2015 Holiday Celebrations at Tacachale

On December 8, the center kicked off the holiday season with a parade.  Participants included floats constructed by residents and staff, several area high school bands, JROTCs, cheerleaders, staff members driving their restored classic cars, and local law enforcement agencies in cars, on motorcycles and on horseback.  The parade route wound throughout the campus of Tacachale, and revelers gathered at the roadside to enjoy the sights, sounds and, of course, the sweet treats that were thrown from the passing vehicles.

Tacachale’s 31st Annual Tree Lighting was held on the evening of December 10.  The event is always delightful, but this one was particularly special.  In addition to the familiar traditions of trimming the tree with ornaments provided by our very own elves, entertainment courtesy of community volunteers and the Tacachale Carolers, and cookies with hot chocolate, we celebrated Herbert Robinson, a custodial worker, who has spent 55 years in service to the state and 53 of those at Tacachale.  Robinson has no plans to retire, at this time.

APD Chief of Staff Karen Hagan was joined by Human Resources Director Dale Sullivan and Communications Director Melanie Etters in forming a delegation from the state office to help celebrate Robinson’s achievement.  Hagan read a summary of Robinson’s service and presented him with a plaque of appreciation.  Several members of Robinson’s family attended to help honor him.

Other special guests in attendance included Ora White, a former superintendent of Tacachale, Rosa B. Williams, a local community advocate and retired volunteer services coordinator, and Drew Dees, a local special needs advocate and the Gainesville area ambassador to the Tim Tebow Foundation’s 2016 Night to Shine.

Our Master of Ceremonies for the evening was David Snyder.  Snyder is a popular local television anchor.  He skillfully guided us through the evening, at one point addressing the crowd with a heartfelt statement about the love he witnesses whenever he visits our campus.  He also drew giggles and groans with jokes he wrote for himself.

Daniel Akers, the coordinator of the 8th Annual Tacachale Turkey Trot, made an appearance and presented a check, made out to the Friends of Tacachale Fund, from proceeds from this year’s race.

Entertainment was provided by the Tacachale Carolers and the Prayer by Faith Youth Choir, under the direction of Beverly Kocher and Bessie Hill, respectively.  The evening closed out with a visit from Santa, who graciously took gift requests from several youngsters in attendance.

Herbert Robinson receiving his 50 year service award from APD Chief of Staff Karen Hagan.

Tacachale Carolers and Prayer by Faith Youth Choir.

Back of photo, left to right: Dale Sullivan, Michael Mayfield, and Karen Hagan. Front left: Melanie Mowry Etters.

Herbert Robinson, 50 years of service.