Two Speakers Visit RPB Rotary Club Meeting

Israel Gonzalez receives a memento of his Rotary Club visit from Jeff Hmara.

The Rotary Club of Royal Palm Beach welcomed two outstanding and informative speakers to its Thursday, Dec. 5 meeting at the Pirate’s Well in Royal Palm Beach.

The first speaker, Israel Gonzalez, is a retired master chief in the United States Navy who leads the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program at Royal Palm Beach High School. Gonzalez was introduced by Rotary Past President Jeff Hmara, himself a retired career U.S. Army officer.

Gonzalez, in the few years that he has headed the Navy JROTC at RPBHS, has grown the program to almost 200 cadets. The cadets learn naval science and leadership as part of their voluntary training program. The corps of cadets features an award-winning, all-female color guard that is winning plaudits all over the Sunshine State under the tutelage of Gonzalez.

The JROTC program is open to all students wishing to participate. For those intending to attend college, the program enables students to apply for ROTC college scholarships. For those students who may be interested in the service academies, participation in the program gives an added edge in the highly competitive service academy appointment process. Any JROTC cadet who may be interested in enlisting in the armed forces after high school graduation could be entitled to enter one or two pay grades higher than other enlistees.

Following his presentation, Gonzalez answered numerous questions from the audience and was presented with a remembrance of his visit by Hmara.

The morning’s second speaker was Debra Tendrich of Wellington. She is the founder and CEO of Eat Better Live Better, a nonprofit with a mission to help prevent, reverse and reduce childhood obesity and provide families and communities with nutritional education and healthy foods.

Eat Better Live Better offers an eight-week nutrition program that will provide a student with the foundation for a healthier life through improved nutrition. A $26 tax deductible contribution will sponsor one student for the eight-week program. For more information about the program, call (561) 344-1022.