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Paul G. Flory, RRP "Silver Fox" builds Timeshare Systems and reaches out to people in need

By Rosalie E. Leposky

Friends and colleagues call him “the Silver Fox.” Paul G. Flory, RRP, white-haired and tall at age 61, is a quiet man with a strong professional and personal mission.

Since entering the timeshare industry in June of 1979, he has helped to build timeshare projects from the ground up, developed accounting systems, overseen property management, and guided owners’ associations for The Mariner Group, Inc., and Island One Resorts. Recently he left Island One to become senior vice president and chief financial officer for Chriswell-Radovan LLC, a developer of hotels and commercial space. He will join William Criswell and Robert Radovan in developing timeshare resorts.

PGF Enterprises, Inc., Flory’s own timeshare and real estate consulting firm, will maintain an office in Orlando.

“In 1985, when Paul became president of Mariner Property Management, Inc., he gained the respect of his subordinates because he took the time to learn our jobs,” says Reginald D. Billups, PCAM, now director of resort operations for Hilton Grand Vacations Company, which in 1992 absorbed Mariner Corporation, a subsidiary of The Mariner Group.

“While working for us, Paul learned all sides of the timeshare industry — financial, operational, and property management,,” says Allen G. Ten Broek, The Mariner Group’s president and chief executive officer.

Flory also has contributed greatly to the American Resort Development Association. Since 1987 he has held 17 different ARDA positions, often more than one at a time. He has been a certified instructor in the Florida Community Association Manager continuing-education program, and has chaired or served on key committees, councils, and task forces, including the audit, ethics, and property management committees, the Vacation Timeshare Council, and the Florida Timesharing Task Force. He was ARDA’s treasurer in 1991-1993, and was a 1993 Silver Award recipient in the ARDA Leader of the Year competition.

“Paul was ARDA’s first chairman of the property management committee, and had the opportunity to help ARDA step beyond its traditional developer base. He enfranchised people in the business of running timesharing,” notes Harry E. McCoy II, RRP, another active ARDA participant and a partner in the law firm of Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll.

Paul Flory’s Checklist

  • Be positive
  • Be more friendly, warm and outgoing
  • Listen
  • Control your temper
  • Be professional
  • Do not gossip, always keep confidence
  • Be mentally tough
  • Be more flexible
  • Be human
  • Be more observant
  • Fight to maintain integrity and the highest
    standard of ethics.
  • Help others to succeed and thereby help
    yourself
  • Do not be a prophet “of doom”
  • Integrity is an absolute must
  • Avoid negativism
  • Maintain a strong self-image
  • Set specific goals and objectives
  • Maintain a good attitude, especially when
    things are bad
  • Give it all you’ve got
  • Believe in yourself
  • Believe in your company
  • Remember! Differences in performance result from differences in treatment

“Paul has been my timeshare mentor,” says Lynn McCrory, president of Pahio Management, Inc., on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. “I manage four timeshare resorts with a total of 191 units. Soon after I started in 1989, I attended an ARDA meeting where Paul was one of the chief speakers. We have since worked on the resort-management committee and the ARDA Education Institute together, and we are preparing our third Hawaiian regional timeshare seminar October 4-6, 1998, for Hawaii’s 54 timeshare resorts.”

Growing up in Detroit

Flory’s mother, Theda Gray, was 20 years old in 1929 when she rode on the back of her older brother Hiram’s motorcycle from the western Kentucky community of Clay to Detroit, Michigan. “Uncle Hiram was living in Detroit. He went home to the small backwoods community where his family lived to bring his younger sister north,” says Flory. “Hiram wanted to help my mother take advantage of the opportunities available in Detroit. Mother found work as a shop girl for Crowley’s, a retailer of apparel and home accessories.”

                       
                        Paul G. Flory, RRP

It was the height of the depression. “My father, Charles E. Flory, had a law degree from Detroit College of Law but was unable to find a job with a law firm. Dad worked pumping gas at a local filling station. He lived with and helped support his parents.”

