Tallahassee – During today’s meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman awarded two Floridians with the Champion of Service Award.
Governor Scott said, “It is an honor to recognize Floridians who have worked hard to improve the lives of families in their local communities. Miaisha and Ralph have given their time and energy to help others have a healthy lifestyle and we are proud to recognize them today.”
Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman said, “As communities increasingly look for ways to improve public health, we’ve found that it starts with access to fresh, healthy produce and affordable preventive care. These volunteers demonstrate that when talented Floridians put their skills to work in service, they can truly make a difference in the lives of individuals, families, and entire communities. We are fortunate to have servant leaders like Miaisha and Ralph contributing their time and talent in Florida.”
The following two individuals were recognized with the award:
Miaisha Mitchell, Co-founder, Tallahassee Food Network – Miaisha Mitchell is a volunteer who has advocated for health issues in underserved areas in Tallahassee for many years. She is a leader in the Childhood Obesity Prevention Education (COPE) Coalition, which addresses childhood obesity. As Co-Founder of the Tallahassee Food Network, Miaisha has advocated for gardens that provide healthy, affordable food for all members of the community. She has engaged over 1,000 residents in at-risk communities to discuss food access, healthy eating, and chronic disease. She has helped to install two workplace gardens, four church gardens, four school gardens, and five community gardens. She also developed a local Youth Urban Agricultural Program named iGrow, which resulted in the Dunn Street Youth Farm.
Ralph Mancusi, PharmD, Lead Pharmacist, Volunteers in Medicine, Jacksonville – The Volunteers in Medicine Jacksonville Clinic, entirely by donations, local grants, and volunteers, is a free primary care clinic that provides services to members of his community. Ralph Mancusi, 92 years old, serves as Lead Pharmacist at Volunteers in Medicine. Thanks to Ralph’s efforts, Volunteers in Medicine provides medications for over 6,000 patients annually – helping them to remain employed and avoiding costly emergency room visits. Ralph has volunteered over 3,600 hours since 2005.