All Articles by BillieN

37 Articles

Latter-day Saint Missionaries Return from Senior Mission

Senior Mission
Jeffrey & Kathleen Bradshaw

Jeffrey and Kathleen Bradshaw interview upon return from two year senior mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to The Democratic Republic of Congo, June 25, 2018.

The Lord’s work continues around the world. There is a great need for missionaries. The influence you make in the lives of others will extend for more than your life-time. Learn more here.

Senior Mission
Community welcome home dinner

Couple Returns from Mission to Democratic Republic of Congo

Former Pace, FL residents, Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and his wife, Kathleen, have spent the last two years serving in the Mission office for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa. They lived in an apartment within walking distance of the mission office, paid all their living expenses and had a full-time work schedule. 

Senior Mission Assignments

Elder Bradshaw worked as the financial secretary handling the day to day expenses of the mission. Sister Bradshaw worked with the young full-time missionaries, women and men, serving in the Kinshasa region. Her tasks involved arranging travel, Visas and monthly supplies for them. When on missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, missionaries have the Sabbath day for attending church services and a personal day each week.

Senior Mission

Working closely with the younger missionaries, the Bradshaws spent many of their personal days visiting the young missionaries. They made  sure the young sisters and elders had plenty of charcoal for outdoor cooking, and Books of Mormon, among other things. The young missionaries come from Europe and other countries within the African continent. Making arrangements can become very complicated when they are coming to DR Congo or returning home. Sometimes there may be political unrest in an area between where they were serving and where their home is. The Church takes great care to keep all their missionaries safe.

Senior Mission

In addition to their office assignments in the mission, they also had the opportunity to gather information for oral history of church members and family history of some of the village chiefs in the area. On one such trip, the village chief could only remember back to his grand parents. He needed to rely on other village elders for help.

Church History

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been in DR Congo since 1986, There are over 60,000 members. About half of these members are men who are long term, active members. Missionaries are baptizing between one hundred sixty-five and one hundred eighty-five members per month. Churches are growing rapidly there and the need for missionaries is great in this region of Africa.

Senior Mission
Baptism class

The city of Kinshasa has about 15 million inhabitants. They have life styles from living in a tin-roofed shack with no electricity or running water to apartments and homes with modern conveniences. There is enough enthusiasm about The Church that a temple is being built in the city. Since the time of Solomon, temples have had the same purposes, including bringing people closer to God.

Holy Temples

Holy temples are as necessary today as they were anciently when they served as sacred locations to make covenants, perform holy ordinances, and to be taught by God. Today in over 140 temples worldwide, Mormons do those same things. In these temples, faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints find opportunities for peaceful reflection and for learning more about God’s plan of happiness for His children.

Every person who has lived on the earth is entitled to the opportunity to receive the blessings of eternal life and eternal family relations. Through the power of the priesthood, members are married for time and eternity. They perform proxy baptisms for their ancestors who died without enjoying the blessings of this saving ordinance.

Senior Mission
Kinshasa Temple in progress

“Our apartment was right across the street from where the new temple is being built,” said Elder Bradshaw.  “We got to see daily progress.”

“The people there are very friendly. We felt very safe while we were on our senior mission,” said Sister Bradshaw. “And there were children, lots of children. They are darling. Most families have very little. Families are precious to them.”

Senior Mission

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Remembering Our Local Heroes this Memorial Day

When we started working with the Pensacola Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association back in 2011, there were 7 active members. They are our local heroes! Since that time we are down to three still with us and only two of them here in Pensacola. We have had a request for recordings of the stories of those who have passed. 

Local Heroes

George Mills USN Veteran retired after 30 years USAF Civilian



James Landis SCPO, USN (RET.)



Myron Jay Carraway ETC USN (RET.)



Jacob Gallawa SCPO USN (RET.)


We honor the service and sacrifices these “every day” guys gave to our country. We love and miss you all. 

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Macro Photography – Up Close and Personal

Presented by Billie A. Nicholson, M Photog., Cr.
Robert A. Nicholson, M Photog., Cr., MD F. Ph.


