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The Port Orange Family Days Community Trust
Past Recipients
| Judy Andersen | Elton (Al) Eugene Bell | John E. Evans | Jim Fisher | Allen Green |
Suzanne Kosmas | Kenneth W. Parker | Bill Thompson | James E. Ward |

Judy Andersen

"from her work as a member of the Volusia County School Board to her leadership on the Boards of the Boys & Girls Clubs, Art House, and Port Orange Community Trust, Judy continues to touch the lives of people, as the good neighbor she is, and will always be." Al Bell

Judy Andersen is a quiet unassuming individual whose outstanding community service spans her 29 years as a resident of Port Orange. In 1980 she joined the Port Orange Planning Commission which she chaired from 1982 until 1986 when elected to the Port Orange City Council. In 1988 she was elected Mayor till her term ended in 1992.

As Mayor, she represented Port Orange on the Volusia Council of Governments, Metropolitan Planning Organization, also serving on the Volusia Water Alliance. She was elected to the Volusia County School Board in 1998. In 2000 she was elected Vice Chair of the Multi-cultural and Diversity Committee of the Florida School Board Association.

As Mayor of Port Orange, Judy was a partner and catalyst in leading the City's support of the nationally acclaimed All Children's Park, that not only filled a community need, but passionately brought citizens throughout all of Volusia County together in a way never imagined. She said, "it was heartwarming to see so many caring people working together to make a dream come true." Inspired by the outpouring of community support, Ken Parker said "Judy's serious and caring nature is an inspiration that brings the best out in all of us.'

Judy also exerted her leadership in the development of a rapidly growing city. She fought for Cypress Head, overcoming many concerns over financing. Today, this jewel in Port Orange's array of amenities is a tribute to her leadership. She also worked hard on the Causeway Park Project, as well as began the development of our reclaimed water system, which to this day is helping to preserve our environment.

Former Mayor Allen Green said, "her vision and strong leadership will contribute to our well being for many many years to come Al Bell, Chairman of Port Orange Community Trust said, "from her work as a member of the Volusia County School Board to her leadership on the Boards of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Volusia/Flagler Counties, Art House, and Port Orange Community Trust, Judy continues to touch the lives of people as the good neighbor she is, and will always be."

Person of the Year 2000

Elton E. (Al) Bell

Al Bell came to Port Orange in 1984, after a career in the automotive industry in Michigan was cut short by a heart condition. The Tennessee native with wife Eve settled in Port Orange and, after successful bypass surgery, began a career as community volunteer and activist. Al became adept a fund raising for community causes, but focused mainly on the education system, working with Spruce Creek High School and elementary schools in the Port Orange area.

Al's interests in his neighborhood and belief in neighbors working together led him to be active in a series of block parties held in his Devonwood neighborhood from1986 into the earlier 1990s. As the party grew and flourished, Al worked with Mayor Allen Green and Chamber of Commerce executive Debbie Connors to merge his neighborhood affair into observances being held under City sponsorship that led to the creation in 1995 of Family Days as a citywide event. With strong support from the City and a growing base of volunteer participation, Family Days quickly grew. Al was honored in 2007 as Person of the Year for his leadership through the merger of the Family Days and Community Trust organizations and volunteer support of numerous other organizations. Al and Eve have raised five children and now enjoy their 16 grandchildren. Al relinquished all connection with the Family Days Community Trust in early 2008.

Person of the Year 2006

John E. Evans

John E. Evans is known to many area residents for the nearly two decades in which he delivered thought-provoking essays and editorials on WESH-TV, or for his years of columns in the Daytona Beach News-Journal, a flow of observations he is continuing with his "Volusia Voice" column in the Orlando Sentinel.

He retired last fall after more than a decade as director of corporate communications for Halifax Community Health System. He was a member of the management team that turned a single hospital into an integrated health system and won approval for conversation of its Port Orange facility into a full-fledged hospital.

In addition to his newspaper column, Evans is busy with final arrangements for the start-up of Festival Cruises, which, beginning in mid-February, will offer lunch and dinner cruises on the Halifax River, and with consulting work for a variety of businesses.

