Melanie O’Brien Wellington National Golf Club

Melanie O’Brien Wellington National Golf Club

What is your position, and what does that job entail?

I serve as the director of catering at Wellington National Golf Club. My primary responsibility is to help promote the club’s unique facilities for social and corporate events, and I also spend a good deal of time in meetings and corresponding with clients. Guests interested in touring the venue will arrange their tours through me, so that I can outline how our facility may best fit into their plans. I really enjoy helping our clients achieve their vision for the event, and that includes creating unique menus, proposals and assisting with making arrangements on the client’s behalf, such as hiring entertainment, rentals, etc. I am also directly responsible for making sure that all last-minute details, including the coordination of timelines, floor plans and staffing, are complete in order to execute the event exactly the same way that the client has envisioned it.


What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

I love the creative aspect of what I do. Every event is different, and I really enjoy the fast-paced and ever-evolving environment. I thrive on collaborating with others, as well as researching themes and menus, all to achieve the client’s vision.


What makes your venue unique as a wedding location?

Wellington National Golf Club has so many great characteristics for all types of events, including weddings, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners and more, and we are a large venue that can accommodate up to 400 guests. The ballroom has beautiful ceiling draping, as well as plank-style flooring, in addition to picturesque natural light, as it opens up onto a beautiful piazza, which is tropically landscaped and perfect for an outdoor ceremony. My favorite room is the Wine Bar, which is handcrafted with wine barrels, and chandeliers made from wine bottles, but the focal point is really the ceiling, because it is crafted from unique wine boxes that have been hand cut and stained to reflect old-world style. It’s the perfect spot for rehearsal dinners or your cocktail hour before your reception. It’s definitely a must-see!


How do you work with couples to customize their celebrations?

I think that it is important to be flexible with the couples who choose to work with us. We want their special day to be exactly that — special! We are happy to customize menus and cocktails for them, and we encourage them to outline their vision of the perfect day, and then it’s our job to make that vision come to fruition.


What are some current wedding trends that you have noticed?

I think the best part of weddings today is that couples are encouraged to make it their own and put their twist, taste and style on the festivities. Today the trend is an anti-trend.


Why should couples choose your venue for their wedding?

Couples should choose Wellington National because not only is our venue beautiful, unique and centrally located, but we are here to make things as easy and stress-free as possible for them. We pride ourselves on being flexible with almost every detail to ensure that each couple gets the day that they have been waiting their whole lives for!


The Wellington National Golf Club is located at 400 Binks Forest Drive in Wellington. For more information, call (561) 333-5731 or visit


Debbie Liquori Wellington Community Center

Debbie Liquori Wellington Community Center

What is your position, and what does that job entail?

As administrative coordinator, I do the facility rentals, meaning weddings, business meetings, parties, quinceañeras, bar and bat mitzvahs, small meetings, large meetings, church services and more. I meet with the customer, and I show them the facility. We have a beautiful back patio that overlooks the lake. Some choose to have their wedding ceremonies here at the facility, so we do have the outdoor patio where they can have it overlooking the lake. I help them coordinate their wedding and work with them on the contract. We offer table linens for them, and we have our preferred vendor list where we can help them with catering. We have a catering kitchen with commercial ovens and commercial refrigeration. They can use our preferred vendors, or they can use their own. We have an upstairs grand ballroom that holds larger parties up to 250 people, and a downstairs area that holds approximately 150.


What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

The actual night of the event, when I do work some of the events, I get to see, from start to finish, the wedding ceremony, to the cocktail hour, to the reception. Sometimes they have it out on the patio, sometimes they have it upstairs in the lobby area, and we can dress it up. We set up the tables for them, we work with them on setup and what the best flow is for them. The most enjoyable part of it is the event itself, seeing it all come together.


What makes your venue unique as a wedding location?

The Wellington Community Center overlooks Lake Wellington. We have a beautiful fountain that is lit up in the back of the facility. Whether they use the patio for their wedding ceremony, or they’re just having access to it, there’s a window upstairs that is overlooking the lake, and it’s just a beautiful view.


How do you work with couples to

customize their celebrations?

