Please join me in congratulating Mr. David Baker on being our Herbies Hero. Born in Connecticut, David Baker earned a finance degree and became a business salesman. David “ODB” Baker is now a full time American professional poker player living in Katy, Texas, which is where I met him in 2004 at a card room where we immediately struck up a friendship. David has appeared at five World Series of Poker (WSOP) final tables, and currently has over $2 million in tournament winnings. David is an Auburn University alumnus, where he had been introduced to poker. By the mid-1990s he was playing pot limit Omaha at casinos in New Orleans and eventually began playing three times a week at underground casinos in Houston. He became a full-time professional poker player in 2004. While David never had the pleasure or opportunity to meet Herb, he knew through updates from Mark, what was going on with him and his Cancer diagnosis and treatments. The moment David was informed of the founding of the Organization Herbies Heroes, honoring my father Herb Ellerbe, he immediately wanted to help spread the word through his many followers on twitter (https://twitter.com/audavidb), and help support the cause to finding a cure for this disease. He, just like last month’s Heroes, John and Caroline, bought a % of Mark playing in a Poker Tournament at the World Series of Poker in which he also ended up profiting in the endeavor, and donated right back to Herbies Heroes in order to continue supporting the annual Herbies Heroes Scholarship given to a graduating Senior from our alma mater Orange Park High School as well as other recipients. Please join me in thanking him, and congratulating Mr. David Baker, and my friend, on being our Herbies Hero.
Please join me in congratulating Mr. and Mrs. John & Caroline Bateman-Sudhoff on being our Herbies Heroes. Caroline has been part of the Ellerbe family since around 1982 when she and Mark met in High School. Her genuine love for people and family was something to be envious of if you didn’t share the same qualities. Her friendship with Mark led in to not only a lifelong friendship with him, but the entire Ellerbe family. There were many outings for pizza and movies with Caroline throughout High School that left quite an impression on us as a family. Although she and Mark had not been in contact with each other since graduating, the bond that developed has lasted the test of time. Thankfully Facebook came around and it was no time before the two reconnected. Unfortunately the situation was so that Herb Ellerbe was in the midst of Cancer treatment and not doing well at all. The moment Caroline and her hysterically humorous husband John (aka my adopted brother) were informed of the founding of the Organization Herbies Heroes, honoring my father Herb Ellerbe, they immediately wanted to help spread the word, and help support the cause to finding a cure for this disease. An opportunity recently came about where John and Caroline bought a % of Mark playing in a Poker Tournament at the World Series of Poker in which she ended up profiting in the endeavor, and to no ones surprise, she of course donated the entire amount right back to Herbies Heroes in order to continue supporting the annual Herbies Heroes Scholarship given to a graduating Senior from our alma mater Orange Park High School as well as other recipients. Please join me in thanking them and congratulating John and Caroline Bateman-Sudoff, and my friend, on being our Herbies Hero.
Brittani Goddard is our Hero, and the winner of the 2nd Annual Herbies Heroes Scholarship in the amount of $1000.
Seniors of Orange Park High School (where Herb resided and both of his boys graduated from) were once again asked to write a 1 page essay on how Cancer has affected them, whether it was a friend or family member that was inflicted with this disease, and what they felt they could do individually to help in the search for a cure. Several of the 2015 graduating Seniors responded to our request, and It means a great deal to our Family that they would take the time to share their personal experience, and we especially appreciate that they are so passionate about making a difference in the search for a cure.
Brittani’s winning essay:
“Cancer can be a difficult obstacle to overcome in a family. All the way from Medical bills that have to be paid, keeping that family members spirit alive, and mostly coping with life day by day.
My father who is the age of 55 was recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma and leukemia. We are just beginning this journey and my Dad is going to MD Anderson to begin his treatments. Our main problems are medical bills, traveling expenses to MD Anderson and it being my senior year of High school. Now I have to find a way to help my family pay for my College. This really dropped a weight on my mom’s shoulders and brought our family to a realization of how serious his condition was.
I helped my mom steadily through all the bills and we are still at this time getting his treatments done for his type of cancer. My dad is a strong and steadfast man who can pull through any type of battle, but this battle has been the worst yet.
Another battle we faced as a family was keeping my dad with a positive attitude. Having a family member as close as a father having Cancer is a hard thing to deal with. It changed my life dramatically and made me realize how important the life God gives us is. Day in and day out I would keep a positive outlook on life so it would take my father’s mind off of the cancer and how the treatments would make him feel. My mom sit’s by his side through up to ten hours of one treatment. As a family it made us stronger and grow a better bond with one another.
