “one size fits all panties.” We will leave it at that!

Tamara and John Chase
Tamara Chase, Owner, Chase Hurricane Protection
John Chase, Owner, Chase Roofing

Tamara and John met though a mutual friend and have been like high school sweethearts. John proposed to Tamara in a park while he played a tape cassette of love songs and read a poem he had written for her.  The Chase’s loving family consists of their two teenage children, Ryan and Bridget, and two dogs, Buddy and Cowboy.  They have so many wonderful memories but one of their fondest is a trip they took to New England. Tamara and John refer to the mutual respect they have for each other, how special they are to each other and treat each other with love and admiration as the keys to their success.

Carole and Governor Charlie Crist
Carole Crist
Governor Charlie Crist, Governor of the State of Florida

Governor Charlie Crist was born in 1956 in Altoona, Pennsylvania, but his family soon settled in St. Petersburg. As a public school student Governor Crist quickly learned the value of participation, leading him to serve as class president at St. Petersburg High School and, later, as student body vice president at Florida State University. In high school Governor Crist was the starting quarterback for his football team. He later played football at Wake Forest University before transferring and receiving his undergraduate degree from Florida State in 1978. Governor Crist then earned his law degree from the Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama.

Governor Crist received invaluable experience in Florida’s criminal justice system while interning in the State Attorney’s Office before accepting a position as general counsel for the minor league division of the Baseball Commissioner’s Office. Governor Crist began his government service as state director for former U.S. Senator Connie Mack before later returning to the private practice of law with the Tampa firm of Wood and Crist.

In 1992, Governor Crist won a seat in the Florida Senate. For six years in the Senate, Governor Crist served as Chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee and as Chairman of the Appropriations Criminal Justice Subcommittee. A strong voice for public safety, he sponsored, among other legislation, the Stop Turning Out Prisoners (STOP) bill requiring prisoners to serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentences. This earned him numerous honors, including appointment as an Honorary Sheriff by the Florida Sheriffs Association—only the third person to receive the honor in the organization’s long history.

After Governor Crist completed his Senate service, Governor Jeb Bush appointed him as Deputy Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. In 2000, Governor Crist won a special election and became Florida’s last elected Commissioner of Education. Governor Crist’s path of public service next led him to seek election as Attorney General in 2002. He carried the general election by more than one-third of a million votes to become Florida’s first elected Republican Attorney General. On November 7, 2006, Governor Charlie Crist was elected to serve as Florida’s Governor. Governor Crist is a lifelong member of the St. Petersburg Chapter of the NAACP.

Governor Crist and his wife Carole have been married since December 12, 2008. They were married in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Marlene and Pedro Dijols
Marlene Dijols, Owner, Marz Marketing
Pedro Dijols, Partner, Rothstein, Rosenfeldt Alder

Marlene and Pedro met at a mutual friend’s party 19 years ago.  They have two kids, Brian and Madison, who come first and foremost in their lives.  Their favorite date night is dinner and renting a good movie, which is not all that surprising since it was while they were watching a movie that Pedro proposed.  Some of their favorite activities include golf, reading, and traveling.  They always laugh when they think back to renting a scooter in Mexico and the Bahamas; it is an experience they will never forget. The secret to their successful partnership is to never disrespect each other, even when angry.

Danielle and Nick DiNicola
Danielle DiNicola, Fundraising Consultant, DPF Consulting
Nick DiNicola, Executive Sales Consultant, Sun Sentinel

Danielle and Nick are the newlyweds of the bunch, having been married just five months. They both love to travel and help others, which can be seen by their support of several non-profits in Broward County. Danielle is a tri-athlete embarking on her third triathlon and Nick enjoys all water sports. Due to their athletic nature it only seems fitting that Nick proposed on a mountain-side ski slope while in Colorado. Their fondest memories are of their engagement and wedding day and can’t wait for more to come.

Stephanie and Angel Gomez
Stephanie Gomez, Teacher, Country Isles Elementary
Angel Gomez, Assistant Principal/Commissioner, Coconut Creek Hugh School/City of Weston

Stephanie and Angel have been together for almost 20 years since they met in high school.  Along with their three children, Sami, Andy, and Jacob, they form a close-knit family, which is the center of their lives.  Since Angel proposed on the sand down on one knee at Cap’s Place, dinners by the beach are their chosen date-night location.  According to Angel, Stephanie is a “great mom and wife and is the glue that keeps our family together.” Angel is passionate about his family, his school and his city. Stephanie and Angel consider each other best of friends, which they divulge as the secret to their successful marriage.

