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HomeBusiness & CommunityOdy's Tree: A Symbol of Love and Legacy at Krueger Enrichment Center

Ody’s Tree: A Symbol of Love and Legacy at Krueger Enrichment Center

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Register for the Krueger Center’s Valentine’s Day Social Today

There’s a lot of heart in the Valentine’s Day tree posted at Krueger Enrichment Center, a senior-focused community center located at 392 Beverly Ct,, Spring Hill. In more ways than one.

Sure, the tree comes adorned with an ebullient assortment of heart-shaped decorations, including pearl pink plate ornaments, garland, and tinsel. Yet the true ‘heart’ of this unique, very jubilant holiday tree lies in the rich and heartfelt sentiment behind it.

The Krueger Enrichment Center is an outreach of the Win the Day Foundation, a nonprofit organization “with the sole purpose of serving its community. Working with various organizations and networking with individuals, it identifies needs and gaps in social services and provides for them in the best way possible. Emphasis may include but not be limited to the needs of senior citizens, foster care parents, children with disabilities, front-line workers, military, farmers, truck drivers, and small business owners.” Many of the organization’s senior services are offered through the center, named in honor of Bill and Ody Krueger–the late parents of Keith Krueger, Win the Day founder.

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“I started this foundation to continue my parents’ legacy,” said Keith Krueger. “They devoted their lives to community service. They volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, conducted prison ministries, and were the foster parents of 26 children.”

“They spent their whole lives serving as great examples of people who serve others,” he said. “Now I devote my life to trying to be as good and giving as they were.”

Ody Krueger had a favorite decorative tree, a 7 1/2-foot-tall Balsam Hill model, that she displayed every year at Christmas time in the Krueger home. When her son inherited this tree, he made it the centerpiece of the holiday decor scheme at The Krueger Enrichment Center.

“I had not put Mom’s Christmas Tree away at the Charity this year,” said Keith Krueger. “I didn’t really want to take it down.”

An avid regular guest at the enrichment center, Carol Short, had an idea; one designed to morph this magical, sentimental Yuletide tree into a holiday tree.

“Some of the guests, led by Carol who plays Mahjong, decided to decorate the tree for Valentine’s,” said Krueger. “Coincidentally, that is Mom’s Birthday.”

Krueger is touched by the generosity of his guests at the enrichment center, who personally adorned the tree themselves; morphing Ody’s tree into a beautiful commemoration of both her birthday and Valentine’s Day. And he looks forward to welcoming them at the Krueger Center’s Valentine’s Day Social, a free event scheduled 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14, at the center. Preregistration is required.

This event will feature lunch, light refreshments and games. “This is an all ages event,” said Krueger. “As with all things we do, this is for the community.”

To preregister for the Krueger Enrichment Center Valentine’s Day Social, call 352-293-4738 by Feb. 9. And as guests enjoy food and fun, they are invited also to admire the beauty and significance of Ody’s Tree.

“We plan to decorate the tree for every holiday,” said Krueger.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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