TALLAHASSEE — Volunteer Florida recognized two legislative leaders as Champions of Service today at the Florida Capitol. The Champion of Service Award, the state’s official award for outstanding community service and civic engagement, was awarded to Sen. Gwen Margolis and Rep. Marlene O’Toole.
“It is an honor to recognize members of the Florida Legislature who have demonstrated a true commitment to volunteerism and service,” said Spellman. “Sen. Margolis and Rep. O’Toole are passionate about volunteering and serving with non-profit organizations in their districts, as well as representing their constituents at the Capitol. From promoting economic development in underserved communities to mentoring at-risk young people to advocating for women’s issues, these legislators are public servants in every sense of the word. It is an honor to recognize exceptional Champions of Service from the Florida Senate and House of Representatives.”
About the Champions of Service:
Senator Gwen Margolis
Sen. Gwen Margolis is widely known for her many years of public service and civic engagement. In 1990, Sen. Margolis was named President of the Florida Senate, becoming the first woman in the United States to serve as president of a state Senate. In addition to being in the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame, she has received the “Glass Ceiling” award from the Florida Federation of Business and Professional Women for her civic engagement and efforts to support women in Florida. She is known in her community for her staunch support of arts and culture. She is also working to create a Florida Holocaust Memorial at the Florida Capitol.
Representative Marlene O’Toole
As a long-time advocate of early childhood education, Rep. O’Toole has worked to ensure higher standards and increased training for early childhood education providers and spearheaded other early-learning initiatives. She has also been instrumental in the Alzheimer’s Family Support Walk, which supports the Alzheimer’s Family Organization. The organization’s mission is to provide respite care and assistance for support groups of Alzheimer’s caregivers. Rep. O’Toole serves on the Board of Directors of Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care, a community-based nonprofit that provides support services for people with life-limiting illness. She has served at-risk students by providing extensive mentoring throughout the community.