Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Staff Spotlight: Meet Brett & Becca Kettlewell

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We are happy to introduce the newest members of our team at Protected Harbor, Brett and Becca Kettlewell. While they officially began their roles on December 1st, their dedication to our mission started long before, as they shadowed our staff at one of our homes throughout November.

Brett and Becca

Brett and Becca Kettlewell

Originally from Wisconsin and Miami, respectively, Brett and Becca have lived in southwest Florida for the past three years. Prior to joining Protected Harbor, Becca served as a mail carrier, while Brett worked in the computer programming industry. However, their shared desire for more meaningful work led them on a transformative journey.

Their path took them to an anti-sex trafficking organization, where they found purpose in providing refuge for vulnerable girls. It was during this time that they embraced a young lady as their own through adoption despite her emotional, physical, and intellectual challenges. This experience ignited their passion for supporting individuals with special needs.

Their faith and a series of serendipitous events led them to Protected Harbor, where they discovered a ministry deeply aligned with their values. Witnessing the residents’ daily routines in a peaceful and nurturing environment, they found a community that not only provided safety but also fostered a profound love for the Lord, resulting in joyful lives.

For Becca and Brett, this journey has been reciprocal. They are learning from the residents, discovering the beauty of slowing down, and appreciating life’s simple pleasures. Outside of work, the couple enjoys traveling, kayaking, and basking in the serenity of the beach.

Becca finds solace in Psalms 121, while Brett draws inspiration from Galatians 5:22-23.

Friend of Protected Harbor: Meet Lois Thomes

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Lois Thomes will emcee the annual Homes with Hearts Luncheon again this year.

For 30 years, the people of Southwest Florida have turned to Lois Thome for their news. A trusted source, Lois anchors WINK News at 5, WINK News at 6, and WINK News at 7.

Lois has garnered many awards for her work including: The Best News Anchor in Southwest Florida, was named a Woman of the Year by Gulfshore Life magazine, and was named an Outstanding Business Partner by the Florida Library Association.

Behind the Smiles: Meet Tommy

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We recently welcomed Tommy as a new addition to our family. His friendly personality and wide smile cannot be ignored. In fact, he has become quite famous around town, thanks to his volunteering at a local Publix Supermarket, where he has a chance to interact with hundreds of people who shop there.

Tommy lives at home with his family and recently began receiving some of Protected Harbor’s services. Amanda is his Direct Support Professional, and he enjoys spending time with her. She engages him in activities such as swimming, watching movies, visiting the library, or getting a haircut.

When not with Amanda, Tommy keeps busy doing daily chores, helping his parents with their business by retrieving the mail, going to the bank, and running errands. He also loves cuddling with his mom, Judy, especially at bedtime and in the morning. Those are special times for them both.

It’s easy to find Tommy acting silly by dancing and singing around the house; he considers this his exercise time! His all-time favorite movie is Grease, and he impersonates the main character well, especially since he has memorized all the words of the songs featured in the film!

Tommy is brimming with energy, fueled by his favorite meal at the local McDonald’s: a cheeseburger, fries, and a large Coke. The meal is usually topped off with cookies or other sweets. One of his dreams is to visit one of the Disney parks and meet all his favorite characters in person.

Behind the Smiles: Meet Deb

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Meet Deb

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a time to celebrate the remarkable contributions of individuals with disabilities to the American workforce. It’s a month that highlights the importance of inclusive employment practices and policies that benefit both employers and employees. At Protected Harbor, we’re proud to share an inspiring update on one of our extraordinary individuals, Deb.

Deb, a native Floridian, is a cherished member of our community, bringing her unique personality and life experiences to the group. Her love for Florida’s beauty and climate is undeniable, except during those occasional heavy storms that sweep through the Sunshine State.

Deb’s goal is to achieve greater independence, with the help of Supported Living Services, and live in her own apartment. To prepare for this exciting chapter of her life, Deb decided to seek employment. She was thrilled to accept a position as a Demonstrator at a local warehouse club. In this role, she presents a wide range of products, from popcorn to gummy vitamins, with a friendly demeanor that aims to engage and captivate customers. Her interactions with patrons not only help sell products but also bring her closer to achieving her daily goals.