They’ll come in and I help them through as much as I can with the facility, finding the best fit for them. If their numbers are close, and they want to have it downstairs, we’ll suggest they move it upstairs, because their numbers could grow. Then they can be overlooking the lake rather than being at lake level. We do help them with preferred vendors. We work with the vendors to do taste-testing here, if needed. We also go over table linens. Right now, we are introducing more colors to the facility. Anything that they need, if they need a band, if they need a DJ, if they need up-lighting, if they need a florist, if they need a photographer — we have vendors on our list, and we have contacts so we can give suggestions.


What are some current wedding

trends that you have noticed?

Simplicity. People are planning simpler weddings. There are definitely elaborate weddings, but there’s definitely the simplicity of some. This is a very affordable facility that I think fits the needs of many people. It’s not only a beautiful facility, but it’s affordable for couples who are paying for it on their own. They don’t have a big budget, but they want a really nice, special place to hold it, and the Wellington Community Center is definitely the place.


Why should couples choose your

venue for their wedding?

It’s affordable, it’s beautiful, it’s new and it has a beautiful view. The ambiance is really, really amazing. They can customize the way they want it set up. It’s not a standard facility. Couples have access to round tables or long tables. It’s a customized way of doing things. Budget wise, a lot of people have used the Wellington Community Center because the facility is very affordable, where people can come in and customize their wedding.


The Wellington Community Center is located at 12150 W. Forest Hill Blvd. in Wellington. For more information, call (561) 753-2484 or visit



Maureen Pata Suri West

Maureen Pata Suri West

What is your position, and what does that job entail?

I am the banquet manager and owner. As far as for weddings, that entails making sure the event goes as planned. I oversee all of them. I not only book the weddings, I also work them — making sure that everything the couple wanted and requested happens. I’m not a coordinator, I am the manager.


What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

I love my job. I love to see wedding plans come to life. I love to see the start of the couple’s journey. I feel like I’m a part of their beginning.


What makes your venue unique as a wedding location?

The setting. I think our location is beautiful, from the property to our brand-new wedding gazebo that we built. We used to have a small trellis, and it wasn’t sufficient. We wanted to give our guests who are getting married something beautiful. The gazebo is a replica of the gazebo that I got married in at Disney, 23 years ago. It is really, really special for me, especially that our gazebo is exactly like the one I got married in. We are right beside the polo fields, and we have beautiful bougainvilleas surrounding the property. I’ve actually had couples tell me it looks a little like Italy. The property itself is surrounded by flowers. Our patio, where cocktail hours often take place, was voted the best patio space in Wellington. Because we have separate locations to utilize, for instance, the patio bar, the upstairs ballroom, the brides come down the stairs from the bridal suite — there are so many different elements to it that make it different than typical banquet facilities. Our guests have the option of getting married on site at the gazebo and then heading upstairs to the ballroom. I think that convenience sets us apart. While they’re in the bridal suite getting ready, they can see their guests arriving through the windows.


How do you work with couples to

customize their celebrations?

I sit down and find out what their goals are, what they envision their wedding to be, and I try to make that a reality for them. We talk about budget, alternatives and things we can do together to make sure that their perfect dream wedding comes to life. I help them achieve that.


What are some current wedding

trends that you have noticed?

I’m seeing many more grooms more involved in the planning process. I find that refreshing, to actually have grooms who want to be involved, who want to have their take on it, to have their own ideas in the mix. I love that. I think it should be exactly what the groom and the bride both dream of. Also, as far as the reception, I’ve been seeing many weddings getting away from the traditional seating charts with a lot of open seating weddings taking place recently.


Why should couples choose your

venue for their wedding?

A: The location.

B: Our food.

Yes, we offer traditional banquet food, but we also offer our tapas. We try to incorporate that into the banquets. That sets us apart and gives you something a little bit out of the ordinary. Our food is fabulous. And last, because I oversee the events, I make sure that everything goes according to plan. That’s my job. I think location, food, ambiance and me, are the reasons couples should choose Suri West for their wedding.


Suri West is located at 13410 South Shore Blvd. in Wellington. For more information, call (561) 795-0080 or visit


Cheryl Gaydas-Eng International Polo Club Palm Beach

Cheryl Gaydas-Eng International Polo Club Palm Beach

What is your title, and what does that position entail?

I am the creative director. On an event level, that means that I am responsible for the design, look and feel of the event, including the florals. I try to customize the look of each event to reflect the customers’ vision and dreams, and bring that to life while keeping a cohesiveness throughout. On a broader level, I am involved with the redecorating and redesign of many of our public spaces at our venues, including our receptions hall and ballroom, including the one featured here. We gave it a bit of a face lift last year with new classic wall paneling, cream-colored grass cloth walls and 10 new beautiful three-tier transitional chandeliers, which can be dressed up or down according to the event.


