FORT MYERS, Fla. (September 6, 2011) – Shell Point Retirement Community is pleased to announce that its fourth annual Speaker Series will begin in January, according to Dawn Boren, director of resident life for Shell Point. This year the series will follow a theme of “In The Face of Courage”, and feature Joel Sonnenberg, Richard Picciotto, and Dave Sanderson; all of whom have overcome a range of adversities. All residents of Southwest Florida are invited to attend, but tickets are required. This series will be presented during the following dates and times:

• Monday, January 16, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. – A Story of the Resilience of the Human Spirit with Joel Sonnenberg

• Friday, February 3, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. – Surviving the World Trade Center Collapse with Richard Picciotto

• Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. – The Miracle on the Hudson with Dave Sanderson

“The annual Speaker Series has become such a popular series, and we are very pleased to continue offering top notch speakers again this year for the fourth year of its existence,” said Boren. “We know that the speakers lined up have faced many different challenges and they have all been able to look at the positives of those experiences. We hope that each presentation will offer an opportunity to engage the mind on a variety of topics.”

The presentations will be held in The Village Church auditorium on The Island at Shell Point on three different nights, January through March. Tickets can be purchased as a subscription to the entire Speaker Series for $60, or individual speaker presentation tickets can be purchased at $25 each. To purchase tickets, or receive additional information about this series, please call (239) 454-2067 or visit

Speaker Series Details:
A Story of the Resilience of the Human Spirit with Joel Sonnenberg

Joel Sonnenberg is a young man who was transformed from a lifeless lump of coal into a diamond of rare beauty. Only through faith and persistence was Joel able to beat insurmountable odds in order to live a life of blessing and honor. At the age of two, when a tractor trailer smashed into his family car, Joel was burned beyond recognition. He has learned to accept his circumstances and excel beyond all expectations. His story proves that the extraordinary is within everyone’s grasp if you walk forward with true faith and courage.

Surviving the World Trade Center Collapse with Richard Picciotto

Firefighter and inspirational speaker Richard Picciotto was a FDNY Battalion Commander in Manhattan on September 11, 2001. Following the terrorist attack, Richard rushed inside the World Trade Center to rescue those inside, but soon found himself trapped in the smoldering rubble of the north tower after its collapse. Richard’s gripping first-person account provides a firefighter’s view of the 9/11 World Trade Center catastrophe and emergency response. Richard played a vital role in the massive operation, testified in front of the 9/11 Commission, and has appeared on many major networks, including CNN, the History Channel, and National Geographic. His book, Last Man Down, chronicles his harrowing experience on 9/11 and has become a New York Times best-seller.

The Miracle on the Hudson with Dave Sanderson

Returning home from a routine business trip on January 15, 2009, Dave Sanderson survived The Miracle on the Hudson. After a bird struck flight 1549, there was no chance for the crew but to ditch the plane in the Hudson River. Sitting on the plane, in what many would consider to be the wrong place at the wrong time, Dave knew he was exactly where he was supposed to be. Thinking only of helping others in the crisis, Dave became the last person off the plane that day, and was responsible for ensuring many others got off safely. Though facing fear and exposed to frigid water and freezing temperatures, he remembered the words of his mother, “If you can’t, you must,” and he summoned the inner strength to persevere.

Shell Point Retirement Community is a not-for-profit continuing care retirement community located in Fort Myers just off Summerlin Road, two miles before the Sanibel causeway. Shell Point has received national accreditation from CARF-CCAC, and is a nationally recognized leader in the retirement industry. The community offers retirement living in a resort-style environment with an 18-hole championship golf course which is open to the public, as well as recreational/fitness facilities and deep water boating access for its residents. To learn more about Shell Point, visit us at or call 1-800-780-1131.

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