Terry DeCarlo is the Development Director of Broward House, but his presence in the LGBT community is and has been ubiquitous — everywhere. Now that his friends gave him and his husband a marriage brick on the steps of the Performing Arts Center, you literally can’t step out in public without seeing his name.
Recently spotlighted as one of our community leaders living with HIV, DeCarlo is 51 years old, has lived in South Florida for 27 years, and has spent the last two decades working in non profit management, as the go to marketing and development person first for Care Resource and now with Broward House.
Each agency is a community treasure that has left a lasting legacy in the countless lives of thousands. DeCarlo embodies the spirit of living with pride, engaging new and creative techniques to raise the consciousness of our community. He coordinates the annual World AIDS Day celebrations in Wilton Manors, from the candlelight vigil to the ceremony at the Pride Center.
Last year, he filled the Center of the Performing Arts with Wanda Sykes and Margaret Cho, and this year he brought in Cheech and Chong. Look, ten years ago, when he organized a ‘Red Ball’ to raise funds for the Children’s Diagnostic Center for AIDS, there was no popular venue, so he held it in his backyard. He and his neighbor tore down the fence between their homes to fit in the over capacity crowd. It’s called caring with a conscience. Eventually, the party made its way to the Swimming Pool Hall of Fame. Today, De Carlo makes his way to ours.
In 2013, you also would have seen DeCarlo get up at six in the morning in the middle of the summer to organize the ‘The Amazing Race’. But there he was again last week, orchestrating Santa’s fun run, walk, and sleigh race in the Manors. Then there is the One Magical Weekend and Rip Tide event during the Gay Days at Orlando. He is a lightning bolt.
Of course, as the Development Director, it is DeCarlo’s job to raise funds for the agency. On the other hand, he is also dramatizing with each new event the importance of charitable contributions to sustain the fight against HIV. ‘Broward Bares It’ has become the seminal summer event at the Seminole Hard Rock, and it is due to the marketing genius and madness of the mind that is the soul and spirit of Terry DeCarlo. Have we mentioned also the ‘Dining Out for Life’ events or the ‘Tour of the Century’ bike ride?
Each event brings the community together for a common cause and social good. Behind the scenes, DeCarlo is quietly and masterfully orchestrating and organizing an adventure that spurs your participation and involvement, striving to help those living with HIV. It is a tenacity he may have learned in the Air Force as an Intelligence Operations officer, where he spent six years after graduating Bethpage High School on Long Island.
While taming the tiger, you have to keep a song on your lips and a smile in your heart. Wherever Terry goes, you will see him with his husband, Bill Huelsman, who he formally married last year at Rockefeller Center in New York. They have been partners since 1997, and just celebrated the holidays at Disney World.
Ultimately, the social responsibility to tame HIV falls upon all of us, and what we can do together. DeCarlo embraces our community. He inspires so many of us to work a little harder and do a little bit more. DeCarlo brings to the table passion and perseverance. It enhances each of us. For that unbridled energy and enthusiasm, SFGN tenders its second 2013 award for ‘Achievements in Excellence’ to Terry DeCarlo. Coordinating the Red Ribbon Awards for Broward House each Spring, Mr. DeCarlo has been distributing a few honors of his own in recent years. It is time someone did a turnabout and so honored him. We do so today.