Today, during a meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman awarded two individuals with the Champion of Service Award.

Governor Rick Scott said, “Florida is home to many great volunteers like Wendy and Ken who make a positive impact in their communities. We are grateful for their service and the thousands of Floridians who dedicate their time to help others.”

Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman said, “In very diverse ways, Wendy and Ken both embody the concept of volunteers effectively meeting community needs. From mentoring students to get them on track to graduation to protecting Florida’s unique ecosystems for generations of residents and visitors to enjoy, these volunteers are making a real difference in their communities and in our state.”

The following two recipients were recognized with the Champion of Service Award:

Wendy Kephart, Collier County – Wendy Kephart volunteers with the New Horizons of Southwest Florida, an organization that works with students to improve math and reading skills. New Horizons has seven locations in Lee and Collier Counties and more than 400 volunteers. Kephart began tutoring and mentoring at-risk students in 2008, and she has helped raise more than $200,000 to help develop local workforce programs for students. Kephart also launched a snack collecting project with New Horizons which has provided 6,000 snacks per year from the Naples community to New Horizons since 2012.


Ken Lorber, Monroe County – Ken Lorber volunteers at the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, a non-profit conservation organization which rescued more than 1,000 injured birds and released nearly 500 birds back into nature. Lorber assists staff by rescuing injured birds, feeding non-releasable birds, releasing rehabilitated birds, maintaining animal enclosures, and collecting food donations throughout the community. He volunteers seven days a week and ensures that visitors to the Wild Bird Sanctuary learn about hazards facing birds in the Florida Keys. Last year alone, Lorber had more than 3,000 volunteer hours.