By Julie B. Maglio
I will always be grateful to Donna. It was nearly a year after we started the Hernando Sun and we didn’t have many ads in our 20 page monthly community paper. We sat down for coffee at what was Local Roots in Brooksville at the Horse Lake Rd plaza. We got to talking and I learned she was from the south Florida area too. She mentioned that she had worked for the Sun Sentinel with clients in the Las Olas area. This was back when newspaper advertising was big business. I was quick to accept her offer to help us out with ad sales. She definitely knew a lot more about selling ads than I did and I was excited to have someone experienced to help our new little paper grow. The ads she sold began appearing in our November 2015 issue which was Hernando Sun’s ninth edition.
Donna was a no nonsense sales woman with a huge heart for her community. She quickly brought on advertisers, many of whom still advertise with us today. She was also a talented writer. She often wrote about organizations that were near and dear to her heart. She can hang her hat on writing an article that led to a veteran on the verge of suicide seeking help with the Veterans Heat Factory organization.
Veterans Heat Factory Founder, Gus Guadagnino sent Donna this feedback after her article was published:
“Donna, please share this with Julie, Rocco and Staff:
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
Does no justice representing my deep gratitude and appreciation –
“It started out with me just being extremely thankful for getting some free media coverage since we’re working on pennies, but it turned out to be a heartfelt moment I will never forget. Volunteers haven’t rushed through our doors and our bank hasn’t grown yet, but I didn’t expect it to happen that fast. But something much more wonderful happened – Donna, because of the collaboration of the leadership of Julie and Rocco, you and I and all the members of Team Hernando Sun that worked on this piece – Rest your head on your pillow tonight knowing you saved a life!
“A veteran told me this after about an hour conversation on the article and how our program works, she said with sad defeated emotions, ‘I was done (she gave details that I will not share), for the last few days I was wondering how and when. But after reading your article and speaking to you I feel Veterans Heat Factory is a better option for me!’ And then with a happy lit up face, she says, ‘Tell your friends at the paper I said thank you for not holding the article back a week – I might have made their obits.’ “
With all the talent she possessed, she never gave herself the appropriate credit. She was incredibly humble.
I later learned that she helped her husband run their pool business in the Fort Lauderdale area for many years. It’s called Twin Lakes Pools. She and her sister Rita shared happy memories of rabble rousing at the Miami Airport, where their father worked. She loved big glitzy purses.
I only got to know Donna within the newspaper world, but she lived a life full of love outside of work as her daughter Kimberly Snapp relates,
“Her passion was reading and writing short stories for her loved ones; especially her grandchildren.
She loved to read, when I was younger, Stephen King was her favorite but getting older I lost connection of her favorite authors. Cards, pinochle was her favorite and the game trivia which my goodness she was way too smart and no one could ever beat her. She had a coin collection that she loved to share with her grand-nephews Corbin and Deacon.
Christmas time was her favorite, she loved the theater and operas.
She just started to sing with her church which I just found out. I wish I could have seen that- to see her happy and doing what she loved at that time.
She loved with all she had and never let anyone go without them knowing how special they were, whether she knew you or not, her heart was so kind.
She was an amazing mother and grandmother, she loved her grandchildren with her whole heart and treated Danaca, Eva and Jaydn like they were her own grandbabies as well.
Her favorite food was lasagna, chocolate cake and ice cream- YUM, she loved her coffee.
I miss her so much.”
Kimberly also recalled how Donna would bring her to visit advertising accounts,
“When I was younger she would bring me with her to the Sun Sentinel and I would get to just watch her in action and she would bring me to her accounts. I loved it, she used words to make anything pop while reading it.”
At Hernando Sun, Donna understood the reason why we started a newspaper: to bring together our community, maintain the county’s identity and keep residents informed. She supported us in so many ways and we will always be grateful to her for helping us develop the newspaper thousands of Hernando County current and former residents enjoy today. Her help, guidance, and encouragement were invaluable to us in getting the Hernando Sun to where it is now.
Donna’s dear friend and pastor Oliver Bevins will preside over her memorial service at New Hope Baptist Church 15300 Wiscon Road Brooksville, FL November 2 at 2 pm.
She is survived by son Timothy Snapp and wife Mellissa Snapp, daughter Kimberly Snapp-Woznicki & husband Peter Woznicki.
Six amazing grandchildren Timothy Jr. 21, Christian 19, Nicholas 17, Austin 15, Kenneth 14, Bryleigh 8.
Her sister Rita Girard, Brother in law Dana Girard, nephew Troy Girard, niece Lauren Beller, husband Jim Beller and their children Danaca, Kaitlin, Corbin, Deacon; niece Tara Disotelle and husband Justyn Disotelle and their children Eva and Jadyn; niece Kelly Button husband HB and their children AJ, Megan, Maddie; niece Terri Fioretti, husband Paul and their children Danielle, Donovan, Dara.
Flowers or donations to New Hope Baptist Church in Donna’s honor graciously accepted.