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Bertler to be Pioneer Days Grand Marshal
By STEVE REILLY
STAFF WRITER, Englewood Sun
ENGLEWOOD — The Pioneer Days organizers sought out a grand marshal for the 65th Pioneer Days Parade who reflects the spirit of the Englewood community.
They believe they found that person in Rita Bertler, founder of Dollars for Mammograms.
Since 2000, Dollars for Mammograms has assisted more than 3,000 women and some men who have receivedthe screening, follow-up exams and other services they could not afford.
“She epitomizes the people of Englewood,” said Chris Phelps, president of the Pioneer Days committee. That spirit, Phelps said, is what keeps the Englewood community stepping up when things are difficult or challenging.
Bertler said she was humbled to be chosen as grand marshal from 17 candidates. She didn’t expect to be. “People are so willing to help,” she said of Englewood. “I began to realize people here helped each other like they did where I and Dick were raised,” she said, referring to her late husband, who died in March. “They cared for one another.”
Rita and Dick Bertler moved to Englewood from Wisconsin in 1985. Dick’s parents had already moved to the area in the 1970s. The Bertlers opened Englewood businesses, starting with the Cornerstone Deli Cafe and later with the Peppermill restaurant and Peppermill Jewelry & Gift Shop.
Even though their businesses kept them busy, the couple gave back to the community, such as donating eggs for Englewood Jaycees’ Easter egg hunts and serving Christmas dinners for those who might otherwise be alone.
Besides her work with Dollars for Mammograms, she’s active with the Business and Professional Women of Englewood and Venice, as well as with Englewood Community Hospital and the Englewood Florida Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m just a normal person. I’m not a big name,” Bertler said of herself. However, for her work with Dollars for Mammograms, WGCU TV honored her in 2014 with its Torch Award as one of the “Women Who Make Southwest Florida.”
Reprinted from the Englewood Sun