LABELLE — In the spring, Hendry County Recreation Director Steven Lynn, called out to City of LaBelle Commissioner Hugo Vargas for help with a project located at the Davis-Pratt Park in LaBelle.
This park, located just south of Cowboy Way off Lillian Street is home to the LaBelle Longhorns Pop Warner Football Team. Lynn wanted to update a large Longhorn logo located next to the scoreboard and remembered Vargas’ artistic talent from their time in school.
Vargas and Lynn were in the same class (1997) and are both products of the LaBelle school system. After seeing the existing logo and how it conflicted with Lynn’s vision, Vargas recommended making a new sign. While there, Vargas noticed how faded and in need of a paint job the scoreboard was, so he decided to make a few phone calls to see if both could get freshened up for the Longhorns 2023 season.
Vargas thought of recently retired recreation director and former LaBelle Longhorn President, Ramiro Rodriguez, and knew this project would be a perfect fit for him. Rodriguez has been taking on several projects since his retirement to help beautify the city and recently took Vargas to see the exterior renovation that was completed at the LaBelle Woman’s Club at no cost.
After serving as recreation director for 14 years, Rodriguez has made many friendships with some very talented local business people who enjoy donating their time to improve their hometown of LaBelle. For the scoreboard, Rodriguez called on Osvaldo Camacho of Kirrillos Welding, Inc. Camacho is not only a welder, but also a self taught talented artist. He went above and beyond, and did an outstanding job repainting the scoreboard. It looks brand new! As always, Camacho donated his time and extraordinary talents to a “good cause and especially for the kids!” he said.
For the logo, Commissioner Vargas called on the Industrial Skills Training Academy (aka I.S.T.A.) located in Clewiston for help. Vargas’ son, Aveary (Alex), just graduated in June from the three year program and has begun his career working at the U.S. Sugar Corporation in the machine shop as a Multicraft Welder Mechanic.
Jeremy Dean, the third year industrial skills trainer, met with Vargas and after discussing the project, agreed to donate the material, laser cut the logo and even travel to LaBelle to attach it. After completing the cut out on a 1/4” sheet of steel, reinforcing it with angle iron, and fabricating a clamp to attach it to the existing pole, the Longhorn was delivered to the LaBelle Recreation Building.
Finally, after setting the wheels in motion on this project, Vargas was able to do his part and hand paint the logo. It was only fitting that Vargas’ son welded the Longhorn in place, along with Instructor Dean supervising the job.
The Industrial Skills Training Academy is a three year technical skills training program where students are paid for their time in class. Students earn industry recognized certificates, and can earn job offers at US Sugar upon program completion. ISTA opened its doors in 2019 and has recently graduated its second class of students. To learn more about I.S.T.A. visit www.ista.tech.
“I am so proud of the community we live in. We have individuals and companies alike that came together county-wide to donate their resources, time and talents to give our kids something to be proud of. What more can I say other than thank you to all that took part in making this happen? Thank you Hendry County. THE KIDS WIN!!” said Lynn.