Cary Flynn - 2019 Golden Acorn Award Winner

If you spend any time with Cary Flynn you will hear her say “We are SOO lucky to live here!” She has become one of Deercreek’s Ambassadors in the 10 years she’s lived here. You’ll find her with the Friday Night Dining group up at the Club or out on the golf course or hosting a committee meeting or playing Games with a group of Deercreek friends. And she is always looking for ways to make Deercreek better.

Cary and Gregg lived on Long Island, NY for 36 years before moving here on the advice of their long-time friends Paul and Adele Kunzweiler. In 1992 Cary had joined the Smithtown Central School District working in the Department of Special Education, then eventually moving to the Assistant Superintendent’s Office and finally retiring as Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools. Gregg retired from the school district in 2000 after serving 32 years as a high school teacher and administrator. In 2002, he accepted a position as a professor at Dowling College and a year later became the chair of the Department of Secondary Education. He retired in 2012.

They have two children: Sean, a former Assistant United States Attorney, and currently a General Counsel for a pharmaceutical firm in Boston; and Heather, a surgical nurse at the Mayo Clinic, who is currently working towards her Doctorate in Nursing Practices at UNF. And they have been blessed with six grandchildren.

Cary and Gregg moved to Deercreek the Summer of 2009. Cary had just retired and they were very excited about starting a new chapter in their lives.

She jumped in with enthusiasm as, at the first meeting of the Home and Garden Club that Cary attended in the Fall of 2009, she volunteered to serve on the Programs Committee! This lasted for two years until 2011 when she became Secretary of the Home and Garden Club. In 2013 Cary stepped up to become Vice President and in 2014 took on the office of President, which she held for four years. During her tenure she was a very hands-on, detail-oriented leader and worked continuously to search out ways for the Home and Garden Club to contribute to Deercreek. Cary has worked on the Special Projects Committee, recently procuring two additional deer along the drive; the Holiday Decorations Committee, and the Fashion Show Committee, which delights us every year with a beautiful Spring outing.

Cary is also a member of the Deercreek Women’s Alliance and served on the Membership Committee when first joining the Alliance. She is an avid reader and belongs to the Deercreek Book Club as well as the Deercreek Ladies’ Nine Hole Golfers.

Cary is an active member of Holy Family Parish where she is a Eucharistic Minister and a part of the Prayer Shawl Ministry. This ministry has provided over 400 blessed shawls, either knitted or crocheted, to those with emotional or physical needs in the Jacksonville community, in other parts of the United States, and as far away as South America and Africa.

Cary and Gregg have always said they were very lucky to settle in the Deercreek Golf and Country Club. But we think that the Deercreek community is very lucky to have them here and we’re proud to honor her with the Golden Acorn Award this year to acknowledge her contributions to Deercreek and the Jacksonville community.

GOLDEN ACORN AWARD 2018: Debbie Grosnick

Debbie and her husband Phil along with their two children moved to Deercreek Country Club in 1997. Phil's career had him traveling and away from Deercreek a major portion of the time. With their children still in school Debbie had limited excess time but with some of the time she did have, you could expect that she was promoting the club and her community.

As they settled in, Debbie joined the nine-hole golf group and rallied a group of ladies advising them it would be a great game to learn and play; of course it included lunch and lots of comradery. Debbie became the cheerleader for golf as ladies moved in and wanted a hobby. Debbie graduated to 18-hole golf play and became a big supporter and later President of the Ladies Golf Association. She moved from Vice President of the DLGA to president quickly. It was always Debbie encouraging ladies to meet, play golf and be part of the comradery of interclub and summer team play. For Debbie it was easy to promote an idea and unite ladies. Several years later Debbie was influenced to play tennis, we think her sister Diane had a hand in that. Again, Debbie rallied the troops and was a guiding light helping to create the Ladies Tennis Association and became an active participant.

In 1999 a group of ladies met and wanted to start a Women’s Alliance for Deercreek. The mission being philanthropic work within Deercreek and the Jacksonville community. As one of the founding members, Debbie helped to mold and create the organization as it exists today as well as serving as Vice President from 2006 - 2008. Fast forward to 2012, the DWA was having a difficult time recruiting officers for the upcoming year. The existence of the Women’s Alliance was looking pretty grim. No one wanted to step up and continue to lead the organization. When Debbie heard that the Alliance could possibly dissolve, she insisted that it had to continue and would not let anyone lose sight of its mission. Debbie volunteered to be President and recruited a group of ladies to serve as officers. Debbie convinced everyone that the DWA could not die, it had meaning and could not be set aside. Debbie has truly been the person to identify its strengths and weaknesses and run with reorganizing the Alliance to what it is today. Debbie is now in her sixth year as president and isn’t stopping yet, as a matter of fact as we speak, 2018 activities are underway and 2019 plans are not far behind, with fundraising efforts always in the forefront of her mind. Debbie felt the purpose and the strength of the DWA was giving to small and mid-size local grass roots programs of philanthropic organizations. In addition, it was her idea to develop hands on projects so more ladies could be involved. Some of these projects include the Bag Ladies, Hospice Thrift Shop, Gabriel House, Mrs. Mary’s Boutique at the Pace Center for Girls and the Ronald McDonald House, to name just a few.