Speaking of the International Polo Club Pavilion,

how would you describe this venue?

This is a relatively new venue for us since its purchase over a year ago. We are all very excited about this unique venue, because there are so many possibilities from ceremony to reception with the vast, beautiful polo fields and adjacent pond. What separates IPC, in my opinion, from other venues is that it is so iconically linked to polo and the “equestrian lifestyle.” Even if you are not a horse person, the beautiful grounds and authenticity encapsulate you. I believe it adds another dimension to your event as a result. One might say it is #veryT&C (Town & Country).


What are your favorite trends?

Yves Saint Laurent said, “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” I am very much of this school. However, in saying that, I like to keep events fresh, current and chic. I try to encourage wedding clients to incorporate maybe only one or two of the current trends, while keeping the other elements timeless. Other events, such as corporate, birthdays, bar/bat mitzvahs, etc., have the opportunity to be a little more trendy, in my opinion.


What are the up-and-coming color trends?

Metallics are a big trend this coming year. They are the new neutrals, and we know how much everyone loves neutrals! However, in addition, we are seeing much bolder color statements and complementary colors as well. We started seeing part of this trend in home furnishings over the last year, with the RH dark jewel toned velvet sofas, charcoal-colored wall paint and a pop of gold. This is now trickling down into the event market as well.


How do your corporate events compare to weddings?

As I touched on earlier, I think there can sometimes be a bit more freedom with corporate events. Some corporate events we do are themed, and those are always very fun to do, while others can be very strict, only using corporate colors so the look is consistent from year to year. On many levels, however, they are much the same. Each company, like each bride and groom, are unique, and we are here to make their event specially designed to fit their wishes. Whether their style is contemporary or traditional, we seem to do a mix of all, and I love all of the variety. It is important to me that each event has a uniqueness of its own.


The International Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington. For more info., call (561) 204-5687 or visit   



PATRICIA MIELE International Polo Club Palm Beach

PATRICIA MIELE International Polo Club Palm Beach

What is your title?

I am the director of catering for the International Polo Club Palm Beach. The facility aims to make any event extraordinary, for any occasion, size or theme. A full bridal package is offered, and our expert staff ensures a successful and stress-free event.


What is your most favorite part of working

at the International Polo Club?

I love working at IPC and putting together so many different events, including weddings, and creating new ways to make them exciting, fun and memorable! I enjoy working with all of our offerings, including an extensive menu that includes exceptional desserts, a customized bar service, as well as stunning florals to create an enchanting ambiance. Our talented teams of artists design original events within a budget and timeline that work for our clients.


Why is the International Polo Club unique?

The club offers a very unique setting between polo matches being played in the background, to the beautiful lush landscaped grounds, or brides being brought to the venue in horse and carriage. IPC is a truly picturesque wedding venue.


What are the most popular menu hits?

Chef William Sellner Jr. is extremely creative and very talented. He creates food that is both flavorful and visually beautiful. Our most popular menu item is our Duo of Stuffed Chicken Breast and Walnut Crusted Halibut. Chef William’s Antipasto Display is a hit as well. On this display, we offer the traditional Italian meats and imported cheeses, but he also mixes in fresh grilled vegetables, which adds a lot of flavor and colors to the plate.


What are some of the current food trends?

A top food trend is really just keeping it clean and healthy. We offer custom menus for all palates. Some trends are Casual Meals, Farm to Table, Nostalgia Foods and Dessert Tables. A fancy plated meal is typical for a wedding reception, but 2018 is all about creating a more laid-back atmosphere. After all, shouldn’t the “best day of your life” be all about having the time of your life? Relax the rules with passed plates, small bites or even serving up a meal family-style. Local, organic products are the buzz as well, so we plan to see more of that farm-to-table philosophy extend to wedding menus, and we are ready and excited for this trend!


How do you customize events to differ

from weddings versus corporate events?

Clients trust us for our meticulous planning, management and execution of successful special events. Events, regardless of the size, require experienced hands for both the creative and practical details. Creating a seamless and memorable event that aligns with your goals and reflects your organization’s personality is what we do.


