Although we always try to give proper attribution when we use information or photos from another source other than our own staff in these pages (or on WCNeighborhoodNews.com), long-time readers of the Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News surely must recognize that we don’t do a whole lot of promoting of other local media companies, online or in our publications.
But, every once in a great while, someone comes along who, by virtue of the respect he or she has earned not only from me, but also the entire community they serve, who merits special mention on this page.
One such person is Tony Masella, the owner, chief photographer and all-around great guy at OurTownFla.com.
Tony was deservedly honored on July 18 at the “Pasco Toast for Tony” at the Copperstone Executive Suites on Land O’Lakes Blvd. (U.S. 41). At the “Toast,” which was emceed to perfection by Charlie Reese (a former columnist at yet another local media outlet who now co-owns JC Audiology & Hearing Aids with his wife Dr. Judith Reese, Ph.D.), I was among somewhere between 70-100 people who were on hand to give Tony his just due.
There’s no doubt — as anyone who is among the 23,000 visitors who click on OurTownFla.com 400,000 times each month can attest — that Tony attends and photographs more events in the Wesley Chapel area than anyone else, including assistant editor Matt Wiley and yours truly of this publication combined.
Our monthly news magazines and website have used dozens of Tony’s pics over the years and we’re certainly not alone in that fact. Anytime Matt and I can’t get to an event in our distribution areas, we pretty much know that Tony will be on hand to shoot it — as he has been since 1996 (or only about two years after I became the publisher of the Neighborhood News) — with his always-winning smile and kind words. The man is nothing if not real — and really, really hard-working.
Tony actually started off the evening by showing that those who visit OurTownFla.com can now easily download any of his pics — for free, mind you — and that visitors can even have any story on the site translated into Spanish with the click of a button. Then, Charlie’s hilarious slideshow toast/roast of Tony had our shutterbug mutual buddy showing up at everything from Pres. Obama’s inauguration to the Oscars to the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
But, while Tony wasn’t actually at any of the depicted events, he does seem to show up at virtually every ribbon cutting and event for the Wesley Chapel, Central Pasco and Land O’Lakes Chambers of Commerce and Rotary Clubs, as well as many events in New Tampa. And his pics are always outstanding.
So, even though I’m not in the business or even the habit of promoting other media in these pages, my buddy Tony Masella is someone worthy of special mention. So, I hope you’ll check out OurTownFla.com or call 951-4200 and maybe do some business with this truly great guy. And, great job on the “Toast,” Charlie!