• Riemer Insurance Group sponsors trip to Disney for 90 Hallandale Beach PAL children
By Larry Blustein
As the two brand new state-of-the-art buses pulled out of the parking
lot of the Riemer Insurance Group Corporate Offices (217 E Hallandale
Beach Blvd, Hallandale Beach) at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 9 in
Hallandale Beach, lives would indeed be changed forever.
As one of
the key business leaders in the community, Stephen Riemer, President of
Riemer Insurance Group, and owner of landmark Nick's Restaurant among
other businesses, has always found it important to give back to the
local Hallandale Beach grassroots community, and there was no better
choice than supporting the youth of the Hallandale Beach Police Athletic
Program, for this once in a lifetime trip to Walt Disney.
90 of the some 1,100 children in Hallandale Beach's PAL program chosen
for this day-long event that started early on Saturday morning - and
ending close to 3 a.m. on Sunday, it was much more than a vacation for
the day. It was a lesson - an experience that indeed made an impact on
many of the children who had never been to iconic attraction - just
four, short hours away.
With Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy sending
the buses off early in the morning with Mayor Joy Cooper, Fire Chief
Daniel Sullivan, two Hallandale Beach Police escorts and several members
of the Riemer Insurance Group and dozens of volunteers aboard, this was
indeed a day to remember.
Dedicated to the Hallandale Beach PAL,
founded by the late Police Chief Thomas Magil, the first of what appears
to many of these give back to the community ideas that Riemer and the
city will certainly be giving back to.
"I look at what a great
program the PAL has become, and with many of these kids, ages 8-14,
having no summer camp or really nothing to do, this was the perfect
event to come up with," said Riemer, who has been a huge promoter of
Hallandale Beach. "This is indeed something that we will make annually
and continue to build on."
While Riemer started the ball rolling,
looking to people such as PAL Coordinator Jonathan Carrillo for
assistance was essential. Carrillo, another product of Hallandale Beach,
chose the 90 youngsters from the program for a day that many will look
back on for years to come.
Space Mountain, TorrowLand and many of
the elite attractions became a destination that lasted all day - until
the fireworks began at night. It was to be a total experience - with
delicious meals and snacks and a first class time.
While the trip
to Disney was indeed the highlight of the day, the experiences that each
and every person had was something that was the prefect way to usher in
the new school year. Each child received an event t-shirt and cap with
the PAL logo and the Riemer Insurance Group name and logo. They got to
take them home as a reminder of special day.
"The kids were the
real story," Riemer pointed out. "To see their faces when they received
those new shirts and hat was priceless. To watch them throughout the
day, enjoy snacks, eating two full meals and getting that park admission
ticket was something that all of us who went took a great deal of pride
In addition to the shirts and hats, each of the 90-plus who
came along for this experience had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
and water, courtesy of Cheney Brothers - and the Kiwanis Club of
Hallandale Beach, which donated $300.00, to spend towards the
refreshments for the children at Disney.
"This was such a special
thing that Mr. Riemer did for this organization," said Carrillo. "This
is someone who truly thinks out of the box when it comes to this
community, and we all appreciate and respect that."
PAL staff and
volunteers that attended included Carrillo, Judith Mentor, PAL Staff,
Officer Gerry Novoa, Officer Megan Jones, Parks Staff Rashad Harris,
Parks Staff Tranese Harris, Melanie Reneau, Jackie Cespedes, Marcela
Santiago, Cruz Marquez, Tannahill Rich and Milagros Suarez.
Mayor Cooper was up for the 21-hour day that really showcased her
community in such a positive way. Posing for photos, going on rides and
being part of this landmark event was extra special. In her time as the
mayor, these are the things that have made her popular. These are true
events that she understands will keep her community in such a positive
"This is what community is all about," she said. "When
you have great people in this city, this is what happens, and what
Stephen and his staff did to make this a reality was indeed what gives
any community a special feel."
As anything, the first time is
where you learn and garner new ideas for the next time you do it. As
Riemer took mental notes throughout the long day, always looking for
ways to enhance, he noticed that many of the children who attended
didn't have the proper shoes. He also realized that with the help of
other community businesses, who could sponsor buses and donate money and
other services, this event could jump to 500 children and 10 buses for
the 2015 trip.
The fact that some of the youngsters enjoyed the
Disney trip, which was the first for at least 65% of them, maybe Epcot
and Universal could be a destination for some as well. There are so many
"What sneaker company wouldn't want to donate pairs of
shoes for these kids and get all that positive publicity of a
life-changing moment," Riemer challenged. "With a few more local
businesses for next year, this is a ball that should never stop rolling.
This is about community and building a better future for these
youngsters - and we all have a chance to make that happen."
the financial price is high to accomplish all of these great things,
Riemer knows that the investment is huge. He found that out for over 21
hours - as children, professionals and all those who came along
expressed their gratitude and thanks for an idea that was a long time in
Want to get involved for the 2015 trip? Contact: Dorene Alberts at 754.244.7567 or for more information on
Riemer Insurance Group, log onto www.riemerinsurance.com.