110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
posted Jun 16, 2014 - 11:24:28am
Today, Thursday June 19, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial will recognize 23 volunteers nominated for the sixth annual Johana Knox Award for Community Service awards dinner at the Deltona Commission Chambers, 2345 Providence Blvd.
At this year’s event, three awards will be presented: the Johana Knox Award for Community Service Excellence, the Chrysalis Youth Award for youth ages 16 and under, and the Flutter Award for a group of volunteers.
Here are the web links to the three JK AWARD NOMINEE videos that will be shown during this evening's Johana Knox Awards.
The event will feature a silent auction, music by Gene Gizzi, entertainment by comedian Dean Napolitano and special guest Lawrence Frederick, owner and founder of Disc-Connected K-9’s. Tickets cost $50 and include buffet dinner and program. For more information or to RSVP for the event, email FishFoundation@fhfm.org or call 386-917-5423.
The annual awards event is named for Johana Knox, who lived in Orange City for 35 years, and was known for her tireless devotion to children and those in need. Knox passed away in 2012, but left her handprints on the heart of the community with her lifelong passion for helping others. To honor Knox’s enduring spirit of volunteerism, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial recognizes, celebrates and encourages outstanding volunteers in Southwest Volusia County each year.
Last year, Deltona resident Felicia Benzo received the 2013 Johana Knox Award for Community Service for her CATALYST program which stands for “Children and Adults Together Achieving Leadership. The program was created by Benzo four years ago with only a handful of volunteers at one school. It has now grown to reach children at 10 area schools and comprises more than 200 volunteers.
Additionally, Deltona resident Olivia Rene Russo-Hood received the first-ever youth award last year. Her passion to improve her community may have been ignited in 2009, after her family’s home was destroyed by a flood. She created Save the Earth Projects (STEP) as a youth social entrepreneurship idea organizing social change. Her first project was a used-shoe collection and fundraising partnership with Volusia-Flagler Family YMCAs called “Leave a Good Footprint.” She organized a drive that collected more than 1,500 pairs of shoes to be distributed globally and raised more than $700 for area scholarships to help needy children participate in YMCA activities.
The nominees for the 2014 Johana Knox Award for Community Service awards are:
Sofia Auflick of Deltona: Despite learned English as her second language, Sofia Auflick is fluent in the language of compassion. As a patient care volunteer with a local hospice organization, she has spent many hours listening to the concerns of patients and their families. And though her impact may not be felt communitywide, her impact on those she cares for makes a world of difference to them. According to her nomination form, “Sofia has made an important impact on the patients and their families with whom she has served.” Nominated by Patricia Adams.
Terry Bailey of DeLand: Whenever illness or tragedy strike, Terry Bailey is there to lend a hand. Her wealth of contacts within the DeLand community allows her to quickly rally her troops to raise money for people battling cancer or other devastating illnesses. Through garage sales, bake sales, or just by asking for help, Terry rolls up her sleeves and fixes the situation. She not only makes their lives better, but she also improves the quality of life for everybody who lives in DeLand. According to her nomination form, “Terry Bailey is a DeLand-ite with a heart of gold and the well-being of our community in her mind at all times.” Nominated by Susan Woosley.
Emily Rose Coffield of DeLand: Even if Emily Rose Coffield weren’t in elementary school, her passion for philanthropy and volunteering would be impressive. With a little help from her family, Emily Rose has made and sold aprons and dog treats, and then donated the proceeds to local not-for-profits. She has more plans on the horizon, she says. She is a force to be reckoned with. Nominated by Kimberly Cline.
Ruben Colon of Deltona: When his daughter Sienna experienced her first epileptic seizure, Ruben Colon’s life was changed forever. In the past four years, little Sienna’s condition has greatly improved through daily medications, but what about the other children who suffer from seizures? Ruben has been a champion of a national epilepsy support organization and has traveled to Tallahassee to testify to a Florida House Committee on open access to children with disabilities like Sienna. He is a remarkable and dedicated person who is making a difference in others’ lives each and every day. According to his nomination form, “I cannot think of a more worthy person of your consideration and honor. Ruben’s efforts have and will make a permanent and ongoing change in children’s lives.” Nominated by Chuck Carmen.
Griffin Daly of Deltona: It takes a seasoned, mature individual to coach a youth baseball team. For Griffin Daly, barely out of the youth leagues himself, it appears he was born to help lead and shape, not only their game skills, but also their mindset. His demonstrated leadership and volunteerism skills have made a positive impact on the youth in our community. According to his nomination form, “Griffin has taught them to work individually on weaknesses or areas of opportunity while never losing focus on the strength of a team that is all pulling in the same direction and toward a common goal.” Nominated by Brandy Meadows.
