Diane Armstrong—Way Too Much Time on Her Hands?

When Diane Armstrong takes a few minutes for herself to work a crossword puzzle or to work on her crafts, her husband teases her and says she has way too much time on her hands. “My husband calls it my therapy,” she said. 

Diane is the immediate past social director for Fairways Home Owners Association of Orlando Inc., (FHAOI). She coordinated a host of events for FHAOI during the past year. Her predecessor, Judy Smegelski, had held the position for as long as most residents can remember, and Diane credits Judy with showing her the ropes and helping her grow into the position.

In addition to the many dinner dances held for special occasions such as the Fourth of July, the Corn Festival, Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and anything that warrants a passing mention, Diane was responsible for two popular annual events.

Annual Health Fair
Last February, Diane organized the annual Health Fair, one of the most popular FHAOI events. Healthcare professionals made presentations and conducted free blood pressure and blood sugar screenings and hearing tests. Dr. Robert Law has participated for several years, and everyone looks forward to his visits.

Representatives from businesses in the greater Orlando area attend each year to inform residents about their businesses. It’s an opportunity for residents to walk away with material they can use in the future, should the need arise.

Businesses represented at the Health Fair each year run the gamut from doctors, assisted-living facilities, Helping Hands, a nail salon, and several funeral homes. For the past several years, The Bridge Assisted Living facility provided a continental breakfast, and one of the funeral homes held a drawing for a Bible. Walgreens and CVS attended and conducted drawings for gift certificates. Residents left the Health Fair with a bag full of goodies from local businesses.

Representatives from 55 Alive were on hand to explain the program, which requires an eight-hour training and reduces the cost of auto insurance.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office enlisted residents to serve as resident patrols through the Citizens on Patrol (COP) program. COPs patrol the community in Sheriff’s Office vehicles. If they see anything suspicious or spot criminal activity, they report it.

Those who signed up and passed a security check received training at the Volunteer Academy in crime prevention, first aid, CPR and how to spot suspicious and criminal activity. 

Toys for Tots

Another major event Diane coordinated was the annual Toys for Tots drive. The Christmas dinner/dance is usually the scene of the drive; however, this year the Masters Clubhouse was closed for renovations and the Christmas dinner/dance was cancelled. 

Diane and her husband stored all the donated toys at their house. The house was overrun with toys, and Diane was flabbergasted: “You wouldn’t believe the toys they brought—six new bikes on top of all the other toys. I was shocked at what we got this year. We have a community full of people with big hearts.” 

Toys from the donation are distributed to several East Orlando charities and help to make Christmas morning special for many underprivileged children.

No Downtime for Diane
This year, Diane serves as president of New York Club, which operates six months each year: February through April and October through December. The club’s 230 members enjoy catered dinner-dances.

With so much time on her hands, when Diane’s not organizing events, you can find her on the course two or three days a week, playing bocce and playing cards on Tuesday night. When all else fails, there are crossword puzzles and crafts. 

Thanks to Diane for her tireless work in service to Fairways residents and for living knee-deep in toys this past Christmas so that others would have a visit from Santa.