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Heroes Among Us
Honoring the lawyers who make a difference every day.
Since 2005, the St. Petersburg Bar Foundation has recognized attorneys who give of their time and talents to our community and beyond.  The recipients of the Heroes Among Us Award are honored at a black-tie dinner which showcases their contributions.
Listed below are our present and past Heroes.  To read an entire profile, click on the link at the bottom of each excerpt. The 2015 Heroes Among Us will be held, January 24, 2015 at The Club at Treasure Island.  For information on sponsorship, tickets or ads for future events go to 'Download Forms' on the homepage at
2015  HEROES AMONG US  - Meet our 2015 Honorees: Robert Kapusta, Jr., Esq. and William D. Slicker, Esq. and our 2015 Rising Star, Kira B. Doyle, Esq. Click on the "Read more..." links below to learn more about them from articles published in the December 2014/January 2015 issue of the Paraclete.

Robert Kapusta, Jr.
At Fisher & Sauls, P.A., we have had the pleasure of working with Rob Kapusta, Jr. for more than 27 years. That in itself says much about the dedication and perseverance of this year's "Heroes Among Us" selection... Read More.

William D. Slicker
Will Slicker and I  were both born in St. Petersburg. We were kids in the same neighborhood. Our parents had gone to St. Pete High. Will's older brother was my first friend... His mom used to drive us to cub Scouts. Read More...

Rising Star, Kira B. Doyle
Kira has been named by the Foundation as its Rising Star for 2015 based on her extensive volunteer work and service to various charitable organizations in the Tampa Bar Area. Read More...


2014 Heroes Among Us ~ Meet our 2014 Honorees: 
The Honorable Robert H. Dillinger, Public Defender, Sixth Judicial Circuit and Seymour A. Gordon, Esq. and our 2014 Rising Star, Kristina E. Feher, Esq.
Click on the "Read more..." links below to learn more about them from articles published in the December 2013/January 2014 issue of the Paraclete.

The Honorable Robert H. Dillinger, Public Defender, Sixth Judicial Circuit
Bob Dillinger was born and raised in the Daytona Beach area, where he attended Mainland High School. He began achieving "firsts" at that early age... Read More.









Seymour A. Gordon
Seymour Gordon was self-deprecating when he learned the St. Petersburg Bar Foundation picked him as one of its "heroes," who will be honored at its 2014 Heroes Among Us annual dinner on Saturday, January 18, 2014... Read more. 






Rising Star, Kristina E. Feher
In conjunction with the upcoming Heroes Among Us banquet on January 18, 2014 at The Club at Treasure Island, I am delighted to profile my good friend and colleague of several years, Kristina Feher...

2012 Heroes Among Us - Meet our 2012 Honorees: R. Donald Mastry and Mark A. Winn and our 2012 Rising Star, Kimberly J. Gustafson. Click on the "Read more..." links below to learn more about them from articles published in the December 2011/January 2012 issue of the Paraclete.

R. Donald Mastry
When I heard that the St. Pete Bar Foundation had nominated R. Donald Mastry to be one of the 2012 Heroes Among Us honorees, I somehow knew that I would have the opportunity to write this article about him... Read more.









Mark A. Winn
Mark's life of volunteerism is best summed up by his sister-in-law, Irene: "For as long as I've known Mark, I've known him to give fully and freely of this time, knowledge, money, and energy, and to have fun doing it." Read more.










Rising Star, Kimberly J. Gustafson
Though Kim Gustafson was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, she moved to St. Petersburg at an early age. She attended locals (Tyrone Elementary and Middle School, and Dixie Hollins High School) and then moved to Gainesville, where she received her undergraduate degree in 1996, and her law degree in 1999, both with Honors. Read more. 


 2011 Heroes Among Us - Meet our 2011 Honorees: Retired Circuit Court Judge Thomas E. Penick, Jr. and David R. Punzak and our 2011 Rising Star, Michael J. Faehner. Click on the "Read more..." links below to learn more about them from articles that were published in the December 2010/January 2011 issue of the Paraclete.
Retired Circuit Court Judge
Thomas E. Penick, Jr. 

Judge Thomas E. Penick, Jr., Circuit Court Retired, has never thought of himself as an innovator, an initiator, a founder, an organizer, an advocate, a student, an educator, a scholar, a coach, a mentor, a leader or a hero. He would agree with Robert Penn Warren that the naming of heroes is a futile exercise. Following a review of Judge Penick's thirty-eight year pursuit of perfection through service to this country, the state, the community, and the practice of law, however, we find a person who is precisely all of those things. Read more...

