Tallahassee – During today’s meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman recognized four Floridians with the Champion of Service Award: Rocco Giordano of Leon County, David Hinds of Collier County, Matt Frey of Pinellas County, and Jennifer Wood of Marion County.
Governor Scott said, “These Floridians have dedicated their time to making a positive impact on their communities and changing lives across our state. I am honored to recognize their hard work with the Champion of Service award and look forward to seeing their continued influence they have on their communities.”
Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman said, “As communities turn to volunteers to meet critical human needs in Florida, it is exciting to recognize volunteers of all ages, serving in a variety of settings, and impacting families in very different ways in every corner of the state. The spirit of service is growing in Florida, and Volunteer Florida is thrilled to highlight those who are defining what it means to be a servant leader.”
Rocco Giordano, Leon County – At 94 years old, Rocco Giordano currently volunteers four days a week at Montford Middle School and Gilchrist Elementary School in Leon County, donating close to 25 hours a week. Known by the students and staff as “Mr. G,” Rocco Giordano has volunteered for 12 years. From cutting over 1,000 cardboard display boards for students’ history fair projects to assisting the art teacher or working in the front office with staff, Giordano demonstrates how individuals can still make significant positive contributions in the community after retirement. He is a powerful influence in the lives of countless children.
David Hinds, Collier County – David Hinds launched the Pre-Collegiate STEM Program in Collier County that gives 40 minority students the opportunity to spend two weeks at Florida Gulf Coast University at no cost to the parents. Additionally, Hinds started a Career Conversation Program, providing high school students with an opportunity to meet business professionals and discuss different career paths. His most recent initiative will serve 25 minority students who are preparing to enter the 8th grade in Collier County, providing students with two intensive weeks of math and language arts preparation for the upcoming school year. Hinds serves as an Executive Committee Chair with the NAACP Collier County Branch.
Matt Frey, Pinellas County – As a new member of the Board for Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County, Matt Frey helped the organization grow its revenue by 50 percent from the previous year. Under Frey’s leadership and in partnership with Habitat for Humanity leaders, Board members, staff, and community stakeholders, Habitat for Humanity has served 34 families in just 12 months in Pinellas County. Habitat for Humanity works with low-income families to engage volunteers and corporate, civic and faith organizations to build affordable housing. As a young leader in Pinellas County, Frey also serves on the Board of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic and the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce. He is involved in several St. Petersburg young leadership and civic engagement initiatives.
Jennifer Wood, Marion County – Jennifer Wood serves as Executive Director of Volunteer and Senior Services for Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala. In this capacity, she coordinates over 1,705 volunteers working in over 60 different areas of Munroe Regional. Last year, these volunteers donated over 217,282 hours of volunteer service to the patients, staff and visitors of Munroe Regional. Under Wood’s leadership, the volunteers assist patients and families and provide support throughout the hospital setting, including answering phone calls from concerned family members, delivering floral arrangements and visiting patients. Wood’s team also educates students about emergency 9-1-1 and hospital visitations.
The Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Award honors individuals and groups for their outstanding volunteer efforts. For more information about the Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Awards, click here.