Definition: Macro- Photographing objects at nearly life size; ie., 1:1 or larger than life size.  



Needs – 

  1. SLR camera with thru the lens viewing and interchangeable lenses, capable of working in manual or aperture priority modes, thru the lens metered flash
  2. Electronic cable release, focusing rail, close focus lens
  3. Tripod to keep camera steady
  4. Light control – available light, diffusers, reflectors, off camera flash
  5. Cellphone with bluetooth shutter release, tripod adapter, auxiliary lenses
  6. Custom cellphone applications
  7. PC/Mac processing platform with Adobe Photoshop CC 2018
  8. Helicon Focus Software

Ways to go MACRO

  1. Enlarge prints and trim back to required size
  2. Use a close up magnifying lens (proxars, magnifying glass, loupe)
  3. Reverse lenses
  4. Add extension tubes.  
  5. Bellows
  6. Macro lens
  7. Use cell phone and accessories
Set of extension tubes





Cellphone with macro lens, tripod adapter and bluetooth remote
Macro lens







Basic Keys to a successful photograph

  1. Composition – remember the rule of thirds
  2. Lighting – directional, diffuse, reflected
    1. Available light – tungsten, fluorescent, daylight
    2. Light modifiers – reflectors, Aluminum  foil, white cards, black cards, light tent, umbrella
    3. Flash – off camera, back light, main light, fill light
  3. Exposure – spot meter, matrix metering, 18 % gray, bracket, shutter speed, subject movement
  4. Depth of Field – small in focus zone
    1. Small Apertures
    2. Subject parallel to film plane – improves focus, avoids key-stoning
    3. Simplify composition, simple backgrounds
    4. 50/50 focus distance around subject




Tips for Close Up Photography

Photographing everyday items extremely close will reveal a world of color, form, texture and shape often overlooked. “Macro” in photographic terms used to mean life-sized images. Most of us know it as that special focus setting found on some zoom lenses. Using this setting puts the lens well forward of the camera body and this allows very close focus. Close focus may not necessarily create life size images, but they will be awesome. Here are some things to remember when photographing up close.