Debbie is married to Phil Grosnick, has two married children, Paige and Brian, and three adorable grandchildren. And as Debbie puts it, we are in Deercreek forever and the community is grateful for that. Congratulations Debbie on being selected as the Home and Gardens Club 2018 Golden Acorn Award Winner.


The Home and Garden Club is pleased to announce Mike Milkey as the year 2017 Golden Acorn Award winner. Mike is a lifelong resident of Jacksonville and can be considered a lifelong resident of the Deercreek Country Club. Mike and Barbara purchased their lot and built the first home in the community in February 1990. They have had the wonderful opportunity of witnessing the growth of the community over the last 27 years.

After several years in the United States Marine Corps and graduating from college, Mike spent four years working for the Florida Legislature. He left the world of politics in 1979 to start his career in surgical device sales, working for several Fortune 500 companies along the way. In 2001, Mike started his own successful medical device company - Florida Surgical Specialties, which is the exclusive distributor for many micro-surgical products. Their daughter, Michele was born and raised here and now attends Mercer Law School.

Mike has been very active in “all things” Deercreek. He was instrumental on the transition team that worked with the original developers and interfaced with the country club. He has been involved in many community and club projects including, serving as the first President of the Deercreek Homeowners Association and Chairman of the Board of Governors for the Club. Mike sees himself as the “Head Cheerleader” for Deercreek Country Club and continues to be a big supporter of the club which he believes impacts our property values. One of Mike’s favorite stories about the club is where he compares it to Cheers - where everyone knows your name. He is often seen walking through the club introducing people and making them feel welcome as part of the Deercreek community. He is particularly proud that he and some others were instrumental in convincing Club Corp to invest over $1 million in the recent major renovation of the Clubhouse. As a result of his enthusiasm and involvement, you will hear fellow Club members affectionately refer to Mike as the “Mayor!” Thanks Mayor, for all you have done for Deercreek.

Golden Acorn Award Winners 2013

Betty and Gary Metz

When you think of Betty and Gary Metz, you think of books – BOOKS-A-GO-GO, the organization that they started in 2006 with the help of Deercreek neighbors, to bring books to needy local students. With that modest start, who would have expected that today over 700,000 books have been put in the hands of children in our area and more than 20 countries around the world. But before BOOKS-A-GO-GO, their volunteering began in 1997 when they moved their business to Jacksonville from Pittsburgh. They had met at the University of Pittsburgh, and have been married 40 years. While waiting for their house to be built, Betty began calling on new residents to give them welcome packets of useful information about Deercreek and Jacksonville. That warm, helpful attitude has continued in the many gatherings they have hosted for their Heather Lake neighbors.
At that time, Taylor Woodrow was in the process of turning over the community to its property owners, and Gary was part of the Board that worked through the details of that transition. He also was involved during the period when Edgewater was negotiating their relationship with Deercreek. Later, when there was a vacancy on the DCCOA board, Gary again stepped in to fill the position.
Betty is a founding member of Deercreek Women’s Alliance, and has served a term as Vice President. Betty credits members of the Alliance for the successful early development of BOOKS-A-GO-GO. She also has been President of the Deercreek Ladies Golf Association and is a member of the Board of Governors. As a member of the Deercreek Home and Garden Club, Betty has been very generous in donating her distinctive hand-painted glasses, bowls, and Christmas ornaments for Garden Club Silent Auctions.
Betty, a talented artist, began volunteering in art instruction at inner city schools through the Jacksonville Watercolor Society. That led to her work as a Picture Lady, bringing art to schools through the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens.
While bringing art to West Jacksonville Elementary School, she recognized the needs of the students, and began her service on the School Advisory Council, which she has chaired for ten years. During that time she solicited funds that allowed students to take field trips to places they would otherwise never have an opportunity to see, like a bus ride across the bridge to the Cummer Museum and to St. Augustine. She also raised funds for a Garden of Dreams at the school.
When the school was threatened with closure, the Advisory Council worked successfully to keep it open as a necessary community resource. With Deercreek friends Neelima Gole, who designed the project, Adele Kunzweiler, Natalie Jackson and her daughter, Anna, the group spent a hot, non-air conditioned summer painting an enormous 40-foot mural to brighten the cafeteria.
Deercreek Home and Garden Club is proud to name Betty and Gary Metz winners of the 2013 Golden Acorn Award. The award will be presented at a luncheon at Deercreek Club on August 27 at 11:30 A.M. when Deercreek Home and Garden Club program for the coming year will be presented. All are welcome to come to offer their congratulations. Make a reservation by calling 363-1604.


