Saturday, December 31, 2022


Obviously with all that's been going on in December, fundraising has not even been on the radar. Usually we would be regularly & proactively sharing updates about funds raised, remaining amount to hit our goal, and opportunities to donate to & invest in GTD. But the past month has been full of higher priorities. Fundraising was not just put on the back burner, it wasn't even an afterthought. And that's the cool part... God has been moving the hearts of our amazing supporters to continue to support the cause even while we had to shift our focus! We have THE BEST DONORS!! Over the past 4 weeks $28,000 has been donated or pledged while we were concentrating on my parents! I can't tell you how reassuring it is to know that God doesn't need my help to raise funds for His ministry. 
I want to thank our OUTSTANDING DONORS & MINISTRY PARTNERS for their incredible generosity, especially during weird economic times. And I want to publicly give all honor & glory to our ALMIGHTY GOD! Thank You Heavenly Father!!
While God doesn't need my help to raise funds I'm called to play a very small role of simply sharing about what God is already doing as well as share about the opportunity to partner in ministry with GTD. It's like sharing the Gospel... my only role is to share the Good News and tell about the opportunity - the rest is up to God. That completes my role LOL!
Goal: Raise $100k by Jan 31st
Already Raised: $93k as of Dec 30th

Total Goal: $100,000 by Jan 31
One-Time Donation Goal: $50,000
   (Already Donated: $48,908)
Monthly Pledges Goal: $50,000
   (Already Pledged: $44,118)
If you would like to make an end-of-the-year one time donation or sign-up to be a monthly donor for the next 12 months click on the following link for more details:

Thursday, December 29, 2022


Due to preparations for Mom's Celebration of Life Service we are pushing Swamp Thing back 1 month. The NEW DATE for Swamp Thing is Feb 4-5. That gives you an extra month to prepare haha. Click on the links below for more insights and details =) 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Join us on January 15th ...It's more than a remembrance; it's a TRIBUTE! ...It's not mourning a death; it's CELEBRATING A LIFE!

 It's more than a remembrance; it's a TRIBUTE!
...It's not mourning a death; it's CELEBRATING A LIFE!
....Join us on January 15th
Join us on January 15th (on a Sunday) at 2pm at Indian Rocks Baptist Church in Largo, Florida as we CELEBRATE Margaret Ann Garner (also known as: Ann, Annie, Auntie, Gauntie, Birddog, Babes, VegetariANN, Mrs Ambassador, Mamacita, & Mom... and how did we miss out on calling her "SavANNah"?!?!). Wear something green because Mom was born on St Patrick's Day (or St "Annie's" Day as I like to say). Mom went to Heaven on December 15th after living a fun, beautiful, & full 91.75 years of life. We miss her greatly, and at the same time we rejoice over her new Heavenly ZIP code. Her tribute is developing day by day, but will include butter pecan ice cream (her favorite), bag pipes, a few of her favorite worship songs, funny stories, edibles, pictures thru the decades, video highlights, display of her hANNdmade quilts, and more. Mom loved to laugh and have fun so we are going to put the F-U-N in FUNeral ;) ... ALL ARE WELCOME! The more the merrier! Please come if you can :) :) :) 
The last 2 weeks have been very full - especially with Christmas & Dad's birthday. I still haven't had a chance to read any of the loving comments, condolences, and well wishes left on my last few posts. I look forward to reading them and thank you in advance for your love and outreach to our family. We have been very blessed by each card, note, phone call, text message, meal, and acts of love by family & friends. Each one helps comfort us in our huge loss of the most significant person in our lives.
Below is the obituary that my Sister wrote for Mom. It's phenomenal!! Traci did such a great job at a very difficult task. My only contribution to it was asking her to add a reference to me as Mom's mini-me & Traci as Mom's best friend.
Margaret Ann Ward Garner, 91 of Seminole, Florida, passed peacefully on December 15, 2022 surrounded by her loving family at Season’s Memory Care Facility in Belleair and is now with her Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.  She was born March 17, 1931 in Waycross, Georgia to Samuel Joseph Ward & Frankie Lee Inez Ward but called Savannah her home. She attended Savannah High School & worked at Southern Bell as an operator.  She also worked at the US Army Corps of Engineers in Cocoa Beach, Florida & worked as a Receptionist for mortgage companies in Pinellas County where she got the nickname “Birddog”.  She was a strong woman of faith, and a member of Indian Rocks Baptist Church in Largo, for more than 30+ years. She was involved with MOPS, Super 60’s, Esther Sunday school class and the quilting group with her friends.  She enjoyed going to the Tampa Bay Rays baseball games, quilting, music, family trips, watching her grandson play sports, roses, butter pecan ice cream and joking around and laughing. She also enjoyed helping others, especially her son, Doug and his ministry, GTD.  She is survived by her loving husband of 57 years, retired Air Force TSGT Jearld “Jerry” D. Garner, and her devoted, loving children; son, Douglas Garner; her “mini-me” and daughter & best friend Traci Vescovi.  Her son-in-law David Vescovi and her # 1 grandson, Carson Vescovi. She also had many loving nieces, nephews, and friends.  
A Celebration of her Life is scheduled for Sunday, January 15th at 2:00pm at Indian Rocks Baptist Church, 12685 Ulmerton Road, Largo, 33774 and all are welcome to attend.  Her final resting place will be at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida a few days later for her immediate family.  
In lieu of flowers, Ann would want donations made to Going the Distance Adventure Ministry (P.O. Box 7523, Seminole, FL. 33775).  
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at and on Facebook; taylorfuneralhomepinellaspark.