  1. To take close ups you need equipment designed to increase the distance between the lens and the sensor. 
    1. Macro lenses or zoom lenses with a macro feature
    2. Extension tubes fit between the lens and the camera body. They add the needed space for image focus on sensor
    3. Close up filters can be added to the front of the lens to “magnify” the image and can be added together to increase magnification
    4. Use your zoom lens – set up at a distance that will allow you to zoom in close and keep the subject in focus
  2. The main technical problems are the difficulty focusing a sharp image and the very shallow depth of field.
    1. Use a tripod and wear knee pads
    2. Select the A or Av setting on your camera and you choose the aperture; the larger the number, like f11 or f16, the greater depth of focus or use the M (manual) setting and control both the aperture and shutter speed. Note the exposure meter showing in your viewfinder (a bar that has markings from -2 thru 0 to + 2) – move either the aperture or shutter speed control to move this setting to 0. 
    3. To avoid movement of the subject (if it is alive or outside in the wind), shoot at a fast shutter speed; you may also want to secure subject with a clamp
    4. Use your in-camera meter – pick a spot that simulates 18% gray or use an 18% gray card. Record the meter setting and then switch to manual
    5. Remember to add exposure to compensate for extension rings; whenever the subject is closer than about five times the focal length of the lens. Work out the magnification (image height divided by subject height, add one and square the result). This is the factor you must multiply exposure time by. So for an image the same size as the subject give four times the normal exposure.  Extension tubes are usually marked with the exposure correction required.
    6. Focus on some part of your image 1/3rd of the way into the scene to get the maximum field of focus.
    7. Bracket your exposure (less than 1-stop intervals is best) for best results, setting the camera to auto exposure bracketing.
    8. Use a “Multi-Focus” program like Helicon Focus (
  3. Backgrounds can be distracting. Make them as plain as possible
    1. Use a fabric sweep to eliminate the breaking line of a horizon
    2. Use a contrasting color
    3. Common fabrics are: black velveteen, white polyester, blue or bright green for video or to “drop out” the background easily; white shower curtains work well, too.
    4. Make sure the surface is super clean of lint or other flecks. They’ll look like logs later.
    5. Make a light tent to soften light and reduce shadows
  4. Lighting is critical in close up photos. 
      1. Early morning and late in the day will provide naturally oblique light to cross over your subject and help create a third dimension in the image. Avoid direct sun or partial sun and shade mix.
      2. Arrange studio lights to create dimension (add appropriate shadows)
      1. Use reflectors to fill in shadow areas
        1. White fabric or white cards (scrap foam-core works great – cut one side to create hinge)
        2. Mirrors
        3. Aluminum foil
        4. Photo reflectors
    1. For flat or round objects, the best camera position is directly above the object; this eliminates shape distortion – use a bubble level to confirm. Light should be very oblique to exaggerate the pattern or design.
    2. For other shaped objects, the camera should be parallel to the subject to avoid distortions
    3. A ring flash gives complete frontal lighting for complex subjects where side lighting would only add confusion with complicated shadows.
    4. Some subjects require diffused light (add a translucent material between subject and light source – another good use for that white shower curtain – put it in a sunny window for beautiful natural light).
    5. The best times to photograph flowers
      1. On cloudy overcast days
      2. Early morning or late afternoon on sunny days – nice light & low wind
      3. Just after a rain – or carry a small spray bottle for water; just one or two spritzes
    6. If you’re working out doors, don’t shoot down on flowers, get lower; knee pads are a great addition to your camera bag
    7. Don’t fight the wind
      1. Use a plant clamp
      2. Switch to Shutter Priority (S or Sv) setting and increase the shutter speed higher to stop movement
      3. Make the wind your subject – slow shouter speed to capture movement
    8. Use the rules of composition 
      1. What is your subject?
      2. Select groups of three
      3. Find repeating images at an angle 
      4. Look for leading lines to bring the viewer’s eye into the image
    9. If using this technique for home inventory or products to sell, clean items so they are free of fingerprints. Use a soft cloth to buff out.

To Download these tips:Tips for Close Up Photography_bdp




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Mormon Prom 2018

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Rotary Tree of Remembrance 2017

Rotary Tree of Remembrance 2017

The Rotary Tree of Remembrance was on display during December 2017 in Pensacola, Fl.’s Cordova mall. The tree provided shoppers an opportunity to remember loved ones by placing a yellow ribbon on it. In addition to placing a yellow ribbon, mall visitors could also make a contribution to six children’s charities. They are Gulf Coast Kid’s House, The Studer Children’s Hospital of Sacred Heart, Simon Youth Foundation, Covenant Care Hospice, and Rotary Camp Florida.

In it’s fifth year, the opening ceremony recognized our local Pearl Harbor Survivors, Frank Emond and William Braddock, as honored guests. The Tate High School Chorus, directed by Cynthia Domulot, entertained attendees with a series of holiday themed musical numbers.

Rotary Tree of Remembrance

Rotary members from the CROP (Combined Rotary of Pensacola) and volunteers from the recipient charities manned the tree during shopping hours.

Donations collected totaled over $4,800.00. Checks were presented at the January 11th morning meeting of the Cordova Rotary Club.

Rotary Representatives, Carl Bachman and Robin Foley present donation check to Stacey Kostevicki, Executive Director of Gulf Coast Kid’s House.


Rotary Tree of Remembrance
Adrienne Maygarden accepts donation on behalf of The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart


Rotary Tree of Remembrance
Christie Parker, Aaron West and Odin Berg receive donation to Covenant Care Hospice.


Tree of Remembrance
Elaine Sites and Annette Massicotte received check for Reading is Fundamental Pensacola.


Rotary Tree of Remembrance
Robin Foley accepts donation to Rotary Camp Florida.


Tree of Remembrance
Group of donation recipients.


