The City of Oldsmar hosts a number of special events every year, including parades and memorial services, festivals and fundraising galas.
This weekend, a pair of events will take place in Oldsmar that each carry significant meaning, but for very different reasons.
The east parking lot of Oldsmar’s City Hall at 100 State St. W.
On Friday, Feb. 17, the city’s inaugural paper shredding and electronics recycling event will take place in the east parking area of Oldsmar City Hall from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
The free event, which is being held in partnership with the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce as well as local record management and recycling companies, is open to all residents and businesses in the Upper Tampa Bay area looking to dispose of documents and electronics safely and securely.
“These companies will be offering their services for free, and with very few limitations,” Oldsmar Marketing Specialist Debb Pauley told the City Council on February 7. “No limit on the number of items to shred, and no limit on the number of electronics.”
Additionally, organizers recently announced that the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will be on site for “Operation Medicine Cabinet”, where you can bring your unused or expired prescription medication for safe disposal.
“This is huge for Oldsmar,” she said. “We’re getting calls for Tampa, St. Pete, you name it. It’s open to anyone in Tampa Bay.”
For more information on the recycling/disposal event, visit MyOldsmar.com or call 813-749-1140.
Prior to Pauley’s announcement, a longtime Oldsmar resident and business owner known for giving back to the community came before the Council to plead for help for an ill family member.
Hector, Suda and Gio Colon. Credit: GioFest17.
Suda Colon, who in addition to running Miss Suda’s Recreational Dance program has served on the Cultural Arts Foundation and the Leisure Services Board, among others, informed the council members that her husband, Hector’s, 13-year-old son, Gio, had recently been diagnosed with a brain tumor and needed immediate, and expensive, medical attention.
Hector and Suda Colon.
“Most often I’m here helping…the children of our community, but today I’m here for our son,” Colon said.
“Our son has been diagnosed with a low-grade 2 brain tumor two days before Christmas, and we have a long road ahead, looking for proper treatment and keeping Hector by his side, and me, whenever possible, as well.”
“Miss Suda” went on to explain they are hosting a fundraiser, GioFest17, this Sunday, Feb. 19 from 2:00 p.m. – 7 :00 p.m. at Jack Willies Bar & Grill in Oldsmar, in order to raise funds, and have fun, in Gio’s honor.
“We’re asking for donations for our silent and live auctions,” Colon said, noting an autographed Joe Montana football had been donated for the cause. “We will have raffles and we will also have vendors out front for crafts and other vendors.”
Giofest17, a fundraiser for Hector and Suda Colon’s son, Gio, is this Sunday, Feb. 19 from 2-7 PM at Jack Willies in Oldsmar.
Suda then gave the details of the event and asked for help with auction donations as well as volunteers, before Hector stepped to the podium and gave an impassioned speech about the devastating situation.
“What can I say about my son?” he said, fighting back tears. “What I’m asking for is for help. I’m asking the city and everyone watching for help not just for my son, but also to create awareness for this. This took our family by surprise, and it’s hard…”
Hector Colon then urged the city leaders to use their contacts and ask for help, as his son is in a critical stage of the illness right now.
“We got diagnosed from Joe Dimaggio’s (Children’s) hospital in Miami, and they won’t touch it,” he said. “We need other alternatives of treatment, and sadly, due to politics, insurance will not cover it. And it’s up to address this in time before it gets worse.”
Vice-Mayor Eric Seidel.
Following Hector’s speech, Vice-Mayor Eric Seidel asked the community to come together in support of the Colons.
“To me, there’s a difference between being just a city and being a community,” Seidel said.
“And this is a time, to me, when those events occur that our community shines through.”
“The amazing thing about this community is when one of our own really needs all of us, we kind of band together, and that’s what we need to have happen here.”
For more information on GioFest 2017, visit the event Facebook page or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.