Along with the wonderful community service that Avow Hospice conducts on a daily basis, helping families in Immokalee cope with and adjust to “end of life” matters, Avow helped our community by conducting a “Dove Release” at the Roberts Ranch on Sunday, March 10, the day after the cattle drive and many other historic and family-oriented activities.
Led by Mark Beland of Avow and Theresa Schober, manager of the Roberts Museum, a group of local individuals who had recently lost loved ones gathered together at 8 A.M. The program began with some inspiring music and was followed by local retired pastor and chaplain of the Immokalee Fire Department, Rick Heers calling out a number of the individuals that had passed recently.
Included in the list of those celebrated for having contributed much to our community were Mildred Sherrod, whose family (the Roberts family) were some of the original people who moved to Immokalee, and were owners of the ‘Red Cattle Company’ and who owned the property on which the Roberts Ranch with its historic homes on site. “Mil”, as she was affectionately known was a gracious and generous lady who loved her community. Also included in this celebration was Terry Heath, a local, long time fireman with the Immokalee Fire Department, who retired early so that other younger firemen with families could keep their jobs. He continued serving our community by joining the Felda Volunteer Department and often could be seen driving around town cutting the large properties of a number of churches free, as a service to the churches. His life was taken much too early by a serious infection. Another of the fine ladies who had recently passed away, and which Avow assisted their families was Mrs. Nancy Crapse who. during her life was a restauranteur, running the Frontier Inn and Thumpers. In addition to her husband, Donnie, she is survived by sixteen other relatives who live and work in and around the Immokalee area. Finally, Mrs. Carolyn Blocker was remembered who lived and grew up in south Georgia, but, along with her husband, Cleveland, became an important part of our community, living here since 1962 and owning a large number of rental properties in Immokalee. Carolyn was a great cook and a strong and loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, who endured the horrible tragedy of an automobile accident that took two young daughters. In addition to Cleveland, she is survived by two children, Rick of LaBelle and Julie Frost of Fort Myers.
The conclusion of the service was a beautiful release of three doves, representing the Father, the Son-Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. As the three circled above those gathered, a fourth dove was release representing those whom we have lost to death in Immokalee, and it quickly joined the other three as they circled the amazed onlookers and flew off into the beautiful sunrise.
In subsequent years, Avow is considering doing this again, and would ask that families that would like to be included in this memorial program contact Mark Beland. Community liaison at Avow Hospice at (239) 261-4404- or (239) 285-9300.