Around Town: East Naples Civic Association names Scott Salley as its Citizen of the Year

Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala rode in the Martin Luther King Jr. parade in downtown Naples on Monday in style, riding shotgun with Skip Riffle, the founder of Bikes for Tykes, in his shiny, orange Mustang. 
 Jay Schlichter/Staff

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Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala rode in the Martin Luther King Jr. parade in downtown Naples on Monday in style, riding shotgun with Skip Riffle, the founder of Bikes for Tykes, in his shiny, orange Mustang. Jay Schlichter/Staff

Congratulations to Scott (and Lynn) Salley for being named Citizen of the Year by the East Naples Civic Association at the organization’s annual banquet. The award was given in recognition for Scott Salley’s tireless effort in trying to rescue young people who have gotten in the clutches of drugs, alcohol and gangs, and help them to get to a better, more positive place in life.

Although the award was officially for Scott Salley, he continued to mention his wife, Lynn, saying he could not do it alone and that they worked as a team to help others. This beautiful, selfless and caring couple exemplify the meaning of loving your community and all the people in it. Scott Salley has taught so many people the art of cooperation and compromise, the meaning of leadership and the love of your fellow man. These people are true Citizens of the Year!

Speaking of the East Naples Civic Association, they are the oldest civic association in Collier County, and still working on the betterment of their community. The organization was established in 1950, and a few members from the 50’s are still active.

At their annual meeting, they thanked the 2013 board of directors and the 2013 president, Bob Murray, for a job well done, and elected their new board, with Marci Seamples taking over the helm. The club meets for lunch the third Thursday of every month at the Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club at the end of Thomasson Drive. Anyone who is interested in becoming a part of this organization, formed entirely for the purpose of improving and beautifying the community of East Naples, is welcome to attend. For reservations call the message line at 239-434-1967.

Over the years many people have wanted to change the name of East Naples to something like South Naples, or Southwest Naples, or even Southeast Naples. Personally, I preach against that. A change of name doesn’t change anything thing but a name. I believe you must change what you are to become something you are proud to be, rather than change a name to try and change your image.

Have you noticed that lately though, not many people want to change the name as East Naples takes a prominent seat at the table of new development? We’ll soon see retail and commercial following the development, and we’ll probably see redevelopment following that. We’re changing — and we’re changing for the better! Thank you to all who are helping to make that happen. There are so many on that team.

Del Ackerman came here in 1964 with his young family to start a business, and this year he is celebrating 50 years in that business — 24 hours a day, no keys or locks, and open all the time! There’s just no one like Del! Congratulations for 50 years of living and working in our community.

Monday was the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. parade and party in the park, with school bands, social service agencies, the Collier County Supervisor of Elections and her staff, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Naples Police Department, various area fire and rescue stations, and so much more all parading together.

I had the unique experience of riding with Skip Riffle (founder of Bikes for Tykes) in his 1965 Mustang! Original owner, original paint job, original upholstering, etc. Riffle was 15 years old and had been saving money from his jobs around town. On the day before his 16th birthday he went to the Mustang car dealer and said he would like to buy the beautiful orange Mustang.

The dealer said they weren’t allowed to sell a car to anyone under 18 without parent approval, so they called his dad. Riffle recounded what his father told them: “If my son can earn and save the money to buy himself a car, then you need to sell it to him.” Riffle still owns that car, it only has 32,000 miles on it, and it gleams with glory. I had the privilege of riding with him in the parade. What a car and what a guy!

There is a new program about to be announced that will provide life jackets on a loaner basis at open water parks in Collier County, such as Tigertail Beach on Marco, South Beach on Marco, Sugden Park in East Naples, and Vanderbilt Beach Park in North Naples.

The idea was born by Dr. Todd Vedder, a pediatrician in our community, who read about the drowning in Sugden Park and wanted to do something to help prevent something like that happening again.

With his able assistant, Paula DiGrigoli, the executive director of NCH Safe & Healthy Children’s Coalition of Collier County, they found the perfect program, and enlisted the assistance of the Collier County Parks and Recreation Department, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, West Marine, the City of Naples, and yours truly. They designed the program for our community.

With sponsors buying the life jackets, and Parks & Rec building stands to hold the jackets, signs, stamps on the jackets, etc., the program will be ready for launch at Sugden Park on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at noon. Everyone is welcome to join in the event.

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Connect with Donna Fiala via email at

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