Meet the Board of Directors of Peace River Wildlife Center
Jerry Jones – President
Jerry Jones spent most of his professional life as director of two state agencies, the Kansas Film Commission and the Missouri Film Office, recruiting motion picture and television production. He currently is the Director of Film & Digital Media for the Charlotte County Visitors Bureau.
A proud Jayhawk, he holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas. He and his wife moved to the area from mid-Missouri in 2012 and discovered the Peace River Wildlife Center, where Pam became a volunteer guide. Jerry also is an officer on the board of the Charlotte Players.
Fun Fact: Animals in his life have included numerous cats and dogs, three cows, two Appaloosa geldings and a pygmy goat named William
Steve Widmeyer – Vice President
Lifelong musician, poet, and student of history. B.S. in zoology; M.A. English literature; honorably discharged from US Navy; discontinued doctoral program in English literature at dissertation level to attend law school. J.D. (law). Proud husband of my outstanding wife and proud father of my outstanding daughter. Active Florida Supreme Court certified mediator (circuit civil, family law, appellate); retired trial attorney. Supreme Court approved mediator trainer. Clearly loves animals or wouldn’t be on this Board.
Fun Fact: He’s the one without hair.
Eileen Glassman – Treasurer
Eileen Glassman, comes to Punta Gorda via Brooklyn and the Hudson Valley in New York. Eileen is a CPA and was a partner in a regional accounting firm in upstate New York. She has worked for over thirty years with not-for-profit organizations but has always had her eye on becoming a volunteer with PRWC since coming to PGI in 2004. She now is a tour guide and a member of the Board of Directors. She loves to send pictures of herself with the residents to her 5-year old granddaughter.
Fun Fact: When Eileen, 15, met Alan, 17, during high school he knew immediately that they were going to be married and told her mother. Forty-five years later it’s still true.
John Benande – Member at Large
John and his wife Bonnie retired to Punta Gorda in 2001. After graduating from the University of Illinois, he spent 32 years with AT&T Network Systems, Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies in Finance, Product Management, Marketing and Sales. Since coming to Punta Gorda, John has been active in the community as past President of the Arts and Humanities Council of Charlotte County, Beautification Program Leader for TEAM Punta Gorda, Board member at St, Andrews South Golf Club and now member at larger on the PRWC Board. When John found out the PRWC would remain and rebuild in Ponce Park, he knew he wanted to help. Also, John and Bonnie recently established The Peace River Wildlife Center Endowment Fund to provide a vehicle for donors to provide lasting contributions to the Center.
Fun Fact: Early in his career, John realized he loved cooking and used this as a means of managing stress. For many years now, he has done most of the grocery shopping and cooking in the family and often shares recipes with friends.
Paul Clark – Member at Large
A retired military veteran, Paul served in a total of thirty years in three branches of the armed forces.He also served six years in law enforcement as a New Jersey Park Ranger and Maine State Forest Ranger, and was instrumental in the development of the Maine Emergency Services Paramedic and EMT training. As a nurse, he worked in a variety of hospitals throughout Maine and supervised an Emergency Room. Since 1976, Paul has been affiliated with the Red Cross in Maine and as a disaster volunteer deployed on many national disaster assignments. Most recently he was the Disaster Director at the Southern Maine Red Cross Chapter. Paul and his wife, Jane, with their cat Hidalgo moved to Florida from Portland, Maine.
Fun Fact: Hobbies range from leather work to beaded jewelry. Paul has always loved being around animals and was volunteering at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine before moving to Florida.
Fred Cort – Member at Large
Fred grew up in New Jersey and then headed to Muhlenberg College where he graduated as a history major. Like many history majors, he found himself qualified for a wide variety of things, but nothing in particular. The college environment beckoned, so he spent ten plus years in college admissions and development work. He attended Ohio University for a masters in counseling and then finished all but the dissertation for a PH.D. in organizational behavior. That led to opportunities teaching a number of undergraduate courses as well as conducting various management workshops. He went on to join a local bank in need of human resource recruiting and management development. He held positions as director of corporate planning, head of retail banking and eventually regional president. Taking early retirement, he continued in management consulting. This included working with his wife, Carol, who worked for an international not-for-profit as head of human resources and facilities.
Fred and Carol lived on a trawler in New York harbor and spent much of their time travelling around the world which included Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East. A former banking colleague coaxed him out of retirement to help start a new bank. His job started as “other duties as assigned” and ranged from human resources to operations and technology, marketing, and facilities development. As the bank grew, he became chief administrative officer and the corporate secretary. In 2014, a major regional bank bought the start-up, so Fred and Carol, along with their three cats, retired to Punta Gorda. Dogs Boo and Charlee soon joined their family. Unfortunately, their cats have since passed, but Boo and Charlee are looking forward to seeing the wildlife center from a safe distance during their daily play time at Hounds on Henry.
Fred also volunteers with the United Way and the local chapter of Score which provides mentoring to small businesses. He served on the Punta Gorda Historic Preservation Advisory Board as an alternate and on the Punta Gorda Isles Canal Advisory Committee.
Jay Glynn – Member at Large
After graduating with a master degree in psychology from the University of Illinois, Jay, and his artist wife Vicki, moved to Charlotte County in 1980 for Jay to work as a counselor at Charlotte Behavioral Health Care. His career in mental health required many hats including treatment, program development, fiscal management, and a great deal of lobby work at the state level. Jay retired in 2016 after serving his last ten years as the C.E.O. of Charlotte Behavioral Health care.