The International Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington. For more info., call (561) 204-5687 or visit   



3 YEARS Cancer-Free: Three Ways Your Life Changes

3  YEARS Cancer-Free: Three Ways Your Life Changes

For breast cancer survivor Jennifer Martinez, the more life changes, the more it remains the same.

Three years ago, Martinez finished her chemotherapy treatments, which followed surgery, to rid her body of breast cancer. What has remained the same since her recovery is that she still leads a successful Wellington public relations firm; she is still wife to Gil Martinez, who works with State Farm; and she is still mother to their two daughters.

She still exercises, travels with her family, laughs with her mother, Bobbi, and remembers her father, Mitch, who died of cancer due to a late diagnosis. Life is still good.

But how life has changed since being told she was “cancer free” is another matter — one that many cancer survivors live with every day. Consider it a “new normal.” Not better, not worse — just new — in three meaningful ways.

Becoming Part of Hope.

“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 32, I decided to have surgery immediately, which was over the holidays, so no one would be suspicious if I was not around as much. I didn’t want to worry my clients or my friends about my health or my ability to accomplish my work,” Martinez recalled. “Plus, I didn’t want anyone’s pity. But once I had entered chemotherapy, I had an opportunity to work with breast cancer awareness organizations that were raising money to educate and support others. It was time to share my story, and in doing so, I became a somewhat reluctant symbol for hope. I’ve gotten more comfortable with that role, as I see how important it is to share my experience, particularly with other young patients and survivors.”

Martinez’s firm, JLM Communications, now works with Susan G. Komen South Florida, promoting its annual Race for the Cure and programs to support women and men affected by breast cancer. A Warrior in Pink, she understands the mission, the impact and the significance of the nonprofit organization.

“Komen has touched just about every advance in the fight against all cancers,” Martinez said. “When I had the chance to play a role in this, I had to do it. To know that what we are doing is saving lives is not something I take lightly.”

Maintaining Constant Vigilance.

Being “cancer free” doesn’t mean being without worry. For Martinez, every ache, pain or errant symptom takes her right back to her cancer diagnosis and the possibility of its return. For her, there is no such thing as a minor ailment. “You’re constantly aware of your health, and you learn to manage the fear that the cancer could and might come back,” she said.

Recognizing Her Family Has Changed, Too.

For her husband Gil, mother Bobbi and her daughters, life after cancer is different, as well. A close family, they do not miss opportunities to travel. Vacations are required, and relaxation is essential.

“We don’t dwell on the fact that Jen had cancer or that we lost her dad to cancer,” Gil said. “But we don’t take for granted that she’s healthy and she’s with us. Cancer made us grow up fast and, fortunately, it brought us even closer. Nothing has changed, and honestly, that’s what makes it all so special. We are normal, even after cancer.”

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and is the perfect time to schedule your mammogram and remind your loved ones to do the same. Early detection is the key to survival.


To support breast health education, treatment and research during October, or to participate in the upcoming Race for the Cure, set for Jan. 27, 2018, visit Komen South Florida at


Johnson’s Custom Cakes Works With Couples To Create Amazing Wedding Cakes

Johnson’s Custom Cakes Works With Couples To Create Amazing Wedding Cakes

The culinary finale of a great wedding is an amazing wedding cake, and Johnson’s Custom Cakes in Wellington has been creating delectable masterpieces for the past nine years.

Owner Jennifer Johnson has spent most of the last decade making a name for herself not only in South Florida, but nationwide through appearances on the Food Network and at cake competition events. She might have flair as a competitive cake artist, but her business is her livelihood, and that is focused on building relationships with her clients.

Johnson calls soon-to-be-married couples her “cake babies,” because that’s usually where her business begins when serving a new client.

“The brides and grooms, they come to me for their wedding cake, and we call them Johnson’s cake babies,” she explained. “Often, the bride and groom come back for their bridal shower, and then we get to do their baby showers and their christenings and their baby’s first birthdays.”

When a couple visits Johnson for her cake artistry, she stresses the need to book her services with ample time before the wedding date.

“It’s really beneficial to book your wedding cake at least three to six months in advance,” Johnson said. “Some of the brides are coming in two weeks or one week before their wedding, and unfortunately, sometimes we cannot do it because we are a custom shop, so quality comes before quantity.”

An important part of the process is identifying the spirit of the wedding for each client.

“We draw the sketch in front of them, and then they make the changes,” Johnson said. “Their input on their wedding cake is really, really important. We want to make sure that it’s all about them. When it comes to design, taste, everything, we really listen to them. It comes from our soul, but it also comes from their minds.”

