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Key West Chamber of Commerce
Key West Orchid Society
American Heart Association Inc
Lower Keys Heart Council
Key West Aloe Holdings LLC
American Red Cross of Greater Miami & The Keys
RED CROSS NAMES JOSEPH LISZKA 2004 FLORENCE SPOTTSWOOD HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEARThe American Red Cross of Greater Miami & The Keys has named Joseph Liszka the 2004 Florence Spottswood Humanitarian of the Year.The dinner in his honor will be held on Saturday, March 27, 2004 at the Holiday Inn Beachside in Key West."Over the 33 years Joe has lived in Key West, no one has done more than Joe to support people in need and to work for the betterment of the community in general," said Ed Block, chair of the 2004 Florence Spottswood Humanitarian of the Year Committee, in announcing Mr. Liszka's selection."Over the 33 years Joe has lived in Key West, no one has done more than Joe to support people in need and to work for the betterment of the community in general," said Ed Block, chair of the 2004 Florence Spottswood Humanitarian of the Year Committee, in announcing Mr. Liszka's selection.Mr. Liszka's tireless efforts to help people in need and to promote the town he loves have made a huge difference in the lives of many in Key West and elsewhere, and the American Red Cross of Greater Miami & The Keys is proud to honor him as Humanitarian of the Year.Born in Chicago in 1930, Mr. Liszka graduated from Loyola University with a degree in marketing.He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean conflict and later held positions with Foote, Cone & Belding Advertising in Chicago, Cunningham & Walsh in New York and Caterpillar Tractor in San Leandro, California.He also studied abroad in Grasse, France, where he became a master perfumer.Returning to the U.S. in 1971, Mr. Liszka and his life partner, Frank Romano, founded Key West Aloe and the two traveled up and down The Keys giving lectures on the science of perfume and other cosmetics.Mr. Liszka was elected president of the Key West Chamber of Commerce in 1978.And in October of that year, the month when the town historically tended to hit economic bottom, he was hit with the idea to host an adult festival in October annually in Key West.Liszka, in conjunction with the Tourist Development Association, founded Fantasy Fest.The now internationally famous event has become an enormous benefactor for Key West charitable causes.Mr. Liszka has been a significant contributor to many other organizations, including Take Stock in Children and PACE (Practical, Academic, Cultural Education), which benefit the Key West youth.He has not only given financial support, but in both organizations he has served as a mentor for young people in these programs.From volunteering at the nursing home to play Santa Clause, to teaching English to native Polish speakers through Literary Volunteers of America, Mr. Liszka continues to make a difference.He is the president of the Key West Orchid Society, who is working to preserve endangered orchid species and is a member of American Heart Association and the Lower Keys Heart Council.
Joe Liszka, founding member of Fantasy Fest, remembers in October of 1978 seeing Duval Street and Key West nearly deserted so he wanted to create a party that would tell people that October is a beautiful time to be in the Keys..
Romano is the niece of the late Frank Romano, who with his longtime partner Joe Liszka, founded Key West Aloe, and helped create the fall festival as a way to boost tourism during the slowest time of year.
This year, Key West Aloe co-founder Joe Liszka was named the Red Cross' humanitarian of the year.Several Key West residents testified to Liszka's generosity helping others, including a young woman he has mentored at Key West High School for four years.The student thanked Liszka, via videotape, for helping her through a rough time when she nearly quit school.She was troubled, and found no support at home.Liszka, she said, was there for her.Thanks to his coaching, she will graduate from high school this spring, and go to college in the fall.The student is part of the Take Stock in Children program that couples kids with local adults, working together to see that children stay in school, keep their grades up and stay away from drugs.In turn, if the students fulfill those obligations, they receive a fully paid four-year scholarship to a Florida college.Changing a student's life is but one of the accomplishments that earned Liszka the honor.He is credited with founding Fantasy Fest - one of Key West's most successful events - as well as playing Santa at nursing homes.Financially, he has supported kids through Take Stock as well as the PACE Center for Girls.
In the late 1960s, the late Frank Romano and Joe Liszka were vacationing in beautiful Key West.
Coming out of frigid New York, they basked in the warmth of the island sun a little longer than they should have and suffered uncomfortable burns. A Key West native shared the island's secret for sunburned skin - Aloe vera - which brought relief to the pair instantly and made their burns disappear by the following morning. Just so happens Frank was a chemist and cosmetic researcher who was enthusiastically impressed by the results. He figured if Aloe was that effective on damaged skin, it should be part of everyone's daily hygiene regimen. In 1971, Frank and Joe founded Key West Aloe, and began formulating products with a pure Aloe vera gel base and tantalizing fragrances typical of the tropics. They began selling their wares from a quaint storefront on Front Street, much to the delight of sunburned visitors. These shoppers became fiercely loyal to Key West Aloe products after witnessing first hand the difference they made in the overall health of their skin and hair, and continued to order them long after they returned home. Today, Key West Aloe offers one of the broadest lines of Aloe-based skin, hair and sun care products in the world. All are lightweight, contain 100% pure, lab certified Aloe vera, and often contain an SPF factor for added protection. Then as now, Frank and Joe were always so positive about the power of their products that each comes with a no-questions-asked, money back guarantee.