Pat and Jim Register
2012 Golden Acorn Award Winners

Pat and Jim Register moved to Deercreek in 2001. They chose this community carefully for their retirement home, and after an extensive search, found their beautiful Bishop Lake home which has been a Deercreek View award winner. When they arrived, Jim and Pat had been married nearly 50 years, both successful Jacksonville business leaders involved in their church and community.

They met in 1948 at Andrew Jackson high school. Jim’s family had recently moved to Jacksonville from Tampa and Pat’s from the mid-west. They began going steady as Juniors and married the year after graduation.

They were hard workers then as now. Pat rose through levels of responsibility in banking, while Jim enlisted in the Navy and pursued his higher educational goals, culminating in a BS from University of Florida and a Master’s Degree from UNF. His career with State Farm Insurance presented ever increasing responsibilities until his retirement in the mid 1990’s. Their son, Jim, Jr., a State Farm agent, then called on his father to share his knowledge and work ethic for several years.

Ahead of her time, Pat managed to rise to the positions of Vice President at Atlantic National Bank while balancing motherhood of their boys, Jim, Jr. and Jerry. She retired in 1993 after 40 years in banking.

Pat’s financial background has made her a highly qualified Treasurer of Deercreek Home and Garden Club for the past six years. Her first involvement came when she met Dottie Patterson selling luminaries, and she worked in that effort for several years, finally taking responsibility for the management of the sales function as well as collecting and depositing the monies collected, as Treasurer.

Pat’s quilt group meets at Deercreek Club to work on the 100+ quilts the 12 members make and give to charity each year. That comes to more than 1000 quilts in the time Pat has lived here. She has also taught quilting workshops in the past.

The Bunco group also depends on Pat to make sure they have the proper number of players each month, and that group has regularly made a day of it by attending Deercreek Home and Garden Club meetings on the afternoons after their games.

Jim Register served Deercreek as President of DCCOA during a crucial time. His experience with a home owners association in their previous Grove Park neighborhood gave him the experience to rally the residents and defeat the developer who wanted to dig an enormous borrow pit just outside our boundaries. This would have jeopardized our security and our water levels. Eventually a bus load of residents plus other individuals appeared to protest the proposal and it was defeated in City Council.

When asked for a comment, Pat said that Deercreek was the best thing that ever happened to them. We think they are one of the best things that ever happened to Deercreek.

Sandy Montgomery,
Golden Acorn Award Winner 2011

The Golden Acorn Award was established by Deercreek Home and Garden Club in 2000 to honor the unsung heroes of our community. This year's award goes to Sandy Montgomery, just the type of admirable individual the award was designed to spotlight.

Sandy Montgomery says she is a work in progress. If that is so, she demonstrates it by her many works.

When she and Grayson came to Deercreek in 1999 after his retirement from 40 years in banking, it was because all three of their children lived in Florida. Sons Steven and Mark live in Central Florida with their families. Daughter Linley and her husband Bob Danisavage live right here in Deercreek with their 5 children - a great joy for Sandy and Grayson.

Sandy attended elementary school in five states, but all her high school in Wallingford, PA. She was a National Honor Society student, competitive athlete, and member of the band. She always s wanted to be a nurse, though 32 family members including her mother were librarians.

Sandy and Grayson met in the library at UNC where Sandy was earning her B.S. in Nursing. They married in 1960, and Sandy put her nursing skills to work wherever they lived - Atlanta, El Paso, TX, Jamaica, W.I., and back in Atlanta after the children were older.

Raised in a Quaker family, Sandy always wants to feel she is involved in a worthwhile pursuit, so she has participated in many Deercreek activities. Sandy is a member of Common Property Committee and served as its Secretary for five years. She plays golf, is a member of Book Club, Women's Alliance, works at the Hospice Shop, and delivers Meals on Wheels. Sandy's roles with Deercreek Home and Garden Club have been many, from working on the Tree Program, Luminaries, Landscape Award, and Holiday Decorations at the entrance, to Secretary, Vice President for Programs, and President 2008-2009. Whatever needs to be done, Sandy will offer to undertake. Along with Mary Stelbrink, She has been involved with the entrance magnolia light project from its planning to currently maintaining the timers and cleaning the lenses. That welcoming glow was an investment of $17,000 in funds raised by the Home and Garden Club from the sales of luminaries and cookbooks.

