Category Archives: Announcements


LRH Oncology Program One of 24 in U.S. To Earn Outstanding Achievement Award From Commission on Cancer

Lakeland, FL – DeAnne Abell wasn’t sure how to feel when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 32.

After facing side effects from her first chemotherapy treatment, the mother of five began to wonder what kind of legacy she needed to leave behind for her younger children. “At that point, I actually started thinking, ‘What will I write to them so they could have me at some point, if they ever needed me and I’m not here?’”

Mrs. Abell leaned heavily on the Hollis Cancer Center team to get her through the remainder of her treatments.

“I was not just another number at the Hollis Cancer Center. I was a human being. At Lakeland Regional Health’s Hollis Cancer Center, they not only saved my life, they let me be me. If I didn’t have their support, I don’t know if I could have gone through it as well as I did,” said Mrs. Abell, who’s been cancer free for nine years.

This type of exceptional care earned Lakeland Regional Health’s oncology program a prestigious place among only 24 programs in the country earning the Commission on Cancer’s Outstanding Achievement Award. Established in 2004, this honor is granted twice a year to oncology programs that earn Gold Status Accreditation with Commendation, strive for excellence in consistently meeting and exceeding Commission on Cancer standards and are committed to ensuring high-quality cancer care. Lakeland Regional Health’s oncology program earned its first Gold Accreditation in August 2018.

Lakeland Regional Health is part of an elite group of cancer programs earning the Outstanding Achievement Award, including Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth and Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. The three-year Gold accreditation that the award is based on is the result of a rigorous on-site evaluation by a physician surveyor in 27 standards as well as commendations in seven areas that include nursing care, timeliness and accuracy of reporting data and pathology reporting.

Only 64 oncology programs in Florida are accredited by the Commission on Cancer, with a total of 1,264 Commission on Cancer-accredited programs in the United States, representing approximately 25 percent of all hospitals and health systems in the United States.

“We have an exceptional team of physicians, clinicians, social workers, pharmacists, support personnel and volunteers who are committed to providing high-quality inpatient and outpatient cancer care to our patients, their families and our community,” said Graham F. Greene, MD, FACS, FRCS, Lakeland Regional Health Chief Academic Officer and Hollis Cancer Center Executive Director. “This national honor attests that our community is receiving top-tier oncology care right here close to home.”

Lakeland Regional Health’s Breast Program was re-accredited in 2018 by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, and its Radiation Oncology program is accredited by the American College of Radiation Oncology. In 2017, the Hollis Cancer Center was designated a Lung Cancer Screening Center of Excellence by the Lung Cancer Alliance.

About Lakeland Regional Health

Not-for-profit Lakeland Regional Health reaches beyond its hospital walls to promote wellness, education and discovery in new places and new ways, providing a wide range of inpatient and outpatient healthcare services at its Medical Center, Hollis Cancer Center and ambulatory care locations. Lakeland Regional Health earned Most Wired Advanced and Most Wired status four times since 2013 from the American Hospital Association and has earned workplace awards from Forbes, Gallup and Becker’s Hospital Review. Its 864-bed comprehensive tertiary referral hospital, Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, operates the Jack and Tina Harrell Family Institute for Advanced Cardiovascular Medicine; a Level II Trauma Center; the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children, which includes a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; and the Bannasch Institute for Advanced Rehabilitation Medicine.


SPCA Florida Hosts Major Gift Development Seminar

Lakeland, FL—SPCA Florida and Florida Association of Animal Welfare Organizations, FAAWO,  is offering an opportunity to take Money, Money, Money, Major Gift Development for any Size Organization seminar on Thursday, April 4th from 11:00am-2:00pm at SPCA Florida.

Learn practical, actionable tips to help your organization maximize philanthropic support and turn event sponsors and attendees into major donors.


Rand E. Chase, CFRE, VP & Executive Counsel, Pursuant Ketchum

Ornella Varchi, MBA, Chief Development Officer, Humane Society of Tampa Bay

Free to attend but RSVP required. Lunch and materials provided.

Class is open to anyone interested in learning how to increase their organization donor base and fundraising abilities.  To register for the upcoming April 4th Development seminar, go to


Founded in 1979, SPCA Florida is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization headquartered in Lakeland, FL serving all of Polk County and surrounding communities. SPCA Florida is completely dependent on the donations of generous individuals and corporations and does not receive any government assistance. Last year, SPCA Florida provided medical care, food and compassion for more than 4,300 abandoned, abused and homeless cats and dogs.

