Four Fort Lauderdale icons will be recognized for their lifelong accomplishments with induction into the City's Walk of Fame on Saturday, May 23, 2015 as part of the sixth annual Great American Beach Party.
Each of the 2015 honorees has distinguished themselves in their respective fields, while making positive contributions to the City of Fort Lauderdale. The 2015 Walk of Fame honorees include:
Hugh Taylor Birch
Recognized as the father of Fort Lauderdale Beach, Hugh Taylor Birch fell in love with this area shortly after arriving here in the late 1800s. Over the next 30 years, he purchased hundreds of acres of land that, today, comprise some of the most well-known parcels on Fort Lauderdale Beach including the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens and Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. One of Birch's most important donations may well have been the thee miles of beachfront property he granted to the City of Fort Lauderdale with the stipulation that it remain open and accessible to the public forever. This gift gave Fort Lauderdale what, today, remains its strongest economic engine: tourism. Hugh Taylor Birch's foresight and commitment to protecting the beauty and aesthetics of Fort Lauderdale resulted in the preservation of hundreds of acres of precious oceanfront land that residents and visitors continue to enjoy today.
As founder of the Winterfest Boat Parade and owner and publisher of
Travelhost of Greater Fort Lauderdale, Ina Lee has spent decades promoting Fort Lauderdale Beach as a "must see" destination; strengthening the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry; and supporting events that bring worldwide attention and media exposure to the City. She has served in leadership capacities on numerous tourism and economic development boards including the Marketing Advisory Committee of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Beach Council of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, the City of Fort Lauderdale Beach Redevelopment Advisory Board, and on the board of the City's Beach Business Improvement District. Ina Lee has been honored with numerous awards for her contributions to the progress and advancement of the City including Fort Lauderdale's Citizen of the Year, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Person of the Year, and the Chamber's Carolyn M. Michaels Leadership Award.
Diving Coach Ron O'Brien has had a long and distinguished career coaching eight United States Olympic teams and training numerous Olympic Medalists and World Champions at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex from 1990 to 2006. O'Brien produced a United States National Champion in 25 of his 30 years as a diving coach and had a National Champion for 24 consecutive years from 1973 through 1996. In the 1988 Olympic Games, O'Brien coached Greg Louganis to his second double gold medal performance in the springboard and platform events, making Louganis the only man to accomplish back-to-back double gold medals in Olympic diving history. In 1986, all 12 United States Diving individual National Titles were won by divers coached by Ron O'Brien. In 1984, O'Brien's team of divers made history when the United States swept all four gold medals at the World Championships, the only time this feat has ever been accomplished and the first time since 1952 that any country had ever swept a major international world class event.
As owner of The World Famous Parrot Lounge, Tim Schiavone has worked tirelessly for over four decades to enhance tourism, business, and hospitality in the City, while serving as a goodwill ambassador for Fort Lauderdale Beach. His involvement in the community extends far beyond the four walls of The World Famous Parrot Lounge having twice served as chairman of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce's Beach Council, as well as a member of the City's Economic Development Advisory Board, and Beach Redevelopment Advisory Board. Under Tim Schiavone's leadership, over the past 45 years, The World Famous Parrot Lounge has helped raise countless amounts of money for numerous charities and philanthropic endeavors including Muscular Dystrophy, Covenant House, Young Professionals, Pet Rescue, Toys for Tots, and more. In 2001, Schiavone was recognized as the City of Fort Lauderdale's Citizen of the Year and, today, he remains proud to serve as a beacon for Fort Lauderdale hospitality.
The City of Fort Lauderdale established the Walk of Fame in 2010 at the inaugural Great American Beach Party to pay tribute to the legendary Connie Francis on the 50th Anniversary of "Where the Boys Are," the 1960 film which made Fort Lauderdale an overnight sensation and a "must see" destination for visitors.
Walk of Fame Honorees are recognized for outstanding work in their respective fields and for making long-term positive contributions to the City of Fort Lauderdale. As part of the awards program, each honoree receives a commemorative marble paver that is placed in the Walk of Fame to memorialize their outstanding accomplishments. The Fort Lauderdale Walk of Fame is located on the beach along the east side of A1A at Las Olas Boulevard.
The 2015 Walk of Fame Honorees will be formally inducted at the Great American Beach Party, which will take place on Saturday, May 23. In addition to the Walk of Fame induction ceremony, the Great American Beach Party will feature a day and evening full of exciting activities and entertainment on Fort Lauderdale Beach at A1A and Las Olas Boulevard. The free event will begin at 10:00 a.m. when a portion of A1A is transformed into a one-of-a-kind entertainment venue, featuring music, live performances, and activities for the entire family.
The City of Fort Lauderdale's Great American Beach Party is co-sponsored by Broward County's Cultural Division, Budweiser, the City of Fort Lauderdale's Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Magic 102.7.