Sherri Emery of DeLand: Sherri Emery is a natural born leader, yet humble enough to give up her last penny if she knew it would help someone in need. She supports not-for-profit groups both locally and nationally, and has encouraged the efforts of her daughter to form her own nonprofit organization that will send its first underprivileged student to camp this summer. Sherri is passionate about what she does and her timeless dedication to her community. According to her nomination form, “Sherri leads by example, paving the way for others, and encourages the involvement from the entire community regardless of their station.” Nominated by Marisa Veltri.
Enterprise Preservation Society: For the past 20 years, members of the Enterprise Preservation Society have worked to ensure the continued character of their beloved town. By fending off special interests and facilitating a partnership between the City of Deltona and Volusia County, this band of volunteers has prepared their community for the future. According to their nomination form, “The members of the Enterprise Preservation Society are certainly a worthy choice for acknowledgment. They have stood tall for their little community, just as our beloved Johana Knox did when she worked so hard for the betterment of Southwest Volusia. Nominated by Patricia Northey.
Emma Fowler of Deltona: Emma Fowler believes an important quality in life is excellence. It’s something she strives for every day, in every one of her myriad volunteering activities. Whether she is working with an organization to provide local children with Christmas presents, or volunteering at a local animal shelter, she has embraced excellence by the hard work and visible impact she has made on her community. According to her nomination form, “Emma is able to lead young people with differing beliefs, and understands their views without passing judgment.” Nominated byBrandy Meadows.
Mary Gusky of DeLand: For the past seven years, Mary Gusky has not only battled pancreatic cancer, but has also tangled with naysayers who told her that the Good Samaritan Clinic – a free medical and dental clinic for the poor – would never fly. All who know Mary are amazed at her inner strength and amazing abilities to get it all done. She simply says, “It’s a God thing.” According to her nomination form, “Mary is loved and admired by those who are fortunate enough to know her. She is an inspiration to us all and I cannot imagine a more deserving candidate for this award.” Nominated by Mary Theresa Izzo, PhD, ARNP.
Nicole Hession of Deltona: At a time when girls her age are hanging out with their friends, Nicole Hession has made it her mission to help control the feral cat program in Volusia County. Nicole has also been volunteering with the SPCA since she was 12, and faithfully shows up to take care of the animals, even on Christmas Day! She is an inspiration and role model for her peers. According to her nomination form, “Nicole has learned that her work can be sad, dirty, confrontational, controversial, and sometimes hopeless, yet she continues on with her compassion, kindness, generosity and true caring for the animals she helps.” Nominated by Heidi Herzberg.
Haley Hovis of Deltona: With the true heart of a servant, Haley Hovis has already given 200 hours of volunteer service to her community. She has worked with the kindergartners at Timbercrest Elementary, with the older folk at John Knox Village, Hands on America, and many other functions at Deltona High School whenever asked. She has overcome extreme shyness to now show characteristics of a self-confident leader. According to her nomination, “Haley has established qualities and inspirations that are contagious to her colleagues. To watch Haley accomplish and graciously volunteer her talents is truly a sight to see.” Nominated by Brandy Meadows.
Jessica MacFarlane of Deltona: In addition to her rigorous dual-enrollment at Deltona High and Daytona State College, Jessica MacFarlane is also a member of Future Farmers of America, through which she has earned numerous awards. She also volunteers at a local hospice, rehabilitation center, hospital, and local animal shelters. She helps with many of the school’s community-service projects and can accomplish anything she sets her mind to. “Over the past two years, Jessica has accomplished so many things through her hard work. When Jessica is not busy with school-related topics, she is out busy in our community.” Nominated by Brandy Meadows.
Jordyn McCaskill: Many times, Jordyn McCaskill will stay through lunch and after school at Deltona High School to help her campus advisors with various activities. Jordyn also helps with the student-athletes at the school to ensure they are properly hydrated and taped to prevent injuries. She is dependable and caring, and has accomplished so many things through her hard work. According to her nomination form, “The students depend on her and trust her; she is dedicated with her time, and has always been willing to lend a helping hand.” Nominated by Brandy Meadows.
Aileen McRae of DeBary: For nearly 20 years, Aileen McRae has been busily making southwest Volusia a better place to live. Through her association with the Gateway Center for the Arts, she has helped make that institution a cultural hub for the area. She has sat on many volunteer boards and raised money for not only not for profit organizations, but also for the underprivileged. She is an exceptionally generous, incredibly amazing woman. According to her nomination form, “She’s the kind of upbeat, considerate person who inspires you to want to help out, just to please her.” Nominated by Sandra Smith.
