Friends of Old Seven Board of Directors

Bernard Spinrad, Board President
Semi-retired – Owner of consulting company specializing in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software and Tourism Development, working primarily in the Caribbean Basin region. As resident of Marathon, walked the bridge many times, saw its value and the fact that, unless we did something to save and enhance it, it will eventually disappear, and with it, one of the most valuable pieces of history in the Keys. I decided to do what I could to prevent that from happening. My experience as an economic and tourism development consultant told me that only through decisive community action this could be achieved.

Mike Puto, Board Vice President
Mike Puto moved to Marathon in 1950 at age 2, and his family is credited for the development of Key Colony Beach and many portions of the Middle Keys. He graduated from Marathon High School and was a teacher and businessman before beginning his career in public service, including a term on the Monroe County Commission (1986-1990) where he served as Mayor for a year. He was Marathon’s City Manager from 2004-2008. He sits on numerous boards including Florida Keys Electric Co-Op, Pigeon Key, United Way, and the Marathon Alumni Athletic Club. His unwavering dedication to his community has earned his the moniker, “Mr. Marathon.”

Mike Cross, Board Secretary
Resident of Marathon since 2004. Retired from the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum – Aeronautical Unit. A&P, Pilot & Avionics Engineer. Currently active with Drs. Without Borders, (MSF) as a Peer Support Program (PSN) Trainer, previously served in Somalia, Uganda, and Kenya. 3 sons & 5 grand kids, Viet-Nam Marine, and Member of the FO7 & Pigeon Key Foundations. Please Help Save Old Seven “Because I don’t want to lose the Best View in the Keys!”

Jeff Schocket, Treasurer
Senior real estate executive currently working for the Office of the State Attorney Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Monroe County focusing on “white-collar” crimes. Currently resides in Islamorada.

Bettye Chaplin, At-Large
Lived in the Keys since age 4, graduate of Marathon High School and Palm Beach Community College, married 47 years and have two sons. Past Marathon Chamber of Commerce President – 2004, helped establish The Tourism Association, past BPW Woman of the Year, Monroe County Housing Commission for 8 years, helped Establish Marathon Community Theater, and member of the Board of Realtors for 25 years. Now retired and traveling in our motor home, I love to tell people about where I live, because from Canada to Mexico and everything in-between, “There is no place better than the Florida Keys!!”

Jerry Ronald Chapman, At-Large
Resident of Marathon, Fl and Eastbend, NC. Married with 4 children and 6 grandchildren. College degree in Personnel Administration. Designed, built and managed 10 assisted living centers in NC. Owned and operated condo HOA with apartments in Turks & Cacaos and British West Indies. Awarded Vietnam Veteran.

Jason Koler, At-Large
Jason Koler is the editor and publisher of the Weekly Newspapers. He holds an B.A. in English from the University of Toledo and has been writing professionally since 2004. Currently, Jason serves as the Chairman of the Pigeon Key Foundation, President of the Marathon Jaycees, and sits on the board of Leadership Monroe County. He lives in Marathon with his wife, Kate, and their son, Josh.

Riet Steinmetz, At-Large
Riet Steinmetz came sailing into the Keys on a 40′ trimaran. Taught at Stanley Switlik School for 28 years as well as 3 years in Brazil. She has her son George to thank for getting her involved with Pigeon key. Being a guide on Pigeon Key has opened a whole new world for her; a world filled with history set in a spectacular marine environment of which the Old Seven Mile Bridge is an integral part. This National Monument, a tribute to Flagler and the men who labored in the hot sun to built this marvel of engineering needs to be restored to be enjoyed by future generations from all over the world.
Riet invites everyone to join in this historic preservation effort. Join FO7!!!!!

Patricia Ivey, Advisor
Originally from the Boston area, Patty has been a resident of the Marathon for just over 30 years and signed on with the Florida Department of Transportation in 1982. She has been a board member of several non-profit organizations, including the Pigeon Key Foundation. Patty loves the Keys, especially boating and long walks with friends on Old Seven.