Thursday, December 15, 2022

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." - Psalm 116:15

Mom went to Heaven about 12:30am this morning, and as strange as this may sound the last 24 hours has been one of the most beautiful days of life we've ever experienced. 
The whole immediate family made it to Mom's bedside in time. We spent 12 hours loving on her, massaging her, hugging her, holding her, telling her how much we love her... how much she means to us... thanking her for all the love & self-sacrifice she poured into us. We relived special moments that made her grin and special moments that caused a few tears to flow. We listened to worship music, read scripture verses, prayed with her and over her. We kissed her. We held her hand. We rubbed her legs & arms. We poured out copious amounts of love. Although her body was shutting down and she couldn't speak, she was listening to us and tracking with her eyes. We were very intentional. Hospice was amazing. Seasons was amazing. Friends & family were amazing. We cried a thousand beautiful tears & laughed a lot. There were so many "God moments". We could all tell that SOMEONE was orchestrating this entire day. If Dad's surgery wasn't cancelled he wouldn't have been there to say goodbye. If a Hospice Social Worker didn't notice something off about Mom and take the initiative to say something to the nurse... if the nurse didn't have the experience she had to notice end-of-life symptoms and contact us immediately and tell us to "come now"... if we didn't drop everything and rush to Mom's bedside... we would have missed every beautiful minute that happened yesterday and woke up today to crushing news that Mom passed away during the night all alone. But just the opposite happened. We celebrated Mom's life with her almost like a going away present. As it got late Dad needed to go home. Not knowing if Mom would make it through the night everyone was compelled to say their final goodbyes. This was possibly the most special moment. Everyone lined up to say one last heartfelt goodbye. Carson made us all weep. Dad forced himself out of his wheelchair to hobble over and embrace his wife of 57 years for one last kiss and outflow of loving words mixed with sobs. Traci, Laurie, & myself all did the same. If Dad didn't have to leave it would have never forced the saying of the final goodbyes because we would have continued to just be with her until her final breath without knowing when that would happen. I planned to stay all night with Mom, and everyone was going to return in the morning. I recieved a call from Mom's niece (our cousin) Ellie. It was the only time I looked at my phone while I was with Mom. As Ellie & I talked I continued to rub Mom's arms & legs and count her breathing rate. All day long her breathing became shallower and faster. Ellie & I talked about Mom and at one point started talking about the great family reunion she will be having in Heaven. At this time a Christian caregiver I never met before came into Mom's room like an angel to pray for her. Mom must have been excited about the heavenly family reunion because this was when she peacefully and painlessly took her last breath. No pain. No suffering. Just a peaceful transition into the presence of Jesus. As I checked for Mom's pulse while saying one final goodbye. I let Ellie know what was going on and called my Sister to inform her. At this moment the caregiver stood up, grabbed my hand lifted up her arm in adoration to God and began singing "Hallelujah". I joined in. So did Traci over the phone. It was such a special moment. We simply worshipped God as Mom left behind all suffering, pain, and disease and crossed over into the eternal presence of the God she loves. The entire day (along with so many other acts of love) was the most beautiful thing I've ever experienced. We all said our goodbyes and an hour later Mom said hers. Laurie put it best, "The whole day was like a great movie with a perfect ending." Mom, next to Jesus, you are the BEST THING that ever happened to my life! I will miss you greatly Birddog! I LOVE YOU!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Mom may only have a few hours left =(

