Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Hometown Heroes: Jerry and Terry Fedele

Terry and Jerry Fedele came to Boca Raton in 2008 so Jerry could assume the top job at what was then the Boca Raton Community Hospital, which, as Jerry describes it, “had lost its way,” losing $120 million the year before. A corporate health care counsel-turned hospital-CEO, he was flush with having turned around the massive Allegheny General bankruptcy, arguably the largest health care failure in U.S. history—and he focused that laser attention on Boca Community Hospital. He did indeed “save” the hospital while his wife, Terry, set out to immerse herself in community service, working over the years with everyone from FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, the Green Memory and Wellness Center, and the Lynn University Conservatory of Music, to the YMCA of South Palm Beach County, Boca Raton Historical Society, Boca Raton Regional Hospital and on and on; the list is extensive. Although they have been here only 15 years, the Fedeles have made an indelible imprint on the city.

When it comes to civic involvement, what are your priorities?

TERRY: My passion is health care, children and education. The impact on those three things can make the life of the people within one’s community so much better.

JERRY: My focus is on education; that’s why the George Snow Scholarship Fund is such a focus of my efforts. Education fundamentally changed my life. My grandfather was an Italian immigrant coal miner. I could never have imagined growing up as a blue-collar kid having the kind of life I have today…

After retirement, why did you two stay in Boca?

JERRY: I just fell in love with the place. There’s a lot of wealth here, and that’s important, but there is such a feeling of community… people know each other and support each other…

TERRY: This community embraced us as soon as we arrived. It was amazing and overwhelming—I didn’t expect that. That really pivoted me to want to give back to the community, because I believe it’s a two-way street. … I say all the time, we are in paradise, and it’s the people here who make it paradise.

What’s your proudest achievement you’ve had since you’ve lived in Boca?

JERRY: What I’m most proud of is growing that able community hospital into just a spectacular academic medical center.

TERRY: For me, it’s being a respected community member. I think I’ve helped all the nonprofits I’ve been involved with. As a fairly new board member at the Y when it was their 50th anniversary two years ago, I suggested that they take the whole year and celebrate and culminate in a gala. They’d never done a gala before. We put the gala together, and we made almost $2 million, and they were shocked. I think they just expected to break even and have the marketing recognition, but I felt that by putting a strong committee together—which I did—we could achieve more.

Why is giving back important to you?

TERRY: For me, I feel like life has been good to me. I grew up blue-collar; my parents didn’t have much. I put myself through college. I’m proud of that. So in my heart of hearts I feel like it’s been important for me to give back and help others so they can have the same opportunities. If I can help somebody else, I want to do that. It gives me great satisfaction.

JERRY: Pretty much the same. I’ve lived a life beyond my wildest imagination, and that has encouraged me to give back.

This article is from the May/June 2024 issue of Boca magazine. For more like this, click here to subscribe to the magazine.

Marie Speed
Marie Speed
Marie Speed is group editor of all JES publications, including Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Worth Avenue, Mizner’s Dream and the annual publication for the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. She also oversees editorial operations of the company’s Salt Lake City magazines. Her community involvement has ranged from work with the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce to a longtime board member position at Caridad Center. She is also on the George Snow Scholarship Fund review committee. She is a past officer of the Florida Magazine Association and a member of Class XVII of Leadership Florida. In her spare time, Marie enjoys South Florida’s natural world through hiking and kayaking, and she is an avid reader and an enthusiastic cook.

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