Following these presentations, Billie and Robert Nicholson of Rusty Buggy Enterprises were recognized for their media support for the past five years.

Tree of Remembrance
Billie and Robert Nicholson of
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Remember Pearl Harbor

76 years ago, Dec 7th, the U. S. military installation in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was suddenly attacked by the Imperial Japanese naval service. This attack caught the American military by surprise, sinking    or damaging 18 ships, destroying 350 aircraft, and resulting in the deaths of 2,403 sailors, soldiers, and civilians and wounding another 1,000.

Why attack Pearl Harbor?

In an attempt to thwart Japan’s expansionist actions in Asia, America had issued economic sanctions and trade embargoes against them. Assuming that without money and goods, like oil, Japan would curb its expansionism. But instead, Japan held its ground. After a month of negotiations, neither side would budge and war appeared imminent.

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the base of America’s Pacific Fleet, was the perfect point for such an attack. Located 2,000 miles from the U. S. mainland and about 4,000 miles from Japan, military leaders were not expecting an attack there and consequently it was relatively undefended. To the Japanese, however, it was the perfect target – the home of almost the entire naval fleet. With America’s naval vessels destroyed, Japan would be free to continue its expansion.

Pearl Harbor
07 Dec 1941 — Mortally Wounded and Sinking — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

As a result, America declared war on Japan and entered World War II. Just three days later, Japan’s allies Germany and Italy declared war on America as well. Americans fought on two fronts – European and Pacific. They were responsible for ending the Pacific front battles by using atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. American soldiers fought with British and Russian allies on the European front.

Local Pearl Harbor Survivors Remember

Pensacola has two remaining Pearl Harbor Survivors. Their stories share personal details of the attack.

Frank Emond, a Navy musician, on the stern of the USS Pennsylvania, shares his account of the beginning of the attack.

William Braddock, a Marine, at breakfast on Ford Island, located in the center of Pearl Harbor, had a close up view of the mayhem.

The battles extended until 1945. Over 400,000 American citizens made the ultimate sacrifice defending freedom and democracy. The courage and resolve of our military extend today as they protect and secure our nation. We must always Remember Pearl Harbor.

Two upcoming ceremonies will honor our local Pearl Harbor Survivors  Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, 3 PM at the Rotary Tree of Remembrance ceremony in the Food Court of Cordova Mall and also on Thursday Dec. 7, 2017 at the World War II Remembrance ceremony,  10 AM, at National Naval Museum located on NAS Pensacola.

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Stronger Communities – One Volunteer At A Time

Photos by Robert Nicholson

Somewhere, in a neighborhood, the sounds of hammer and saw waft through the air. By following the sounds of construction one finds a new home taking shape. Not any new home, but a Habitat for Humanity home complete with many service opportunities during construction. Dozens of volunteer builders converge their individual efforts into a symphony of service, resulting in a finished masterpiece.


Pensacola Habitat for Humanity

Pensacola Habitat for Humanity, is a non-profit, ecumenical, Christian ministry. They have provided over 1,300 homes during the last 35 years in Northwest Florida. Homes are priced at the cost of construction and come with interest free financing.


The community supports habitat in many ways. Volunteers come from all walks of life. During a Wednesday visit I encountered young and older volunteers of all faiths working side by side. Volunteers from Temple Beth-El of Pensacola climbed ladders and layed tarpaper. There were Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints driving nails and installing supports. Some volunteers came alone – to just serve. When lunch was called, the members of Saint Paul Lutheran Church, ELCA of Pensacola donated and served a hardy meal. People of all faiths pitched in with support for each other to create something wonderful.



When the service bug hits you, there is a handy way to find out where you are needed. Simply go to to make a difference in your community.


Latter-day Saint Missionary, Sister Morgen Mantlo said, “I love being a volunteer at Habitat. This kind of volunteerism brings lasting satisfaction. The service ethic is one that is handed down through generations.”