Jay has always loved animals and nature. Since 1980 he and his wife have enjoyed many hours of boating on Charlotte Harbor. Most of their vacations have been to our National Parks hiking and enjoying nature and wildlife.
Fun Fact: After working all his career with people Jay wanted to work with animals and the environment. So, just a few months after retirement, he was pleased to be asked to join the Peace River Wildlife Center board.
Jennifer Huber – Member at Large
Originally from Western New York, a hiking trail led Jennifer down a career path in marketing and public relations. Most of her career was spent in the tourism industry including a decade working for a management company in three national parks: Death Valley, Everglades and Yellowstone. Today, she lives in Southwest Florida and works for Florida Power & Light Company.
Jennifer is an award-winning blogger and author and past president of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association. She’s a member of the #NASASocial community, alumna of the FBI Tampa Citizens Academy, and certified food judge. She joined the PRWC Board in Spring 2021.
Fun fact: Her dog is her favorite road trip companion.
Bob Prier – Member at Large
Bob Prier lived in Maryland all my life until moving to Florida in 2006. Bob has a BS in Marine Biology UMD and a MS in Environmental Engineering. Bob has work experience in sales and sales management in medical, computer and real estate markets.
Bob has worked on a variety of environmental projects including a four-year oyster restoration project in Chesapeake Bay. Bob joined the Board of Directors (BOD) of PRWC in January 2013. He was BOD President of PRWC from 2013-2015 and Treasurer 2015-2018. He currently remains a Member at Large.
Fun Fact: Although not considered a good cook, Bob makes the best Bunny pancakes ever.
Norine Walker – Member at Large
Norine was a gifted runner during high school growing up Ridgewood, NJ (some of her records still stand!) and was recruited to the United States Military Academy at West Point (Class of 1991 – Systems Engineering) for Track and Cross Country. Norine was in just the 11th class of women to graduate West Point and became the first female S2 Military Intelligence Officer assigned to the 3/101 Attack Apache Helicopter Battalion. She was also the 1st Female Infantry MI Liaison Officer to the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Air Assault Division (also known as the RAKASSAN Brigade.)
After retiring from the military as a captain, Norine then focused her considerable talents on raising three children and supervising numerous moves around the country. She was active in coaching girls’ softball and track, and was a valued volunteer for the neighborhood school district. Norine remarried in 2008 and inherited three more children! During this time, she discovered SW Florida and purchased a home in Punta Gorda in 2010. There she discovered the Peace River Wildlife Center. It became and is one of the “go to” places to bring family and friends. Norine continues to support West Point as an active Filed Force Representative helping new high school hopefuls with their mission to attend the Academy both in western New York and here in SW Fla. In 2020, Norine obtained her real estate license primarily to help military personnel find new homes in the area and networking with other Academy grads around the country. Since then, she also helps others via personal referrals.
Fun Fact: Norine can’t sing a lick but isn’t afraid to demonstrate this unique ability!
Fun Fact: Norine ran the Boston Marathon in 2002 receiving a race bib as a thank you from the BAA after helping establish the Jay Lyons Scholarship Fund and Chairing a Road Race in his name, Jay who was a local fallen fire fighter. She is excited to join the board and work towards the next new chapter in the center’s growth.
Gary Wein – Member at Large
I was born in Chicago, in the Wrigleyville neighborhood (Go Cubs Go!) Having a public education, I graduated from Lane Tech High School with a “College Prep Tech Diploma”. I continued on to Eastern Illinois University obtaining a Zoology/Chemistry degree while working as a motorcycle mechanic.
Upon graduation I entered industry as a tech sales rep as an industrial and municipal water treatment specialist. I continued on in this industry my whole career through management and field engineering positions. I have traveled around the world during this endeavor.
I came to Punta Gorda in 2000, participating in several community organizations, serving as Vice Mayor of Punta Gorda and nonprofit organizations.
Russ Weston – Member at Large
For the past 48 years I have been proud to call Alaska my home. Anyone who has spent that many winters in an arctic environment, knows the dream of one day ﬁnding and living in a warmer climate. While ﬁlming a project on Palm Island in 2013, my wife and I decided to purchase a home here with the intention of becoming “snowbirds.” It was not long after our closing that we realized, this is where we want to be.
Now, three years later it is with a smile on our faces that we call Punta Gorda home and have been fully enjoying our retirement.My career has always been that of a Photojournalist. Twenty ﬁve years with the United States Air Force as Director of their still and motion picture division. My military career has taken me to every corner of the world.
Upon my retirement from the military in 1993, Weston Productions was formed, focusing on Television with Documentary and News Magazine content. As a multiple winner of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences coveted EMMY Award, my work as been a part of such shows as HGTV’s House Hunters, Buying Beachfront, Discovery’s Deadliest Catch, Travel Channel, A&E, the History Channel, and National Geographic programming, to name just a few. My work was also a regular part of content on ABC’s World News Tonight, Good Morning America, NBC’s Nightly News, Dateline and CBS 60 Minutes. It is the desire of every journalist to have his or her work leave an impact on the world around them. I feel grateful and fulﬁlled that my work has accomplished that. It was always apparent to me how fortunate I was to have a career doing something I truly loved. Something that I would have done for nothing, if I could have supported my family.