Johnson credits her staff for being equally as important to the process of giving a client their special dessert, for weddings and all other events.

“They’re all artists,” Johnson said of her staff. “We’re able to feel the bride out on the colors. All the other aspects of the wedding are important for the cake as well, like the floral, the color palette, the décor, what the bride is wearing, her dress pattern, if her dress is ivory or white. All those things affect the cake in some way, because we want to make sure the cake matches the décor.”

After Johnson and her team have seen all the wedding colors, they will often ask to see samples of the décor items. Then Johnson and her team show the client their own ideas, and it all comes together for a personal, custom cake.

“It’s teamwork with that aspect of it, because we want to create what the vision is,” Johnson said. “If they don’t have a vision, we try to give them some pointers or try to create it with them.”

Some of the most creative cake ideas may come from competition shows on television, but Johnson also gets interesting requests for personal wedding cakes.

“We’ve done crazy things,” Johnson said. “One bride and groom, they wanted what they eat for breakfast on their wedding cake, which was like a spiced cake with peanut butter and pecans and fresh fruit. They wanted something that is memorable to them.”

At Johnson’s Custom Cakes, Johnson and her staff have the skill to add many different features to a cake that you may not see every day.

“We’re artists, so we actually do a lot of modeling and super sculpting, so we can actually form the bride and groom on top of the cake,” she said. “If they’re a firefighter or a nurse or a doctor, we can customize their cake to what they do. We’ve put their pets on the cake.”

Johnson cherishes the long-term relationships she maintains with her clients once the first cake has been served.

“The most important thing is I get to watch their families grow, and that’s humbling to me how their babies are six, seven, eight years old, and they come in and they sketch their own birthday cakes,” Johnson said. “The children come in, and they look forward to seeing me every year.”

Johnson’s passion for her work is as strong as her passion as a cake artist, and she welcomes the challenges that she faces as a business owner.

“I’ve learned that business is about growth, and you learn from your mistakes,” Johnson said. “You always try to do something different. We are not just a bakery that does one thing. We push ourselves to try to explore all different mediums. We want to give you what you want. So, if it takes us until 5 o’clock in the morning to get something right, we’re going to make sure we do it.”

Johnson’s Custom Cakes is located in the Kobosko’s Crossing shopping plaza at 9148 Forest Hill Blvd. in Wellington. For more information, call (561) 422-0303 or visit


Rigoberto Garcia-Beliz Enjoys Bringing Together Different Cultures And Styles

Rigoberto Garcia-Beliz Enjoys Bringing  Together Different Cultures And Styles

When designer Rigoberto Garcia-Beliz walks into a room, he sees possibility. He sees the potential that a room has. He sees what can be, what isn’t quite right, and how to take someone on the journey from an ordinary room to a room that is amazing, colorful, elegant and fit for a magazine.

Garcia-Beliz moved from Cuba to the United States when he was 22 years old, and has been living here, designing, honing his craft, for the past 37 years. “I went to school for interior design,” he explained.

He studied at several different schools, including Florida International University. He has worked in Viva Furniture in Panama, El Dorado Furniture, and now, Rooms To Go, where he designs show rooms in different styles.

When he isn’t working with major retail stores, Garcia-Beliz designs private homes, including those in Wellington.

Creating amazing rooms is something that Garcia-Beliz has been doing for more than 20 years, and his passion for design, for melding together difficult cultures, countries and styles, is apparent.

Whether it is modern or traditional, the bottom line is that he wants to make a home look beautiful. “For me, it’s the creativity, and to make a house look really beautiful,” Garcia-Beliz said. “Sometimes you walk through houses and you don’t see that everything is proper. They buy something from here, from there and from there. They pick those things, and it doesn’t work. You see the mistakes, and I like to help.”

Garcia-Beliz takes great pride in helping others. He can see when they are overwhelmed, such as when they are shopping for that missing piece to complete their home. He is often able to listen, and then direct them toward a solution.

He will tell them, “Why don’t you buy this,” which opens their eyes to the possibilities. When they see everything put together, they are often amazed by the results.

It’s a special ability that Garcia-Beliz has, and one that he shares willingly. As an interior decorator, he is able to work with any and all styles. Personally, he favors a more traditional style. While Victorian styles are not his cup of tea, he prefers Asian, French, English, Italian and Spanish styles.