SPCA Florida adoption center is open to 7 days a week, and our state-of-the-art Reva McClurg Animal Medical Center helps over 50,000 patients annually. Proudly, 92% of every dollar raised goes to program resources and helping homeless animals.


Commercial Lender at New Bank Office

Lakeland, Fla., March 2, 2019 – Wauchula State Bank commercial lender Andrew Foreman is now based at the bank’s new Loan Production Office (LPO) in Lakeland.

“With his strong knowledge of the intricacies of loan transactions, coupled with his exceptional communication and management skills, Andrew is a perfect fit in Lakeland,” said Wauchula State Bank Executive Vice President and Senior Loan Officer Rob Roberts. “We’re delighted he has stepped up to handle our existing commercial loan customers in the Lakeland area and to create new ones.”

Wauchula State Bank has served the Polk County market for many years from offices in neighboring Hardee County and Highlands County to the south.

“In 2016, we expanded into the high-growth Polk County market with our first full-service branch opening in Winter Haven,” said Roberts. “We now look forward to bringing that same level of service and commitment to the Lakeland community at our new Loan Production Office, with Andrew leading the way.”

The Lakeland LPO is located at 1021 Florida Ave. S. in the Dixieland community. Foreman is available by appointment at 863-773-4151 or

Foreman joined the bank in May of 2013 and was responsible for quality control, auditing, compliance, risk assessment and procedures, in addition to commercial lending.

Born and raised in Hardee County, Foreman graduated from Hardee Senior High School in 2010 and earned a bachelor’s degree in business supervision and management from South Florida State College in 2014. While in high school, he served as Hardee County Ambassador to the South Florida State College Student Government. He is currently vice president of the 2020 Class of the Florida School of Banking,

“I’m looking forward to working in the Lakeland area,” he said. “My focus is on helping my customers grow their businesses and partnering with them on their commercial needs.”

Foreman enjoys spending time with his wife and son and other family. He also takes part in outdoor activities such as fishing and boating.


ABOUT WAUCHULA STATE BANK – Based in Wauchula, Fla., Wauchula State Bank has served the Florida Heartland since 1929 as a family owned, locally managed community bank. The late J.W. Crews Sr. (father of the current vice chairman) purchased controlling interest in the bank in 1932, and the bank is still owned and operated by the Crews family. With over $640 million in assets and seven branches located in Hardee, Highlands and Polk counties, Wauchula State Bank is the largest among the family of banks under Crews Bank Corp., the others including Charlotte State Bank & Trust, Englewood Bank & Trust and Crews Bank & Trust. To learn more, visit Member FDIC / Equal Housing Lender


Lakeland Electric to Reduce Fuel Charge Next Quarter


LAKELAND, Fla. (March 5, 2019) – The Lakeland City Commission voted Monday to lower the electric fuel charge for Lakeland Electric customers for the next fiscal quarter (April/May/June – 2019). After giving a presentation at the Monday, March 5 Utility Committee meeting, staff recommended lowering the fuel charge by $1.25 from $38.75 to $37.50. The lower rate was made possible by warmer winter weather and lower natural gas prices than expected.

The fuel charge will change to 3.750¢ per kilowatt hour (kWh). Multiplying the new fuel charge by 1,000 kWh, the amount an average residential home utilizes in a month, the cost equals $37.50 per 1,000 kWh for fuel.

The reduction of the fuel charge will help our customers keep their electric costs low. In fact, Lakeland Electric continues to have some of the lowest electric rates in the state. As with most electric utilities that generate their own power, the cost of fuel is passed directly to customers. This makes the fuel charge an important part of Lakeland Electric’s ongoing effort to keep our customer’s electric costs low.