Person of the Year 2005

Jim Fisher

"Jim's able leadership, exceptional vision, and willingness to take appropriate risks when investing in Port Orange's future provided the very foundation for the quality city Port Orange has become." Ken Parker

A quite and unassuming man, Jim Fisher is a community, civic and business leader who through personal involvement and sacrifice, helped give us a city in which all citizens take much pleasure. Ken Parker, City Manager noted that "Jim's able leadership, exceptional vision, and willingness to take appropriate risks when investing in Port Orange's future provided the very foundation for the quality city Port Orange has become"

A resident of Port Orange for 38 years truly makes Jim a town father whose insights and understanding of our past and vision for our future continually enables Port Orange to grow and prosper. As Mayor from 1977 to 1986, it was Jim's leadership and willingness to put himself on the line that enabled the development of Port Orange's beautiful City Center Complex site that was once just seen by many as a "worthless gravel pit."

It was also his vision and farsightedness that led the City to pur­chase some 3000 acres of land for its well fields, making Port Orange a water surplus city that will enable quality growth for decades to come. He was also instrumental in the development of Cypress Head Golf and Country Club, an undisputed quality golf course in Volusia County.

With four children and five grandchildren, Jim Fisher has firm roots in the Port Orange he has so selflessly helped shape and grow over the years. While his community involvement spans decades, Jim is still actively involved in City/Public life, and today serves on the Volusia County Business Development Corporation Board, Volusia County Library Advisory Board, and is still very active as a concerned citizen in the business of the City of Port Orange.

Person of the Year 1998

Allen Green

"Allen has been the soul of the Port Orange vision. For 20 years, he has challenged the Council, City staff and residents to envision the possibilities for Port Orange, and then work to make them a reality. He believes that a vision without action is only an unfilled dream" Ken Parker

Allen Green is a lifelong resident of Port Orange. He jokingly claims that Flagler County is another state; Georgia another country; and the rest of the world another universe. He sees no reason why anybody would want to venture out of Port Orange.

Involved in Port Orange all his adult life, he began with youth athletics, raising money to enable young people to participate in sports. He organized the construction of baseball fields, working many evenings to ensure facilities were properly constructed.

His involvement as an elected official stemmed from his love for the community and the environment. He championed environ­mental issues, enabling the first comprehensive tree protection ordinance in Volusia County. He was a leader when Port Orange enacted the first storm water management ordinance in Volusia County. He challenged councils, residents and staff to find ways to acquire endangered lands before a millage was enacted by County voters in 1986 to do so.

During his first term as Mayor, he worked with the M.P.O. to ensure our causeway was properly opened to correct the mess created by the first one. In his second term, he worked diligently with local, state, and federal leaders to ensure the restoration of Rose Bay would again bring the white sandy bottom he remembered. Through these efforts, construction is now underway.

His morning calls to City Hall most always begin with, "we have accomplished nothing." When reminded of accomplishments, he retorts with "that was yesterday." Ken Parker's quote says it all... for with true leaders like Allen Green, the work is never done.

Person of the Year 1999

Suzanne Kosmas

Suzanne Kosmas's most significant accomplishments in life transcend ordinary achievements in business: .the attainment of influence, and treasure. Her greatest achievements are centered in her devotion to family, and her extended family of friends and neighbors, both know and unknown. Her strength is a caring and generous spirit that is understanding, and sympathetic to human frailty and need. This, coupled with the character to do what is just and right for the greater public good, come what may, makes Suzanne a very special and unique individual.

As a legislator in Florida House of Representatives, where she served with distinction from 1996 to 2004, Suzanne was a recognized champion for the people. Her tireless service and opposition to special interests won her many awards in her fight for legislation that served the needs of all people. She received he Children's Advocacy Center Award for Extraordinary Efforts on Behalf of Children, the American Heart Association's Award for Support of Heart Legislation, The Trust for Public Land Legislative Leadership Award, and Volusia County PTA Legislator of the Year Award, to name only a few. Term limited, Suzanne will be sorely missed by all of us.