“I love to mix,” he said. “I like to mix from different styles to make the room richer.”

Garcia-Beliz has albums with decades’ worth of designs archived, including images of his personal home, where he showcases a variety of cultures, designs, ideas, styles and more. Everywhere you turn, there is something different to look at, with each piece telling a story, whether it is a patterned pillow, framed artwork, a decorative mirror, elegant furniture, decorative lighting, figurines or coffee table books — there is always something of interest.

By layering different styles, a piece from here, a piece from there, Garcia-Beliz is able to create visual interest, true conversation pieces and something that matches the needs of the home and its owners.

In addition to decorating homes, Garcia-Beliz has also decorated venues for special events and parties, weaving together different pieces and decorations to create the perfect environment for a celebration.

Garcia-Beliz offers assistance, but prefers to maintain a pressure-free situation. He likes to share his vision, after learning about the vision clients have, and work with them.

Spending some time shopping with clients is the norm, where Garcia-Beliz is able to learn what they like, what works for them, what fits their lifestyle, and what will best fit the space that he is designing. It is this unique personal service that Garcia-Beliz offers to his clients.

To contact Rigoberto Garcia-Beliz, call (786) 458-0738 or e-mail decorbella31@hot


Bill & Jody Jorgensen Of The Jorgensen Team Keep The Focus On Their Clients

Bill & Jody Jorgensen Of The Jorgensen Team Keep The Focus On Their Clients

Bill and Jody Jorgensen of the Jorgensen Team at Keller Williams Wellington could be referred to as a duo or perhaps a partnership, but when you cover all the bases and supply satisfaction to your customers every step of the way, “team” nicely sums up the operation.

The Jorgensens went to school in South Florida and were childhood sweethearts. A job promotion brought them to Wellington in the early 1980s.

“We have brought together decades of talent and expertise to form a highly successful partnership,” Jody said. “With more than 25 years in the western communities, we understand the unique personalities of the various neighborhoods and have seen Wellington evolve into the vibrant village it is today.”

It doesn’t take much prodding to get one member of the team to sing the praises of the other.

“Jody is a successful second-generation Realtor with decades of exposure to the South Florida real estate market,” Bill said. “She is also a popular real estate home design stager. The staging service is complimentary and will help to showcase your home and maximize its value to prospective buyers. Her successes include a strong residential and property management background, including Fortune 500 global re-locations.”

Jody is equal in praise for her husband.

“Bill is brilliant, and he brings a wealth of knowledge of real estate acquisitions to his new position at Keller Williams,” Jody said. “He is E-Pro certified and receives high praise for his aggressive, state-of-the-art marketing campaigns, including powerful social media advertising strategies and his ability to get the deal done. He is our go-to Realtor for luxury home communities, international clients and clients with a keen interest in golf club and ‘fly in, fly out’ neighborhoods like Wellington’s beautiful Aero Club. He easily bridges the gap between first-time home buyers and CEOs looking for a new home.”

Like any successful team, the talents of the individuals involved come together to create an entity that is truly more than the sum of its parts.

“You get the best of both worlds with the Jorgensen Team,” Bill said. “You get the personalized service and communication of working with a single agent, and you also get the diversity and strength of experience of working with our team. The Jorgensen Team offers a collaborative approach to the evaluation process for both buyers and sellers, as well as the ability to leverage the expertise of more than one real estate professional.”

As experienced as they are, the Jorgensens realize that a deal is only truly successful if it works on an emotional level. “Our relationships matter, and we believe that a good reputation is a person’s greatest asset,” Jody said. “We know that finding a home for your family is about more than an address. It’s deeply personal and perhaps the largest investment you will ever make in your lifetime. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer looking for a seasonal home, in the market for a luxury estate or selling to move up or downsize, our team can make it happen.”

The Jorgensen Team puts their clients first.

“Your home is our priority, and we are honored and committed to providing both buyers and sellers the very best client experience,” Bill said. “Our goal is to far exceed our clients’ expectations. We are their trusted partner on this journey and beyond.”

For more info., call Bill Jorgensen at (561) 801-3212 or Jody Jorgensen at (561) 281-7908, or visit them online at


Zachary Thompson Brings Home The Gold From Taekwondo Nationals

Zachary Thompson Brings Home  The Gold From Taekwondo Nationals

Zachary Thompson’s commitment to taekwondo has paid off in a big way. Thompson won the gold medal at the 2017 AAU National Taekwondo Championships in early July in Fort Lauderdale, highlighting a year of huge successes after voluntarily sitting out a year.