Ives Morin of Deltona: Ives Morin has already completed more than 400 volunteer hours as a member of Deltona High’s Health Occupations Students of America. His training there prepared him for a real-life emergency when a girl he met at a conference fainted and no one else knew what to do. He calmly took charge and cared for the girl until emergency crews arrived. Ives is a natural leader and a hard-working, dedicated student. According to his nomination form, “Ives has grown so much through this organization and has inspired many others to strive for success in this program and in life.” Nominated by Brandy Meadows.
Orange City Police Explorers Post 2301: When Orange City wanted to introduce the law enforcement profession to local high school students, the students wanted more. So much more, that the scope of the program has evolved to a community service outreach of the Orange City Police Department. The explorers assist with traffic control during events and parades and other service-type duties. Most recently, the explorers also assisted at the Relay for Life at Gemini Springs to help raise money for cancer research. According to their nomination form, the program “helps to develop character in each and every explorer, therefore the community gains a two-fold outcome… the service rendered and the citizen that will strive to use leadership to inspire others to excellence.” Nominated by Jamie Croteau.
Dr. Stephanie Owens of DeLand: Dr. Stephanie Owens is efficient, empathetic, compassionate, and organized. Her passion is helping homeless and disadvantaged students at University High School and families in surrounding communities, and she does this without any extra funding from the school district or Volusia County. She is a person who strives to do good works and loves to give of herself. According to her nomination form, “Dr. Owens believes that ‘no time is the wrong time to help others when we can,’ and she regularly works nights and weekends to keep up with the overwhelming need.” Nominated by Pam Robinson.
Olivia Russo-Hood of Deltona: In spite of the challenges Olivia Russo-Hood faced after her home was lost in a flood, she began thinking of how she could help others. She started STEP (Save the Earth Projects) to help change the world. Just one example: she has raised thousands of dollars for local charities. She is committed to humanitarianism, community involvement, and social responsibility. According to her nomination form, “she leaves indelible marks wherever she has an opportunity to pass through.” Nominated by Denise Russo.
Vincent Russo-Hood of Deltona: As the younger brother of Olivia Russo-Hood, Vincent Russo-Hood has emerged with a like-minded philanthropic spirit. Vincent volunteers with a local youth soccer group, the YMCA, his school and church, and the Gateway Center for the Arts. He also helps his sister Olivia with her STEP organization by spending tireless hours sorting shoes to be shipped. Vincent looks up to his sister, and wants to walk in her footsteps, and “he helps her because he wants to, not because he has to,” according to his nomination form. Vincent has a special “spirit and magnetic personality.” Nominated by Denise Russo.
Barbara Sanchez of Deltona: As the president of Deltona High’s Health Occupations Students of America, Barbara Sanchez has increased that program’s participation rate to a level not seen in years. She is especially passionate about the school’s blood drive, but is committed to other community activities that raise awareness and funding for cancer and cystic fibrosis. Barbara is very respectful, generous and friendly. According to her nomination form, “Barbara accepts challenges willingly and regularly gives of her time to help others.” Nominated by Brandy Meadows.
Carolyn Stewart Martin of Deltona: Carolyn Stewart Martin has lived and worked in our community since 1984, and has spent the past 30 years tirelessly volunteering at the Southwest Volusia YMCA, The House Next Door, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Deltona Arts and Historical Center, and the Community Foundation of East Central Florida, to name just a few. She is one of those very rare treasures that every community desires. According to her nomination form, “Her love for the people of Deltona is a true motivation, and her legacy of service these past 30 years is immeasurable.” Nominated by Norma Walter.
Titan Battalion of Orange City: Thanks to the fine young men and women of the University High School Army Jr. ROTC Titan Battalion, our veterans at four local nursing homes received some unforgettable attention. The battalion of 60 cadets visited with our veterans, sang the National Anthem with them, and presented them with a dog tag and miniature flag. The simple gestures provided our often-forgotten veterans with an elated feeling of joy, remembrance, and gratitude. And the cadets will never forget the experience either. According to their nomination form, “Through hands-on experiences, these young individuals are developing their leadership and personal skills in a pursuit for excellence in their fields. These cadets are the generation to come!” Nominated by Mary Katherine Maine.
Nancy Toms of Deltona: As a hospice volunteer, Nancy Toms spends hours caring for dying patients and their families. She is there when a patient’s family needs a small break from the stressful day-to-day care, and also when the patient just needs someone to sit by their bed and listen. She is also a volunteer Chaplain, should they request that need. Nancy says, “I just go in with an open heart.” According to her nomination form, “Nancy uses her gift of patience to allow her to slow down to pay special attention to each need and recognize each unique individual to let them know they were important.” Nominated by Raeanne Cade.
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