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Please Help Our Friends in Connecticut

This is a note sent out by  Bob Heffernan the Executive Director at Connecticut Floral Association (CFA) concerning the tragedy this week in Connecticut. If you or someone you know could help with these points, please email the contacts below. If you would like to send a donation, you can do so via the Michigan Floral Foundation, details at the bottom of this post.

 Connecticut Floral Association Special Notice

"Peaceful Comfort" Sympathy FlowersBecause there is the potential for a huge amount of funeral flowers this week for the funerals of the victims of the Newtown school murders, CFA will coordinate our industry’s response:

  • Volunteer designers. There’s only one real florist in the town (Newtown Florist) and one funeral home. They may be overwhelmed with orders on this, the busiest week of the year. If you would like to be on a stand-by list to volunteer for design help, please send an email to ctflorists@aol.com.
  •  Assistance to Newtown families in need. We don’t yet know if there are lower-income families of the victims. There could be a major draw on flowers for memorial services. President Obama may also come to Newtown. If you are a wholesaler who would like to make donations of flowers or product, OR if you simply would like to contribute to providing the funeral pieces in some other way (financial, product, etc.), please send an email to ctflorists@aol.com.

We all know that flowers can and will ease the pain of the families and loved ones of the Newtown victims, as they do for every other person who suffers a great loss.

Send Your Donations via Michigan Floral Foundation

The Michigan Floral Association has established an account for cash donations to be used to help the CFA provide for the victim’s families that are in need. If you would like to make a donation please make checks payable to the Michigan Floral Foundation and note CFA on the memo line and mail to MFF – PO Box 67 – Haslett, MI 48840.

If you would like to use a credit card please call Cindy at the MFA office (517) 575-0110. She will be able to assist you over the phone. The MFF will send 100% of your donation to the CFA to help with their efforts. You may also contact Cindy via email here cindy@michiganfloral.org.

Thank you for your support, this is going to be a difficult week for our industry friends in Connecticut. Thanks so much to Rodney Crittenden for sending this to us so that we can share with others.

Superman Florist Of The Year: Bob Buettner

Bob Buettner, Connecticut Florist of the Year

Bob Buettner from Paul Buettner Florist Inc. was recently named 2010 Connecticut Florist of the Year, but after our recent conversation, I think he should be titled, Superman Florist of the Year. He has done more in the past year than most people accomplish in 10! Congratulations Bob. No one deserves this honor more than you!

This award is given for more than just being an accomplished florist, it’s about all of the contributions made on both a local and state level. Bob is truly a man who goes above and beyond his call of duty.Working as a florist is great, but Bob’s true passion is helping others in need. He does an incredible job of merging his two loves.

Bob helps organize a special flowers for kids program in his community, where he shows children how to make bouquets. Each kid gets their own flowers to arrange and by the end of the day, they have their own bouquet to take home. There is also a story that goes along with it about growing flowers. What a great way to get kids interested in plants and flowers!

Flowers For Kids Program

Bob Buettner also has a big heart for charity. He sponsors a booth at the Connecticut Women’s Health and Wellness Expo where this year they helped raise $1,400 in 1½ days for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation. (Last year they raised $1,200!)

Flower Fundraiser For Susan G. Komen Foundation Flowers For Breast Cancer Awareness

For Christmas, Bob helps his team decorate childrens’ hospitals to, as Bob puts it, “bring [the children] a little bit of brightness and cheer.” He works with Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Bridgeport Hospital, Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, and others. Each hospital gets it’s own theme and they decorate multiple floors. Bob says they start planning in August and begin decorating right after Thanksgiving. What an amazing effort to bring joy to the lives of sick children who are stuck in the hospital for Christmas.

In February, Bob helps out at the Connecticut Flower Show. Here, he raises money for charity by doing multiple flower arranging demonstrations through the event.

Flower Arranging Demonstration

He also plays a vital role in the North East Floral Expo in March as trade fair chairman. Bob spends much of his time working closely with the Connecticut Florist Association. He is proud to be on their board of directors and is also marketing chairman. Buettner does as much as he can to proactively promote his industry.

Somehow, Bob also finds the time to teach floral design at the Manchester Community College.

Scuba Diving For Kids With Terminal Illnesses “One other project that is dear to my heart,” is surprisingly his role as a scuba instructor. For the past 22 years, Bob Buettner has spent his summers teaching scuba lessons to kids with terminal illnesses. These are kids who otherwise would never have the chance to be a part of something like this. It is clear Bob is wholeheartedly dedicated to helping others and is truly an inspiration to us all.

Surprised by his overwhelming selflessness, I asked “When do you have time to be a florist?!” He responded, “There’s always time to do new things that are worth while. All of these projects are very worth while. I have a lot of good help behind me. My committees work very hard and we all support each other.”

Bob Buettner is a 2nd generation florist who’s been in the business for over 50 years. His daughter (3rd gen) is now the shop manager and is slowly taking over his day-to-day practice. He says proudly that she is an excellent designer. When I asked about his family business, he said, “It’s nice to have family, because we all work so closely together. Sometimes there’s a problem at family dinners. We all start talking about business and things like that. It’s a very personal business and we pride ourselves on service.”

“I’m 66 years old and people keep asking me, ‘When are you going to retire?’ I will retire the day I don’t want to come to work. I enjoy the business. I keep telling people, ‘Grumpy people don’t buy flowers.’ It’s not always a happy situation; obviously we deal with a lot of people that have had death in the family, but we can give them a little peace and a little bit of beauty and know that we have brought a smile into their lives.”

The Connecticut Florist Association could not have picked a better choice for the 2010 Florist of the Year. Thanks Bob for being such an inspiration to us all.

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