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Celebrating Raul Lavin's Centennial Birthday
"A Cuban Club Foundation Event"

El Círculo Cubano Centennial video featuring Raul Lavin

El Círculo Cubano video compilation of most all the pictures I have on this website. There is no sound, just pictures. 

These words were shared by one of the speakers for the evening celebration. Donna Parrino, retired educator and Ybor City native, whose grandfather, Aurelio Piñero, worked for the Cuban Club for 21 years.


“Raul, you are a mighty oak, standing firm against the winds of time. When Raul had his own trucking business, he saw that food vendors needed trucks and vans that provided built-in customer access and also security for their goods, so he designed lift-up side panels for his trucks and vans,  much like the food trucks we see today…..this was back in the 50’s and 60’s.  Raul saw a problem and conceived the solution.

When Raul witnessed the Cuban Club scheduled for the auction block in the 1990’s, he mobilized a few friends and led the charge to establish the Cuban Club Foundation which raised state and private funds to save the building.  Where would we be tonight if not for Raul….who saw a big problem and came up with a solution.

With the building stabilized, Raul turned his attention to the membership… members, no club.  So he worked with Dr. Paul Dosal to bring in new blood to the club through the newly-created Mambi section of the organization.  Raul saw the club’s future depended on young members-Nuevos Pinos-- and worked toward the solution.

It is easy to understand why Raul was a success in business and in the business of saving the Circulo Cubano.   He sees what needs fixing and devises solutions. Raul, you are the redeemer of this club and on this 100th anniversary of the club and of your birth, we salute you and say thank you.

One last anecdote.  About four years ago, I went to pick up Raul for lunch and he proudly showed me the new scooter he had bought after giving up driving his big sedan.  At lunch, he whipped out a piece of paper and began sketching on it.  Then he showed it to me….it was a design for a canopy for the scooter to shelter him from the sun.  We must admire and respect a person who does not give up on making life a little bit better.  And we must be grateful to be the beneficiaries of Raul’s thinking, his involvement, and his practical and generous solutions.  Raul, they say the first 100 years are the toughest.  We love you and wish you the best…  Salut.” Donna Parrino

Robby, Chimene and Channing Armstrong presented this video in honor of their Tío’s 100th Birthday.

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