Bennie was nominated by Tom Taylor and chosen as the 2007 award recipient based on her exemplary, life-long contributions to the quality of life in our northeast Florida beach communities. In his nomination, Tom said that “Bennie spent her entire life educating a lot of us Jacksonville Beach citizens, not only at school, but also about what a community should be.”
A Jacksonville native and resident of the beaches for 52 years, Bennie’s long list of contributions to the beaches include: Duval County School teacher for 41 years with 21 years teaching at San Pablo Elementary in Jacksonville Beach; contributed to the formation of the Beaches Historical Society; involved with the University Women’s efforts to build the Beaches Branch Library; 16 years of service on the Jacksonville Beach City Council; responsible for Jacksonville Beach being designated the first Tree City USA in Duval County and subsequent re-designation for the last 18 years; instrumental in getting the Community Center in Jacksonville Beach; instrumental in getting the new Dial-A-Ride bus; President of the Beaches Council on Aging for the last 10 years; current Beaches representative for Duval County Council on Elder Affairs; involved with Meals on Wheels for 10 years; and active member of PRIDE for 12 years.
As a Jacksonville Beach councilwoman, Bennie sponsored the first tree ordinance for Jacksonville Beach, was involved in getting CAPE established at the Carver Center for the South Pablo Beach community, supported the City providing the land for the Senior Center, supported the charter amendment to restrict closing of street ends and the charter amendment to limit the heights of buildings in Jacksonville Beach.
“We want to thank Bennie for her life-long contributions and her continuing involvement in our beaches communities. Although Bennie is retired, she has certainly not retired from caring about our beaches communities and working to make life better for all of us at the beach. We encourage others to follow Bennie’s shining example of the positive difference that one can make in our communities through involvement in our beaches community issues”, said Beaches Watch President, Sandy Golding during the presentation of the award.