Blazing Trails

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This year’s Lifetime Achievement Awards are a slight departure from the first two in that we are honoring three highly accomplished individuals rather than two, typically one man and one woman. And all are from Bonita Springs rather than one from each of Collier and Lee counties.

When we began considering candidates in February, a few names rose to the top, among them Jacke McCurdy and her sister Arden. After looking at their respective achievements and contributions to the community, it was difficult to single either of them out. So, we decided to include both, and for good reason.

Each has a distinguished background. Jacke was the first woman admitted to the Baltimore County Bar Association, the first female assistant state’s attorney and the first woman vice president at Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, among other successes. Arden is a former department store manager who retired from her property management and real estate business.

But anyone who is familiar with the McCurdys know that they have often collaborated together, too, in such efforts as the Speaker’s Assembly of Southwest Florida (Arden is the executive director), the Zonta Club and various political campaigns. They’re widely recognized for their work guiding Bonita Springs through its growth years to the present.

The third honoree is David Lucas, chairman of the Bonita Bay Group, which is largely responsible for putting the city on the map. The company’s other developments are The Brooks, Mediterra, Twin Eagles, Verandah and Sandoval, which sit in either Lee or Collier counties.

Beyond leading Bonita Bay Group, David Lucas is renowned for his philanthropy. He founded the local United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society nearly 25 years ago by being the first person to independently donate $10,000. Since then, the society has raised $29.4 million for the organization. He’s “an absolute legend. One of the great heroes of our community,” says Cliff Smith, president of the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee Counties.

Read more about our honorees beginning on Page 20.

And we invite readers to join us this year in celebrating the recipients from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 5 at the Hilton Naples. For more information, please call (239) 449-4154 or email


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