David R. Punzak
Having been born and raised in St. Petersburg, David Punzak learned early on a strong sense of community, and the importance of volunteerism. While attending local schools (Pasadena Elementary, Azalea Junior High, and Boca Ciega High School), his mother, Sue Punzak, served as a role model for him. She always encouraged David to join up – for Little League (which he played for 10 years); to try out for school clubs and teams; to learn what was going on in St. Pete, and to get involved. Read more...






Rising Star
Michael J. Faehner

Most of us in the legal community know Michael Faehner as the "Master of Disaster” due to his work with the Florida Hurricanes in 2004 and as a charitable consultant during Hurricane Katrina Relief for several of the states that were impacted. We simply know him as "that great tax attorney" that we see in court assisting clients (and judges alike) with cases.  Read more...






2010 Heroes Among Us - Meet our 2010 Honorees: Anthony S. Battaglia and Lisa L. Brody and our 2010 Rising Stars, Cary W. Cash and Paul N. Gross. Click on the "Read more..." links below to learn more about them from articles that were published in the December 2009/January 2010 issue of the Paraclete.   
Anthony S. Battaglia
The Heroes Among Us Award is reserved for those special and extraordinary attorneys who devote their time and lend their talent to the community. I’m proud that Anthony S. Battaglia is the 2009 recipient of this award because for almost six decades, he has positively impacted thousands of lawyers, clients and members of this community and the Tampa Bay area. Read more...  


Lisa L. Brody 
Early in life, Lisa Brody recognized that her family was dedicated to community service. Both parents were community activists and involved members in the civil rights movement. Her mother was a nurse and her father worked for a university. Both worked to assure that the needs of people, whether patients or students, were being met. Fortunately for the St. Petersburg Community, Lisa Brody chose to follow her parentslead. Read more...



Cary W.





Paul N.

Rising Stars, Cary W. Cash and Paul N. Gross - Rarely has the Heroes Among Us committee been faced with such a conundrum: too many well qualified heroes to count. This year, however, there was something new. A stack of nomination forms arrived with names of rising attorneys who had accomplished so much, in such a short period of time, but were still so new in their careers. It was phenomenal, and it took the committee by surprise. It did not take long for the committee to realize that due to the extraordinary talent evidenced by these young attorneys, we had to make a drastic and exciting move. We created the first ever Rising Stars Awards to complement the Heroes Among Us Awards and recognize the extraordinary talents of two gentlement who show us that excellence is demonstrated at any age. This year, the St. Petersburg Bar Foundation recognizes the outstanding work and dedication to the community of Mr. Cary Cash and Mr. Paul Gross. Read more...

2009 Heroes Among Us - Meet our 2009 Honorees: Eric E. Ludin and Sylvia H. Walbolt
Click on the "Read more..." links below to read more about them from articles published in the December 2008/January 2009 issue of the Paraclete.
Eric E. Ludin
In 1982, a young and energetic Eric Ludin moved to St. Petersburg with his wife Judy. Fresh out of law school in Pennsylvania, he was looking to establish roots here. Eric was 24 yars old and he knew no one in Pinellas County. However, he brought a dedication to service without any desire for recognition that led him to quietly impact the lives of thousands of people for the better. Read more...

Sylvia H. Walbolt
After earning her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Florida, Walbolt entered the practice of law at a time when it was not easy for women to succeed. Over the years, she achieved Board Certification in Appellate Law and Antitrust Law. She has appeared of counsel in more than 290 published opinions, is the former president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. In December 2001, she was named one of the Top 10 Women Litigators by the National Law Journal. No hurdle has stood in her way to becoming one of teh most respected attorneys in the nation. Read more...


2008 Heroes Among Us - Meet our 2008 Honorees: Robert C. "Bob" Decker and Roy G. Harrell, In Memoriam. Click on the "Read more..." links to find out more about them from articles published in the December 2007/January 2008 issue of the Paraclete.

Robert C. "Bob" Decker
Growing up in a sleepy Nebraska town, Bob Decker had no idea what the world had in store for him. His parents preached the importance of education and instilled a strong work ethic, which remains with Bob to this day. While the support, wisdom and guidance of his parents were integral in his success, Bob was also the beneficiary of numerous mentors as a young man, both while in the U.S. Marine Corps and in practice as an attorney. The man that Bob is today is a product of those who took the time to guide and mentor him. Read more...
Roy G. Harrell, In Memoriam
I first met Roy G. Harrell, Jr. in 1975. I had the privilege of working with Roy in many different capacities for over thirty years in this community. Roy primarily worked as an attorney in banking, real estate and general commercial law. He was completely committed to his practice, and he reached levels of high excellence in the practice of law. Despite his time constraints with the practice of law, he became one of the most committed public servants I have ever known. The people of the State of Florida and this community will always be indebted to Roy for his many contributions to public service. Read more...
2007 Heroes Among Us - Meet our 2007 Honorees: St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and William H. Walker. Click on the "Read more..." links to find out more about them from articles published in the December 2006/January 2007 issue of the Paraclete.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker
The Office of Mayor has no "legal” responsibility for the nearly fifty schools located within the City of St. Petersburg limits – but that hasn’t stopped Mayor Baker from devoting his energy to youth and education issues. Realizing that the quality of education of our youth is linked to building a quality community, Mayor Baker has been personally involved in motivating corporate leaders and city staff to partner and participate in making St. Petersburg’s schools the best through various initiatives. Read more... 

