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Palm Beach County Bar Association holds parking lot installation

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Palm Beach Co Bar Parking Lot Installation

The Palm Beach County Bar Association Board of Directors were recently sworn into office by Judge Caroline Shepherd during an unprecedented, socially distant ceremony in the parking lot of the Palm Beach County Bar Association. In the front from the left are Jessica Callow, Julia Wyda, Judge Shepherd, Dean Xenick, and Scott Perry. In the back from the left are Misty Chaves, Lindsey Demmery, Robbie Wight, Andrea Lewis, Nichole Segal, Grasford Smith, Jack Rice, Jean Marie Middleton, Carla Tharp Brown, and Scott Smith.

It’s a sign of the times in the midst of a pandemic, traditions taking a back seat to safety. For the first time in the 98-year history of the Palm Beach County Bar Association, the installation of its board of directors did not take place at its traditional banquet. Instead, the board was installed in a unique and nontraditional ceremony that also benefitted the Palm Beach County Food Bank.

Palm Beach County Bar Food Pick Up

In lieu of the Palm Beach County Bar Association’s annual Installation Banquet, the board of directors decided to cancel its 98-year tradition and instead host a food drive to help local families most affected by this pandemic. With the support of its members, the association collected more than 2,000 pounds of food and raised $6,641.00 in cash and grocery store gift cards all to benefit the Palm Beach County Food Bank.

On June 24, 13 attorneys lined up in the parking lot of the Palm Beach County Bar and took their oath of office, which was administered by Judge Caroline Shepherd. Soon after the ceremony, the attorneys delivered donated food, cash, gift cards, and inspirational messages to the Palm Beach County Food Bank, donations which were collected from lawyers and firms across Palm Beach County.

“Due to the worldwide pandemic, we were forced to cancel our annual Installation Banquet, which was to be held this month at the Breakers Hotel,” said Dean Xenick, incoming president, adding the event traditionally draws a crowd of nearly 500, which is not exactly the model for social distancing. “So we needed to come up with a way to install our board while keeping them safe. We still wanted to keep the feel of an in-person swearing in, as has traditionally been done for almost 100 years, as opposed to an online ceremony. So, the decision was made to do a parking lot installation.”

Since one of the missions of the PBCBA is giving back to the community, Xenick said it made sense to turn othe event into a donation drive to help those who have been affected by the pandemic.

“During this unprecedented time of COVID-19, the number of hungry residents continues to grow at an alarming rate,” said Karen Erren, executive director for the Palm Beach County Food Bank. “We already had a significant unmet need and now more than ever, the Palm Beach County Food Bank needs donations. Through the generosity of these Palm Beach County attorneys, the food bank is able to reach more of our hungry neighbors in need. We are extremely grateful for their support.”

Xenick will lead the nearly 2,500 member organization as its 98th president. He is a trial attorney with Reid, Burman, Lebedeker, Xenick in West Palm Beach. Joining Xenick on the board for 2020-2021 include president-elect Julia Wyda; immediate past President Jessica Callow; and directors Lindsay Demmery; Andrea Lewis; Jean Marie Middleton; Scott Perry; Jack Rice; Nichole Segal; Grasford Smith; Scott Smith; Misty Chaves, president of the North County Section; and Robert Wight, president of the Young Lawyers Section.

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