Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Announces Nominees for the Johana Knox Award for Community Service Excellence

A group of volunteers organize donations.
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ORANGE CITY, Fla., April 21, 2016 On April 28 from 6 to 8 p.m., Florida Hospital Fish Memorial will recognize 10 volunteers during the annual Johana Knox Award for Community Service Excellence dinner at the DeBary Golf and Country Club, 300 Plantation Club Drive, DeBary.

At this years event, three awards will be presented: the Chrysalis Youth Award for youth ages 16 and under, the Flutter Award for a group of volunteers, and the Johana Knox Award for an outstanding adult volunteer.

The Johana Knox Award for Community Service Excellence was established to honor Johana Knox. She 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, each year Florida Hospital Fish Memorial recognizes, celebrates and encourages outstanding volunteers in southwest Volusia County each year.

The nominees for the 2016 Johana Knox Award for Community Service awards are as follows:

Aysha Benjamin of Deltona: As a sophomore at the Health Academy at Deltona High School, Benjamin has cheerfully volunteered for a variety of community events, including the American Heart Associations Relay for Life, which supports the fight for finding a cure for cancer, as well as other fundraising events.According to her nomination form, Aysha has a very giving heart and is always willing to help in any way.

The Community Life Center Outreach Services of Deltona: The Community Life Center Outreach Services mission is centered on the individuals and families in Deltona who live in poverty. The Center offers assists with basic needs including food, clothing, shelter and utilities. Their hands-up approach empowers neighbors for self-sufficiency through employment assistance, workshops and referrals to partnering agencies. They provide free meals monthly, and serve as a Florida Department of Children and Families Automated Community Connection to Economic Self Sufficiency (ACCESS) center, providing help with obtaining food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, free cell phones and more. Through its partnership with other community organizations like Florida Hospital Fish Memorial, the Community Life Center provides links to health screenings, employment and life skills training, financial assistance with rent and utility bills, and more.

Concerned Citizens for Animal Welfare of Volusia County: For 15 years, a group of passionate volunteers at Concerned Citizens for Animal Welfare have worked to create a community with no more stray, abandoned, neglected or abused animals. Since the organization's inception, they have subsidized more than 10,000 spays and neuters throughout Volusia County, dramatically decreasing the amount of dog and cat euthanizations. According to the nomination form, Concerned Citizens for Animal Welfare inspires compassion, understanding, tolerance and kindness toward all of Gods creatures, for that is what's needed to heal the heart of every community.

Barb Girtman of DeLand: As one of the founders of Community Bridge Builders, Girtman is passionate about creating equal access to housing, health care and economic opportunities. Recently, she and the other Community Bridge Builders members helped parents, students and teachers at a local failing elementary school. As an elected official, Girtman also participates on the Poverty Roundtable, where she strives to bring community awareness to the varied faces and experiences of poverty. According to her nomination form, Girtman is the kind of person who goes out of her way to help the less fortunate every day.

Claire Marshburn of Deltona: As a volunteer in the Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Cancer Resource Center, Marshburn keeps everything organized and the wigs perfectly coiffed. She attends support groups, classes and events to further connect with the cancer patients. When she heard that the Cancer Resource Center was running low on mastectomy pillows, she sprang into action and sewed new ones herself. According to her nomination form, with her lilting Irish accent, Claire has made it her mission to let cancer survivors know there are helpful options, and encourages them every step of the way."

Larry Miller of DeLand: Since 2002, Miller has dedicated in thousands of hours as a volunteer at Florida Hospital DeLand and chairs the hospitals courtesy shuttle program. It is one of the hardest volunteer positions at the hospital because parking is limited. Miller also volunteers at the DeLand Regional Library and his church. According to his nomination form, he really is so accountable, loyal. Everyone should be blessed to have someone with Larry Millers great character.

Lynn Ribaudo of DeBary: As a volunteer COP (Citizens on Patrol), Ribaudo risks her life alongside the sworn officers of the Seminole County Sheriff's office. Through the organization's program, Ribaudo assists with traffic control whenever there is a downed tree, accident, or disabled vehicle. She also provides traffic assistance during bike-a-thons, parades, walkathons, and sporting events. Recently, Ribaudo was selected to serve for a two-year term on the civilian review board for the sheriff's office. According to her nomination form, She is very respectful to the public, a delight to work with, and is very serious about her responsibilities.

Denise Russo of Deltona: After losing her home and all her possessions in a devastating flood, and then receiving an outpouring of love and support from the community, Russo knew her mission in life was to give back. She has volunteered at the Scrub Jay Habitat in Deltona, the Four Townes YMCA, and the Gateway Center for the Arts, as well as at her children's schools. She has also instilled a volunteer spirit in both her children, who have also made their mark on the community. According to her nomination form, Her heart holds so much love, and her generous spirit allows her to continue to give with no thought of receiving only to help heal a broken world, provide, support, encourage, teach and love beyond measure or reason.

The Sorosis Club of Orange City: Since 1958, the Sorosis Club sisters (Sorosis is the Greek word for sisterhood) have spent countless hours collecting food, toys and cash donations to help needy families throughout the year. Just this past Christmas, they gave toys to 176 children, food to 76 households, and gift cards to 24 senior citizens. According to their nomination form, the women who make up the Sorosis Club are a true embodiment of outstanding volunteerism.

Cindy Tocci of Orange City: She has helped her community in numerous ways including: creating and maintaining a food pantry at her church, working with Orange City's code enforcement department to identify and improve projects throughout the community, and helping area schools identify those in need of assistance through the holiday program, Giving Joy. According to her nomination form, Cindy is a person that assists others, not for personal recognition, but because she genuinely enjoys helping people in any way that she can. She has enhanced the quality of life for many in southwest Volusia, and has established a legacy that will continue beyond her length of service.

About Florida Hospital Fish Memorial

Florida Hospital Fish Memorial is a member of AdventHealth, a faith-based health care organization with 46 hospital campuses and nearly 8,200 licensed beds in 10 states. With 175-beds, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial is one of the six Florida Hospitals in Volusia and Flagler counties that composes the Florida Hospital East Florida Region. As the largest hospital system in the area, the Florida Hospital East Florida Region has 899 beds and nearly 5,900 employees. With a mission to extend the healing ministry of Christ, the Florida Hospital East Florida Region collectively contributed nearly $120 million in benefits in 2015 to the underprivileged, the community's overall health and wellness and spiritual needs, and capital improvements.

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