Past St. Petersburg Bar Association President William H. Walker
William H. Walker is truly a hero among us when it comes to leadership and volunteerism in youth athletics. He is a third generation attorney who was born in Brattleboro, Vermont in 1945. He was President of the St. Petersburg Bar in 2004 – 2005. His emphasis during his term included improving public relations regarding public service attorneys’ performance outside their daily law practice, solidifying the financial basis of the organization, reaching out to non-members and focusing on increasing the professionalism among existing members. Read more. . .
2006 Heroes Among Us - Meet our 2006 Honorees: Pamela A.M. Campbell, Leonard Milcowitz and Edward Lyons, and Robert L. Ulrich. Click on the "Read more..." links to find out more about them from articles published in the December 2005/January 2006 issue of the Paraclete.
Pamela A.M. Campbell
A speeding car slammed into Pamela Campbell’s vehicle as she sat at a red light during a blinding snowstorm in Washington, D.C., in 1984. The violent jolt changed her life forever. It took months for Pam, then a special assistant to U.S. Sen. Paula Hawkins, R-Fla., to regain use of her right arm. She returned home to St. Petersburg to heal. She attended physical therapy three times a week for six months. When she received an insurance settlement, she used it to chase her dream of becoming a lawyer.  Read more . . .
Leonard Milcowitz and Edward Lyons
It all started when Leonard Milcowitz, a man with a passion for baseball (he still plays in senior leagues), approached his partner, Ed Lyons, an admitted "sports illiterate,” with the idea of exercising their shared strong sense of giving back to the community by sponsoring children to attend baseball summer camp. Lenny had read about former professional baseball player Roy Silver and his desire to work with children in the context of baseball, so Lenny called him and asked to get together. From there, the seeds of Extra Innings Youth Foundation, Inc. were sown. Read more. . .
Robert L. Ulrich
Robert L. "Bob” Ulrich is a fearless, gifted,personable, humble visionary leader who has created, developed, directed and led organizations, firms and companies for forty-five years here in St. Petersburg. In fact, he could easily be known as "Mr. Downtown.” When Bob returned to his hometown of St. Petersburg in 1959 with Barbara, his bride of four years and two small children, real estate was dead. Bob remembers it being so bad you could not give land away. Read more . . .
2005 Heroes Among Us - Meet our 2005 Honorees: Louie N. Adcock, Jr., Danell G. DeBerg and H. James Fischer, In Memoriam. Click on the "Read more..." links to find out more about them from articles published in the December 2004/January 2005 issue of the Paraclete.
Louie Adcock
There is no better example of a lawyer who has served and continues to serve his profession and his community than Louie N. Adcock, Jr. If there was ever such a thing as a professional and community service MVP, Louie would be a strong contender for that award. He has been not just a member, but president, chair or executive committee member of at least ten major organizations. He has been president, chair, vice-president, or director of at least fifteen Community Service organizations over his 48 years of lawyering. He is not finished yet. Read more . . .

Danell DeBerg
One night while she was tending bar for her friend Edith at Saffron’s, Danell DeBerg was presented with an opportunity that most people would have refused. Another friend, Bessie, explained that she was going to Haiti and she wanted Danell to join her. Bessie was going on a medical mission, and she knew that Danell had the background and temperament that made her perfect for the trip. Danell took a chance and joined the trip, and her life has never been the same since. Read more . . .

H. James Fischer 
1946 - 2004

At 7:45 a.m. on a September morning in 1972, two young men awkwardly peered into an empty classroom. No other students were in sight; just these two. The lights were off but enough light streamed through the window to see the long bench desks and chairs. It was the first day of law school for both. The taller offered an outstretched paw. "My name is Jim Fischer; I’m from St. Pete.” The shorter . . . much shorter, grasped the paw and replied, "I’m Lenny Englander; I’m from Peekskill, New York.”  Read more . . .


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