Along with a strong bond, we also take life day by day. My father who has had family members of his own pass away from cancer was slowly starting to see what it does to a human being. He always had to remind himself that God does have a plan for him and that taking life as it comes is his best bet. My dad to me resembles a warrior and that’s what make me push him to be better and achieve what still needs to be done in life. I wanted to let him know that his days of living are not measured by what a doctor says but by when God wants you to finally come home and rest. Until then he stays on his feet and not once gave up, and that is what changed me today. I want to go to College and make my Dad proud and study Physical therapy and the affect it has on cancer patients.
All in all cancer is a dangerous battle to fight with, but aside from medical bills and all the things that come with it, hope is your best chance.
This is what my dad has throughout this long drawn out process. He has hope and believes God will always have a plan set out for him. This is why my father having cancer has changed the way I live so much.”
Dr. Patsy Agee enjoyed 40 years of service in the vocational education system for the State of Florida. She served as a teacher, supervisor, and administrator, as well as a private consultant working with school districts and colleges to perform evaluations. After the death of her husband, Patsy moved to Orange Park, Fl. in order to be closer to family. That process included her joining the Orange Park United Methodist Church and meeting many wonderful people. Among that group were Herb and Charlene Ellerbe. Life took an interesting turn and Patsy became a resident of Lake Ridge South which is the area in which Herb & Charlene lived. Because of God’s intervention, Herb & Charlene provided Patsy with valuable information concerning a residence that became available just across the street from their home. This was important because Patsy was in need of a place to live. As they became better friends, Patsy learned that Herb had once been a distributor for the Gideon Bibles. Because of her many travels as a state education employee, Patsy knew how important those Bibles could be to a weary traveler. Sadly for us all, the Cancer had entered in to Herbs body for a 2nd time, and Herb left to enjoy paradise with our Lord. Within the next year, the youth director at the church gave a talk to the women’s circle Charlene & Patsy attended. He told of the need for Bibles to use with the youth at Orange Park United Methodist Church. In Patsy’s words, the Lord spoke to her with great force and told her to fulfill that need. She remembered the work Herb had done for the Gideon Bible effort and decided to provide the Bibles in his name. Each Bible was stamped to remind the youth that Herb Ellerbe’s memory was being honored. For her constant support and help throughout Herb’s transition, please join me in congratulating Dr. Patsy Agee on being a Herbies Hero.
If this young man is the future of our society, than I think we are all going to be in very good hands. Robert Kelly came in to Herb’s life like a whirlwind. His energy, his commitment to his job, his positive attitude and his compassion for the patients and family he works with is 2nd to none. If my memory serves me correctly, Herb was admitted to Orange Park Medical Center and taken to his room at about 2pm in September 2013, and after going through all of the questionnaires, and filling out paperwork that comes with being admitted, at around 3:10pm here comes Robert, in to all of our lives. He acted as if he had known us for years, and immediately made Herb and our entire family feel welcomed, and most importantly, comfortable, that Herb was in good hands. There was nothing this young man would not do for Herb and his other patients. If he was in the middle of his lunchtime, or break time, he would drop whatever he was doing to address the needs of his patients. Robert has a job that would take its toll on any individual, as he deals with terminal patients that he, and the family knows the patient does not have a lot of time left on this earth, but the care that Robert gives is phenomenal to say the least. There was nothing Robert would not do for his patients, and the way he does it, allows the patient to maintain their dignity through whatever they are faced with. Herb was under the care of Robert the final 3 weeks of his life, and there was not a day that went by that he didn’t stay positive and did everything in his power to help Herb through his transition. I know that Robert made an impression on Herb and his entire family, and in turn, Herb and family made an impression on Robert. The day Herb was laid to rest, Robert, although he had to work, made his way to the funeral during his lunch time to pay his respects, once again, putting his patients first. Robert will forever be part of the Ellerbe family because of the way he treated us. I am sure it is quite obvious to all who read this why Robert Kelley is our Herbies Hero.
Jimmy Hughes is a long time close friend of the Ellerbe family. He met Mark Ellerbe at Orange Park High School in 1980 where the two developed a friendship that would last until this day. After high school, as is the case in many instances, they moved to different cities. Mark to Tampa Florida, and Jimmy to Jacksonville to attend Jacksonville University on a golf scholarship. While Mark decided to start a family at a young age, Jimmy pursued his dream of becoming a professional golfer on the Hooters Jordan tour and other local tours. Many years passed and when the 2 of them reconnected on Facebook, their friendship picked up where it left off. Now, Jimmy is a very successful Pilot for United Airlines (formerly of Continental) where he flies cross country on the 777 aircrafts. The moment Jim was informed of the founding of the Organization Herbies Heroes, honoring my father Herb Ellerbe, he immediately wanted to help with a wonderful donation, and he also made a commitment to help spread the word, and help support the cause to finding a cure for this disease. Please join me in thanking him and congratulating Jimmy Hughes, and my friend, on being our Herbies Hero.