Traci just got the call from Hospice that Mom may only have a few hours left... we are totally shocked... very unexpected this quickly... just loaded Dad in Traci's vehicle and we are rushing to Mom's bedside.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Dad's knee replacement surgery was cancelled

Update on Dad: Unfortunately Dad's knee replacement surgery was cancelled. His bloodwork came back with certain levels outside the perimeters that the doctor was comfortable with. This was very disheartening news for Dad. He wasn't able to walk for 5 or 6 weeks then made some progress for about 3 weeks with a walker & physical therapy, but has now been unable to walk again for nearly 2 weeks. He has been counting on this surgery to help restore his ability to walk. He is also in a lot of knee pain and now back pain. Dad served in the military for 20 years including the Vietnam War and 18 months in Iran in the 1970's. HUGE THANKS to Dad's friend - former Pinellas Park Mayor Bill Mischler - for tracking down a donated medical bed for Dad, and a HUGE BRAVO to Wings 4 Recovery for not only supplying this bed, but for also delivering it and setting it up!! God bless you guys!! Dad has had 4 great nights of sleep in a row! This bed is a game changer!! We are extremely grateful. Thank you for lifting our parents and us up in prayer. This is a major setback for Dad, and really all of us, but we are thankful that his doctor is keeping Dad's overall wellbeing front & center. Dad was walking (barely) and living independently 3 months ago, but is currently 100 dependent on help for every ADL (activity of daily living). The knee replacement surgery was through BayCare. He is now pursuing options through the VA. Lots & lots of new Dr's appointments related to both tracks (BayCare & VA). We will continue to press on and will keep you posted :) .

Wednesday, December 7, 2022


We had to push pause for a week, but I'm back on the Thank You crusade. We are still savoring our Annual Banquet from last week, and I want to thank all of our Volunteers, GTD Staff, Guest Speakers, Table Sponsors, Donors, Attendees, Carrabba's, & the Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center for making this year's banquet so special! We had too much to do in too little time, but the night was a great success! Our deepest thanks and appreciation to everyone involved, especially our Guest Speakers - The Zeitler family, Riley, Sophia, Faith & AJ!!
And our hearts are overflowing with gratitude for all those who donated to the cause. You are launching us into our 27th year of ministry! PTL!!
Here are some of the pics from our Annual Banquet =) 


Monday, December 5, 2022


Last year my Mom was taken to the ER and hospitalized the day after our Annual Banquet. This year my Dad has been unable to stand or walk and is in excruciating pain since the day after our Annual Banquet. For the past 6 days his legs have been swollen and he has been at a level 10 pain in his knees and now his back. He has been 100% dependent on help for any mobility more then 12 inches. For the past 3 weeks he has been making slow & steady progress with physical therapy and was able to walk with a walker for 200 yards. Now it's like he has taken several steps backwards (pun). He has a high risk (according to his doctors) knee replacement surgery in 1 week due to other major organ challenges. He is concerned that they may postpone or cancel his surgery. He is trying to be optimistic, but he is worn out, discouraged, and at times crushed in spirit. We have several pre-surgery Dr's appointments this week. Please keep him in your prayers. Thank you so much!

