TALLAHASSEE – During today’s Florida Cabinet meeting, Governor Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman awarded six Floridians with the Champion of Service Award, Florida’s only statewide volunteer recognition.
Governor Scott said, “Today’s Champion of Service recipients serve Florida’s children, the elderly, and students with the upmost compassion and dedication. I applaud them for their volunteer work to improve and help the families in their communities, and I am honored to present these individuals with the Champion of Service Award.”
“It is an honor to recognize six outstanding volunteers today who serve Floridians of all backgrounds, from students to seniors,” said Chester W. Spellman, CEO of Volunteer Florida. “These Floridians have demonstrated a tireless commitment to serving their communities—and our state—and Volunteer Florida is proud to recognize them for their service.”
Sue Callaham – St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum
Sue Callaham has provided nearly 900 hours of volunteer service over the last year at the historic St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum. The St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum is dedicated to discovering, preserving, and presenting the story of the nation’s oldest port. As a volunteer leader, Sue plays a large part in increasing both civic and visitor engagement at the Light Station, launching the Lighthouse’s camp for at-risk youth and personally managing the camp. Sue’s enthusiasm and initiative are invaluable as the Lighthouse and Museum continues to provide educational opportunities for students, lead preservation efforts, and provide a positive economic impact to the community.
Allen Gerrell – Mission San Luis
Allen Gerrell, an Air Force Veteran, is a volunteer leader with the historic Mission San Luis in Leon County. Allen spent a year hand-building a historically accurate field cannon carriage, complete with cradle and functioning adjustable artillery range apparatus. It will be put into active service in February 2015. This item is invaluable as an educational component for the public. Allen volunteered a total of 508 hours in 2014, the highest number of hours among Mission San Luis’ nearly 200 active volunteers.
Coralene Parker – Clanzel T. Brown Community Center
A lifelong volunteer, Coralene Parker, has been instrumental in organizing volunteer efforts initiatives at the Clanzel T. Brown Community Center in Jacksonville. She is widely known in the community for her enthusiasm, positive attitude, leadership abilities, and hard work. Coralene works with RSVP, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, one of the largest volunteer efforts in the nation for people over 55. RSVP volunteers provide hundreds of community services through non-profit agencies, schools, and other programs, from reading to disadvantaged students to working at hospitals, environmental agencies, law enforcement offices, and more.
Ernest Sims, Jr., and Alice Sims – Capital City Christian Cruisers
Capital City Christian Cruisers (CCCC) is a component of The WAY (Winning America’s Youth) Ministries of Tallahassee, Inc., a community-based youth organization dedicated to meeting the spiritual, social and physical needs of young people and their families. Launched in 1994 with one member, CCCC now serves over 75 young people annually. Since 1994, over 1600 athletes have participated in the club and over 400 athletes have competed at the Amateur Athletic Union Track and Field Junior Olympics. Alice and Ernest Sims have given countless hours to the community by providing youth mentorship, chaplaincy services, behavioral modification workshops, and employment and economic development assistance. Alice and Ernest emphasize confidence-building, positive peer relations, conflict resolution, and family enrichment.
Joseph Taylor – Franklin’s Promise Coalition
Joseph Taylor serves as Executive Director of Franklin’s Promise Coalition, which connects service providers, churches, institutions, and volunteers to improve the quality of life for Franklin County residents. Franklin’s Promise streamlines and improves access to positive youth development and critical emergency management services. A native Floridian, Joseph served for 15 years in the civil service within the Moral, Welfare and Recreation Departments of the U.S. Air Force. His volunteer efforts have extended to the Apalachicola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Gulf Alliance for Local Arts, the Historic Apalachicola Business Association, the Franklin County Tourist Development Council, and many more organizations. As Executive Director of Franklin’s Promise Coalition, Joe serves on the National Institute of Health’s Deepwater Horizon Steering Committee and as the community organizer for Bridges to Circles Franklin, a national poverty reduction initiative.
The Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Award honors individuals and groups for their outstanding volunteer efforts. For more information about the Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Awards, click here.