The who’s who of Palm Beach County gathered Friday at Boynton Beach’s Benvenuto restaurant for a gala to celebrate and congratulate the Coalition of Boynton West Residential Associations (COBRWA) members on their 35th anniversary.
Through the three decades, COBRWA has represented 110 communities and about 125,000 residents west of the city of Boynton. The members lend support to what they believe is smart development, who they believe are the area’s most-qualified leaders, and travel to Tallahassee to fight for issues they believe most important to the community.
“We’re here today to celebrate 35 years of leadership of service and of commitment to west Boynton and to celebrate the many thousands of volunteers…who over the past 35 years have made COBWRA a respected and influential organization,” said Sharon Reuben, the coalition’s spokeswoman and organizer of the gala.
Benvenuto waitstaff welcomed the hundreds of guests — including residents, judges, county commissioners, Boynton Beach commissioners, legislators and Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and State Attorney Dave Aronberg — with glasses of sangria. The attendees were brought into the ballroom where they found tables draped in white cloths while a singer, keyboardist and harmonica player filled the room with music.
COBWRA was founded by Richard Carrington, who lived in Greentree Villas at the time. Carrington and his wife went for a walk after dinner and were surprised to see a K-Mart under construction and other developments that residents didn’t know about. That prompted him to start the group, said Past President Ken Lassiter.
The Coalition is now focused on bringing a library, park and civic center to the western community, and hopes to protect the Ag Reserve, while the commercial developers are knocking at its door.
“I believe if he could look down today…he would be extremely pleased,” COBWRA President Glen Harvie said of Carrington, who died in 1994.
The Coalition named its civic leadership award after Carrington, and on Friday gave it to The Soup Kitchen, on Boynton Beach Boulevard, and its Executive Director Enrique Zuanetto. The nonprofit served more than 265,000 hot meals in 2015 and gave more than 100 bags of groceries to families each day. They started a Meals-on-Wheels program in July.
“The Soup Kitchen has made West Boynton and Palm Beach County a more caring (place) for the people who live and work here. People in need from all walks of life are welcomed by a friendly and dedicated all-volunteer staff,” Harvie said.