Thursday, December 1, 2022


I may be a little bias, but we have the most amazing and generous supporters, volunteers, staff, and participants!!!!! Our Annual Banquet on Tuesday night was fantastic! Incredible testimonies, delicious food, impactful videos, wonderful venue, fabulous people, and magnanimous donors... it was an outstanding & blessed night. Glory to God! I'm thrilled beyond measure to share with you that our Annual Banquet fundraising campaign has raised $65,000 so far!! That's astounding!!! Aaaaaaaaand, if that wasn't enough, we have a wonderful family that wants to remain anonymous that has issued a $5000 Donor Match Challenge in our annual quest to raise $100k by Jan 31st!! They will match all donations dollar-for-dollar up to $5000 cumulatively. Yayyy x 5000!!!!! Thank you so much generous family that we love! I'm also elated to announce that our $10,000 & $500/month Donor Match Challenges were successfully accomplished on Tuesdsy night!!! Thank you to our phenomenal donors who issued the generous challenges and thank you to all the donors who met the challenge!! We have so much more to share, but for today we want to thank everyone involved in our special night of celebration... it was a total team effort... we are thrilled with the results, overjoyed by all the testimonies, and deeply touched by all the support! We simply praise God for every bit of it :)

Much more to share including pics from our special night :) 

Monday, November 28, 2022


For the first time since our first banquet in 2002 we haven't been able to do any real fundraising before the night of the banquet. Usually we try to pre-raise about 40% of our goal by the day of the banquet, but as most of you know we've had other priorities to focus on over the past 6 weeks. Our goal is to raise $100k by Jan 31, 2023 to launch GTD into our 27th year of ministry. We are off to a very late start. Not a problem for God! In fact, He specializes in crunch time miracles!
We are just over 24 hours away from our most important event of the year, and I've had very little time to work on this event. To our amazement a few days ago we had already exceeded our goal of getting 20 Table Sponsors! We have 25!! Glory to God!!
And just as amazing we have some extraordinarily generous donors that are kicking off the fundraising season with a Donor Match Challenge of $10,000 in one-time donations and $500/month in monthly pledges!!! Dang, this is beyond awesome... this is supernatural!!
So if you love what we do and want to support the cause then this is a GREAT TIME to double your impact by having your one-time donation and/or your monthly pledge doubled!!
Donors are matching whatever you donate and/or pledge dollar for dollar up to $10,000 for one-time donations and up to $500/month for monthly pledges for the next 12 months! That's huge!! That's potentially $32,000 (almost 1/3 of our goal)!!
To make a donation, make a monthly pledge, and/or reserve a seat (or seats) at tomorrow nights Annual Banquet in Pinellas Park, Florida click on the THIS LINK
If you can't make it out tomorrow night then lift us up in prayer. God is at work! Thank you so much friends!!

We are humbled to announce a Platinum Table Sponsor who matched their 10k donation from last year!  This family has been a vital part of GTD over many years, and we can’t thank them enough for the investment they continue to make into this ministry and in the lives of our participants.


If you'd like to learn more about GTD, attend the banquet, sponsor a table, or become a Monthly Ministry Partner CLICK HERE.

Laurie - Keller Williams Realty [2022 Table Sponsor]


I [Laurie] started working with GTD back in 2008.  I have served as the Prosperity Director and Costa Rica Missions Director, in addition, up until 2018 I attended almost every event as support staff.  My specialty on most trips has always been cooking, the kitchen is my happy place!!

Before I began working for GTD I was a Realtor.  Through the years that I've worked for GTD I
maintained my Real Estate license and returned to it 3 years ago.  While wearing many hats with GTD my passion has always been on the mission field in Costa Rica and our Destination Trips.  Because of this, it has been my dream to transition out of a full time position with GTD by supporting myself financially to allow GTD the freedom to hire others who can help support the demands of the ministry.  In return, I can focus on what I do best in this ministry which is missions and maybe a little cooking on the side!  Now that I am in a very part time role, I am able to contribute more to the ministry as a Financial Ministry Partner. As a Real Estate Agent, I work with one of the Top Teams in the area.  Just this past month I was ranked #6 in our office out of 435 realtors and our team was ranked #2!  In many ways it has been a true blessing to work with the Vanessa Leonard Group at Keller Williams.  No matter whether a client is looking to upsize, downsize, invest, relocate, buy, sell, purchase a second home, refer a friend, or just needs advice we are here to help. 

On a side note, I met Vanessa on a GTD trip in Utah where she and her husband hiked one of the most rigorous hikes in and through the Virgin River!



