NORTH MIAMI BEACH- Gerda Rosner is a well known Montreal travel guru and spa operator whom at the age of 88 is still going strong. I have written about her various excursions for many years. She has just returned from a winter in Aventura Florida where she operated a very successful program out of the Imperial Club, not far from where her son lives. Myron Rosner is no mere resident of North Miami Beach. He happens to be the mayor.
About 20 years ago Myron actually came to Florida to visit his mom. On this day she asked a colleague to play matchmaker, inquiring whether she had “a nice Jewish girl” to fix her son up with. It turned out she did. Sarah Zabel, now a Miami Dade County Circuit Judge, was the girl of Myron’s dreams and within two years they were husband and wife. They have four children.

As far as careers go, Rosner had worked as a property developer and project manager in Montreal. It did not take him long to find work in that field here, ironically for a business owned by two Montrealers. Within two years Rosner had obtained a license as a general contractor and established his own company.

In 2001 Rosner’s life took an awful tumble when a construction site accident put him in a wheelchair for life. “My life and that of my family was completely altered in a matter of seconds,” he says. “As a builder I was already aware of the requirements for Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, but never realized until I was in a chair myself how people really don’t get it. What appears on paper may look practical but in practicality does not actually work.”

Through this unfortunate experience, Rosner found a need and has acquired the knowledge necessary to successfully perform accessibility improvements and barrier removal. He has not let his injury stop him and he has listened to his wife and kids to “never give up.” Through his family’s support he has become involved in many personal hobbies, such as, building an accessible boat with a lift, waterskiing, modifying a Boss Hoss motorcycle trike, playing wheelchair tennis, swimming, and riding his three wheeled bicycle. In 2003 he was elected to North Miami Beach city council. He decided to run for mayor a year ago because he was not happy with how the leadership was performing. Rosner has a two year term and puts in long hours at city hall and his construction company, never looking for sympathy. “Usually, when someone is with me for a few minutes, they see beyond the chair,” he says.
Naturally, making North Miami Beach accessible to the handicapped remains a priority for Rosner. He does concede that the city was already among the most progressive in the United States in terms of disability programs for adults when he was elected. “All of the money we collect from those who break the law and park in handicapped spots goes to pay for these programs,” he says “All of our public facilities are accessible. I must say that anything I have asked our staff to fix they have done so.

As for mom Gerda, she organizes packages which include meals daily, exercise, entertainment, socializing, and dancing. She has been a worldwide health spa coordinator since 1965. Gerda helped launch Weight Watchers in Montreal and opened her own company called the Happy Losers, which helped people lose pounds and feel good about themselves. The author of six cookbooks, she’s got a few more irons in the fire besides Florida with trips to the Canyon Ranch locations in the Berkshires in Lennox, Mass. (Oct. 14 to 18 and Nov. 4 to 8) and Tucson, Arizona (Sept. 21 to 28, Oct. 5 to 12 and Nov. 12 to 19). These are all inclusive packages, covering accommodations, nutritionally balanced gourmet meals, spa and sport services, lectures, sight seeing and round trip airport transfers. Through Gerda, you can even get deals at these locales outside of the dates of her trips. The Imperial Club is a great option for seniors who do not have winter homes in Florida, with all-inclusive packages on a monthly basis.

For more information, Rosner can be contacted at (514) 489-4148.
Her e-mail address is: gerdar@sympatico.ca

Mike Cohen’s email address is info@mikecohen.ca.
Read about his travels a www.sandboxworld.com/travel.

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