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Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge 2017 Awards

Pensacola Chapter Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge

The Pensacola Chapter of Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge presented awards to the following Pensacola Citizens for their outstanding community involvement:

Adult Community – George Washington Honor Medal

Frank Emond
Photos by

Frank Emond – A Lifetime of Doing Good

Freedoms Foundation Valley Forge

Sarah Seelman and Jaque Taylor – Giving Back: Quilters Support Community and Honor Vets Through the Final Salute

Information Warfare Training Command, CDR Christopher Eng, USN and School District of Escambia County, Malcolm Thomas, Superintendent – Saturday Scholars

Youth Community – George Washington Honor Medal

Freedoms Foundation Valley Forge
Award accepted by her parents

Madeline Bookout – World War II Oral Histories

Freedoms Foundation Valley Forge

Tyler Carach – I DONUT need a reason to Thank a Cop

Freedoms Foundation Valley Forge

Jessica Hatton – McDonald House

Freedoms Foundation Valley Forge

Casey Scott – The Currie House

Educator – George Washington Honor Medal

Freedoms Foundation Valley Forge

Steve Tuley – Teaching through Drama

Public Communications – George Washington Honor Medal

Freedoms Foundation Valley Forge

The Appleyard Foundation, Dick Appleyard

The University of West Florida Historic Trust, Robert Overton, Exec. Dir.

The John Appleyard Storytelling Cottage

Freedoms Foundation Valley Forge

Jill Hubbs – They Were Our Fathers

Youth Essay – George Washington Honor Medal on Ribbon

Freedoms Foundation Valley Forge

Ethan Besemer, Dakota Fulton, Savannah Hush, Destiny Lewis James Todd, Alexander Wilson

Youth Essay – Certificate

Freedoms Foundation Valley Forge

Donald Reyes,   Ricora Jones, Tierra Gooden, Caeley Farrior, William Kane,

Liberty Bell Award – Adult Community

Freedoms Foundation Valley Forge
Accepted by CDR Eric Sieb,USN

Petty Officer First Class David D. Hernandez, USN

Navy Participation in Community Events

Liberty Bell Award – Special Events

Freedoms Foundation Valley Forge
Accepted by the Honorable Lacey Collier

The Northern District of Florida U.S. District Court


Lifetime Achievement- American Eagle on Stand

Pam Schwartz

Pam Schwartz

“Life is a gift which is better when shared.”

Rusty Buggy Enterprises provided documentary coverage of this event and has created a DVD capturing the event. Order your copy to relive the event over and over.

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Baking the World a Better Place

Baking the World a Better Place

Baking the World a Better Place

This month, women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are celebrating the 175th anniversary of the, the Relief Society, the oldest and largest women’s organization in the world. Rather than a church-wide “event,” Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, encouraged the Relief Society’s more than 7 million members to remember the milestone during meetings in their local congregations.

Women in Pensacola’s congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrated the event by “Baking the World a Better Place.” 16 ladies got together with sugar, flour, shortening, apples and spices to make apple pies. In today’s world, it is often easier and certainly quicker to stop by the local grocery store to make a selection. Making pies from scratch is a project that requires talent, a desire to serve, and a lot of patience.

Event leader, Vicky Garrett, arranged for the ingredients, some of which came from members’ “food storage”, mixing bowls, measuring tools, rolling pins, pie pans and apple peelers. “The plan was to make service pies,” she said. Members and guests worked together to mix the pastry ingredients and roll out the dough. “We had to be careful not to over work the flour and shortening mixture to assure a tender crust.”

Once the pastry was placed in the pans, other women filled the shell with apples, flour, sugar and cinnamon. The final group applied the top layer of pastry, cutting special shapes for decorating, applying an egg wash, and then monitoring the baking time.

Baking the World a Better Place

Service to Others

While the pies baked, members had a discussion of the importance of serving in families, communities and the world. The Relief society purposes document states “Relief Society helps prepare women for the blessings of eternal life as they increase faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Atonement; strengthen individuals, families, and homes through ordinances and covenants; and work in unity to help those in need.”

The last part of the event was a drawing for the pies. The winners were challenged to find someone who should receive the pies. Recipients included a widow, a lady who had surgery, and a family packing to leave the area.

