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, “I am honored to recognize Patrick Hopkins and Eddie Mae Bennett for their commitment to helping their fellow Floridians. It is exciting to present them with the Champion of Service Award today for their inspiring service and support of those who need it most in our state.”

Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman said, “Eddie Mae Bennett and Patrick Hopkins illustrate the diverse service opportunities that exist in Florida’s communities. From a high school student serving food to needy families in South Florida to a longtime volunteer who served North Florida students for over 25 years, Eddie Mae and Patrick are inspirational service leaders.”

The following two recipients were recognized with the award:

Patrick Hopkins, West Palm Beach – Patrick Hopkins is a junior at Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach. This past year, Patrick served as Chair of the Boys Town South Florida’s “Thanksgiving Basket Brigade,” an annual event that distributes Thanksgiving food baskets to more than 300 Florida families. Patrick first volunteered in his community as an elementary school student by filling baskets with food and delivering them to families in need. Patrick is also an active member of the Palm Beach League of Cities youth delegation and volunteers for the Literacy Coalition Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee.

Eddie Mae Bennett, Leon County – Ms. Eddie Mae Bennett started volunteering at John G. Riley Elementary School in Leon County in 1977. She served as a teacher’s aide for ten years before supporting students involved in jazz, symphonic, and marching bands at Belle Vue Middle School and Godby High School in Leon County. Ms. Bennett also served as a Foster Grandparent at Sealey Elementary for 25 years, retiring in 2015. She has also regularly volunteered at her church, including helping with maintenance and administrative duties.