The Wellington High School freshman, who is a second-degree black belt, dominated at the AAU single-elimination Olympic sparring tournament, where matches consisted of three 90-second rounds. None of Thompson’s opponents made it to the third round.

“It was very exciting,” Thompson said. “I was actually amazed I won this.”

Taekwondo sparring consists of kicks and punches. A kick to the body is worth two points, and a kick to the head is three points. A punch to the chest area is worth one point. The competitor with the most points wins. Punches to the head are not allowed, nor is grappling, like mixed martial arts or wrestling. A competitor can win the match before the end of the third round if they “point gap” their opponent, by having a lead of at least 20 points.  

Thompson point-gapped each of his opponents in the 12 to 14 age division (134.6 to 143.3 pounds). However, he had to overcome several obstacles just to continue at a high level.

When Thompson was 12 years old, his team decided it was best for him to sit out a year of competitions, but still continue practicing. He was often randomly paired against bigger, stronger and more experienced opponents. That’s a good way to learn, but also could lead to someone becoming discouraged after constantly losing.

“I hadn’t had my growth spurt yet,” explained Thompson, who has since developed into a lean and muscular 5-foot-11 and 140 pounds. “Fighting as a 12-year-old in the 12 to 14 division, I had to fight 13-year-olds and 14-year-olds, and I wasn’t ready to fight them.”

Thompson, who graduated from Emerald Cove Middle School, said that sitting out for a year was tough on him mentally. He would train and train, and then go and cheer for his teammates at tournaments. If patience is a virtue, then Thompson is extremely virtuous.

“At first, it kind of stung a little bit, but I knew why,” said Thompson, who is now 14. “I didn’t want to quit because I knew I was going to [be able to] do it next year.”

But sitting out taught Thompson several key life lessons, and he always kept a positive attitude, a trait he got from his parents.

“I learned to be patient and things will go your way,” Thompson said. “If you keep practicing and practicing, you will get better.”

Thompson’s start in the sport was fairly typical. He and his younger brother, Logan, signed up for a fitness academy that included tennis, soccer and taekwondo while living in the Fort Myers area. “I was good at tennis, not soccer,” said Thompson, who was in the third grade at the time.

But he really took to taekwondo. The roundhouse kick was his favorite when he first started. Now the axe kick is his preferred kick.

“I liked more of the kicking and the punching, and I could learn it for self-defense if I needed it,” Thompson recalled. “I was kind of on the chunkier side and got picked on.”

The taekwondo master invited the brothers to a Saturday practice, and then asked them to sign up for summer classes. They never looked back.

For the last two years, since the family moved to Wellington, Thompson has been training six days a week with Master Jung Han at U.S. Pro Tae Kwon Do in Jupiter. Training runs about two hours on Monday through Thursday, and at least two hours on the weekend. He starts out stretching, and then moves to working on the bags, followed by speed drills and sparring, and finishes with strength training. Friday is a day off.

Thompson trains with his teammates; his brother Logan, Kristina Teachout and Madison Yan. They are a close-knit group that often trains and travels together.

“He’s very dedicated,” Master Han said. “It’s not easy. I see his improvement, and he’s getting more confident.”

He had success immediately upon his return to tournament competition, earning the silver medal in the Taekwondo U.S. Open in Las Vegas in January, foreshadowing his summer accomplishments. Over the summer, he earned a gold medal in the ATU National Taekwondo Championships and a silver medal in USAT World Class Cadet National Taekwondo Championships.

Thompson wants to continue competing in major events throughout high school while working toward his ultimate goal — a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

Han said Thompson’s style is consistent with all good fighters.

“He’s fearless,” Han said. “He doesn’t back up. He’s very aggressive. The best fighters are always the offensive, not defensive, fighters.”

His height, reach and flexibility are tremendous assets. “He’s freakishly flexible,” said his mother, Michelle.

However, education comes first. Thompson was accepted into the highly regarded veterinarian program at Wellington High School, because it allows him to take medical classes so he can go on to become either a doctor or a veterinarian. Thompson chose the medical route because Grey’s Anatomy is his favorite TV show. He also works at Publix near his home every Saturday afternoon.

Whether it’s in the classroom or the ring, Thompson is primed for success.


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