A dedicated educator, mental health activist, and the art museum have been added to Boca’s version of the Hollywood walk of fame.
No hands in cement here. Dr. Dick Reed, Rita Thrasher and the Boca Raton Museum of Art were honored at the annual Walk of Recognition Wednesday. Their names are immortalized with 79 other people and places under the Addison Mizner statue on Royal Palm Place.
“We’re celebrating 22 years honoring our history and recognizing outstanding community leaders,” said Hank Jawhari, president, Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum.
Locals know Dr. Dick Reed as principal of Boca High and Boca Middle. But after retiring, he joined the Kiwanis Club at Helen Babione’s urging, he said. Now he mentors three high school Key Clubs. In 2013, Reed started the Kiwanis scholarship walk for homeless and foster children. “He never stopped serving young people,” said Tim Snow, president of the George Snow Scholarship Fund, who introduced him.
The Boca Raton Museum of Art was the first cultural presence, said Mary Csar, historical society director. That’s when the city’s winter population was just 1,500. Jody Grass, museum board chair, accepted the honor with museum director Irvin Lippman. “I’m tickled,” she said. They plugged their new exhibit, “Imagining Florida: History and Myth in the Sunshine State,” opening Tuesday.
Thrasher made mental health a priority as the founder of Boca Raton’s Promise and a county alliance. She trains people to recognize signs and help reduce the stigma, said former inductee Connie Siskowski, who introduced her. “We are ready to talk about our unseen struggles and improve lives,” Thrasher said.
Marta Batmasian created the walk in 1997 and pays for the new marble tiles each year. “They’re permanent memorials,” said Joyce DeVita, who co-chaired the event with Batmasian.
As an inductee, Jan McArt was front and center at the ceremony. So were Pat Thomas, Rabbi Merle Singer, Barbara Gutin, Mike Arts, Derek Vander Ploeg, Al Travasos, Joan Wargo, Alyce Erickson, and others. Called “community legends, they were asked to stand and for the first time received medals.
“We have the most generous folks with their time and money,” Jawhari said.
By Marci Shatzman