Pauline Gaspard and Juan Carlos Gomez
Pauline Gaspard Gomez, CEO, Pauline Gaspard Enterprises Inc.
Juan Carlos Gomez, Principal, G21 LLC

Pauline and Carlos have known each other since they were four years old, but it was not until they met again at a job interview in Caracas, Venezuela that they hit it off.  Juan proposed one morning by serving up a ring on the breakfast tray!  Pauline and Carlos admire their 11-year-old son Nicholas Antonio and recall his birth as one of their fondest memories.  They also cherish romantic weekend getaways on the beach.  In this relationship, Juan always has the last word: “Yes, honey” and Pauline always says “I love you more than yesterday and not as much as tomorrow.”

Genesi C. Gonalez and Julio E. Gonzalez Jr.
Genesi C. Gonalez, Registered Nurse, Broward General Medical Center
Julio E. Gonzalez Jr., Attorney, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler

Since they met on a blind date 13 years ago, it has been a whirlwind of fond memories for Genesi and Julio.  One fond memory is when Julio proposed on one knee in front of Genesi’s entire family!  Genesi and Julio enjoy going out to dinner and going to comedy clubs and the movies.  With love, respect, faith, and communication as the basis of their relationship they continue to make memories with their three children Grace, Jack, and Adam.

Barbara and Hal Hammel
Barbara Hammel, Domestic Godess
Hal Hammel, President, Logo D’oro Inc.

Hal couldn’t wait to start his relationship with Barbara when he first met her 34 years ago.  Their first date was dinner at Maxwell’s Plum in Manhattan just hours after they met!  After getting to know Barbara, Hal decided to propose at another Manhattan restaurant.  Knowing for sure that Barbara would order coffee he hid the ring in a sugar bowl; the rest is history.

Lisa and Derek Hayward
Lisa Hayward, TV personality and model/actress
Derek Hayward, Television News Reporter, WSVN-TV Fox Channel 7

A romantic French restaurant and a ring hidden in a red rose presented by the waiter on Lisa’s birthday is how Derek proposed.  They met 18 years ago at WSVN-TV Channel 7 and now are a family of four with their two sons Sebastian and Cameron.  They enjoy tropical fish, gardening, broadcast news and going to concerts. Their belief in marriage is the engine that drives their successful relationship into the future sharing candlelit dinners with soft music and romantic conversation along the way.  Lisa and Derek will never forget the first time they said “I love you”.

Karen and Joe Hillman
Karen Hillman, Owner, Vintage Images Inc.
Joe Hillman, Owner, Joe Hillman Plumbers Inc.

Karen and Joe met by happenstance in Fort Lauderdale while Karen was on vacation.  For their first date Joe showed up with a big bouquet of flowers and took Karen to a beautiful dinner. After 21 years of marriage they still enjoy watching the moon rise over the ocean as they share a bottle of chardonnay.  Karen will never forget how Joe proposed: in his hometown in the bedroom in which he grew up in.  Karen will never forget seeing Joe the moment their first child was born. The Hillman’s are completely devoted to family, which they share with their two children Hayley and Joseph.

Cyndie and Jeffrey D. Kottkamp

Cyndie Kottkamp, Jackson’s Mom
Jeffery D. Kottkamp, Lt. Governor of Florida

Cyndie and Jeffery met 16 years ago through a mutual friend.  Actually, Cyndie went out with Jeffery’s brother for their first date!  Cyndie and Jeffery cherish their 4-year-old son, Jackson and loved spending time together just watching him when he was a newborn.  Jeffery likes Florida State Football games, politics and travel, and Cyndie enjoys snow skiing, cooking and entertaining. Jeffery’s favorite thing about Cyndie is her sense of justice and defending those that can’t defend themselves, and Cyndie loves Jeffrey’s gentleness and how he always thinks before acting. Since they became engaged at the base of a waterfall in Chimney Rock, North Carolina, the Kottkamps continue to treat each other with the utmost kindness and respect, which is the force that drives their successful relationship.

Trina Robinson and Clarence McKee
Trina Robinson, Anchor/Meteorologist, NBC6 TV
Clarence McKee, President, McKee Communications, Inc.

Trina and Clarence were introduced to each other by a mutual friend who suggested Trina speak to Clarence about her efforts to build an FM radio station.  Clarence proposed on the beach during sunset on Kitty Hawk Island in North Carolina by putting an engagement ring in an ice cream sundae. When Trina saw the ring, she said, “whose ring is in my ice cream” and “how did it get there?” Clarence loves Trina’s kindness, intelligence, independence and caring nature. Trina loves the fact that Clarence is extremely smart, funny has serious goals and all the ladies love him! The secret to their successful 10-year partnership is communication and discussion, mutual respect, and appreciation of each other’s thoughts, feelings, goals, and ambitions.