Charles and Theda Flory met on a blind date and married in the early 1930s. “Mother moved in with my father’s family and continued to work at Crowley’s until I was born in 1937. When the depression eased, my dad worked for a short while for a Detroit law firm before joining Wayne County civil service as a probate-court clerk. Dad later served as probate registrar, the head of the administrative section of the probate court.

“Dad liked his work. People would line up to ask him questions about everything from birth certificates to securing a will. He helped everyone, including at least one of the Dodge brothers.

“I remember going downtown as a child to meet Dad for dinner. Mother and I would wait until he helped everyone waiting in line when his office closed at 4:30 PM. Dad always stayed until the last person was helped. Then we would go across the street to eat at Jacoby’s, a German restaurant at 624 Brush Street.”

Eventually the Florys obtained their own flat, and in 1941 they built a three-bedroom colonial-style home in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.

Flory’s mother died in 1981 at the age of 73. “Dad lived in our family’s Dearborn house until the mid 1980s, when he renewed the acquaintance of and married a former co-worker, Helen Marie Stobar, a resident of Sun City, Arizona. Helen and Dad called to ask my permission to marry, “ Paul recalls. “In October 1996, Dad died of a stroke at the age of 88.”

While in high school, Paul Flory worked summers for a Detroit landscaper, Myron Schroeder. “We were paid a dollar an hour when we cut lawns, and 60 cents on rainy days when we worked indoors in an old warehouse,” Flory recalls.

Flory’s biggest interest in high school was working on cars. “In my senior year I took Mr. Grant’s half-day auto shop class where we had no stress and had the tools and materials to work on our own cars. After class my friends and I liked to tool around and try to impress the girls with our cars. Some of my closest life-long friends are men from that class.” Some day, Flory would like to find and restore a 1940s Ford Coupe. “I hope to find such a car somewhere in a junk yard,” he says. “I expect it would take me four or five years to restore.”

William C. Donaldson, a retired Ford Motor Company senior service engineer who now lives on Harsens Island, Michigan, has known Flory since grade school. “In our senior year of high school, Paul rode the first of three motorcycles he would own, an old 1938 Harley Davidson,” says Donaldson.

“Once I was racing the Harley. It went into a speed wobble. I fell off and broke my ankle,” says Flory. “At about age 21, I sold my third bike, a Triumph T-110.”

Just after graduating from Dearborn High School in 1955, Flory and Donaldson left to spend a few days at Donaldson’s parents’ cabin on Walpole Island, near the mouth of the St. Clair River in Ontario. “On the way up to Walpole,” Donaldson recounts, “we raced my 1950 Ford hot-rod against other cars. Late that night the Ford’s transmission failed near Sarnia, Ontario, about 60 miles from my parents’ cabin.

“We had very little money with us, and decided to spend the night drinking coffee in an all-night diner. A waitress became curious and called the local constable, who ushered us for the rest of the night to the Sarnia Jail.”
“We were both scared,” says Flory. “We slept very little. The cell next to us was full of noisy, active, drunken men. The next morning we were released as promised.”

“Paul spent the night praying,” Donaldson recalls. “Perhaps that night became the basis for his later interest in prison ministry.”

Education Can Wait

“After high-school graduation, I decided to work and make money,” Flory says. “Years later, I realized the error of my ways. I should have gone directly from high school to college.” For a year and a half, he worked as an engineering-department clerk for Motors Metal Company, a Detroit manufacturer of fenders and other automotive parts. From 1957 to 1965, he worked in the office of Kramer Brothers Freight Line on Central Avenue in Detroit.

In 1958, Flory married Marilyn Chastain. They were divorced in 1960, and Flory retained custody of their son, Robert K. Flory. “We lived with my parents and my mother helped me care for my son.” Chastain died in 1996.

In 1965, Flory decided to leave his dead-end job, attend night school to work towards a college degree and accounting credentials, and establish his own home.

“I Interviewed and was hired for a position as an accountant for Shell Oil Company’s prototype Shell Motorlab in suburban Detroit. A Motorlab was a large automotive complex that included a traditional filling station, automotive store, repair facilities, and a car wash. If the prototype worked, Shell hoped to open hundreds of them. The concept was ahead of its time, and it failed.”