Born in Washington DC, and reared in Arlington Virginia, Suzanne's tireless community service began shortly after moving to New Smyrna Beach in 1973. The loving mother of 4 children, Paul, Michael, David and Kristen, Suzanne's energy, and ability to manage and inspire those around her greatly enabled her. She not only cared for her family, but builds a very successful business, and become extremely involved in making her community a better place for all of its citizens. From the beginning, her generosity and caring spirit were an inspiration. She is recognized to this day as an annual member of United Way's Alexis de Toqueville Society that she was instrumental in establishing, even when community leaders felt it was not possible for the her community to sustain $10,000 annual givers to United Way. It was the example and generosity of individuals like Suzanne that proved them wrong, and enabled United Way to grow and prosper, touching the lives of thousands of people in need.

From her involvement in agencies like ArtHaus, that instills the spirit of creativity and beauty in our youth, to organizations and Boards like Success by 6, Boys & Girls Clubs, Friends of Spruce Creek, Volusia Readiness Coalition, Stewart-Marchman Foundation and so many more, Suzanne continues her legacy of selfless service. It is no wonder Suzanne Kosmas is Port Orange Community Trust's Person of the Year!

Person of the Year 2004

Kenneth W. Parker

Allen Green: "He came, he found a home, and is part of the Port Orange family."

Ken Parker has served as the Port Orange City Manager since August 1, 1984. Ken was borne and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. He holds a Bachelor Degree in History and Political Science from Ouachita Baptist University and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Southern Methodist University. In 2002, he was recognized as a Credential Manager by the International City-County Management Association. Prior to becoming Port Orange's City Manager, he served as the City Manager in Texarkana, Arkansas, as the Assistant City Manager in Texarkana, as the Chief Deputy Secretary of State for the State of Arkansas, as the first City Manager in the City of Malvern, Arkansas, and held several positions with the City of Dallas, Texas.

Ken has been involved in local, state, national and international organizations and programs. Currently, he is serving as Southeast Regional Vice President for the International City-County Management Association. He is active in the Florida City-County Management Association having served on the FCCMA Board of Directors and on numerous committees and task forces. He is active with the Innovations Group, a group of local governments who are committed to developing and implementing innovative ways to improve the delivery of public services. He has served on Florida League of Cities committees and task forces. Locally, he has served on various boards and committees. He has taught Public Administration courses as part of the University of Central Florida's Master in Public Administration program. He is a regular speaker at the National Fire Academy on local government. He is an active member at the First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach where he teaches Bible Study.

During his tenure as City Manager, Port Orange has grown from a community of 22,000 to a population of about 50,000. During that period, Port Orange has been recognized for its efforts in planning, water conservation, stormwater management, water reuse, parks development and recreational opportunities, cultural programs, land preservation and conservation, public safety, involvement in and promotion of community education, and financial innovation and stability. "I have been very fortunate to be able to work with and serve with talented and dedicated elected officials, department heads, employees, volunteers and citizens whose sole desire is to make Port Orange a better community."

Ken is married to Virginia LaCook Parker. They have three sons, Clai, Jay and Stewart.

Judy Andersen "Ken Parker is a true professional. He is always willing to listen and has continued to remain focused on the vision and priorities of the City of Port Orange"

Jim Fisher "Ken Parker----------He makes our visions become real. "

Dorothy Hukill "Ken Parker embraces his job with vigor, perseverance, preparation and sacrifice - all noble traits in a successful city manager. He will leave his mark on our community."

Jim Ward "Ken has the vision to know where we need to go, but more importantly, has the ability to get us there."

Person of the Year 2002

Bill Thompson

Bill Thompson President of Thompson Pump & Manufacturing Company, Inc

Mr. Thompson is the President of Thompson Pump & Manufacturing Co., Inc of Port Orange, Florida. His company has been in the business of manufacturing heavy-duty, portable engine-driven pumps since 1970. Thompson Pump Company conducts business on a national and international scope, selling in every state in the United States, throughout Canada and in many Latin American nations.