If you'd like to learn more about GTD, sponsor a table at GTD's Annual Fundraiser Banquet, or become a Monthly Ministry Partner go to:

If you’re looking to buy or sell or know someone who is, please reach out, I’d love to help.  From every commission I earn I always give back to the ministry. You can contact me here:

If you'd like to learn more about GTD, sponsor a table at GTD's Annual Fundraiser Banquet, or become a Monthly Ministry Partner go to: CLICK HERE.

Sunday, November 27, 2022



Thank you Alberto and Maria of Alberto’s Auto Repair for your Silver Table Sponsorship at this year's GTD banquet!  We are grateful to you for helping to make this event happen!  It’s a true blessing. 

They say a good mechanic is hard to find…. look no further…. Doug’s Dad highly recommends Albertos!   Alberto’s Auto Repair is located on 82nd Ave in Pinellas Park.  Be sure to check out their Google reviews to see all the great things customers are saying!  




If you'd like to sponsor a table at GTD's Annual Fundraiser Banquet or register for this event please CLICK HERE.



WOW!  A platinum table sponsorship from Mark and Terezia Smith of Go Green Reglazing!   From participating, to volunteering, to donating, this family has done it all….even hiking through the Everglades!  From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your love and involvement in GTD over the years!  


Go Green Reglazing is the only Certified Green Reglazer in the Tampa Bay area and on the Gulf Coast of Florida. We not only make your kitchen or bath more beautiful, we make it a healthier place for you , your family or your customers to enjoy for years to come. That makes us feel good and we think it will make you feel good, too.

We offer a variety of color changes for old and outdated tile, bathtubs, showers and vanities. (Say goodbye to your Pink and Seafoam Green Bathroom!).

We also offer color changes for kitchen and bath cabinets, as well as counter top patterns (for example,the Corian look) in over 85 color schemes.

To learn more about Go Green ReGlazing CLICK HERE.





If you'd like to sponsor a table at GTD's Annual Fundraiser Banquet or register for this event please CLICK HERE.


Fredrick James Accounting 

Thank you Fred & Crystal Daus for your incredible support, generosity and commitment to GTD.   We are blessed beyond measure by you and your amazing staff at Fredrick James.


We could never thank you enough for all you do to help GTD with all our accounting and tax needs.    Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents with us year after year, and thank you for serving on the GTD Board.  [Platinum Table Sponsor]

2022 Adventure Trip - CSCC

At Fredrick James Accounting, 

our vision is to bring innovative financial services to the world.

Our mission is to create a better life and endless possibilities for our clients. We strive to build solid, long term relationships with our clients by consistently exceeding expectations, delivering the highest quality financial services, providing exceptional customer service, and giving each client the individualized personal attention needed to deliver the results that are critical to our mutual success.

To learn more about Fredrick James Accounting CLICK HERE


If you'd like to sponsor a table at GTD's Annual Fundraiser Banquet or register for this event please CLICK HERE


Saturday, November 26, 2022


Each year we have a few generous table sponsors that live out of the area that want to offer their banquet tickets to anyone that wants to come to our Annual Banquet and enjoy a night of celebration along with a delicious Carrabba's dinner. This year we have 32 FREE TICKETS AVAILABLE! Yayyyyy!!
Come join us for a fun night as we celebrate 26 years of ministry as well as prepare for our 27th year!
Nov 29, 2022 (Tues Night)
6:30pm - 9:00pm
Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center
4951 78th Ave N, Pinellas Park, FL 33781
CLICK HERE FOR Website & Details!


Chris & Stacie Yates

Thank you so much to the Yates Family for sponsoring a table at GTD’s Annual Fundraiser Banquet this year!  Stacie attended a GTD even many years ago and introduced her husband and son to it just this year.  Together they attended one of our largest events to date in Ocala just last month, our FALL CAMPING RETREAT and instantly became fans of GTD!   [BRONZE TABLE SPONSOR] We look forward to more family events with you and your family! Thank you for your generosity! *** PHOTO 2022 FALL RETREAT


To learn more about GTD, to attend the banquet, sponsor a table or make a donation CLICK HERE.




