Six individuals received awards for all their hard volunteer work in the community on Thursday night in the Gainesville City Hall. The STAR Volunteer Awards, for those who impact local nature parks, was rewarded to high school students Naomi Glaser and Nadia Peattie, who have volunteered more than 320 hours at Morningside Nature Park. Recipients of the Albert Ray Massey Volunteer service award included local Pop Warner coaches Otis Brown and Beverly Perry. Coach Brown says he has impacted the lives of several young adults. For Massey Award recipients Will and Shelly Voelker, who work hard to provide recreational aquatic programs for the disabled, the award serves as a tribute to their son, Noah, who passed away two years ago. The award presentation was later followed by a reception in honor of the recipients’ efforts.
Many veterans in Florida are having trouble obtaining disability benefits, some saying it has taken them up to five years to file their claim. With 3.8 million disabled veterans living in the United States as of 2015, there are many who think this issue needs to be brought into the national spotlight.