Flory worked for Shell for a year and a half. “Knowing I was good with numbers, Shell hired me to be an accountant,” he says. “Shell was aware I had never been to college and had no formal accounting training. To train me, they assigned John Beddoe, a New York-based accountant who became my business mentor. John worked with me day and night.

“I enrolled in classes at Henry Ford Community College, but with every career move I enrolled in a different college or university, only to have to leave and start over again.” Four states, 13 years, and multiple schools and programs later, Flory finally earned his bachelor’s degree in 1979.

At a ski club dance in 1966, Flory met Mary K. “Molly” Beamer, an English teacher. They were married in 1967. “Molly’s mother wasn’t sure we should get married, because I was raising my son. About 15 years ago she gave us her approval,” he says.

Molly, now 57, taught English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes for over a dozen years in Fort Myers and Orlando. “Today I teach ESOL and employability skills for an Orange County public school, the Mid-Florida Technical School for Adults,” she says. “We teach off-campus classes in hotels and other businesses that have trouble hiring English-speaking employees.”

For Paul’s 60th birthday, Molly conspired with Toby Smith at Island One to create a memory book. “Toby gave me a list of the names and addresses of Paul’s business associates,” Molly says. “About six weeks before Paul’s birthday, I mailed letters to about a hundred of Paul’s business associates and long-time friends and family. Sixty to 70 percent of the people wrote back and some sent pictures.” Paul was flabbergasted.

From Oil to Chicken

In 1967, just a few months before the Motorlab prototype closed, Flory left Shell to work as chief accountant for the Detroit-area Chatham Supermarkets. In November of 1969, he followed his Chatham boss, Tom Johnson, to Kentucky Fried Chicken. Johnson became KFC’s Michigan regional controller and Flory was assistant regional controller.

Harland D. Sanders (1890-1980), an honorary Kentucky Colonel, founded KFC with his wife, Claudia (1903-1997), in 1952 from their home in Corbin, Kentucky. In 1964 they sold KFC to a group of investors that included former Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown Jr. After the sale, Sanders remained with the company.

“I met the Colonel twice,” says Flory. “Once I was eating alone in KFC’s Louisville executive dining room, and the Colonel brought his tray to my table. He greeted me, sat down, and asked what I did for KFC. I answered. Without a word, he picked up his tray and moved to another table. Later he visited my Atlanta office when I was responsible for all of KFC’s nationwide financial obligations. Again he asked what I did for KFC, and this time he got very mad at me and said, ‘You don’t cook any chicken or make any gravy.’ I knew then that Sanders was not going to like anyone he talked to in our KFC financial office.”

Brown built KFC by buying back franchises at a handsome premium and building new company-owned stores. Management regions of about 60 stores each were established. Michigan was one of Brown’s first regions, with an operations and accounting office in Detroit. In 1971, Brown sold KFC to Heublein, Inc., which sold it in 1986 to PepsiCo, which spun it off in 1997 as part of Tricon Global Restaurants, Inc.

By 1971, KFC had 10 regions. In January of 1971, Flory transferred to Syracuse, New York, as regional controller to reorganize an office that managed about 110 KFC stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, including 45 in New York City.

In 1974 KFC reorganized. “Tom Johnson, then in Louisville, Kentucky, was still my boss,” Flory says. “He decided to close all of KFC’s regional accounting offices and centralize accounting in one office in Atlanta, Georgia.”

Flory was one of three employees transferred to Atlanta in 1974. The United States was divided in half, with Flory responsible for the Eastern Region and Melvin Sodergren the Western Region. “Tom, Mel, and I opened our office and hired 150 new employees who gathered one Saturday to meet seven semi-trailers bringing about 5,000 storage containers and furniture from the 10 KFC regions. It took us three years to open and sort all 5,000 boxes.

“Eventually Mel transferred to Louisville, and I became the controller for KFC National Management Company, the field division of KFC with about 1,500 stores in 40 states and a staff of about 200.”

