photo via Stephanie Porta
I can't really remember the first time I met Katie Porta, but I CAN remember the consistent streams of riveting conversations we've shared over the years about all things local, civic, political and meaningful. She is an inspiration to me for many reasons, not the least of which being that I am great friends with her daughter, Stephanie, and her son, Michael. If you haven't read the amazing Orlando Sentinel piece on her that was published last weekend – in which she was named CENTRAL FLORIDIAN OF THE YEAR – I implore you to do so. She deserves every accolade she can get for being a voice for the voiceless and being the one person in a room full of money who will navigate her way directly to the warm, emotional places where philanthropy matters. Today, in both Orange County and the City of Orlando, Porta was given her own day via official declaration, something that might sound peripheral or perfunctory, but, at least to me, something that is HUGELY deserved for such a wonderful human being. Katie is living through a physical challenge right now, one that is not easily dismissed or overstated. I'm proud of this city and county for taking a moment to realize her importance, and of the Sentinel for giving her such wonderful notice. Mostly, though, I'm proud of Katie and all she has done. CONGRATULATIONS, LADY. I LOVE YOU. And your family is the best. When you're thinking about happiness this weekend, spare a minute for Katie. She wouldn't ask for it, but she sure deserves it.