A ukulele group member, who is a single woman and lives alone, received one of the pies. She shared it when the group went to lunch together following a practice session. She asked the waitress for a to-go box for the one remaining piece. Then she gave the waitress the last slice of the pie.

Another pie was delivered to two brothers who care for their 96 year old mom. “It was yummy,” they said.

The Pensacola, Florida Relief Society sisters are baking the world a better place and brightening the lives of others, one pie at a time.

Baking the World a Better Place
Photos by Vicky Bright Garrett


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Days for Girls Feminine Hygiene Kits Completed

Women from the Pensacola Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are proud to be a part of making feminine hygiene kits for women and girls in need through

Young women and girls in developing countries may not have access to sanitary feminine hygiene products to use during their monthly menstrual periods. What if not having sanitary supplies meant missing days from school or days of isolation? Many girls have to make do with leaves, mattress stuffing, newspaper, corn husks or whatever else they can find, but still miss up to two months of education and opportunities every school year. Over time, this missed education perpetuates poverty in their lives.

Be an Instrument for Change in the World

Women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Pensacola, Florida, accepted the challenge to be an instrument for social change for women all over the world. When they learned that hygiene items they have used for years were not available in other places, they selected a service project to create reuseable sanitary feminine hygiene kits working with the Days for Girls, an organization set up to organize volunteer seamstresses.

Sewers created the three basic parts in the hygiene kits  from patterns developed by this international organization. The parts include flannel inserts to absorb menstrual flow. These liners are made from flannel serged around the edges to prevent fraying and include an additional center strip for extra absorbancy. These are placed into shields which snap through the legs of under panties.

feminine hygiene
photo by: Billie Nicholson

Shields are made from colorful 100% cotton fabric and contain a waterproof liner stitched inside. They have end pockets to hold the liners in place. Darker colors are preferred because they camouflage blood stains. When they are  not in use, they can all be stored in drawstring fabric bags.

Feminine Hygiene
photo by: Robert Nicholson

Making Feminine Hygiene Kits

The first evening, thirty ladies got together from four different church congregations. Enthusiasm for the project spread throughout the area. During the summer and fall, work groups met monthly  at five locations across the Florida Panhandle. As the project continued, unfinished items moved from work group to work group. The project included school age girls to grandmothers . Even  non-sewers could help by cutting patterns, ironing and turning parts inside out was .

Feminine Hygiene
Photo by: Billie NIcholson

Work sessions were scheduled and announced on social media as well as the volunteer service website, This free website allows organizations to post upcoming projects and the number of volunteers needed. It provides a place for workers to sign up and communicate with the organization as well as collects metrics on how many volunteer hours were donated.

Completed Feminine Hygiene Kits

Completed kits include the three sewn parts as well as panties, soap, Ziplock bags for storing and washing soiled items. The kits also include health and hygiene information.

How did the Pensacola group do? At last count, the group had completed:
749 flannel liners
351 shields and
294 drawstring bags.

What kind of influence do these kits have? They help girls stay in school, strengthen confidence and support healthy communities.

What difference do they make? After distribution, school absences dropped from 25% to 3% in Uganda. In Kenya they dropped from 36% to 8%. In general, women menstruate 60 days or 2 months a year. Days for Girls feminine hygiene kits are designed to last 2-4 years. Imagine earning back 240 days of opportunity.

Since their establishment, Days for Girls has developed a global network of over 780 chapters and teams, companies, governments, and non-government organizations in over 100 countries.

In addition to organizing volunteer seamstresses around the world, currently, they are also running micro-enterprises for women’s groups in under developed countries to make these kits and provide for women in their communities.

They are working to help girls gain access to quality sustainable feminine hygiene, vital health knowledge, and income generation opportunities.

In conclusion, working on this project, women across the Florida Panhandle have come together to serve women in other parts of the world. They remember, “when you are in service to your fellow man, you are in the service of your God.”

For additional information on this project, contact

For additional local projects in which you can volunteer, visit: You’ll be glad you did.

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