Flory left KFC in July of 1978 during another reorganization. “At first I was mad,” Flory says. “At one time I wanted to be president of KFC, but then I realized KFC had done me a big favor. Leaving forced me to take a close look at myself. I learned about the best self-help and executive recruiting book I have ever read, What Color is your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolle (Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press, 1971).” From Bolle’s text, Flory made up a list of 22 dos and don’ts that he carried for years in his wallet. “This list made a major difference in my life,” he says.

The Road to Mariner

Leaving Molly and the boys in Atlanta, Flory worked for three months as the chief financial officer for Boogarts Supermarkets, an ill-fated family-owned firm in Miami, Florida. Flory realized Boogarts had bigger problems than he could solve, so he quit at Thanksgiving and returned to Atlanta. For the next eight months he was out of work.
“Those were some of our happiest times,” he recalls. “Molly and I took jobs paying minimum wage that we obtained through temporary agencies. We spent time with our friends doing things that did not require a lot of money, and I finished the class work needed to obtain my college degree. I had left all the mathematics classes for the end.”

“One summer Paul took calculus and statistics,” says Molly. “He studied full time and was completely stressed out.”

In 1971, while living in Syracuse, Flory had learned about a new external-degree program offered by The University of the State of New York. Through self-study courses and five semesters at Oglethrope University in Atlanta, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in finance in March, 1979 through Regents College in Albany, New York. (Regents College became a private institution in 1998.  For a while after graduating, Flory served as a regional advisor for Regents students. “Without my degree,” he says, “I never would have been considered for my next job.”

Robert M. Taylor, chairman of The Mariner Group, Inc., in Fort Myers, Florida, needed a controller for his company. Taylor asked for help from an Ohio State University classmate, Tampa executive-search consultant Robert E. Lamalie, who gave the request to Fred Schriber in Lamalie’s Atlanta office. Schriber knew KFC’s former vice president of human resources, William “Bill” Layton, who was then working for Holiday Inns in Memphis. “Bill told Fred about me and Fred called me,” says Flory. “Then Fred set up a meeting for me with Allen Ten Broek on Captiva Island.

“Even though I had never been in real estate or heard the word ‘timesharing,’ I liked what I saw. Four or five weeks went by, and nothing happened. Finally Mariner called and asked me back for a second interview with Bob Taylor, and to bring Molly with me.”

Becoming a Timeshare Veteran

In June of 1979, Flory started with The Mariner Group. One of his first objectives there was to create a data-processing system. “I started with one staff member, bookkeeper Gloria A. Brown (now the firm’s senior accountant), and 1,000 timeshare sales, mostly from Casa Ybel Beach and Racquet Club, waiting to be closed. In 1990, when I left as president of Mariner Property Management, Inc., we had 150 employees.”

Flory set up the necessary accounting programs and systems with the help of Tom Matthews, CPA, then-manager of a Fort Myers accounting company that is now part of Coopers and Lybrand, and Dick McKinely of Guardian Title, a former Mariner Group company.

Flory’s Mariner Group responsibilities grew and changed over the years. “My job was to help Mariner’s subsidiaries make money,” he says. “Mariner’s philosophy always has been that each subsidiary had to be self-supporting and show a profit.”

In 1982, Flory was named vice president, administration. “My responsibilities grew to include typical corporate accounting, administrative, and financial aspects, including budgets, financial analysis and infrastructure, forecasting, and tax planning for the Mariner Group subsidiaries.” Flory functioned as an internal consultant to Mariner Group’s subsidiaries and served on the board of directors of Mariner’s furniture and design subsidiary, Robb & Stucky, Inc., and VIP Realty, Inc.

In late 1985, Flory became president of Mariner Property Management, Inc., a standalone firm responsible for Mariner’s timeshare projects and for whole-ownership projects that formerly were part of Marquis Hotels and Resorts.

Reginald D. “Reg” Billups, who started with Mariner about a year before Flory, managed the timeshare owners’ associations and Kim Kreiger (now in Orlando with Hilton) managed the whole-ownership condominium associations.

