By Amanda Hatfield
For Hometown News
MELBOURNE BEACH - It is often said that the sweetest-smelling and most beautiful flower is the rose.
Curtis Byrd of Melbourne Beach could not agree with this assumption more, as he has raised a small garden of these flourishing flowers for many years.
Mr. Byrd's garden is not filled with roses of the literal sense, however. Rather, they are his daughters - Rosaly, Rosemarie and Roselyn.
Mr. Byrd's garden of "Roses" has indeed lived up to their namesake.
During this year's Founders Day celebration, the Byrd sisters were named Melbourne Beach's Junior Citizens of the Year.
The Junior Citizen of the Year is awarded to an individual younger than 18, whose activities have had a positive impact on the town and its residents, said Melbourne Beach Town Manager Bill Hoskovec.
"The Byrd sisters have followed in their father's footsteps and have been very active in the town's environmental community," he said.
Roselyn, 18, who is the youngest of the Roses, has given a substantial amount back to the community, which she loves so much, and has volunteered much of her time serving as a "docent" at the Old Town Hall History Center in Melbourne Beach.
"A docent is someone who gives tours around the museum and provides information to visitors about the history," Roselyn explained. "In this case, it's Melbourne Beach's history."
Roselyn also volunteers at the Melbourne Beach Library and Volunteer Fire Department and helps out during the Melbourne Beach Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony.
Like her father, Roselyn holds the environmental beauty of Melbourne Beach close to her heart.
"I have worked on the Loggerhead Park Preserve by planting sea oats and clearing out invasive plants," she said.
A recent graduate of Cocoa Beach High School's International Baccalaureate program, Roselyn will be attending the University of Florida in Gainesville on a full scholarship this fall.
"I plan on double-majoring in health sciences and business administration," she said. "I definitely plan on continuing my education until I complete my doctorate degree."
While extremely ambitious and committed to giving back to her community, Roselyn also enjoys her free time.
"I love scuba diving, traveling and going to the beach," she said.
The middle Rose of the Byrd family garden is just as ambitious as her sisters.
Twenty-year-old Rosemarie is an active young woman, in both her personal success and within the town of Melbourne Beach.
Like both of her sisters, Rosemarie graduated from Cocoa Beach High School's International Baccalaureate program in the spring of 2010.
Now studying pre-med at the University of Miami, Rosemarie has big dreams for her bright future.
"I would love to attend the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine," she said. "My aspiration is to obtain a medical degree in pediatrics and specialize in international infectious diseases."
Rosemarie also recently completed a Semester at Sea program through her university, which, she said, opened her eyes to volunteering in underdeveloped countries.
While in Terma, Ghana, Rosemarie experienced one of the most rewarding and eye-opening parts of her trip abroad, when she and 12 other students traveled to a remote village to help build homes for Habitat for Humanity.
"Our group built two different houses for families of that village," Rosemarie said. "With no running water or electricity, families lacked the commodities us Americans take for granted."
As she was discarding her lunch one day, Rosemarie noticed a woman from the village saving items from the trash that some of the students had thrown away.
Taken aback by the woman's actions, Rosemarie decided to assist her.
"I helped (her) sort out salt and pepper packets, napkins and uneaten food, so she could bring it home to her family," she said.
In addition to her time spent abroad, Rosemarie has also devoted many hours to volunteering within her community, such as organizing and participating in monthly beach cleanups through the Barrier Island Sanctuary and Education Center in Melbourne Beach.
She has also helped teach children the importance of a clean environment at the facility by making arts and crafts out of recycled items.
When Rosemarie is not hitting the books or volunteering, she can be found curled up at the beach with a good book.
The oldest rose in the Byrd garden is Rosaly.
Just like her younger sisters, Rosaly, 23, is no stranger to service.
Locally, she has worked with Keep Brevard Beautiful by cleaning up the beaches and promoting environmental awareness to younger generations.
Each year, she also assists her father during Melbourne Beach's Founders Day by hosting the town's annual Pineapple Surf Contest.
Currently working toward a master's degree at the University of California at San Diego in international relations, Rosaly hopes to apply all that she has learned through her volunteerism to a career in public service.
"My hope is to work in the corporate social responsibility industry, possibly working with international standard for responsible investment," Rosaly said.
No doubt an inspiration to her sisters, Rosaly said the bond between the Byrd siblings is something she will always cherish.
"I am very fortunate to have such amazing sisters," she said. "They are my best friends, and I don't know what I would do without them."
With such a long list of accomplishments between them, Mr. Byrd said his daughters have, and always will be, his pride and joy.
"I could not be more excited and proud of my beautiful daughters," Mr. Byrd said. "Each Rose is so bright and full of potential. They truly add to the beauty that is Melbourne Beach.
For more information about the Melbourne Beach Junior Citizen of the Year Award or volunteer opportunities, visit www.melbournebeachfl.org.