Every year I am deeply touched by Lisa and her family for sponsoring a table at the GTD banquet.  It’s very touching to have a friend of over 20 years… who you haven’t seen in over 20 years… invest in a ministry you’ve poured your heart into for 13 years although they’ve never been on a trip! [SILVER TABLE SPONSOR] 

I know it’s not about me, it’s about the ministry and the lives we reach for God’s Kingdom. Whether it’s to encourage a person in their faith or introduce someone to Christ for the very first time, they as all our ministry partners are investing in the souls of others by supporting the work of this ministry.  Thank you Lisa and family for your continued support.  From all of us here at GTD, thank you….I love you dearly sweet friend. 



If you'd like attend the banquet, sponsor a table, make a one time donation or become monthly ministry partner CLICK HERE.

P.H.P. [2022 Table Sponsor]


18 YEARS!!!!  

Thank you P.H.P. for sponsoring 2 tables for GTD’s Annual Fundraiser Banquet!  We are blown away as this is your 18th year in a row to sponsor tables for this very important event!  Thank you for your support and generosity!  We appreciate you and all you do to help the people of our community here in Pinellas Park. 


People Helping People is a non-profit organization with goals aimed at helping low income, elderly, or disabled Pinellas Park homeowners improve their property when in need.

People Helping People

"Ordinary People Working Together To Accomplish Extraordinary Things!"




If you'd like attend the banquet, sponsor a table, make a one time donation or become monthly ministry parter click HERE


We had a FANTASTIC family Thanksgiving!!

We had a FANTASTIC family Thanksgiving complete with delicious food, fun & games, a campfire, an outdoor movie, and attended by special guests - Birddog & The Ambassador (AKA: Mom & Dad)!! It was perfect and special in so many ways!
It was so great to bring Mom home for the first time in over 6 months! The day was full of special and cherished moments with Mom & Dad that we may never have again... and that was the purpose of this Thanksgiving... MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!! Thank You JESUS & thank you volunteers!!!
Over the past 2 weeks a small army of friends and family came over each day to help me transform a cluttered mess into a less cluttered comfy hangout ready to host our family Thanksgiving (and more fun get-togethers in the future AS WELL AS a nice area to enjoy as we continue all the other renovations).
The Family of God / Body of Christ is one of The Greatest Wonders of The World! Everyday I would get an unexpected text or phone call from a friend or family member asking if they could help me do some work that day. It was amazing! It was a daily answer to prayer!
We moved a massive amount of GTD gear from inside my house to a storage container in the backyard (and organized about 80% of it!). We cleared out most of one bedroom and made a temporary bedroom for Dad so he didn't have to sleep in the livingroom. We hauled off old outdoor furniture and replaced it with new & improved stuff (we had several volunteers who spent several hours just assembling outdoor furniture and games). We had the PODS container hauled off and removed. We tidied up the livingroom and dining room and decorated for Thanksgiving. We tore down old fencing, dug up old fence posts, built new framework for the back gate and relocated that gate 10 feet further back to the property line to maximize our trailer and truck storage. We moved bricks, busted up concrete, raked leaves, built a trashcan area, and built 2 fire rings. We installed hose reels and assembled outdoor heaters. We added 16 super comfortable Adirondack chairs, 4 zero gravity chairs, a complete outdoor sofa/dining set, a swinging bench, several strings of hanging lights, a waterproof outdoor stereo system, and finished creating an outdoor movie screen my parents and I started building together 4 years ago!! I now like to refer to our outdoor movie area as "Shantytown Theater" where admission is free, but attendees may help with a home improvement project ;) . We watched the edited version of Planes, Trains, & Automobiles (a classic comedy misadventure of trying to make it home for Thanksgiving... the perfect Turkey Day movie!)
In a short period of time we created a nice little hangout that my parents loved! And so did/do I! I hope I don't leave anyone out in my list of awesome people to thank who sacrificed their free time to help me, but my profound thanks to Tom & Cindy, Diane, the Routman family, the Zeitler family, the Vescovi family, 3 fantastic college students from Southeastern University, my Dad, Laurie, Lauren, my right hand man - Carson, and a friend who asked to remain unrecognized who has helped me once a week for 2 months putting in 10, 12, & 13 hour intense work days!! From the bottom of my heart - THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!!! We did it!! BECAUSE OF YOU WE DID IT!
Thank you to all of you for your prayers, support, & encouragement! They helped us more than you may ever know until we get to Heaven.