Residential Rates Based on 1,000 kWh Current Rates – Effective April 2019
Base Charge* (see below for breakdown of charges) $64.10 $64.10
Fuel Charge              $38.75 $37.50
TOTAL: $102.85 $101.60
 *Base Charge
Customer Charge $  11.00/month
Energy & Smart Grid Charges $50.99/1000 kWh
Environmental Charge $  2.11/1000 kWh           

One Night of Gospel: Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, with opening act, Crossfire Quartet Concert proceeds to benefit Camp Brave Heart & KidsPACK

One Night of Gospel presented by Chapters Health Foundation featuring
Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, with opening act, Crossfire Quartet
Concert proceeds to benefit Camp Brave Heart & KidsPACK
Date/Time: Sunday, March 17, 2019 – 6 pm
Location: Church at the Mall – 1010 E. Memorial Blvd., Lakeland, Florida 33801
Additional Information:
On Sunday, March 17, 2019 Chapters Health Foundation will present One Night of Gospel, featuring Ernie Haase & Signature Sound with special musical guests, the Crossfire Quartet. This benefit concert will support, celebrate and honor the work of Good Shepherd Hospice and Kids pack.
The concert will take place at the Church at the Mall located at 1010 E. Memorial Blvd. in Lakeland and begins at 6:00 P.M. (doors open for VIP seating at 5:30 pm and for general admission seating at 5:50 pm). The concert begins at 6:00 p.m. (doors oepn for VIP seating at 5:30p.m. and for general admission seating at 5:50p.m. These “doors open” times are subject to change so patrons are asked to arrive early to allow for parking, picking up tickets, etc. Prior to the event and during intermission, concert goers can enjoy fellowship in the concourse area, visit with local vendors and select from various food options.
VIP tickets are $20 in advance; $25 at the door. This option includes early admission to the seating area, one entry into a prize drawing. The first 200 VIP guests will also receive a goodie bag. General admission tickets are $10 in advance; $15 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting or by calling 863-551-4827. Tickets may also be purchase in advance at the concert site (Church at the Mall – 1010 E. Memorial Blvd.) or at the GSH Lakeland Hospice House located at 3450 Lakeland Hills Blvd., Lakeland.
About Ernie Haase & Signature Sound:
From its formation in 2003, Ernie Haase has built Signature Sound into one of the most popular and beloved quartets in all of Southern Gospel music. The group has traveled all over the world, offering energy, excitement and encouragement through its powerful brand of gospel music. EHSS continues to gain fans all around the globe with its unique performances and unmistakable four-part harmonies. EHSS is one of the most celebrated quartets in Southern Gospel History mentioned with the same “trailblazing” reverence as groups likes The Statesmen Quartet and The Cathedral Quartet.
About One Night of Gospel:
According to Jason Brown, the founder of the One Night of Gospel charity, “this idea to create a non-profit to give back originated from my love of Elvis, gospel music and the Lakeland community. As a fourth generation resident of Polk County, I wanted to find a way to give back to the community and what better way but through the kids.” Brown indicates that the quote, “the value of a man is measured by what he does for others,” motivates him to give back every year.
About Chapters Health Foundation and Good Shepherd Hospice:
Established in 2018, Chapters Health Foundation (CHF) conducts a wide variety of fundraising activities throughout the communities we serve. Such activities are based on the unique giving capacities and opportunities found within each of those communities. The activities consider the interest of the communities and the composition of the donor population. The Chapters Health Foundation fundraising initiatives help underwrite funding short falls for programs such as bereavement, children’s grief camp, and veterans programming.
Good Shepherd Hospice has been here for you since 1979 offering quality, compassionate hospice care to everyone in Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties. The mission of Good Shepherd Hospice is to provide quality palliative care and relieve the suffering of those in our communities affected by life-limiting illnesses and end-of-life issues, while maintaining the highest ethical standards, so all may live as fully and comfortably as possible. As a Not-for-Profit Provider, Good Shepherd Hospice will never deny services to anyone due to financial hardship. Patients receive services wherever they call home—in a primary residence, assisted living facility, skilled nursing home, hospice house or hospital.
About kidsPACK:
With a mission to help make sure that no child goes hungry kidsPACK is a non-profit organization supported by local community leaders and volunteers that are committed to improving the lives and opportunities of children. When this initiative was started before the 2011-2012 school year, they fed 449 homeless or hungry children in 31 Polk County public schools. The 2012-2013 school year, the project expanded their program to include Hillsborough and Hardee County, where they have been approved by local public school administration and oversight. Today, the project is in all three counties, Polk, Hillsborough and Hardee where they have fed more than 1700 children in 73 different schools.
For more information contact Jason Brown at 863.858-7183 or Paula Creamer at 863.583.3641.