What truly brings Deb joy is the camaraderie she shares with the other ladies at Protected Harbor’s PH2 residence. Their smiles and laughter fill the air, creating an environment that feels like home. Deb also appreciates the support she receives from our dedicated staff, especially when it comes to managing her budget – a skill she’s working on improving.

When asked about her life, Deb exclaims, “I love my life, and I want to live it to the fullest.” Though she doesn’t have a specific favorite Bible verse, she finds solace and inspiration in reading all the Gospels. As an avid animal lover, she takes pleasure in birdwatching and researching the various bird species she encounters, all while dreaming of future travels and cruises. Deb also enjoys visiting weekly Farmer’s Markets and cherishes the time she spends with her family.

As we observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month, let Deb’s story serve as a testament to the power of inclusion, support, and the pursuit of independence. Together, we can continue to create a more inclusive and supportive society for all individuals, regardless of their abilities.

Committee Member Spotlight: Cindy Weiner

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Meet Cindy

Cindy Weiner was introduced to Protected Harbor by her neighbor and friend, Joe Gandolfo, who serves on the Protected Harbor Board. Cindy’s strong background in the media is an excellent fit for the Marketing Committee. She is a valuable addition and has served on the committee for two years.

Before retiring, Cindy ran radio stations nationwide, including Rochester, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, and Kansas City. Upon retiring from broadcasting, she joined the Children’s Miracle Network. While there, she assisted in various activities, including fundraising, promotional campaigns, and marketing.

Cindy became most interested in Protected Harbor after attending a camp with some of our clients. There, everyone was excited and fully engaged. She spoke with Pat Kappenman, a Direct Support Professional with Protected Harbor. His love for the clients and the care he and other staff provided inspired her. His enthusiasm when speaking confirmed her belief that this was an organization she wanted to be involved with. Cindy is passionate about Protected Harbor because it is committed to its mission and does an outstanding job filling a community need.

When sharing about Protected Harbor, Cindy stresses the assistance she believes it also provides to families. Everyone at Protected Harbor has a commitment that is intense and deep. One must witness it themself to understand fully. Cindy is excited about the goals for future growth and the ability to assist more individuals and families with special needs.

In her spare time, Cindy likes to golf, travel with her husband, and spend time with her grandkids. Although she does not have a favorite bible verse, she feels she is a spiritual person. “That is one thing I love about Protected Harbor; they accept you as you are.”


Behind the Smiles: Meet Paul

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Meet Paul

Paul is the newest member of our residential “family.” Although he has been part of the Protected Harbor family for some time, he received Supportive Services while living independently. Paul realized he would benefit from more support, so he recently moved into one of our residential homes. This decision was difficult because he knew he would give up some of his freedom. However, adjusting well to his new surroundings and routines relieved Paul’s initial fear and anxiety. He is comfortable with his new environment, continuously thanking everyone for their help.

Paul appreciates the training and assistance he receives in managing his life. He particularly enjoys being with other housemates, reading the Bible, attending church, and their help keeping him on track with his schedule. He likes eating out with everyone, decorating his room, and working at Publix. Paul has worked for Publix in Bonita Springs for 19 years and is still excited to go to work every day. Now, he also has a “family” to come home to.

With his parents gone, Paul would like to continue their ministry in Haiti one day. He continues to fulfill the nursing home ministry his father started at Terracina Grand for Senior Living in Naples in coordination with Covenant Church. Each Thursday, Paul plays the keyboard for the residents. This activity is a highlight of his week. He does not have a particular Bible verse; however, his favorite book of the Bible is Revelation.


Behind the Smiles: Meet Kim

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Kim is a joyful resident of Protected Harbor who keeps herself busy doing daily chores, interacting with her housemates, and volunteering outside the home. Her favorite thing about living at Protected Harbor is the fun she has goofing around with her friends and staff, participating in many of the activities offered, and volunteering at her church, where she serves meals to students.

One of her favorite recent activities was attending the annual “Night to Shine” event allowing her to dress up and dance with her friends. She also enjoys seeing old friends there and catching up by sharing personal stories.

Additionally, Kim loves bowling, shopping, and doing chores like mopping the floors and cleaning up. She’d like to learn to sew and make jewelry, a talent some of her friends have. She is grateful to have help from the staff with her finances, learning new skills, and managing her daily chores and activities.

