The "Mayor of San Carlos Island" can now open the door to Lee County's playground.
Bill Semmer and his family were pleasantly surprised at Bonita Bill's Waterfront Caf Friday evening when all five Fort Myers Beach Town Council members and Town Manager Terry Stewart presented them with the Key to the Town of Fort Myers Beach. The appreciation symbol goes to the Semmer family and fireworks committee for their 23-24 years of dedicated volunteerism.
"Thank you," said Bill, a man who usually defers comment to other family members. "It is been an honor and a privilege to be able to do what we have done for so many years."
Bill Semmer shows the Key to the Town of Fort Myers Beach to those at Bonita Bill’s Waterfront Café while Council members look on and applaud.
Semmer, who has unofficially been called the mayor of unincorporated San Carlos Island for many years, admitted that whoever takes over at the fireworks helm will have a challenge ahead of them.
"But, we'll be there to help them," he said.
The Semmer Team, comprised of Semmer family members and employees at Semmer Electric Inc, has been part of the fireworks committee and responsible for shooting off fireworks at eye-popping shows. Their displays have attracted many Lee County residents and visitors to the Beach each Fourth of July and New Year's Eve.
"Every year, they kept getting better and better and better. It has been so good that they decided to retire this year," said Beach Mayor Larry Kiker. "Our town appreciates every thing that your family did."
Councilwoman Jo List read a Town proclamation to recognize Bill Semmer and family members, Shirley, Joanne, Betty and Lorraine, for their fireworks legacy and countless volunteer hours on a yearly basis.
"They stepped up to the challenge in 1988, to carry on the fireworks tradition for Fourth of July celebrations," said List. "Islanders from both San Carlos Island and Estero Island have volunteered time, energy, expertise and resources to coordinate the Fort Myers Beach fireworks committee, while they began their own tradition and fundraising."
The proclamation also aimed hopes for other islanders or community organizations to accept a challenge to continue the fireworks' duties "which Bill Semmer has so masterfully executed for 23-24 years," read List.
The Semmer Team officially announced its retirement from the coordinating management of public fireworks displays on Fort Myers Beach at the Feb. 6 regular meeting of the Fort Myers Beach Town Council.
"We want to thank everybody to have the opportunity to serve the community," added Joanne Semmer, Bill's sister.