Krewe of Agustina De Aragon Founded.
In early 1997 the idea of forming a Krewe was kicked around by Peggie and Glen* Sherry. Glen was an active member of Rough Riders (#90) and they had many friends in area krewes. Each year they hosted a lavish Gasparilla Party to celebrate Chris Sherry's birthday. Since Chris was born near Gasparilla the Sherry's led him to believe that the entire city celebrated his birthday with a parade down Bayshore.
Although Peggie was asked to join other krewes she felt that the Gasparilla krewes were not doing enough to give back to the community. Glen, an avid history buff, gave Peggie several ideas of real life heroines who the Krewe could be named for. Peggie wanted a tie to Spain since Tampa has a rich Spanish heritage. The moment she read Agustina's story it touched her soul and she knew this was the perfect person to honor she was strong, beautiful and resourceful, but kind.
With the help of Mary Bearss a National Parliamentarian and dear friend Peggie spent months writing the bylaws and incorporating KOA as the first Krewe to be based solely on volunteerism. Since the founding of the Krewe of Agustina de Aragon most (if not all) of the krewes formed have incorporated volunteer components into their charters. Many have used, with Peggie's permission, the KOA bylaws as the foundation for their bylaws.
In September 1997 flyers where passed out to friends and wives of Rough Riders announcing the organizational meeting at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. Reservations were made in the Kings Room for 50. Glen told Peggie "I hope you like chicken and yellow rice because in no one shows up we are going to be eating it for a long time". On October 17 (luckily) fifty-two excited ladies showed up. Most joined and within two days the KOA closed it charter memberships with 100 members. Some of the members had boyfriends and husbands who felt left out and wanted to participate so an auxiliary was started and named the Thorns. Since the krewe symbol was the rose Glen thought out loud one day "if you are the roses and thorns protect roses then the men should be the Thorns". Peggie had a different take on that idea thinking that men can often be a thorn in the side and agreed to the name.
Unlike most new krewes of the time KOA had a float in their first Gasparilla parade and participated with two boats in the invasion. KOA was the first krewe to have bathrooms on their float and started the concept of having a security team which is now mandatory for major parades. In 1998 a KOA Scholarship Fund was set up to help children of single mothers living below the poverty level and was funded by a group of supporters called the Patrons.
Over the years Krewe members and Thorns have given back tens of thousands of hours of volunteer labor to over 50 area charities and funded thousands of dollars in donations and scholarships.
Our Motto is Work Hard, Play Hard, Give Back do all things with a Full Heart.
Glen Sherry (May 18, 1953 - August 26, 2008)