Couple presented with Tabor Award for dedication to Cape
He had trouble pronouncing the word, but completely understood what it means.
For Elmer Tabor, philanthropist is more than just an award that bares his namesake, it is a designation that speaks to the essence of Cape Coral: It is about honoring the past while building the future.
Tabor and longtime friend Paul Sanborn presented the 2009 Tabor Award for the Cape’s outstanding philanthropist to Anna “Boots” and Earle Tolles at Tarpon Point Marina on Wednesday night.
The Tolles are the third recipients of the award, receiving the honor for their longtime dedication to Cape Coral. They have been residents since 1961.
“Her philosophy has always been straightforward, like her personality,” Sanborn said.
Earle lost a longtime battle to cancer in June, so he received the award posthumously.
Boots was surrounded by her family, some three generations, while accepting the award, so she was far from alone.
“It means everything that he stood for,” she said of the award. “Cape Coral has always been at the top of our list.”
Having worked in real estate during the earliest of years in Cape Coral, the irony of accepting the award at Tarpon Point, a multi-million dollar development, was not lost on Boots, who along with her husband had their hands in any number of community groups and programs.
Earle helped to build Palmetto Pine Country Club and was a founding member of the Downtown Rotary Club and the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association, as well as a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Just as passionate as her husband, Sanborn told the crowd that Boots and Earle have long fought for the Cape.
“If Boots had her way, Cape Coral would have been its own county,” he joked.
Sanborn received the Tabor Award last year, a distinction that Elmer Tabor teared up at even this year while talking to the crowd.
Sanborn has long been Tabor’s mentor, both present since the earliest days of the Cape.
“Paul was one of my mentors growing up,” he said. “It was backwards, presenting my mentor with an award named the Tabor Award.”