David and Melanie Stimmell, of Oakland, are the recipients of an Angels in Adoption award, given annually through the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. They were recommended by U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster.
The couple has been invited to participate in the awards ceremony in October in Washington, D.C. But with a household of 12, there are no extra funds for a three-night hotel stay and two airline tickets.
If anyone in the community is interested in making a donation toward the trip, they can send a check to David and Melanie Stimmell via Mosaic Church, 608 W. Oakland Ave., Oakland, Florida 34760.
They have to make their reservations by Sept. 4.
Since 2001, the Stimmells have fostered close to 50 children. With four biological children of their own, they are in the process of permanently adopting their sixth foster child. David and Melanie Stimmell have both served on the board of the Quality Parent Initiative, and Melanie Stimmell also volunteers on the Foster Association board with the state.
+ ONP releases
Oakland Nature Preserve recently released three captive educational ambassador gopher tortoises.
The gopher tortoises originally were relocated from construction sites and given to the preserve as an educational resource. After the tortoieses reached maturity and tried to escape the enclosure multiple times, the preserve worked with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on a plan to release them.
After rehab work with the tortoises and approval from the FWC, the enclosure the tortoises resided in for the past four years was disassembled, giving them free range of the preserve. For more, call (407) 905-0054.