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Beach Ambassadors to be honored at luncheon Jan. 22nd

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​SARASOTA COUNTY – A special awards luncheon in which Beach Ambassadors, volunteers who help make Siesta Key one of America's best beaches, will be honored for their service and dedication on Jan. 22.

Several Beach Ambassadors will be recognized for their work, including Ron Verilek, who has logged 1,000 of volunteer time over the course of 10 years. Like all of the Beach Ambassadors, Ron meets and greets visitors near the concession area of Siesta Key and provides a warm welcome, along with information, to help make their visit the best it can be.

A South Dakota native, Ron has been an advocate of volunteer work since he was in high school, and continued that tradition when he retired from the sales and marketing industry and moved to Siesta Key. Volunteering gives a sense of self-pride, Ron said, and a a feeling of gratification when helping other people.

"I've met some of the friendliest people from around the world, and you learn a lot about people when you hear their stories," Ron added. The Beach Ambassador program is a joint effort between Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources, The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce and Visit Sarasota County. The awards luncheon is an effort to honor their contributions to the community, and many ambassadors, like Verilek, will be celebrated for their efforts.

Stephanie Grosskreutz, managing director of Visit Sarasota County, praised the efforts of the Beach Ambassadors, and said they are one of the reasons that so many people come back year after year to Siesta Key, named the Best Beach in America in 2011 by Dr. Beach.

"The ambassadors are on the ground offering warm welcomes and spreading the word about everything Sarasota has to offer. We couldn't have the success we have without them," Grosskreutz added.

The event is scheduled for Jan. 22, 2015, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Phillippi Estate Park, 5500 South Tamiami Trail. For more information contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 941-861-5000.