Two of Pensacola’s biggest, best hearts

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DeDe Flounlacker and Andrea Kreiger are the kind of women who do Pensacola proud.

Their professional lives in the community’s nonprofit world have been linked for years.

Wednesday they were honored together, each for her outstanding commitment to serving others.

Krieger and Flounlacker were lauded with the Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Award in a ceremony at Pensacola City Hall.

Flounlacker was honored as executive director of Manna Food Pantries. Kreiger was honored as president of United Way of Escambia County. Each has a long history with other community service groups, including Ronald McDonald House and Volunteer Florida.

Chester Spellman, CEO of Volunteer Florida, and Mayor Ashton J. Hayward presided over the ceremony.

Spellmen noted that when the April flooding ruined Manna’s building and inventory of food, Flounlacker’s team only missed one day of their mission to “leave no one unfed.”

“I can’t think of a more deserving person than DeDe,” Spellman said.

Hayward lauded Flounlacker as someone, “who (wasn’t) scared of the devil. She is always asking, what do we need to do,” Hayward said.

In introducing Krieger, Spellman note that United Way raised $3.2 million last year, which helped them provide services to some 69,000 people in Escambia County “who needed help to meet their basic needs.”

Hayward called Krieger a “crusader” because need never stops.

“From helping feed people to helping senior citizens to helping people do their tax returns, she and her team never stop,” Hayward said. “She rolls up her sleeves and says, ‘What can I do?’”

Both women, when accepting their awards insisted that the honor was not hers alone.

“I am accepting this on behalf of Manna,” Flounlacker said. “This is not for me. This is for them.”

Krieger had similar sentiments.

“(The economic impact of United Way’s services) doesn’t happen because of me,” she said. “I consider this United Way’s award, and you guys are awesome” she said to her co-workers, team members and board members in the audience.

State Rep. Mike Hill spoke about both women and the connection they — and he — share through Ronald McDonald House.

Hill said the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham helped his family when his oldest son, Joshua, now 22, needed heart surgery as a baby. When he became involved with the Ronald McDonald House in Pensacola as a board member, he met Flounlacker. And when Flounlacker left that agency, Hill said he worried about who would fill her shoes.

“And then Andrea stepped in” overseeing a fundraising and expansion of the home-away-from home for families of sick children that led to the opening of the house’s now iconic facility on Bayou Boulevard.

“They are not only in action in time of disaster,” Hill said. “They are constantly giving.”

Source: http://pensacolatoday.com/2015/01/two-pensacolas-biggest-best-hearts/