Deercreek is fortunate to have residents like Sandy Montgomery, who will work to improve our community wherever they see a need. If you know a neighbor who deserves recognition, contact Connie Davis, President of Deercreek Home and Garden Club. Previous Golden Acorn Award winners, not eligible for an additional award, are: Chuck and Nancy Jantz, Frank and Gerry Ceravolo, Karen Brockett, Carol D'Onofrio, Joe Williams, Mary Stelbrink, Marie Smith, Charlotte Johnson, Dottie Patterson, Rita Allen, and Tommy Walter.

Tommy Walter 2010
Golden Acorn Award Honoree

To say that Tommy Walter wears many hats would be an understatement. Tommy is able to juggle his time between family, jobs, his church and the Deercreek Community and has been recognized for his great work and volunteerism wher ever he has lived.
Tommy is a native of San Angelo, Texas. His undergraduate and masters degrees are from Angelo State University , and he earned his doctorate at Nova Southeastern University, headquartered in Fort Lauderdale-Davie, Fla. In addition, he has completed additional graduate work at Texas A&M University and The University of Washington.

Dr. Tommy Walter, adjunct professor, was named the 2008 Accelerated Degree Program (ADP) Professor of the Year at Jacksonville University. Walter had been a part of the adjunct faculty since 2000 and teaches undergraduate history courses, such as Western Civilization, American History, Native American History and recent World History. He is also an adjunct assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Before joining JU, Walter spent more than 30 years in the human resources field as an entry and executive-level employee of General Telephone & Electronics Corporation, now part of Verizon, and CSX. In his spare time, Walter helps coach the varsity football team at Episcopal High School.

He has been married to the former LaJan Kiker for more than 40 years and his son, Kerry, daughter-in-law, Brandy, and grandson, JT, also live here in Jacksonville. Tommy and Jan are very involved with their church, Deermeadows Baptist. They are both in the choir and Tommy teaches Sunday school, is on the Mission and Pre-School Committees and is a Deacon in charge of the Vice Deacons.

In 1994, while living in Indiana, Tommy received the Sagamore of the Wabash award, which at the time, was the highest accolade the state of Indiana gave to citizens, from the then Governor of Indiana, Evan Bayh. He is an honorary Kentucky Colonel, and was recently inducted into his high school's sports Hall of Fame as a member of the 1962 football team.

Tommy was the secretary of the Deercreek Home Owners Board for 5 ½ of the 6 years he served. He was the liaison to the Access Control Committee for that whole period and continues to be the Access Control Committee Chairman. One of the things that committee does is work closely with the guards to make sure we are safe here in Deercreek.

Captain Hubert Jean-Pierre had this to say about Tommy.

"Mr. Tommy Walter, with his intense dedication to the Access Control Committee, his personal sacrifices, and his uncompromising professional standards has served DCC/HOA well. His sustained superior performance combined with his extensive education and human resources background has added a perfect balance to DCC/ACC.
Mr. Walter's superlative performance, dedication, and broad professional expertise mark him as one of the very best Access Control Committee board members. He is a personable and impressive individual who possesses creativity, initiative and solid leadership abilities. A great team player! His tactful, engaging, and dynamic manner has enabled the accomplishment of difficult and challenging tasks, while making them look routine. He provides a positive inspiration to everyone."

The members of the Deercreek Home and Garden Club are very proud and honored to announce that Tommy Walter is this year's Golden Acorn Award recipient.

Rita Allen Wins Acorn Award Winner 2009

Every year the Home and Garden Club presents the Golden Acorn award to honor a Deercreek resident for her or his contributions within our community as well as throughout the city. We have reached a milestone this year. It is the 10th anniversary of the Golden Acorn award, and befitting this special year, we have a truly special honoree—Rita Allen.

Rita grew up in Rochester, New York, where she attended Narzareth College. She graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, and was immediately swept off her feet and away to the Philippines as a newlywed. She and Mark spent the next eight years abroad, living in Cebu City and Davao City, and experiencing all the benefits of a foreign culture and international travel, at a time when relatively few Americans were leaving the shores of the USA. In 1963 they returned to the United States and for the next fifteen years lived in Rochester (where Rita was a docent at the museum), as well as Medfield and Mendon, New York.

