Town Topics: What is your favorite memory of the late Bob Graham?

Community By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Fred Senra Partner Miami Lakes AutoMall Miami Lakes

     “It must have been 2015 when the senator had been guest speaker at our Chamber [of Commerce] luncheon,” Fred Senra said. “When I got to talk to him, I mentioned that I was partners with the Ahmed family and he said, ‘That name sounds familiar. As a matter of fact, in one of the books I have, I made mention of an Ahmed in Pakistan who was liaison to the armed forces at the time.’”

      Senra arranged for his partner Faisal Ahmed to meet Graham at the AutoMall.

     “Senator Graham told Faisal he knew his brother from Pakistan and that between [Senator Graham] and his brother, they helped save the world from a nuclear disaster.  Faisal was amazed to hear that. You’re talking about a nuclear war that people may take lightly but it’s not. They probably saved hundreds of thousands of lives.”

Richard Ruiz Owner, Miami Lakes Barber Shop Kendall

      “He was here during all of his elections,” Richard Ruiz said. “He was a very humble individual. He’d say hello to everybody as soon as you walked in. A very down to earth guy. He was soft spoken and a very decent human being. When he was writing his memoirs he asked us about how things would be different if Fidel wasn’t there, and how our family came [from Cuba] over to the United States, from communism to being U.S. citizens. When he first became governor he called my uncle for an appointment. Everyone expected him to show up with a limousine and bodyguards, but he drove up in his shorts and sneakers. He was definitely loved here.”

Edward Pidermann Town Manager, Miami Lakes Miami Lakes

     “I remember going to the dry cleaner at the Cypress Village Shopping Center years ago to pick up clothes,” Edward Pidermann wrote in an email.   “Senator Graham was there and when they brought his dry cleaning, he took out a note pad and jotted down information regarding the clothes that he picked up.” (The senator was famous for carrying a small notebook and jotting down events that happened each day, from big moments to the routine.) 

Gary Snow Snow’s Jewelers Miami Lakes 

     “He lived in my neighborhood, and I’d be outside washing my motorcycle,” Gary Snow said. “He’d ask, ‘How’s the hog doing?’ He’d walk to the store to get his newspaper every morning. He and Adele would invite us over to his house for snacks. We’d always wave to each other.  He was one of the last real good politicians. He was a straight shooter. Not like what we have today.”

Daylin Garcia  Co-Founder, Giving Gators Charity Miami Lakes 

     “Reflecting on my time as a past Parent Teacher Association board member at Bob Graham Education Center and a parent, there are numerous cherished memories of Senator Graham’s involvement in our school community,” Daylin Garcia wrote in an email.  "His genuine passion for education was palpable during every visit and event he attended. Whether it was delivering inspiring speeches during assemblies or mingling with students, teachers and parents, Senator Graham always left a profound impact. His willingness to share personal life experiences and offer words of encouragement resonated deeply with everyone present, fostering a sense of unity and motivation within our school. These memories serve as a testament to his dedication to education and his lasting influence on our community.”

     Alexandra Herrera interviewed Daylin Garcia. Linda Trischitta photographed Gary Snow and interviewed him and our other Town Topics talkers, who shared their pictures. We thank you all!