“In July, 1990, as Paul prepared to leave Mariner to join Island One in Orlando, he wrote a very personal open letter to his Mariner co-workers,” recalls Billups. “Paul wrote that he thought that Mariner Property Management was one of the best management companies in the timeshare industry, and that we were the ones that made it happen. He was proud of each individual MPM staff member. Paul encouraged us no matter what obstacles we faced to continue to operate MPM with honesty, truth, and high ideals.”

At Island One, Flory was president of Island One Resort Management, a management subsidiary responsible for a total of 654 timeshare units at four Orlando-area resorts: 350 at Isle of Bali, 144 at Parkway International, 116 at Orbit One, and 44 at Bryan’s Spanish Cove.

Later he became treasurer of Island One, but continued to participate in owner relations. “Sulyn Stumbras-Sanchez succeeded Paul as president of Island One Resort Management. She so valued Paul’s advice that she asked him to continue attending our four association board meetings,” says Toby S. Smith, director of administration at Island One Resorts.

Patience with Children

professional life come into play when he works with children. “About once a month when Paul is in Orlando on a Sunday, he volunteers to play with the toddlers in our nursery at Pine Castle United Methodist Church,” says Molly. “He is one of few man to willing to volunteer to help with the toddlers. He was good with our sons. He would read, sing, and play made-up games with them.”

During his tenure at Island One, Flory played Santa Claus for the firm’s annual Christmas party. “Paul is very slender, and with all the necessary padding it took him well over an hour to dress as Santa Claus. If you didn’t know it was him, you would not have recognized him,” says Toby Smith.

Robert Flory was nine when his father remarried and 13 when his father joined Kentucky Fried Chicken. “We used to fish a together when Robert was small,” says Paul.

Robert Flory, now 40, and his wife, Karen, operate Flory Auto Wholesale, Inc. in Fort Myers. He has four children: Amber Flory, 16, a junior at North Fort Myers High School; Sarah Lessig, 17, a senior at Lee County High School; Justin Lessig, a ninth-grader at Lee County High School; and a nephew, David Hudson, 8, a student at Colonial Elementary School.

Neil R. Flory, 28, is a doctoral graduate assistant in music composition at the University of Texas in Austin. “I have always liked all forms of music,” says Neil. “I played the trombone in my sixth-grade band, and discovered the piano at age 13. In high school I played with a rock band.”

The University of Florida chapter of the Society of Composers, Inc., has recorded one of Neil’s compositions The promotional recording is not commercially available.

“My music, like all new ‘classical’ music, is most likely to be played at music competitions, new-music festivals, and on university campuses,” Neil says. “Over the past few years, I’ve written for individual performers I’ve met.” In Austin, guitarist Mathew Gould and violinist Beth Schreider perform his music.

Athletics keep Flory fit

For the past 20 years, Paul Flory has been an avid triathlon participant. The sport involves a one-mile swim, a 6.2-mile run, and a 25-mile bicycle ride. Now he participates in sprint triathlon events for men aged 60 to 64, swimming a quarter of a mile, running three miles, and cycling 11 miles. “After more than 100 full triathlon completions, my knees are burned out,” he says.

Bicycling is Flory’s special passion. He owns a Kestrel all-carbon bike made by Sandpoint Design, Inc., of Watsonville, California, and a custom-made steel Gilmour racing bicycle made by Andrew Gilmour of Tucson, Arizona. “Good bikes are still hand-brazed, a form of joining metal in which the frame is melted together, a very old-fashioned traditional way of making bikes,” says Gilmour.

“When I’m in town on Saturday I often ride my Kestrel on 40-mile day trips with the 700-member Florida Freewheelers,” says Flory.
“For the last eight or nine years Paul has been ranked in the top 10 Florida over-50 male bicycle riders,” says Reginald D. Billups, who worked with Flory at The Mariner Group, Inc. “Paul convinced me to ride and helped me choose the bike I still ride as part of my daily exercise program. Once Paul and I were going to a business meeting at one of our resorts. He suggested we take our bikes. We had never ridden together, so I agreed to an 11-mile early morning ride. I figured we would ride and talk. We started off together from the hotel parking lot, but Paul soon was way ahead of me, and he finished several minutes before me.”