Kim’s heroes are her mom, dad, and brother. She would love to travel to Arizona to visit family members there. She has an eclectic taste in food, her favorites being Shepard’s Pie and Tiramisu. She also has an affinity for rabbits; they remind her of a pet she once had called “Snowball.”

Kim delights in re-reading Psalm 23. She finds daily inspiration in the words it contains.

Staff Spotlight: Meet David & Sandy Zigler

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David and Sandy

David and Sandy Zigler joined the staff of Protected Harbor this past March. As our newest Direct Support Professionals, they work with the residents in our home on Briarcliff Road in Ft. Myers.

Their eclectic backgrounds are a perfect fit as they serve our clients. For 28 years, David worked as a Chiropractic Physician, subsequently transitioning to a job in property management and real estate. Meanwhile, Sandy was employed as an educator, during which time she taught and held the role of Principal. Within those 46 years in education, Sandy worked with students with emotional disabilities. Once David and Sandy retired, they moved to Hungary, where they taught English. It is a blessing that they recently relocated to Florida to join our team.

The Ziglers’ decision to work with our clients while still healthy and able is gratifying because Protected Harbor is a faith-based organization. It provides a desired “ministry” position, allowing them to share their deeply held beliefs and a chance to talk openly about the love of Jesus while on the job. They appreciate that Protected Harbor is an organization that strives to meet each client’s physical, intellectual, and emotional needs while providing important spiritual guidance.

Sandy and David experience many rewards here. The latest is witnessing Matthew’s and Crystal’s joy after receiving their baseball awards. There is also the added reward of seeing the residents express love toward one another. They see friendship, forgiveness, playfulness, and support as they happily share their daily lives.

During their occasional free time, the Ziglers enjoy fishing and relaxing on the water. Sandy’s favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:10-13, while David’s is Matthew 11:28.

Behind the Smiles: Meet Dennis

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Dennis became the very first resident at our Briarcliff home after the grand opening on February 1st, 2018. He will always welcome you with a bright smile that outwardly expresses his feeling of total contentment since living with his new “family”.

He enjoys hanging out with his housemates, engaging in hands-on cooking chores in the kitchen, and doing laundry. One of the chores he likes most is keeping his living quarters neat and clean.

Living in Florida affords Dennis the pleasure of taking long walks outdoors year-round. He also takes daily bus rides to his day program, where he joins other housemates serving food to kids at his church.

Some favorite and memorable events he has participated in are “Night to Shine”, providing the opportunity to dress up and party, and going to Sea World, allowing him to see his favorite mammals, dolphins.

Dennis enjoys visiting his mother on weekends and eating at Perkins, his favorite restaurant. His favorite book in the Bible is the Book of Psalms; he draws inspiration from reading and hearing them.

Staff Spotlight: Meet Cindy & Pete Garritt

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Cindy-Pete and Daughter

Cindy and Pete Garritt joined Protected Harbor two years ago as Direct Support Professionals. They began living and working at our Briarcliff home and moved to the El Camino residence in March 2022.

The couple is originally from Colorado. Until her retirement in 2020, Cindy worked as a coordinator opening new Walmart stores, then as a flight attendant for a major airline. Meanwhile, Pete worked for the city of Denver, a job he kept for 25 years. They made the move to Florida five years ago.

Their involvement with Protected Harbor has personal meaning. They lost a son with special needs in 2019. This gave them the impetus to become involved with the adult population having the same needs as their deceased son. They feel purposeful and fulfilled in contributing to the lives of this very special group of people.

The Garritts were introduced to our ministry by other Protected Harbor staff members who attended the same Bible study in Lakeland. The minute an opening occurred at Protected Harbor, they jumped at the opportunity to join us. Since then, they have learned to love both the residents and their co-workers.

The opportunity to see the smiles generated during special activities, such as the sunset cruise offered by Freedom Waters, created an unforgettable memory that will remain with them forever. Another activity that created smiles and joy was the group visit to Orlando, where they spent four days exploring new and exciting locales.

Cindy says that the residents have taught her that we are all human, despite our differences, and that God cares for and loves us all equally. Everyone involved works together for the betterment of God’s special people, fulfilling the ministry’s mission.

During their free time, Pete and Cindy enjoy spending time with their daughter and son-in-law, who live in Tennessee. Their favorite Bible chapter is John 15.