To: Our Valued Friends and Supporters
From: Joe Granda, Naples District Council President
Vincentians always follow the five key virtues from our Patron Saint, St. Vincent de Paul: simplicity, humility, selflessness, gentleness and zeal. I hope with your help and prayer, as the newly elected Naples District Council President that I can grow closer to Christ by following these virtues. You hear all the time when you get a new job the phrase, “it’s going to be hard to fill the shoes of your predecessor.” I am here to tell you that this week I had the opportunity to work side by side with our past President, Denis Dugan, painting the inside of our new store, and I put my shoes next to his, and I am here to tell you that will never happen. Also if you look back over the last three years of the Naples Council, no one could have done a better job than he did under very difficult circumstances, especially so after Irma came knocking on our door. During the transition he has been my mentor and I hope I will live up to his expectations. We suffered a greatly when we lost our Davis Boulevard Store, but thanks to Denis, Kim and the Board, who have done a great job, we will be like a Phoenix arising from the ashes. We are going to be better than ever with the opening of our new store on Tamiami Trail East. I have always taught my children and grandchildren that God always does things for a good reason; at the time sometimes it’s hard to understand the reason why. Our new store is in a much better location, completely re-done and in great taste. But more important, we learned a great many lessons. Today we are a more efficient, leaner and pro-active organization. Until a year ago, I lived in my own little world in our San Marco Conference Vincentian organization, delivering meals and doing case work. As their Vice President, I reported to one of the toughest bosses you can ever encounter, Mickey Flynn. She always smiles, and it is impossible to say no to her. She has been an inspiration for many years; she truly embodies the Vincentian spirit. When Denis asked me to prepare a five year Strategic Plan for the Council a year ago, I never thought things were about to change for me. If it wasn’t for the opportunity, I would have never given the thought of becoming the President of our great Naples Council. I met with all the Board members and Committee Chairmen, and with their help we put together our vision of the future. It was a very humbling experience to find out that this Board, a year later, elected me as their new President. In this, my first article in our newsletter, I am going to take this opportunity to challenge you to do more. There is so much need out there and we are the one organization that truly follows Jesus’ teachings; feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and help families during their time of despair and difficult times, and, always doing it with love and compassion. I am declaring that this year is the “Year of the Volunteer”, no matter what your background is, whether you are a volunteer for the Council, one of the Conferences, or a donor, we need you to get more involved. My goal this year is to have volunteers working in every part of the organization doing what they like to do. We need to establish a new Mission that deals with the Homebound. Our Meals on Wheels program already leads the way in this effort, but we need to step it up. There are so many of our elderly and poor that have no transportation, and they struggle to do simple things such as buying food or getting to the doctor. We must find a solution to this problem. I have served on many different non-profit Boards in our area during the last 20 years, the successful ones are those where the organization is united and function as a Team, and I refer to them as a well-oiled machine where all the parts work together to achieve their mission and purpose. You never hear the words, “we” and “they” in those organizations, it is always “us.” I look forward to working closely with each and every one of you. If you have any questions, concerns, or recommendations, do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com. God bless you all. Your faithful servant.
Joe Granda President, Naples District Council