The Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key held a special reception to honor the Walsh family on Sept. 28 at The Paradise Center.
President Michael Garey said that this reception has been in the works for months because the Walshes are highly requested speakers for the club. He explained their hard work and dedication to Longboat Key has provided a great service to the community and continues to inspire many.
Emily Walsh, president of the Observer Media Group, came as a representative of her family while they grieve the death of her mother, Lisa Walsh.
“One of my first memories of living on Longboat was dad dragging me to Kiwanis when you guys would meet at the Colony at 7:30 in the morning,” said Walsh at the reception. “For a teenager, I didn’t want to go to some breakfast at 7:30 in the morning before I go to school, but those were great memories looking back, along with the pancake breakfast and going to lawn parties for years. So you all in the Longboat Key Kiwanis club are near and dear members of our family.”
Guests mingled, drank and ate hors d’oeuvres provided by the Lazy Lobster. Walsh spoke about her family and the company's history, how the Observer is doing now and the company's future goals.
Many guests expressed their love for the paper and applauded Walsh for the success and effect her family has on the island. Susan Phillips, assistant to the town manager, said that Walsh reminds her of Lisa Walsh and will carry on her legacy gracefully.
After Walsh finished speaking, Garey and new president Chris Sachs surprised Walsh with a gift from the Kiwanis Club to show their appreciation. They awarded the Walsh family the LBK Kiwanis Community Service Award to commemorate the Walshes’ dedication to Longboat Key.
“Our club is extremely grateful for the incredible contribution that the Observer Media Group has made in our community and statewide,” said Garey, ending the reception. “Being here back in the day in 1995, I remember when they bought that paper. And it has grown extensively. So we wanted to share our congratulations on your amazing success.”