Flory has run a number of 10-kilometer and half-marathon races, but only one full marathon — the Orange Bowl Marathon in Miami, Florida, in January of 1984. “I will always remember how proud we were when dad finished the Orange Bowl Marathon absolutely exhausted,” says his son Neil.

The Mariner Story

In the mid 1960s, Robert M. Taylor and Allen G. Ten Broek, met during an AT&T management-training program. For eight years they talked about forming their own real-estate business. Meanwhile, Taylor served in the Army and worked in the Cleveland office of the multi-national management and consulting firm McKinsey and Company, while Ten Broek worked for ATT in Chicago, Illinois, Cincinnati, Ohio, and New York City.

Vacationing in Florida in 1971, Taylor identified a real estate opportunity. Taylor moved to Florida, and established The Marine Group.

In the first three years of their partnership, Taylor and Ten Broek developed homesites in two early Sanibel Island beachfront residential projects, Gulf Pines and Sanibel Moorings (each with 120 sites); a 110-unit whole-ownership condominium project, the Mariner Pointe; and the island’s first boutique shopping center, Periwinkle Place. Simultaneously, Taylor and Ten Broek started South Seas Plantation.

In September of 1972, Taylor and Ten Broek purchased the South Seas Plantation on Captiva Island from the family of RCA executive Wally Watts. “Thirty-nine companies presented the Watts family with proposals,” Ten Broek says. “We were one of the final three companies, and we were selected because we were willing to pay more over a shorter period of time. Our offer was for about $3.5 million for 300 acres with two miles of private beachfront and a 30-room hotel. We obtained our funding from a Cleveland real-estate investment trust. After the closing, my role shifted from investor to active participant, and I moved to Florida, too.”

Contrary to popular myth, Mrs. Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of aviator Charles A. Lindbergh, probably wrote Gift From the Sea while staying at a private Captiva Island cottage rather than at South Seas Plantation.

Timeshare Pioneers

“Taylor focuses on new ideas and figures out what we should do, and my role is to organize what we decided to do,” says Ten Broek. “Driving through the Florida Keys in the fall of 1975, I first saw signs for timesharing at the Encore and Hawk Nest projects. I was already trying to figure out how we could sell hotel rooms for five years at a time and was delighted to discover someone was already doing this. Over the 1975 Christmas holidays Bob and I visited the projects and were impressed. South Seas was one of the first whole-ownership projects signed up for Jon DeHaan’s original exchange program. Jon was in Florida looking for developer clients. He came to Captiva to talk to us and was later instrumental in our trying timesharing.

“In early 1976 we created our first timeshare project, four units at South Seas Plantation. Eventually 56 timeshare units were built. Our first units sold for $1,500 to $4,500,” says Ten Broek. “We began a resale program in 1981, and those same units now resell for $10,000 to $40,000.”

Today, in addition to 110 timeshare units, South Seas Plantation has a total of about 1,000 rooms in the hotel and a whole-ownership condominium rental program.

“Our hotel guests were our first timeshare prospects,” Ten Broek says. “On check-in, they received an adventure book with local information and coupons for dinner and drinks that were redeemable on the property. Books were validated for hotel guests that visited our timeshare sales center and model. Our approach has always been low-key. Later we used flyers that said give us an hour and we will throw in the towels. Two beach towels were added incentives.

“We converted rental guests to timeshare owners. These prospects paid their own way. We had a lot of guests who did not want a second home, but timeshare was just right for them. Today we have owners who own as much as eight to 12 weeks.”

Between 1976 and 1990, The Mariner Group sold about 600 timeshare villas, including its own developments and others it purchased to sell out (see box). In 1992 it formed a joint venture with Hilton Hotels Corporation, and the Mariner timeshare inventory became the backbone of Hilton Grand Vacations Club.