On the international scene, Thompson Pump has sold products to the United Nations Development Program in Africa, the USAID program in Southeast Asia and ARAMCO in the Mideast. They manufacture private label pumps for Honda Light Equipment Division and Tsurumi Pumps of Japan. In addition, they manufacture products for Lister I Petter, a British company, Caterpillar's, Volvo's & Komatsu's domestic and international entities and ITT/Flygt Corporation's US and Canadian operations.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Mr. Thompson is a graduate of Father Lopez High School and the University of Florida and has lived in the Port Orange area since 1952. Along with his father and brother, he started his family-owned corporation in 1970 at their present location. He was a charter member of the Volusia Manufacturers Association in 1980.

From 1988-1991 he served on the State of Florida Unemployment Advisory Board upon appointment by the Governor of Florida. From 1991-1993, he served as Chairman of the Contractors Pump Bureau, a national organization of pump manufacturers affiliated with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. He is currently serving a second term as Chairman of this august group.

In 1995, Mr. Thompson was inducted into the Volusia Manufacturers Association Hall of Fame and in 1998 he received the Sam Walton Business Leader Award.

He has been involved in numerous civic and community service organizations including the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee, the United Way, the YMCA and Junior Achievement.

He is married to his wife of 32 years, Carol, and they have three children, I Christopher, Amanda and Robert, all of whom live in the area.

Person of the Year 2003

James E. Ward

"Often I tell people, if you want to see integrity at work, look at Jim Ward. Jim not only states his beliefs, he lives them. Thanks for being a role model, a community leader, and a friend." - Ken Parker

Jim Ward is one of a few people who has had a hand in shaping the character and quality of life that Port Orange enjoys today.

Born in Adel, Georgia, Jim came to Port Orange after graduating from the University of Georgia with a B.S. degree in Pharmacy. Co-owner of Ward's Pharmacy with his wife, Sharron, Jim practiced pharmacy for 30 years as an involved and caring Civic Leader. A recognized leader in his chosen field, Jim also served on the Executive Committee of the Florida Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Association

In 1987, Jim was elected to the Port Orange City Council, and served as Mayor of Port Orange from 1991 to 1995. He is characterized by Ken Parker, City Manager, "as an individual who defines integrity"... "a dedicated public ser­vant who took great care to study all the facts surrounding every project or decision, then stood steadfast in his conviction to do what was in the best inter­est of the citizens of Port Orange, come what may."

Jim's business discipline helped to set the right course for a growing commu­nity. His leadership enabled the City to put its financial house in order by only undertaking those projects that were fiscally sound, and that were necessary to enhance the character and quality of life in Port Orange.

He served on the Golf Course development committee as liaison to the City Council, and was also instrumental in helping the City develop the capacity to set aside dollars for an internal loan program to finance quality growth. Through his leadership, the City formalized its visioning process, putting critical goals and projects on paper with time lines that not only enhanced an understand­ing of future needs, but also enabled the process to provide them with accountabil­ity. Good examples of lasting accomplishments through this process were the development of the infrastructure for reclaimed water, the City's purchase of land to ensure future water reserves, and the building City parks for families and youth.

Graced with a calm exterior that reflects his inner strength, Jim is a goal-orientated individual who has the unique ability to bring out the best in people, thereby leveraging his own ability to produce results. Recognizing his many accomplishments and dedication to public service, Jim was elected to the Volusia County Council in 1997, and served as its chairman in 2000. He has served eight years on the Volusia County Council of Governments, also serving as its President. He also served eight years on the Volusia County Metropolitan Plan­ning Organization, and currently serves as its chairman.

Although his community service spans countless other organizations, Jim is now serving on the Board of Directors of the Friends of Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve, Crime Stoppers of Volusia-Flagler Counties, ArtHaus, and Port Orange Community Trust.

Married for 35 years to his wife, Sharron, Jim has two children, Wendy and Jim, and one granddaughter. Jade.

Clearly Jim's many accomplishments as a public servant has made him a com­munity hero who has touched the lives of countless people here at home in Port Orange, and throughout Volusia County. He is our 2001 Citizen of the Year!

Person of the Year 2001
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