When you think of Betty and Gary Metz, you think of books – BOOKS-A-GO-GO, the organization that they started in 2006 with the help of Deercreek neighbors, to bring books to needy local students. With that modest start, who would have expected that today over 700,000 books have been put in the hands of children in our area and more than 20 countries around the world. But before BOOKS-A-GO-GO, their volunteering began in 1997 when they moved their business to Jacksonville from Pittsburgh. They had met at the University of Pittsburgh, and have been married 40 years. While waiting for their house to be built, Betty began calling on new residents to give them welcome packets of useful information about Deercreek and Jacksonville. That warm, helpful attitude has continued in the many gatherings they have hosted for their Heather Lake neighbors.
At that time, Taylor Woodrow was in the process of turning over the community to its property owners, and Gary was part of the Board that worked through the details of that transition. He also was involved during the period when Edgewater was negotiating their relationship with Deercreek. Later, when there was a vacancy on the DCCOA board, Gary again stepped in to fill the position.
Betty is a founding member of Deercreek Women’s Alliance, and has served a term as Vice President. Betty credits members of the Alliance for the successful early development of BOOKS-A-GO-GO. She also has been President of the Deercreek Ladies Golf Association and is a member of the Board of Governors. As a member of the Deercreek Home and Garden Club, Betty has been very generous in donating her distinctive hand-painted glasses, bowls, and Christmas ornaments for Garden Club Silent Auctions.
Betty, a talented artist, began volunteering in art instruction at inner city schools through the Jacksonville Watercolor Society. That led to her work as a Picture Lady, bringing art to schools through the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens.
While bringing art to West Jacksonville Elementary School, she recognized the needs of the students, and began her service on the School Advisory Council, which she has chaired for ten years. During that time she solicited funds that allowed students to take field trips to places they would otherwise never have an opportunity to see, like a bus ride across the bridge to the Cummer Museum and to St. Augustine. She also raised funds for a Garden of Dreams at the school.
When the school was threatened with closure, the Advisory Council worked successfully to keep it open as a necessary community resource. With Deercreek friends Neelima Gole, who designed the project, Adele Kunzweiler, Natalie Jackson and her daughter, Anna, the group spent a hot, non-air conditioned summer painting an enormous 40-foot mural to brighten the cafeteria.
Deercreek Home and Garden Club is proud to name Betty and Gary Metz winners of the 2013 Golden Acorn Award. The award will be presented at a luncheon at Deercreek Club on August 27 at 11:30 A.M. when Deercreek Home and Garden Club program for the coming year will be presented. All are welcome to come to offer their congratulations. Make a reservation by calling 363-1604.