“God never shuts one door without opening another”

Benita Zarr was the firstborn of three children, a sister Deanna and brother Jerome Thomas, Jr., born in Madison, FL and raised in Bradenton, FL. Benita is married with four beautiful daughters: Meghan (25), Autumn (16) and her step-daughters Allison (26) and Danielle (25).

Benita has worked for the Manatee County government for over 28 years, 20 of which she has been the Transit Operations Superintendent. No wonder Benita can mimic her elderly clients almost verbatim! Benita’s section serves low-income, disabled and elderly clients and recently her team was presented with the following awards: Driver of the Year, Innovative Project of the Year and Dispatcher of the Year. Congratulations Benita your confidence and being “ a little anal at times” has paid off!

Benita doesn’t have much time for television but she loves Lifetime. However, this fashionista obviously has time to max out her credit cards at Macy’s and Banana Republic so she can be all dolled up to chow down on a nice filet mignon at her favorite spot, Bern’s Steakhouse. Benita  loves Hawaii but still has Maui, Europe and Australia on her wish list of places to visit. For someone who has obtained her commercial driver’s license,  wants to skydive and run a Disney Marathon, I can’t believe her favorite song is Sailing.…seems like it should be Free-Falling for such a Speedy Beneaty!

Benita was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ on April 3, 2014 and one week later underwent a lumpectomy. Benita’s treatment included seven weeks of radiation.  “Speedy Beneaty” is one of the driving forces in our dragon boat engine room. I thought that butterfly- ribbon doorag of hers was functional, however with a second nickname of “Mullet” there may be a little “ business in the front and party in the back” hiding under there! Speaking of partying, have you seen SIS-Benita dance? Not only can she dress up for themed parties as Tina Turner but she’s got the moves and legs like Tina!

Benita is motivated by her mother whom she loves dearly. “Steel Magnolias” describes the story of Benita’s life; crazy at times (her dad once brought home a pet baby alligator) but loving and filled with family values and respect. It’s no wonder Benita’s greatest accomplishment is her own family whom she wishes success and the same spiritual upbringing. It is at home with her family and dog Bailey where Benita finds peace.

SIS-Benita and family love our dragon boat sisters and her goal is to be able to paddle on the left as strong as she does on the right. Perhaps, if we throw a cockroach on her seat she will  jump out of fear to the other side!

We love you SIS Benita!

by Bambi Famous Kaine