In 1978 Rita and Mark moved to Jacksonville and opened the office of Sales Consultants (an Executive Recruiters firm). Working together, they grew the company and eventually added an office in Orlando. In 1995 it was time to retire and enjoy life so they sold their successful business. Rita had always been active in her community, but now there was more time to become involved.

In those early years, Rita began volunteering as the Elderhostel coordinator at Marywood in Switzerland (just south of Jacksonville) where she functioned as the contact person, seeing to the needs and schedules of touring groups.
At about this time Rita and Mark began looking for a new place to live. Rita was not looking forward to a change, and she gives Mark full credit for the move to Deercreek. They moved into their home on Heather Lake in July 1997, and invited by Mary Louise Selzer, Rita joined the Home and Garden Club and was immediately an active member. Over the years her positions have included Secretary, Vice President of Programs, Communications Chair, and two years as President. During her tenure as President, the membership of the club grew to nearly 100.

Here in Deercreek, in addition to her garden club involvement, Rita is a member of the Women’s Alliance and the Deercreek Literary Circle, where her insights always add to the discussion.

But a big part of Rita’s activism takes place outside of Deercreek. From 2001 to 2003, as a Library Guild Board Member and President, Rita was involved in Much Ado About Books, the Jacksonville Public Library’s annual literary and fundraising event. This event hasn’t been the same since she left. In addition, Rita has been a Board Member of the Catholic Foundation, established to provide a permanent endowment to meet diocese needs.
One of Rita’s most recent involvements has been with OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute which opened its doors at the University of North Florida with classes for seniors. Rita has served as both Membership Committee Chair and as an OLLI Board Member.

In addition, Rita avidly supports the Cummer Museum and all its activities. She is an enthusiastic patron of the Jacksonville Symphony. With Mark, she has worked to heighten awareness of our dwindling natural habitats through work with the North Florida Land Trust.

Dottie Patterson
Golden Acorn Award Winner 2008

Each August the Deercreek Home and Garden Club opens its year by honoring a resident whom members want to recognize for his or her dedication to our community. This year we honor Dottie Patterson. Dottie and Dick Patterson have been Heather Lake residents since 1993. Dottie’s outstanding involvement in Deercreek and the wider Jacksonville community was recognized in an interview with the Deercreek Community News for a front-page article in July 2004. In honor of her receiving the Golden Acorn Award, that 2004 article is reprinted on the Home and Garden Club page of our website at Now we have the opportunity to fill in some of the details.

Originally growing up on an Illinois farm, Dottie and her family moved to Chicago in 1939, where she met Dick in 1949. They married in 1950, and at that time, Dick, originally from Texas and looking for a warmer climate, asked Dottie, “How long do I have to stay in Chicago?” “Fifteen years,” was Dottie’s reply. Sixteen years later, in 1966, Dottie and Dick and their three children, Gary, Gail and Guy, moved to Jacksonville. They feel very fortunate that all three of their children and seven grandchildren live in Florida.

The Home and Garden Club has benefited from Dottie’s involvement from the beginning. She served as its president, vice-president, and luminaries program chairman, and she regularly decorates the guardhouse for holidays. In 1999 she found the deer statue that is on Deercreek Club Road near the Edgewater entrance. She has been a model for many fashion shows, and she annually swears in all new board members with her personally written oath. And that only covers her Home and Garden Club activities. Dottie has also served on the board of the Women’s Alliance and has worked at the Treasure Chest, the hospice thrift shop that the Alliance supports.

Dottie’s involvement extends beyond the Deercreek gate. She is a member of the Jacksonville Symphony Guild and volunteers as a docent at the annual Showcase Home that raises funds for the symphony. She regularly attends the Coffee Series at the symphony. Though her mother, a resident at the assisted living facility Taylor Home, passed away two years ago, Dottie continues to volunteer at Taylor Home by conducting bunko games for residents each month. Her familiar face must brighten lives there.

Dottie’s influence reaches even beyond the Jacksonville area. She is president of the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA—affectionately known as “A Broad With Ambition”). She has been a member for thirty-five years and is in her twenty-sixth year of hosting ABWA’s annual conference for the Florida and Georgia region. This year’s topic will be “Engage, Entice and Experience.” For 43 years, Dottie has also been a member of Beta Sigma Phi, a sorority that, along with the ABWA, raises money for scholarships.

Always ready with a smile, a joke (some of which are not printable here) and a wonderful outlook, Dottie exemplifies what it means to live life to the fullest while making the world a better place.

Congratulations, Dottie, on a well-deserved award!