Melissa and Adam Putnam
Melissa Putnam
Adam Putnam, Congressman

Melissa and Adam met while attending the University of Florida through the various organizations they were a part of. They have been together for 12 years and have four children, Abbie Anna, Libby, Emma and Hughes. Their first dinner date was in Tallahassee and Adam proposed on Anna Maria Beach on Memorial Day weekend.

Summer and James Robertson
Summer Robinson, Attorney, Hackley & Serrone, P.A.
James Robinson, Business Owner, General Crane USA

Summer and Jim were brought together through their business paths five years ago. Jim proposed to Summer during a romantic dinner at the Tower Club followed by a huge surprise party at the Blue Martini with 100 people. They have have three children, Liberty, Brandon, and Winston. As business owners, they live very hectic lives during the week and enjoy relaxing at home and trying something new on the grill on the weekends. They enjoy each other’s selflessness and passion for helping others less fortunate and enjoy giving back to their community. The couple loves country music and frequently travels throughout the US to see some of their favorite bands in concert. Through communication and respect for each other, their partnership continues to be successful and no matter what they always kiss each other good night.

Sharon Glazer and David Singer

Sharon Glazer, Esquire
David Singer, Managing Partner, David W. Singer & Associates PA

Sharon and David have been a couple for 24 years, and married for 20 years. They at a social gathering in Coconut Grove that David stopped at to wait out rush-hour traffic. David proposed by taking off his dress shirt to reveal an undershirt that read, “Will you marry me, Sharon?” The couples’ fondest moments together have been the births of their two children, Sabrina (17) and Douglas (14). David believes that Sharon is smart, honest and devoted to making everything in their lives better. David’s intelligence is what caught Sharon’s attention, along with his decency and loyalty. Their ideal date would be dinner, two movies, and a play in New York City all in one day!

Kristi Krueger and Todd Templin

Kristi Krueger, Morning News Anchor, WPLG-TV (Local 10 News)
Todd Templin, Executive Vice President, Boardroom Communications

Kristi and Todd met at their first job out of college in Sarasota, Florida. They were both on-air news talents. They have been married for 20-won-derful years (21 in case you didn’t get it!) and have two children, Troy, 17 and Kelsie, 14. Todd needed something to get Kristi for her birthday and figured an engagement ring was a good choice. Even though Kristi said she had to think about it, she made the right decision and said yes! Their funniest memory is during their wedding when Todd lifted Kristi’s veil for a kiss and then proceeded to put the veil back over her face. Todd loves Kristi’s energy, humility, humor, and the fact that she lets him play golf every Saturday morning! Kristi loves the fact that Todd is a great father, witty, has a positive attitude, and he puts up with her quirks!

Sheryl and Bruce Udolf
Sheryl Udolf, Retired
Bruce Udolf, Shareholder, Berger Singerman

Sheryl and Bruce were introduced by State Senator Dan Gelber and have been together for 19 years. They have a 13-year-old daughter, Hayley Francesca and enjoy spending as much time together as possible. For their first date they attended a Paul McCartney concert with friends. Their favorite date night is dinner and a show at the Improv Comedy Club. Bruce says that the secret to their successful partnership is “Doing whatever I’m told.”

Michelle Seyez and Alan Jay Wildstein
Michelle Seyez, Group Fitness Coordinator, Gold’s Gym-Winter Haven
Alan Jay Wildstein, President/CEO, Alan Jay Automotive Network

Michelle and Alan have been dating for four years after Alan swept Michell off her feet and flew her to Charleston, SC for a blind date.  Their favorite date night would be cooking dinner at home and watching Tivo-ed shows before going to sleep next to each other. The secret to their successful partnership is realizing each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and passions and loving each one of those traits.

About CF and the CF Foundation

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the leading organization devoted to curing and controlling cystic fibrosis.  CF is a genetic disease that can lead to life-threatening lung infections and digestive problems.  Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., the Foundation funds CF research, has more than 80 chapter and branch offices throughout the country, and supports and accredits a nationwide network of CF care centers, which provide vital treatments and other CF resources to patients and families.  For more information, please

Related posts:

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  2. $160+ million in grant funds to buy foreclosures in South Florida
  3. Crist Signs Bill for Child Safety laws and Sexual Predators
  4. Local author sells book to raise funds for free mammograms
  5. Governor Crist appoints Kevin Tynan to Broward County School Board

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Posted by Andrea Freygang on Sep 26 2009. Filed under Broward County, Events, Families, Fort Lauderdale, Local news, Non-profit organizations. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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