On Friday, June 29, The Englewood Florida Chamber of Commerce gathered at The Waverly Restaurant to award the 22nd Annual Smoked Mullet Award. This award was established in 1996 by then Chamber President Nita (Edmonson) Cole to honor pioneers in the community who may not have been recognized. This year’s Smoked Mullet Award recipient is Gary Schroeder.
Gary moved to Englewood in 1970 from Detroit, Michigan. He was hired by the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office in the fall of 1970 as one of only three full time deputies for the Englewood area. He was considered on call 24/7. He worked his way up the chain of command and eventually became a sergeant and put in charge of the Englewood substation along with Major Richard McLeod. During his time as an officer he would mow the field where Palm Plaza is today so kids could use it to play sports. In 1977 he broke his back making an arrest. Despite the broken back he still took his prisoner to jail in Punta Gorda. This back injury put him in a wheelchair and he eventually retired in 1985.
Gary joined the Masons in the early 1980s to keep himself busy. He went through all of the chairs and became Master of the Lodge twice. Gary is still very active in the Masons on both the local and state level.
Gary has worked many Chamber Expos, has taught Sunday school and has been active with the youth at his church. Gary has been a fixture in the Englewood community and is always happy to see people,s greeting them with an ear to ear grin.