Bringing Faith to Those Less Fortunate

In addition to his professional activities, Paul G. Flory, RRP has spent vacations and personal time since 1987 on over 40 of Bill Glass’s Weekend of Champions prison-ministry weekends, visiting men in local, state, and federal jails and prisons in 15 states. Glass, a former defensive end for the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns football teams, ended his playing career in 1969 and began his prison ministry in 1972. 

In January of 1987, Bill Glass Ministry board member Warren Wlkins, a retired J.C. Penney Company executive, invited Flory to attend a Weekend of Champions at the South Florida Reception Center in Miami. “I went, and I was hooked,” Flory says. He has served the ministry as Florida state director, and as a Weekend coordinator in Florida and nationwide.

Weekend of Champions brings sports figures and entertainers into prisons. Flory participated in a recent visit to the Palmer Correction Minimum Facility in Palmer, Alaska, which also involved Bruce Collie, former San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos lineman; Johnny Spinks, former national kick-boxing champion; Paul Wrenn, world master power-lifting champion for men over 40; magician and juggler Rick Nielsen from Des Moines, Iowa; and blues musician Zack Reynolds from Nashville, Tennessee.

“Former jewel robber Jack ‘Murf the Surf’ Murphy is now a paid Glass staff member,” says Flory. “He and others who have been in prison say the prison scenes in director Frank Darabont’s 1994 movie The Shawshank Redemption are fairly accurate.”

The organization has about 18,000 trained volunteers, says James D. Lang, executive vice president and director of prison ministries. “At each institution we present a program in the ‘yard.’ All people come, believers and non-believers, to laugh and enjoy themselves. Coordinators lead a team of 50 to 60 men who visit a local, county, state, or federal civilian or military institution.”

“Mostly we go by invitation to visit criminal-justice institutions,” says Flory. “Occasionally people call and ask me to visit a relative or friend. Timeshare-industry friends have asked for my help. Visitation arrangements are made with the prison chaplain. Sometimes the man is glad to see me. Sometimes I can help.”

The visit to Palmer, in early August, was Flory’s 50th prison visit on his 41st Weekend of Champions. “Bill Glass has probably been in 1,500 different North American criminal-justice institutions,” says Flory. “Visiting your first prison is not easy. Visiting a second and more is not any easier. What you can take into and out of prison is severely limited. Bill Glass volunteers carry copies of a small pamphlet Four Spiritual Laws published by Campus Crusade for Christ and a small personal Bible.”

For Paul and his wife, Mary K. “Molly” Flory, to elect to visit prisons on a regular basis is a religious commitment few of us feel, let alone act upon. Molly visits women’s institutions. Combined Glass teams of men and women visit juvenile facilities.

After the Alaskan Weekend of Champions, the Florys and five others chartered a private plane and flew to Fort Yukon to visit a missionary family, Steve and Karen Donley, and their three children. “The Donleys live in an isolated community with a population of about 580 just inside the Arctic Circle, where alcoholism is a major problem for the local Kutchin First Nation Peoples,” Flory says.

Marching For The Lord

Flory also has served since 1987 on the local advisory board of the Salvation Army, first in Ft. Myers and later in Orlando.

Major Larry Broome, the Salvation Army’s Orlando-area commander, was new in his post when Flory was asked to chair the county’s advisory board. “I really appreciated having him sit down with me to learn about my philosophy and background so that we would be on the same wave length. When I call, Paul always has been available to me with good advice and help,” Broome says.

“During my five years in Orlando, 1992 to 1997, Paul was our Christmas committee chairman. We used to meet twice a month,” says Major Dalton Cunningham, now general secretary for the Georgia division of the Salvation Army. “Paul is a modest and humble person, one of our unrecognized heroes. He certainly has invested himself in the lives of other people. He would tell you that it is his best investment.”

Rosalie E. Leposky is managing partner of Ampersand Communications, a news-features syndicate based in Miami, Florida.

For More Information

Bill Glass’s Weekend of Champions -  http://glassweb.com

Resort Development & Advisors, Inc. - http://www.resortadvisors.com/

Copyright 1998 Ampersand Communications
All Rights Reserved
Published in The Resort Trades, February 1998.


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