Our hero is very near and dear to me. I have known this beautiful lady for 31 of my 48 years on this earth, and although there have been a few trials and tribulations along the way, we have weathered the storm and become even closer through each situation. I am talking about Yvette Smith Ellerbe, Daughter-in-Law to Herb Ellerbe, the namesake of Herbies Heroes. Yvette and her family were first introduced to this awful disease when her Aunt, Peggy Sue Faggard from Stone Mountain, Georgia, died from complications of Breast Cancer in 1996. A little less than 10 years later in 2005, her own Mother, Sandra Marie Smith was diagnosed with Breast Cancer as well, and underwent a mastectomy to remove the tumor and potential underlying growths. It was in 2010 that Herb Ellerbe was first diagnosed with Bladder Cancer in which he received treatment in Orange Park to try and eliminate the disease and it eventually was put in to remission. In late 2012 Herb’s Cancer re-appeared with a vengeance, and it was determined he would come to Houston at MD Anderson Cancer Center for treatment. We opened up our home, and our hearts, as any family would do, to do anything and everything we could to help with his treatment. Yvette would battle with Herb to drink more fluids even when he didn’t want to drink anymore as directed by the Doctors, she would drive him to his appointments when he nor my mom were up to driving regardless of the time of day, she would rub his feet with Vaseline when they were so raw from the effects of the Chemotherapy, and the list goes on. Barely over a year of Herb’s passing, in Nov. 2014, her Mother, Sandra Marie Smith was informed her Cancer had returned and Yvette immediately boarded a plane from Houston, for Florida, to go help and support her Mother through this 2nd round of treatment. Unfortunately, the Cancer was also in her spine this time, and although they tried desperately to control it, her body was unable to handle anymore Chemotherapy, and eventually was placed in Hospice Care. Yvette was the rock of the Smith household and took on many roles to help keep everyone calm and strong throughout Sandy’s final days. It takes a special person to do everything that she has done for not only her family, but also others in need, and for these reasons, it is no secret why Mrs. Yvette Smith Ellerbe is our Herbies Hero.
THE December 2014 Herbies Hero is a lady who has been battling this horrific disease for over 10 years. She was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer, in which it was determined her best course of action would be to undergo a mastectomy which was ultimately performed in 2004. She went through countless hours of chemotherapy and radiation all the while continuing to work at her job of 25 years for the City of Jacksonville. She was later diagnosed with esophageal Cancer for which she had to undergo more chemotherapy and radiation to continue fighting for her life. Now, after it began more than 10 years ago, the Cancer has returned with a vengeance having attacked her Breast again, and now her spine and pelvis. This lady has fought the good fight but it seems to be taking its toll as she has recently been placed in Hospice care in Orange Park, Fl. This lady is Sandra Smith, my Mother-in-Law, and matriarch of the Smith Family that includes her Husband of 50 years Dean, Daughter and my wife of 30 years Yvette, and her son Troy. Please join me in congratulating Sandra Smith for being our Herbies Hero.
Jordan W. Charness, D.C.S., B.A., L.L.L., Barrister and Solicitor, and Senior Partner of Charness, Charness & Charness, who is listed in Canadian Who’s Who, and has been practicing Law since 1985. He is an accomplished trial lawyer who has successfully represented some of the world’s largest companies before the courts. His legal advice is sought after by clients at all stages of their legal situations. An expert negotiator, his advice has solved many of his client’s problems before they escalated into court litigation. He is currently the on air legal analyst appearing live at the anchor desk of CTV television. He wrote a weekly column in The Montreal Gazette, Canada’s oldest daily newspaper and is the author of hundreds of published articles and a best selling book. He is a professor of law (part time) at John Abbot College and is also a Member of the Board of the Shriners Hospital for Children.
Jordan was notified of the commencement of Herbies Heroes and immediately made a commitment and wonderful donation to help spread the word, and help support the cause to finding a cure for this disease. Please join me in thanking him for his constant support for great causes, and being our Herbies Hero.
I wasn’t quite sure when the right time was to make this person our Hero because honestly, she has been a Hero each and every month. Charlene Ellerbe was married to Herbie for 56 years. She was his soul mate, his wife, the mother of his children, and most of all, his rock. From the moment Herb & Charlene came to Houston, she was just as supportive and motivated to find a cure for this awful disease not only for Herb, but for everyone inflicted with this killer. She didn’t leave his side. From the multitude of Doctor visits, to the 2 day long chemotherapy treatments, to the awful side effects of the treatment, she was there every minute of every day. The loyalty and steadfast love she showed Herb was refreshing and true, and many people could learn from her. Charlene’s 80th Birthday is October 29th, and I could not think of a better time to honor her with the title of Herbies Hero.