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Golden Years Gala

Wilkes, Hollingsworth, McKenzie, Hill win top honors at annual award for seniors

By Lee Wardlaw lee@claytodayonline.com
Posted 5/11/23

FLEMING ISLAND – Millie Wilkes was honored with the Ernie Cohen Lifetime Achievement Award winner after sitting through a suspenseful breakfast and opening remarks. At the same time, Larry …

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Golden Years Gala

Wilkes, Hollingsworth, McKenzie, Hill win top honors at annual award for seniors


Posted

FLEMING ISLAND – Millie Wilkes was honored with the Ernie Cohen Lifetime Achievement Award winner after sitting through a suspenseful breakfast and opening remarks. At the same time, Larry Hollingsworth was selected as Volunteer Man of the Year and Robin McKenzie was selected as the Volunteer Woman of the Year Award.

Shepherd’s Center Executive Director and Golden Years Gala organizer Christy Fitzgerald announced the winners on Wednesday morning after describing all of the nominees at Sullivan Hall at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Before winners were announced, seniors were treated to breakfast and a silent auction hosted by entertaining showman Bradley Bean, the youngest mayor in Fernandina Beach history and son of U.S. Rep. Aaron Bean.

Reactions for their outstanding achievement of community service and providing a shoulder to lean on were simple yet powerful.

“I’m very honored and humbled by it. There’s just a lot of wonderful people here that give a lot to the county,” Wilkes said.

“Well, I was shocked because the competition was outstanding, there are so many wonderful volunteers here, and it’s very humbling, and I appreciate being selected. I want to thank Haven Hospice for nominating me,” McKenzie said.

In addition to recognizing the big winners, the Golden Years Gala also awarded the Shepherd’s Center Outstanding Service Award, with soft-spoken, cowboy-hat-wearing and longtime county resident Hal Hill taking home the prize.

“After all of the time I volunteered, it felt wonderful,” Hill said.

The Golden Years Gala benefits the Shepherd’s Center of Orange Park, which educates senior adults to improve their quality of life. The award-winning educational program focuses on health, wellness, art, information technology and history.

Seniors contribute their time, energy and effort through their hard-working service to the community. The Golden Gala is a meaningful reminder to all in the county how much thankless work is done behind the scenes.

Seniors deliver high values, strong work ethic, commitment, integrity, generosity, loyalty and countless other virtues to the community. The Golden Gala is just one small way to show that appreciation.