Governor Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida Announce Guardian ad Litem Champions of Service

Henry and Charlean Lawton recognized for exemplary volunteerism

TALLAHASSEE — Today, during the Florida Cabinet meeting, Governor Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman presented the Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Award to Henry and Charlean Lawton. The married couple serve as dedicated guardians ad litem in Jacksonville. The Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Award honors individuals and groups for their outstanding volunteer efforts.

Governor Scott said, “It is an honor to present this award to Henry and Charlean Lawton, who are outstanding examples of the thousands of dedicated advocates representing children through the Florida Guardian ad Litem program. The Lawtons are helping ensure that the children in their community can live up to their full potential, so they can get a great education and pursue their dreams here in Florida.”

The Florida Guardian ad Litem program is a partnership of community advocates and professional staff providing a powerful voice on behalf of Florida’s abused and neglected children. The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program currently represents approximately 21,350 children, with the hard work and dedication of 8,500 certified volunteers.

Mr. and Mrs. Lawton, retired from their careers as business executives, have effectively handled some of the Guardian ad Litem program’s most severe cases of abuse and neglect in Jacksonville. They are also active in speaking to new guardians ad litem and they serve on the organization’s volunteer planning committees to expand the reach of the Guardian ad Litem Program.

Florida Guardian ad Litem Executive Director Alan Abramowitz said, “Henry and Charlean Lawton are very deserving of this honor. They personify the quality of guardian ad litem volunteer child advocates we need in our communities. While they are assigned to advocate for different children, they work together in close cooperation, making the children they advocate for especially lucky. It is as if they are fighting for their own children.”

CEO of Volunteer Florida Chester Spellman said, “Volunteers like the Lawtons are an inspiration for us all. They are making a real difference in the lives of the children they represent, and they also show us the benefits of volunteering with a partner or friend.”

For more information about the Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Awards, visit: www.volunteerflorida.org.

 

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Volunteer Florida, the Governor’s Commission on Community Service, was established in 1994 by the Florida Legislature to administer grants under the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. The Commission grants funds to Florida AmeriCorps and National Service programs; coordinates volunteers and donations in a disaster; and inspires all Floridians to serve their communities. For more information, visit: www.volunteerflorida.org.