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Local business lends a hand to Beacon of Hope

By Staff | Jul 15, 2020


If you’ve recently stopped by the Beacon of Hope on Doug Taylor Circle, you may have noticed the sidewalk had begun to break from the roots of a huge mahogany tree out front.

“We were obviously getting very concerned about it,” said Beacon board member Elsie Stearns, “so we asked Gerard Cicoria, who has a reputable business and is an expert, for help. He’s been good to a lot of businesses on this island and runs his own company.”

According to Stearns, Cicoria came right away, willing to cut the roots and take care of the problem.

Stearns said the board talked about the possibility that taking the roots away from the tree might have weakened it just in time for storm season. After having received a lower bid on the tree job, Stearns let Cicoria know that they would have to go with the lower bid.

“I told Gerard we’d found someone who could do it for a little bit less,” said Stearns, “and he said, ‘if that’s the problem and the Beacon can’t afford it, I’ll do it for nothing.'”

Gerard Cicori’s crew at work outside the Beacon of Hope building. PHOTO BY RAY WEST

Due to the thrift store closing in the midst of season from the pandemic, Stearns said that was a good call on the part of Cicoria, because they could not afford any further financial difficulties. In addition to serving the community with his tree business, Stearns said Cicoria volunteers to hang the lights from the trees each year at the Tarpon Lodge prior to Holiday House, which is the Beacon’s largest fundraising event of the year.

“He takes his truck down there with his bucket and puts all the trees up. He’s done that for us for 10 years, just out of the goodness of his heart,” said Stearns.

In her opinion, Stearns believes it is people’s passion for the Beacon which encourages them to offer these continuous acts of service. To go along with the kindness shown by Cicoria, Stearns said Mike Jendrusiak, who has provided free lawn service to the Beacon’s building property, offered free landscaping after the tree was taken out.

“He’s going to put in some bromeliads and he raked it all up to get that area clean,” said Stearns. “Those two acts of kindness, and a discount from Concrete by George, got our Beacon all cleaned up and safe. In a time of need, kind people stepped up and got rid of something that could have been a real problem.”

The finished area after repair work was completed. PHOTO BY RAY WEST